I’ve been reading The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, the great 18th century liberal free markets thinker. It is wise, rambling and full of sharp insights about how economies work and people act. A bit like a blog: Adam Smith 18th century blogger.
How and why you look for your next gig will be shaped by the stage you are at in life. Fresh out of college the possibilities are endless but so is the need to focus and the need to sell yourself without a track record. Mid career, you’re likely building on a story your resume tells, and may have personal and financial obligations that lock you into a set path. End of career and you have the luxury of leaning on years of experience but the challenge of staying relevant (and competitive.) And, sometimes desire or necessity set you towards making a major career change.
If you are starting your working life or are in mid career and wanting to make a career change, it makes sense to do some careful thinking about what you could do. In the best case, what you choose to do will be at the intersection of your skills, what you like and areas where there are a lot of opportunities. You’ll notice I said “What you like” and did not say “What you are passionate about.”: few of us will find the thing that drives us with passion. Most of us will be content with something we enjoy, most of the time.
- Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well Lived, Joyful Life – Bill Burnett, Dave Evans
- What Color Is Your Parachute? 2020: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers – Richard Bolles
Thinking of yourself in the business setting as a product – a bundle of skills, personality traits, experience and connections – can be a challenge but is essential to effectively pitching yourself. I like to have folks figure out what their tag line is – a simple phrase that sums them up – and use this to develop an elevator pitch, a 3 – 4 sentence summary of themselves. Harder to do than you might think.
- What is a Personal Pitch and How Do You Write One? – Get Reskilled
- How to Give an Elevator Pitch – Indeed
- How Do I Perfect My Personal Pitch? – Columbia Business School
The job market today is highly, highly specialized and an organization hiring you wants to know that you understand their ecosystem and will fit in it. To do this you need to focus your search on at most three areas (one or two is better) and go deep in these so that you develop momentum in them. Going wide is a waste of time.
- Personal, Operational and Strategic Networks – LardBucket
- Do You Need a Business Ecosystem? – Boston Consulting Group
- The Ongoing Transition From Vertical Industries to Business Ecosystems – Logical Design Solutions