In the book business, as I found out last year, January is the time for fitness books and diet books. But if you're not getting back to the gym, or throwing out all the pizzas in your freezer, where do you start your career plan? Sure, internal moves are great, psyching yourself up for the leap into the unknown, but they're still just preparation: reframing, meditation, confidence-building, journaling, etc.
But I think by the time January rolls around, you've done plenty of thinking, and plenty of prep.,The first external move I would make is to get some networking steps in process. And here are the three top tips:
1. Sorry: it's your LinkedIn Profile Summary. I realize this is going to exasperate some of you, 'cause I'm always harping on this. But about 95% of the LinkedIn profiles I read either lack an engaging, readable, persuasive Summary - or don't even have one at all. This is your first and only chance to make a solid impression on someone, so why would you avoid making it 2,000 characters worth of insightful, expressive focus on the value that you provide going forward (vs. what you did in the past)?
2. Re-connect with ten colleagues you haven't talked to in at least a year. Yes, this could take a while (and it's a big number for many of you). Make these strategic contacts. They don't necessarily have to be the right people to help you with an immediate career concern - like finding the next job - but they should be people who are smart, resourceful, successful in their own right, and who "get" you. These are folks you're going to want to have on your side at some point in the future. The beginning of the year is a perfectly acceptable time to renew old acquaintances. See what happens when you meet for a coffee. At the very least, it gives you an opportunity (actually, ten opportunities) to practice your career pitch. Explaining yourself to the tenth person is going to be a lot smoother and more eloquent than when you explained yourself to the first person.
3. Post Something. Let us know you're alive. I'm sure you have opinions about what's going on in your business. Everything everywhere is so disrupted, I would find it hard to believe there's a topic of interest in your industry that you couldn't seize and write about. Make it positive and prescriptive - nobody wants to hear you complain or criticize (there's plenty of that to go around).
Put it on LinkedIn,and then spread it to Facebook and wherever else you and your community congregate. One synergistic benefit: it gives you something to talk about when you meet with your ten colleagues. It also circles back to what you're going to say in your LinkedIn Summary: refining and expressing your viewpoint is an important window into your professional identity. Cultivate this transparency as a way of deepening and sustaining the connections you make in your extended network.
Usually, I talk about networking as the final step in my 5-step career reinvention process. But it can also be the inception of an entirely new career-building initiative, and definitely a strong way to start out the new year.
Networking doesn't have to be complicated for #boomers! Try these 3 keys, designed to make your new year great!