Whenever I work with people, and teach them the ropes involved in marketing themselves more effectively, I point out that the lessons they learn now are likely going to pay off time and time again given that most professionals today go through some form of career or job transition every 3-4 years, on average. Like it or not, the market is a turbulent place these days — and those folks who embrace and acquire the critical “life skill” of promoting themselves are going to have a decided advantage over their peers in terms of their ability to consistently locate steady, satisfying employment.
On this note, I was delighted to recently receive word from a former client whom I haven’t spoken with in the last several years. This individual, as you’ll read below, worked with me through the ups-and-downs of a fairly challenging employment transition a number of years back. Eventually, he ended up taking a position that was a bit below his historical level, in terms of pay and responsibility. This position allowed him to “stabilize” his career, however, and to get back into a position of strength that has now allowed him to identify and land a role that’s far more in keeping with his objectives. Here’s what he had to say about the process:
“Matt: I wanted to send along a quick note to let you know that I’ve accepted an offer from XYZ Company. My last day at my current firm is March 18 and my first day with the new organization will be March 21, so unfortunately, no break. It was a very interesting and fast process – relatively easy in hindsight – that I attribute to good fit, good preparation, and confidence. And looking back, I believe the following factors were critical to receiving the job offer:
• Qualifications closely matched position requirements
• Relevant experience with a similar organization
• Carefully listening to business needs (can be very subtle)
• Asking good questions
• Quickly responding to inquiries
• Strong references
When you and I first connected several years ago, conducting a job search was a very frustrating and painful process for me. I’d left my previous position on good terms but was burned out, disappointed, and unfocused. After a year-long search, I settled for a position that paid 40% less and was, in my opinion, well below my qualifications. I justified accepting the position in several ways:
• The position was in my market sector and I knew several staff members
• Some income was better than none; plus it offered employer-paid medical benefits
• I needed to develop specialized skill sets versus continuing to search for scarce general management positions
• The position could lead to other opportunities
Fortunately, my assessment proved to be true, even though it took a bit longer than expected. Four years later, I’ve been able to establish myself with a high profile organization and gain a valuable new series of specialized skill sets. Additionally, I’ve learned to recognize positions that closely match my personal qualifications, interests, and salary expectations. As everyone knows, it’s much easier to find a job when you already have one. The preparation, as well as your guidance, allowed me to be focused and confident throughout the interview process.
Thanks again for your support and please don’t hesitate to ask if I can return the favor!”