Posted by: kevinliebl | August 9, 2009

5 Steps to Prepare Yourself for the New Corporate World

Personal BrandingThis past week, I wrote a blog on how different corporate roles are today, than they were for our parents.  I received very good feedback on this posting, so I decided to continue the thread this week with a few thoughts on what we should be doing to address these changes.  To read the first half of this article, follow this link.

If you agree with the premise that your job is much different today than it was for your parents generation, or for yourself when you entered the job market, or even 5 years ago – then what should you do about it?  In my opinion, you should immediately take the following steps:

1) Build your business network – We hear it over, and over again, “You need a personal network”.  However, most people don’t really understand what this means, and very few actively build and maintain one.  It isn’t until we are between jobs that we realize how important our network is.  It is critical to have a strong support system when you are “in-transition”, yet this is the hardest time to start building one.  I have written previously on this topic, so rather than repeating myself, please visit my blog post on “Building Strong Business Relationships”.

2) Always Consider Yourself “In-Transition” – Statistically, business professionals change jobs every 18 to 36 months.  This could be due to upward mobility (you got a better job), or due to rightsizing (you got laid off).  You should consider every full-time project a consulting engagement, because that is what it is.  You are brought in “to turn the company around”, “to create a new department”, or “to move the startup to a possible exit”.  Your role is not a career, but rather a consulting project when you think about it.  As they say, “full-time employees are just between ‘transition’ stages”.

3) Create a New Role – Traditional jobs are becoming scarce.  You need to think differently, and in many cases, create a role for yourself within a company.  New roles are evolving all the time.  Who was hiring a “social media” expert five years ago?  Think of all the people giving seminars on LinkedIn today?  Your new role may not have existed the last time you were in search mode.  Think creatively and look for unconventional opportunities (e.g., remote employment, consulting, etc.) – your competition is.

4) Consider a “portfolio income” – More and more people have income from four or five different sources.  They work part-time in a company, but also consult and have their own business.  They may be an advisor or a member of a board of directors, but also write for trade publication.  Don’t be opposed to having several smaller incomes that result in a comfortable lifestyle.

5) Build your personal brand – This is probably the most important thing you can do.  It is a broad topic and I promise to dedicate an entire post to it shortly (Update: This posting is now available here).  Think about the value you bring to a company,  and begin to determine how you want to position yourself in the market.  Whether you are a sales executive, a CFO or an office manager, you need to position yourself as an expert to your target market.  This can be done online (e.g., blogs, websites, Twitter, Facebook) or in-person (e.g., industry networking events, speaking opportunities) or through traditional media (e.g., published articles).  There are many tools available to build your brand.  However, without an established brand in the market, it is very difficult to sell yourself when you are in transition.

What other actions are you taking to prepare yourself for the new job market?

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Responses

  1. Kevin, you are correct that the world has changed dramatically. No longer can you rely on a company taking care of you. Poeple today must always consider themselves “free agents.” And similar to football, you may have a franchise tag on your head one day but then “traded” or expendable when circumstances and needs change.

    Now, the reality is that success has to be redefined in your own mind and one of the keys is to build those sustaining relationships upon which other jobs might materialize. This is somewhat uncomforatble for the baby boomers like myself who had started careers in corporate America. Yet for our children and their children, each must rethink of the way they look at themselves.

  2. David,

    Agreed. This is extremely difficult for many people who are good at selling and talking about their company’s products and services, but uncomfortable talking about themselves. It is a dramatic change for many people. We all need to become sales and marketing experts to promote our own personal brand. Essentially, we are all consultants, or “free-agents”, as you say.

    - Kevin

  3. Dear kevinliebl,

    I also agree with you and your suggested steps are really important to build strong career in corporate world. Thank you very much for sharing your views with us. I shared your blog with my friends through facebook & twitter.

    Regards,
    Jennifer

    • Jennifer,

      Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate you sharing the post. I always appreciate the feedback. If you enjoyed the post, please consider subscribing to my RSS feed. I would enjoy your comments in the future.

      Best Regards,

      Kevin

  4. kevin,

    Stong points with practical approaches.

    Abhay

  5. I am afraid the vast majority of corporate workers won’t be able to follow this clever advice coming from an entrepreneur because they are just a different breed.

    • Unfortunately, you may be right. This is the problem. The market is changing and many people don’t see it coming until they are between jobs. A valid point.

  6. Dear Kevin Liebl,

    I strongly agree with the basic steps. These steps are bearing a strong professional approach, and a strategic long look.

    With best wishes and kind regards

  7. Great article. It is exactly the direction I am going in but you have given some useful tips. I am afraid to confess I don’t know what an RSS feed is but when I figure it out I will subscribe

  8. For years I have been espousing “standing in front of the logo” for sales and marketing professionals. Now we call it building a personal brand.

    When a person stands in front of the logo of the company employing them, it is revealing. Wht matters is what you do with what you learn both from a positive and negative standpoint.

    How do you accentuate the positive feedback that you receive when you deliver a compelling “story” about your capabilities or make a concerted effort to change yourself when you find that in actuality; “you are unique… just like everyone else”.

    I have found that breaking this down to three simple categories can help a person get started (the toughest step). 1) Personal Value (Accomplishment, Creativity, Integrity, etc.), 2) Business Value (Knowledge, Reliability, Reputation, etc.), and Professional Value (Business Planning, Problem Solving, Product Knowledge, etc).

    I have read quite a few blogs where the obvious is stated. It is refreshing to read your blog Kevin and the replies of your contributors as well.

    Warmly,
    Eugene

    • Eugene,

      Thanks for the great feedback. You are absolutely right. There topic of personal branding is often ignored and can be extremely powerful. I hope to write on this one over the weekend.

      Again, thanks for the feedback.

      - Kevin

  9. great article especially all that steps thanks

  10. thanks! for the information is very complete and your site is very interesting, I will visit your site more often!

  11. Thanks Kevin


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