Growing your Career: Do a GUT Check

Web strategist Jeremiah Owyang (who incidentally Dan Schawbel has acknowledged as his 2008 Personal Brand Award Winner) has offered three tips for anyone looking to grow their career, regardless of their rank, location or industry.

Jeremiah says: “There are actually great opportunities for those during a recession for professionals, restrained resources and competition will force you to become excellent in whatever you do. You’ll be forced to learn new skills and be more efficient than you’ve ever before. Some layoffs will leave opportunities for vertical growth and leadership opportunities.”

Jeremiah’s “GUT” check consists of:

G: Grow your network before you need it
You should always be building your professional network, especially when your job feels secure. There’s really no excuse as many real world networking events are free, but you can also lean on the digital tools. You should start by building your online profile in social network sites, finding the communities most tied to your industry, then reading, then answering some of the questions in forums. The trick here is to add value, not just ask for help,;demonstrate your expertise by answering questions in an intelligent way and helping others.

U: ‘Uncomfortness’ leads to growth
When you look at a candidate’s resume, and you see their skills set has not grown in the last 3-5 years, you ought to be worried. In a tough market, employers and clients want self-starters, those that go beyond the regular call of just doing the minimum requirements. Being Uncomfortable means trying something new, and eventually growing.

When I was an intern right out of college, I made a promise to myself to bug everyone in the IT department to teach me a new skill or task. You’d be surprised how thankful they were that someone so young wanted to learn from them. Each day, you should do the same, find someone and ask them to show you something or teach you something new in your career.

T: Tout your successes
Getting found online is part of the game; recruiters are going to do web searches before they purchase time on my job board, so you want to easily make yourself found. By this time if you’re a web professional and you don’t have your own personal domain I’m concerned for you.  What are you waiting for, it’s only 10 dollars to register and 5 a month to host at some places?

At industry parties and events I always ask folks: “What do you do” it’s surprising how folks are unable to articulate what they do, they beat around the bush, are self-deprecating, or try to avoid the topic all together. Instead, develop a single sentence describing what you do, practice your delivery, and learn how to ask an open ended question to trigger a conversation.

So, do your GUT check every morning!

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