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For the first Summit event I attended, I thought it was primarily going to be talks related to development. However, this was not entirely the case. The list of presentations were so varied and actually had a lot of great career advice, which will primarily be the focus of this blog.
A special thank you to Lauren R. Hasson, founder of DevelopHer, for imparting a lot of solid career guidance. Her talk — called Zero to Hero — listed five main actions you’ll need to take to start building your value so that you can begin creating the type of profession you want for yourself in the future. Whether you are just starting your career, feeling stagnant in your current position, or about to transition into a new vocation, this will help get you going.
Main Talking Points
- Taking the Necessary Steps
- Building Your Network
- Constantly Learn New Skills and Improve Your Portfolio
- Let Others Know Your Value
- Work on Investing in Yourself
1) Taking the Necessary Steps
If you want change to take place, you need to first take some form of action. Usually, the first step is the hardest, especially if you really don’t know where to begin. More later on how to go about this process.
First, you are going to need to decide what it is that you are wanting to pursue. Ask yourself what it is that you are most passionate about and what really drives you.
Once you have that figured out, you will then need to identify what actions you will need to take that will help get you there. The first step does not have to be earth-shattering, just enough to get you going.
Last, continue to repeat these sets of actions until it gets you to where you want to be. Being persistent and motivated is key! But if you have already identified what you want to do and what really makes you tick, then tackling these set actions will be a lot easier to execute.
2) Building Your Network
Without the right network, it’s going to be a slow upward climb. Ideally, you should start building your connections before you actually need them. Your network is going to help expose you to the right people that could potentially provide the right opportunity for you to really excel. So, how do you begin branching out your network?
- Volunteer for an organization that interests you.
- Go to local meetups that are geared towards things you are passionate about.
- Ask friends or family members if they know of someone you could talk to for some one-on-one advice and has expertise in what you do or eventually want to do.
- Build your internal network at the company you’re currently working at.
- Help solve your company’s problems. This, in turn, will build trust and value.
- You are going to need to HUSTLE. Make a commitment to yourself that for every function, meetup, or conference you attend, you talk to at least 3 or more people before leaving. Later, follow-up and connect with them on LinkedIn.
3) Constantly Learn New Skills and Improve Your Portfolio
Always try to keep learning, this will show that you are continually providing value to the company you are working with. Get comfortable with teaching yourself new skills and do not wait for your company to provide this type of assistance. Be hungry to learn and show an eagerness to really pursue new skill sets. Go out of your way to find new opportunities, whether that be inside your current company or other outside organizations similar to what you already do. The more worth that you can bring to the table, the greater the gains and opportunities you are going to face down the road.
To make sure you are accomplishing these goals, keep a running list of things that you are wanting to get done, then check them off as you go. These can be short-term goals that you wish to complete in a week or long-term ones you want to tackle in the 6–12 month range. Whatever it may be, it’s important to make some sort of forward movement consistently.
Try to figure out where the front of the line is, meaning what are the areas within your company that most people are not hitting up or solving? What are your company’s pain points? Then, start implementing ways to become proficient in that area.
4) Let Others Know Your Value
If you don’t show people your worth, then how are they going to know what you are really capable of? Never leave this to chance. If you are going to any networking event, talk to people about what you do, things you are learning, and problems you are solving. Be sure to take some pictures while you are there too.
Once you get back from any social networking event, post about what you learned, the people you met, or what your overall thoughts were in two separate channels of communication. This can be internal, such as your company’s slack channel or externally like your own LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook page. Building your reputation is important and will help get you noticed.
There was a quote I heard from a friend I recently talked to that stuck with me, and I think it really applies to this concept.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? — George Berkeley
Meaning, you could be providing lots of value but if you don’t have people’s attention, then at the end of the day it’s not going to have the proper impact. Having the right audience that is in-line with your career path is going to be crucial, so check-in to see if you have this at your disposal. If not, then you will need to start re-evaluating your current situation and figure out various avenues to alter this.
5) Work on Investing in Yourself
Next, Lauren highly suggested to hire yourself a career coach. Think of this as an investment in yourself that will pay off two-fold down the line. To find a good career coach you can search on LinkedIn to find ones with a lot of helpful knowledge.
When you find the right career coach that best fits your needs, schedule a meeting. They can assist with narrowing in on what it is you eventually might want to do by identifying your strengths, your weaknesses, and things of that nature.
Remember, you have to be the one taking action and calling the shots. Your own best advocate is yourself, no one else is going to do any of this for you. Once you realize this, things will start falling properly into place.
There you have it, five steps that Lauren suggested you should start implementing in your day-to-day work life. Hopefully, there is something useful here that you can take from and apply.
Good luck to all out there investing in their careers and thanks again, Lauren!