When thinking about a career upgrade, one of the keys is to get your skills up to speed. But what is 'up to speed' anyways?
So much depends upon readiness! NASCAR races are won and lost in the week prior to the race. How? The engine is tuned specifically for that track - the length, competition, the humidity - all of it. The tires are also tuned for the pitch and asphalt temperature of the track. All of these elements happen so that the driver can do his or her best driving. And the race is often won by a few seconds or less!
Readiness also wins in a career upgrade, because the career race is won (or lost) by slim margins. Many people tumble into upgrading their skills - they don’t do any planning, but simply dust off the last version of their training and try to sound smart. Sound familiar?
But it gets worse. . .Attending training makes us feel like we are getting results. But our job search is uneven - with periods of frantic resume submission, phone calls, and interviews, followed by long periods of no activity. The emotional roller coaster is huge too! In an unorganized career search, our best and worst instincts can run rampant. So while we can rise to the challenge with activities we are comfortable with, many of us crumble under the fear, stress and strain of a career search.
All of this can have a big impact on our search. We do not show up with our best selves. Many people get raw and scattered, which does not convey a sense of persuasive, directive, strength-based leader.
So let’s talk about a different approach. One that is systematic, keeps you in the drivers seat, and puts a strong foundation under your feet. This is an approach we call the MBTS method, from Leaders In Demand. Below is a quick action plan for you to use following this method:
1. Map it! The M in MBTS is Map it. The first step is to create a roadmap of where you are today and where you want to be. For visual thinkers, sometimes literally drawing a treasure map is a great start. Your roadmap should describe the objective (what is the X in your treasure map?). Be specific. Perhaps you do not know where you want to be - is it a new job, a new company, a whole new career? That is okay - begin to uncover your strengths, tendencies, desires, passions, etc. You want to find an overlap between what you can do and what you love to do.
2. Brand it! B is for Brand in MBTS. You need to consider your personal brand. Is it time to tune up your LinkedIn, your Facebook, etc. A few thoughts on tuning up LinkedIn:
1. Get your profile cleaned up - no typos, clean photo, great summary, include sample work, and get some recommendations.
2. Make sure you have more than 500+ connections or it is harder to get seen.
3. If you can afford it, sign up for the LinkedIn jobs.
3. Tell it! The next phase - T for Tell - is all about getting your personal talking points squared up. Consider your elevator speech and your key stories. I personally hate giving elevator speeches because I always forget key details, however, one thing I’ve learned is to tell it like a story, and speak about outcomes. Also, you will want to build a story board for yourself. What are the top 3-5 stories.
4. Sell it! Finally, you engage in S - for Sell - by conducting a test run of your career search. Get out there and try out your new talking points - your elevator speech, your storyboard, key examples. You want to have 3-5 examples of your work in action ready to go.
Remember, luck favors the prepared. The MBTS approach is a powerful positioning tool because it condenses the core elements into a strong foundation and aligns everyone in your path toward the outcomes you desire. There is much more to each of these steps, however, with some resourcefulness and forward action, you should be able to make a great start at yourself!