Looking for a Job vs. Career Management

Yesterday I spoke at great length with a candidate who has been out of work for ages. After our discussion I realized that throughout her career, she had moved from job to job without ever investing any time in her career management.

There is a distinct difference between job search and career management. The sooner you understand this difference, the better you will be able to manage your career as opposed to hoping you have a good job.

The examples below will demonstrate the differences between job search and career management:

Job Search: I look for a job when I’m out of a job, can’t stand my present job or am down-sized or bored.
Career Management: I am always evaluating my career path.
I think strategically and keep records of accomplishments. I am always aware of potential career opportunities.

Job Search: I network, and join professional associations. I consider professional certification. I take courses to stay current with job trends and technology and cross my fingers that my job is not eliminated.
Career Management: I have a strong professional network and have cultivated relationships with individual that may be helpful in the future. I continually build upon these relationships to broaden my potential career prospects.

Job Search: Networking is frustrating. It takes too much time and money. Who are these people?
Career Management: I strengthen my network and find great satisfaction in helping my contacts succeed. I congratulate them when I can and offer help as appropriate. I understand the meaning of “social capital”. I believe in “Paying it forward”.

Job Search: I don’t have time to volunteer – how can I, I am too busy looking for a job.
Career Management: I eagerly volunteer in areas where I can contribute. I know that I will meet other professionals that may be helpful to me in the future.

Job Search: My resume looks good. I hope I don’t have to do it again because this is the final copy.
Career Management: My resume is a work in progress and I never send the same resume to different career prospects. I tailor my resume to each potential opportunity that presents itself.

Job Search: I don’t know what it means to be a “brand”. It should be clear from my resume and during my interview what I can offer.
Career Management: I understand the value of my “brand” and what I can bring to the table. I share this “brand” in many ways. I have an elevator pitch (or two), I have Googled myself, I have an online presence showcasing my value to potential employers , I embrace social media and stay aware of new trends and communication vehicles.

Job Search: I don’t have the time or money to spend on books, webinars and education regarding job search.- I just need to find a job.
Career Management: I read, I attend webinars, I attend educational programs that help my career. I keep abreast of all that is new in meetings and job search.

Job Search: I hope my next job turns out better than the last one. What a nightmare.
Career Management: Each job I have is a stepping-stone on my career path.

Job Search: I need something now. I’m desperate. I will take anything that comes along.
Career Management: I have a plan and I know I need to be flexible. I know I don’t have control over everything, but my career is mine and I am going to do what is necessary to make wise career decisions.

Job Search: I can’t wait until I land a job so I don’t have to to this anymore.
Career Management: It is a constant process, it is never over and it is part of what you do.

Here’s to managing your career!

Written by my colleague Dawn Penfold, President of MeetingJobs
Thanks Dawn

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