Don’t sing “The Lazy Song” (by Bruno Mars) and expect results. “Today I don’t feel like doing anything, I just wanna lay in my bed, don’t feel like picking up my phone, so leave a message at the tone…,” won’t get you results. And it’s not enough to just be doing the day-to-day work to achieve success. As an executive you know that it often time takes going the extra mile to get the job done or reach the goal. Your mindset should be engaged to apply some of those same strategies and tactics to your career.
1. Big picture thinking. Most executives have the ability to focus on the big picture and not get bogged down with little details (they delegate those pieces). In your career plan, focus on what is going well, what isn’t working, and change the action plan accordingly.
2. Streamline processes. Use technology (programs, apps, smartphone) to help you manage data, calendar, contacts, etc. Entering this data could even be delegated to someone else to free up your time for tasks that only you can do.
3. Smart networking. Make the most of the time you invest in networking. Be prepared (who will attend, who do you want to meet?) for better results. Follow up by sending a pertinent article/resource or suggesting a meet-up at some future time.
4. Hire a professional. I don’t imagine you would drill and fill your own teeth. The same applies to your career. Consider a professional career coach to help you with interview techniques, job search strategies, and salary negotiations.
5. Guard your online image. Google yourself, recruiters and hiring managers will. Keep your posts professional, and profiles updated including a recent professional picture, up-to-date contact information and career details.
6. Mastermind. In Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich,” he introduces the concept of a mastermind group where people surround themselves with mentors, and like-minded professionals to tap for advice and information sharing. Putting together your own group like this can be quite beneficial. If you prefer working with one person, seek out someone who you admire for his or her talents and successes.
7. Dress for success. In most corporate settings, executives are expected to dress a notch above the general staff. This denotes authority and can exude confidence. Maintain the same dress code during job search mode – your clothes speak volumes without saying a word.
8. Ongoing professional development. The business world is changing at breakneck speed and a portion of what you learned in college years ago is handled differently today. Be attractive to a prospective employer with continuing your education and staying up-to-date in your specialty field.
With the recent passing of Stephen R. Covey, we can all be reminded of his famous quote, “Start with the end in mind.” As you are reflecting on your career, preparing for a promotion or a transition to another company or industry, examine your goals and what you want to ultimately accomplish. Do you want to retire in 10 years? Start your own company? Move up the corporate ladder? Whatever your goals, start with the end in mind to create your career action plan. Invest in yourself by investing in your career.