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The #1 Most Common Career Mistake

Source | LinkedIn : By J.T. O’Donnell

I recently read a fascinating interview with a behavioral scientist from Microsoft. In it, he explained how people buy products and services that either A) help them make a decision, or B) automate the decision for them. I was struck by how accurate he was with respect to my own industry. For example, there are two types of professionals that seek career help. The first kind are self-aware enough to know they need to customize and navigate their career path to suit their needs. These individuals identify their weaknesses and close their gaps in knowledge and skills so they can build their career confidence and achieve their goals. Then, there’s the second kind…

This group of professionals doesn’t want to put the time and energy into owning their careers. Instead, they try to outsource the process. [FYI – This article on INC magazineshares three reasons why you need to own your career in 2017, or it will own you!]

You Can’t Automate Your Career Management!

Simply put, there are no short-cuts to getting hired, getting promoted, changing careers, etc. And, it usually requires some help. Why? Let’s face it, if you could do it yourself, you’d already have achieved your career goals by now. Just like any other area of our life we care about (i.e. better health, improve your finances), it makes sense to seek the guidance of the pros (i.e. doctors, financial planners), in order to get the results we desire.

Example: “I’ve Tried Everything”

People sometimes come to me and say, “J.T., I’ve been looking for a job for six months and I’ve tried EVERYTHING.” At which point, I ask them to list the exact steps they’ve taken. I usually hear something like, “Well, I applied to over fifty jobs online and never heard anything. So, after about three months of no luck, I decided it must be my resume. So, I hired a resume writer. He made my resume look pretty fancy. However, I’ve since applied to at least fifty more jobs online and I’m still not getting any bites. See? I’ve done everything!”

Hopefully, you can see that this person used job boards and a resume service to try to automate the real work of finding good job – and that’s exactly why it fails to work. This is the point where I have tell them the hard truth: They’ve essentially been wasting their time. Since only 3 percent of applicants ever get contacted about jobs they applied to, job seekers, like the one above, are just spinning their wheels. No expensive resume re-write can fix that. The applicant tracking system (ATS) companies use to process your application will still toss your resume if you aren’t a 100 percent match for the job. The solution is to learn how to conduct a proactive job search a/k/a how to build a personal marketing plan and find the right way to present yourself directly to employers you’d like to work for. Not only is it more effective, it’s also a lot more rewarding… and, a lot less demoralizing.

Own Your Career = Be Accountable For Your Process

Taking control of your career means doing what it takes to master the problem and get results. The next time you find yourself stuck in your career, ask yourself, “What do I need to learn to be able to overcome this challenge?” Then, seek resources to help you. When you stop looking for the automation short-cut and focus on growing your skills, you’ll find success easier to achieve.

Read On…

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