How to Transition Your Career

by Dan Blank on April 27, 2010

Is your career in transition? Mine is. So today, I want to share a bit about what I am planning, and some tips on how to transition your career.

A Parting Glass

The news of Reed Business Information closing down the remainder of its controlled circulation titles certainly set a path for this year. I will remain with Reed until mid-year, and will then go free range.

I LOVED working with the amazing brands and folks at Reed, and working with the people in the markets they serve. I am incredibly lucky to have been able to consider the editorial needs of both librarians and engineers in the same afternoon, and then tackle the construction industry the following morning.

So THANK YOU Reed Business Information for the past DECADE of my life. It’s been awesome. Glad I’ll be with you for a few more months!

A New Dance

So what will be changing for me? Everything. And nothing.

This blog and accompanying newsletter will continue. Please consider subscribing to the newsletter if you don’t already.

I am working on a new venture called We Grow Media. You can check it out at http://wegrowmedia.com.

Here, I am helping editors, writers, experts, and bloggers build their online media & marketing skills and engage their communities in fun and meaningful ways. It’s all about creation and community.

Want to get involved?

How to Transition Your Career

If you are searching for a job or for a new career entirely, you are likely faced with a mixture of emotions: You know you are awesome, but you have to convince a hiring manager of the same thing! Maybe you are considering a new path for your future, and are trying to start some things from scratch. Either way, here are some tips on how to approach the next chapter of your career:

  • Get Social
    You know how they say that your next job will come to you via networking? Increase the chances of that happening by getting more involved in social media. If you’re not on Facebook, join. If you’re not on Twitter, join. If you’re not on LinkedIn, join.

    But even though these are powerful tools, being social extends offline. Take people out to lunch or for coffee, set up phone calls with people you admire or former colleagues, and meet new people at meetings & events. Don’t just rely on Twitter or email to extend a connection, get in touch with people in other ways to build relationships.

  • Get Over Yourself
    Sorry if this one is blunt, but it has to be said. Oftentimes the biggest barrier we face is ourselves.

    Maybe you already use Facebook, but have very strict rules about who you friend. You know, like you will friend current real-life friends and close family members, but not second cousins, former colleagues or childhood friends. I totally get that, but…

    My advice: get over yourself.

    I realize that nearly EVERYONE (myself included) has concerns about how they are viewed, about who they share info with, and about the boundaries in their lives. It’s weird to suddenly mix up everyone you know into some online network that you are thrown in every time you open a web browser. It’s like a therapy session gone awry! On one web page that is updated by the minute, you have status updates from a childhood friend, a former boss, your wife’s cousin, your softball buddy, a guy you met at a tradeshow 18 month ago, and your mom. This is enough to send anyone running for the hills and into a bunker with no internet connection!

    But the fact of the matter is, if you keep traditional boundaries in online relationships, you will be missing opportunities. When you extend real world relationships into a community such as Facebook, it offers two incredible things: it greatly extends your ability to realize your dreams, and it greatly extends your ability to help others.

    I can’t even tell you how much people have helped me – people I haven’t talked to in 25 years. But, because we were connected on Facebook, because we knew each other 25 years ago, we went out of our way to help each other. Ignoring that is to ignore your future.

  • Create a Brand Identity
    I know, this sounds creepy. You don’t want to be a "brand," you just want a job that you deserve. And you’re right. But… now you need to find that new gig.

    So, by ‘brand identity’ I mean, just find a simple way to explain your value, and be consistent with that explanation across all your networks. How you talk in person with folks, and across online networks.

    Consider reading "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek.

  • Get Involved
    Let’s just say that now you are on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on Twitter, and maybe even have a blog. Now, get involved with people. This is not about ‘having a profile,’ but about sharing expertise, sharing your life, listening to others and finding ways to be of assistance.

    If you are still at the place where you are saying ‘nobody cares about what I am eating for lunch,’ then you have to ask yourself: how will ANYONE know of your value if lunch is the only thing you can think of updating Twitter with?

    Your resume is one of a thousand sitting on someone’s desk. Find a way to share your value in other ways, not as a resume, but as a person.

  • Embrace LinkedIn, Not as a Thing, but a Place
    Get serious about LinkedIn. CRAFT your profile, and continually maintain it and make it better. Ask people for recommendations. Get involved with LinkedIn Answers and Groups. There is so much information and networking going on in LinkedIn, and so much of it is in the business context, with each response 100% connected to a person’s real name with their real bio/resume. So powerful.

  • Help
    Seriously. Help people. On Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, in real life. If you aren’t helping people every week, then how are you proving your value? And don’t overthink it – don’t only help people that you think are ‘worth it.’ Help everyone you can. I can’t stress this enough.

  • Create a Support System
    This is critical. Transitions wreak havoc on your emotions. Everything is now in question: your identity, your future, your day-to-day. This is going to sound like pre-school, but find a buddy. I’m serious. Find someone that you schedule a weekly phone call with. This call is unchangeable, nothing can get in the way.

    This is the person you brainstorm with, the person you help and who helps you, the person that you gain some sanity with.

    If you can, get a few buddies, two or three people you touch base with each week, people who keep you accountable, and help you set and achieve goals. Important caveat: these people need to be outside of your immediate family. People who have no immediate stake in your future.

  • Publish or Connect Every Day
    This is my rule: every day I must publish or connect. Why? Because it would be all too easy for me to get caught up in SEO research or diving into web analytics reports, but after a few days, realize that NOTHING I did affected anyone else’s life.

    So every day, I must publish something to the web or connect with someone in a meaningful way, usually a phone call, Skype call or lunch.

Lastly, let me know how I can help you. I’m happy to brainstorm or just chat about your future. Call me anytime: 973-981-8882, follow me on Twitter (@DanBlank) or send me an email: dan@danblank.com

Thanks!

-Dan

  • babetteross

    Great points Dan. I need to work on publishing more…. and maybe just maybe relax on FB = business. But then again I both made a face and shuddered as I typed it… I'd love to schedule coffee or something soon to chat.

  • http://www.danblank.com DanBlank

    Babette,
    Thanks! I'll reach out via email to set something up w/ you.
    -Dan

  • http://www.danblank.com DanBlank

    Babette,
    Thanks! I'll reach out via email to set something up w/ you.
    -Dan

  • http://idontcareblog.wordpress.com Jenn

    This post rules! You should work at the business school career management center. It could use someone like you.

  • http://www.danblank.com DanBlank

    Thanks Jenn!

  • jeremysacco

    Hey Dan – I'm thrilled for We Grow Media and your future plans, but a little sad you won't be part of our extended team any more. I appreciate everything you did for us — including insights you delivered in your newsletter that helped us get our social media efforts off the ground.

    Good luck and stay in touch. Now if you'll excuse me I need to go finish a post…. ;-)

  • http://timkastelle.org/blog/ Tim Kastelle

    Good post Dan – the advice definitely seems sound to me. The only thing I'd possibly argue is whether we need to be friends with everyone on FB. I think it's reasonable to use different networks for different purposes. But I could be wrong!

    In any event, good luck with your new venture!

  • http://www.danblank.com DanBlank

    Thanks Jeremy!

  • http://www.danblank.com DanBlank

    Tim – EXCELLENT point. I really could have explained that better. I do consider my Facebook friends to be a much tighter knit community. I won't just accept anyone's friend request. I suppose you need to find that balance, and it will be different for everyone.

    Thanks!
    -Dan

  • eventpublisher

    Great post Dan – and best of luck to you on your search for the next best gig! I'm certain you will succeed! I'll follow on Twitter and through the growmedia blog to see how it goes. Feel free to contact if you want any insights on the association publishing world.

  • http://www.danblank.com DanBlank

    Thanks so much!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/larrystewart1 Larry Stewart

    Dan – The shortest, but greatest, point you make in an excellent treatise here is “Help.” Servant leaders like Jesus have been changing the world for a long time.

  • Facebookhater

    Betty White commented in her S&L monologue: u201cI really have to thank Facebook u2026 I didnu2019t know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time. I would never say the people on it are losers, but thatu2019s only because Iu2019m polite. People say u2018But Betty, Facebook is a great way to connect with old friends.u2019 Well at my age, if I wanna connect with old friends, I need a Ouija Board. Needless to say, we didnu2019t have Facebook when I was growing up. We had phonebook, but you wouldnu2019t waste an afternoon with it.u201d I agree 100% Betty.

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