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