Position Yourself for the Career You Want Not the Job You Have

I prefer the term career over the term job. A job is a single occurrence, while a career is something built over the course of your life.  A career is typically made up of many jobs.  Sometimes they are interrelated and other times there is no real direction, therefore there are multiple careers leading to nowhere.  I’m not into the word “job” or “job searching” because I believe they are old terms and an old way of thinking.  The new terms are “people” and “people searching” and we’ve realized the change in purpose and career path due to the accessibility and connections made through the web.  I’ve been thinking a lot about positioning lately, which is why today I want to direct your attention to something I both believe in and hold to be mandatory in a world where the future is uncertain.

Position yourself for the career you want not the job you have.

This big idea will change the face of how people brand themselves online and how they position themselves for success.  My belief is that most people aren’t breakout stars or experts.  A network isn’t built overnight either.  Also, you can’t have everything you want today, which is where sacrifice and dedication come in.

Your goal is to command your career and create your future.

It’s not where you are, it’s where you’re going

Position Yourself

I tend to examine a lot of online profiles to see whose doing things right and who is less “forward thinking.”  Most people seem to be caught up in the moment, without really think about where they are heading in their careers.  When this occurs, they tend to stay exactly where they are, without much progression.  Of course, many people have different aspirations, but from most surveys I’ve read, 80% of people hate their jobs.

If you want to be able to make money doing what you love, you have to (and I repeat) have a future plan or destination.  Whether you’re a consultant, entrepreneur, you’re currently employed or you’ve been laid off, the same idea applies: position yourself today to become a player in that area tomorrow.

Forget your job title and focus on your brand

I want you to examine the picture on the right. You’ll notice that there are two LinkedIn profiles, but both are positioned very different.  What most people don’t know about LinkedIn, is that the “headline” in your profile is the single most important element.  If you’ve filled our your LinkedIn profile information, your last job title and company appear in your headline automatically, unless you revise it manually.

If you don’t update this field, then your title and company become your brand.  This is terrible for a few main reasons.

  1. When someone goes to search for someone with your expertise, they won’t find you.  No recruiter or hiring manager is goin to type in “Senior Account Executive.”  If they type in “sports” and “LinkedIn,” they may find Lewis though.
  2. Do you think Mike really wants to be known as a Senior Account Executive for Eclipse Financial, Inc.?  Do you think he wakes up every single day with a smile and he wants to be in that position for the rest of his life?  I would say there’s an 80% chance he’s doesn’t!  I could be wrong though.
  3. You won’t get any opportunities that reflect your passion and others will, causing you to stay stagnant in your career.

This LinkedIn example is just one.  Most people aren’t thinking about their futures so all of their online properties and offline ones, such as  business card, aren’t positioning them for success.

Your turn

How are you positioning yourself online and offline?