The 12 Habits of an Empowered Career Professional

Managing your career is a challenging process because there are many elements to consider. You have to obtain the requisite education, set goals, develop resumes, facilitate the job search process, interview with various organizations and build career networks. In addition, you have to perform at a high level in your chosen profession while developing an effective work/life balance. People who are successful at this can be called Empowered Career Professionals because they have found a way to effectively balance their vocational and lifestyle needs. You can also find career success and life balance by developing 12 habits:

1. Identify your vocational interests and how these interests best fit with various careers. You should be able to describe the type of work you really want to do, as well as the job tasks and activities you would prefer to avoid.

2. Clarify your values and how these values best fit with a variety of occupations. Be clear about the main purpose that work serves for you, and identify the most rewarding elements of your vocational and avocational activities.

3. Specify your skills and abilities, and how these competencies best fit with various careers. Develop a comprehensive list of your strengths and weaknesses, and clarify the extent to which your credentials qualify you for various occupations.

4. Develop a clear vision of your future work and family life. You should be able to describe your long-range career vision and the type of life you want to live.

5. Identify specific goals that will help you achieve your long-range career vision. Include both short and long-range goals that are measurable, and have a specific timetable for completion.

6. Identify the specific steps you must take to achieve your goals and use this information to create written career plans.

7. Develop an accomplishments-based resume and update it on a regular basis. You should be able to develop electronic and scannable resumes, and create resumes in both chronological and functional formats.

8. When seeking employment, use a variety of job search resources including people, books, professional associations, the Internet, and job ads. You should also be able to develop an effective cover letter to use with your resume.

9. Prior to an interview, research the organization and develop a strategy for covering the points you want to make during the meeting. Communicate your strengths and accomplishments during the interview, and keep a diary of interview experiences you can use to prepare for future interviews.

10. Develop a clear understanding of current and future occupational trends and their impact on potential career choices. Use a variety of resources to obtain information on a diverse array of occupations (e.g., the Internet, magazines, people).

11. Develop a strong network of professional colleagues. Continuously invest the time, energy and money required to expand your network.

12. Develop a positive attitude, maintain desire and keep the faith, even in the most difficult times. Have confidence in yourself and take personal responsibility when something goes wrong.

Career Warfare – A Book Summary

It is a tough and competitive business environment you

live and it is getting more and more difficult to achieve

your goals. You have to stand out among your colleagues

and competitors. You have to work hard for career

advancement, and better compensation.

Whether you are a senior executive, an entrepreneur or

an employee, this book will show you the best way to

succeed, accomplish your personal and career goals,

outshine your competition and differentiate yourself

from the pack. David F. D’Alessandro shows you how to

stand out from the crowd by developing your own

“personal brand”; and provides valuable lessons in

the etiquette of reputation building.

What is Personal Brand?

You need to realize that success does not only come

from hard work and appropriately playing the part.

To be successful in business and in your career, you

must be able to distinguish yourself from the rest of

the pack – you need to develop, build and defend your

reputation.

Personal branding is a way you manage your career or

business. It is a way of communicating that makes you

different and special. By using these qualities you

can distinguish yourself from your peers so that you

can expand your success.

There are 10 rules you can follow for building a

successful personal brand and keeping it:

Rule 1: Try to Look Beyond Your Own Navel – The biggest

obstacle in building a positive personal brand is your

own ego. In order to develop an attractive personal

brand, you need to have self-respect and you need

to respect the people around you.

Rule 2: Like It or Not, Your Boss is the Coauthor of

Your Brand – You must realize and accept the fact that

early on in your career, your boss will reap most of

the rewards for ideas you give, money that you brought

in, etc. This is how the corporate world operates. Do

not fight the power structure. Instead learn how to

play and live by it.

Rule 3: Put Your Boss on the Couch – Not all bosses

will help you. It is best that you recognize what type

of personality your boss has so that you would realize

what advantages and disadvantages this person can

cause to your brand.

Rule 4: Learn Which One is the Pickle Fork – Good manners

are crucial in developing and enhancing your personal

brand. Manners are about consideration and respect,

knowledge and patience. Practice good business etiquette.

Rule 5: Kenny Rogers is Right – While it is important

for you to seize the opportunity to build your brand,

it is equally crucial to know what battles to take. Know

when to keep on fighting and when to move fold.

Rule 6: It’s Always Show Time – You must realize that

reputations are not usually made by big events –

sometimes it is those big events that smear your brand.

What builds your reputation is your day-to-day

behavior in the business setting, such as how you deal

with people, how you make decisions, your work habits,

etc.

Rule 7: Make the Right Enemies – The best personal brands

include courtesy, fairness, tolerance, self-respect and

having good and proper manners. However, a small amount

of ruthlessness is good for your brand. Your reputation

will not suffer much if you fight your enemies,

but it will suffer if you lose your self-respect.

Rule 8: Try Not To Be Swallowed By the Bubble – Once you

are successful in building your brand and is rising in the

ranks, do not lose sight of the forest. Do not be too

full of yourself that you will be swallowed by success.

It is bad for your humanity, and bad for your career.

Rule 9: The Higher You Fly, the More You Will Be Shot

At – Everybody makes mistakes. The higher you are in the

ladder of success, the more likely that your mistakes

will be highlighted. Accept the fact that bad press comes

with prominence in any field.

Rule 10: Everybody Coulda Been a Contender; Make Sure You

Stay One – Set yourself to be distinct from your peers.

Since you are constantly being compared to your peers,

don’t be afraid to offer something unique or distinctive.

Don’t give up easily. Don’t throw in the towel immediately

because of a setback or two. Learn from your mistakes and

turn it into an opportunity. Don’t lie, cheat or

steal. Be cautious of the reputation you are building.

Reinvent Your Career In Five Simple Steps

The phrase “reinventing yourself” seems to be popping up all over lately. Just a few days ago a friend asked me how he could do it without starting completely over. His concern was, “How do I move in a new career direction without sacrificing all the skills and experience I’ve worked so hard to achieve?” The underlying question is, “Is this even possible?”

Yes, it is possible to start fresh without starting over! Here’s how:

1.) Take inventory of the skills, experience, credentials and achievements you’ve built into your career to date. Know your strengths and weaknesses, your assets and your liabilities. Recognize your transferable skills and how to market them. Describe the breath and depth of your work experience. Understand the value of your credentials. Match power verbs, specific nouns and quantifiable descriptors to your achievements and practice telling stories about them.

2.) Clarify your values. Dig deeply enough into yourself to know which values are yours and which are your parents’, mentors’, employers’, culture’s, society’s or faith community’s. Claim yours and release theirs. Look again at any value regarding money or security: What you think is a value may not be a value at all, but a mask covering a cluster of values. For example, “money”, “benefits” and “security” often mask values such as lifestyle, adventure, independence and safety, so record these values as the latter, not the former, if you hope to actually live them.

3.) Identify the talents, gifts and passions that drive you. Be honest and real with yourself and if necessary, seek the objective opinions of others. Claim what is truly yours then describe it in who-what-when-where-why-how detail and practice condensing your description into a 60-second story. Note how related talents and gifts seem to cluster around passion themes. This is not coincidence, but a sign pointing the way to your life’s purpose.

4.) Use all the data you’ve collected about yourself in Steps 1,2 and 3 to brainstorm a list of jobs, careers, employers and industries that match and make positive use of your skills, experience, credentials, achievements, values, talents, gifts and passions. Use career professionals and reference materials such as the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and the Occupational Outlook Handbook to assist you. Shorten, refine, categorize and prioritize your list.

5.) Develop a stellar self-marketing package to match each cluster of jobs, careers, employers and industries you want to market yourself into. Create multiple versions of your resume and cover letter to cover a series of related titles, career paths or industries. Use the key words associated with each profession. Distribute your resume and cover letter package to employers strategically via ads, online postings sites, networking, recruiters and targeted mailings.

It really is this simple! Yes, these steps are dense with all kinds of “to do’s”, but if you do everything suggested, you will get to where you want to be. The worst mistake you can make in career reinvention is to believe it you can’t do it. Aren’t you worth that hope?