Monday, September 22, 2008

In Topsy-Turvy Times, Focus on Your Spheres of Control

I received a message today from a colleague that mirrors the topsy-turvy nature of our times -- everyone seems to be wondering: "How the events on Wall Street affect me and my career?" As an eager, soon-to-be-entry-level-employee, she's concerned about being able to secure a stable position upon graduation. I'm hoping she doesn't put all of her "eggs" in one basket (i.e., only targeting the firm at which she interned last year).

While a certain degree of concern is normal, I coached her to not get too distracted by the external events -- of course, not to bury her head in the sand either! Know Your Market is a key Competent Advantage component. I encouraged her to focus on aspects of her search that are within her sphere of influence and control:
  • Professional Collateral - having an updated CV/bio that can be shared at a moments notice. What specific experiences can be highlighted given the current turn-of-events? What key skills are especially relevant right now in your target company/industry? How can you show you've mastered them?

  • Personal/Professional Network - using your inner circle to help get to the people you want to meet. What Web 2.0 resources can be tapped (e.g., social networking sites)? How can you access people in different ways: cross-functionally, across organizations/industries?

  • Plan "B" - considering other roles/companies/industries if your current target is in a restructuring stage. Who else would value the skills/talents you bring? How can you use your network to identify key contacts and information?

What do you think? What strategies are you using to navigate the career landscape these days?

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