Here’s the Who, What, Where, When, and Why on how to get great career advice for you! Keep in mind that there’s not one straight answer. This process is about gathering intelligence (yes, you’re going sleuthing) to understand yourself better and make the best career decisions and pivots for you.
The first on this list would beYou! What do you enjoy doing? What gives you joy when it comes to your career? If you’re struggling to answer, think of one specific time in your career where you felt really motivated and energized. What was going on right before that feeling? That can give you a clue. Also, tap into your colleagues. Who knows you well that could also answer what your career or core strengths are? Add this input to the list.
Once you have a bit more clarity about what you do well and enjoy, you start expanding the circle. Next, you move onto your contacts. Who do you know, even if it’s one person, that you could “meet” with and get their opinion (opinion is important because you are not asking for a job) about what careers or career moves might be a good fit? Before the meeting ends, you expand the circle a bit more and ask, “Who else would you recommend that I connect with?” This question puts you in touch with people outside of your contacts.
Finally, there are LinkedIn connections, if they are a fit for the specific advice you are seeking. Also, if you lack clarity on where to start, a career coach can be an option.
A goal. For each conversation, you need to have a specific purpose. What are you trying to achieve by “meeting” with this person? What is one question or one particular piece of advice you are seeking? Don’t lay your entire career query at their feet. It’s your responsibility to figure it out, not theirs, but they are a valuable contributor. Additional information can come out of the conversation that you hadn’t anticipated. Keep track of that too.
Ideally, you’d meet in person, but that’s off the table for the time being. Instead, a brief call or virtual meeting can do the trick. Know in advance how much time you need for the meeting, and after a short chit chat, thank them for their time and get to the point. Don’t waste their time; be clear, be concise. Make sure you send them a thank you, and possibly a gift card for coffee or something else they may enjoy. Post COVID-19, you may be able to return to buying someone lunch or coffee in person.
Before you are thinking of making a move or have to make a move. You always want to retain as much control and influence over your career path as possible. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do, keep this process current by keeping in regular touch with your network because you need them to do this. Building a network is not a one and done. Once you establish a relationship, it needs to be nurtured. Years ago, this came about for me. The company I was working for got acquired, and I had a feeling that things were going to change. By the time I was laid off, I already had another job ready to start in one week, and this process and my network were to thank for it.
Simply put, you don’t know what you don’t know. If you only operate inside of your bubble, the odds are that you won’t stray far from it. You may see your opportunities as limited. But, when you involve others and their perspectives, you expand your options and opportunities exponentially. People enjoy helping other people, especially when you are asking for their guidance or opinion.
Until next time, here’s wishing you the career clarity you deserve.
If you're curious about what is next for you, let's hop on a strategy call and map it out. You can get a customized career clarity strategy session at www.ClarityWithDebbie.com