Certainly, it seems like that to me, especially with so many people believing career management is the same as it ever was. Frankly, as I’m sure you realize, there’s been a social media revolution, but are you really clear on how much that changes how you now need to manage your career?
One significant new reality is that career sucess increasingly requires always-on engagement with trusted members of your professional community. We’ve entered a time where social media is quickly reshaping expectations for how we engage with others whether on line or face to face. It’s a relationship economy, or as Gary Vaynerchuck has dubbed it, The Thank You Economy.
So, how is this economy different? Here’s Vaynerchuk’s view:
“[Business] … happens in the small, personal interactions that allow us to prove to each other who we are and what we believe in, honest moments that promote good feelings and build trust and loyalty. When given the choice, people will always spend their time around people they like. When it’s expedient and practical, they’d also rather do business …[with]… people they like.”
So, how does this change things? To successfully manage your career today, you need to:
Show You’re the Right Person.
Forget emphasizing job titles and transferable skills! Today, it’s both what you can do and who you are. First, you need to show ability to apply your experience and strengths to produce results that will be valued by clients. Second, you need to bring a likability that fosters emotional connection.
Be Clear About Your Why.
Great competencies and likeability are important, but you also need to be clear about why you do what you do. Your “why” connects you to the people you serve, the talents you use, and the outcomes you work to achieve. You can think of this as your vision for the world or purpose in life – but think of it. And be ready to share it with others.
Convey an Authentic Story to Underscore Credibility.
Today, people are especially astute in creating personal brand statements. Unfortunately, many of these are superficial. So, you also need to be ready to share your backstory. That is, you need to show how your life and work experiences make you qualified to do what you do, and relevant to the audiences you serve.
Identify and Connect with Your Brand Community.
Social media has made it easy to connect to lots of people, but it’s the relevance, of your connections that’s key. You’ll actually benefit most from the set of relationships who truly are your people; that is, those folks who understand what you do, and who are most likely to look for you (or people like you) when they see an opportunity.
Cultivate Professional Presence.
True presence can help fuel your career. Yet, presence transcends building profiles at business-networking sites, like LinkedIn, and pushing your own agenda when meeting people face to face. Cultivating presence means finding ways to add value to your professional communities, including sharing useful ideas, contributing your expertise to help others meet challenges or solve problems, and making sure to promote or acknowledge the work of others. In other words, it is your generous sharing that conveys your talents while building good will with others.
Perhaps it’s a paradox, but the technology that drives the “thank you” economy restores a community dynamic to career management. So, if you haven’t already done so, it’s worth adjusting your approach. Because in the end, business success is about social connection.