A CareerView Mirror

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Are you just starting out in your career? What if you think you’ve been around the block and there is nothing new you can do in your career? Everyone has their own perspective on what career planning is, but Bill Donovan from OckhamSource has a plan to help SAS users make a career development plan.

To begin his presentation at the MidWest SAS Users Group conference, he put up a slide with these numbers:

  • 243 million – That's the total number of working age Americans.
  • 142 million - Of the 243 million working age Americans, this number are employed.
  • 42% of working age Americans have a full-time job.
  • 88 million have chosen to take themselves out of the workplace!

Donovan said to the audience, "I know what you are asking yourselves, 'What do these numbers have to do with me?'"

 Well, these statistics could relate to anyone in the room and they are startling:

  • 1 of every 4 people in the US are unemployed.
  • 8.8 million jobs were lost during the financial crisis.
  • 125,000 – 150,000 new jobs are required per month to sustain new applicants who are applying to job market.
  • 54 of 100 people were surveyed at work by Gallop, said that they are not engaged at work. Seventeen out of 100 people who responded in the survey, said that they actively disengage!

“Think of this, you’ve got all of these unemployed people; the labor market can’t support the jobs that are needed," said Donovan. "And yet, you’ve got people who are just checking out and then others who are aggressively checking out –aggressively disengaged. I mean, they are going out of their way to make your life or our lives or their life a place they don’t want to be.”

He said those are the reasons that he has developed a structured plan to advance his and other's careers. His advice is to start with an inventory of your skills and experiecnce. This helps you define your value. Then update your resume – often. Keep a bio or profile handy – an elevator pitch to introduce yourself to a prospective employer (even to someone that you may not even know is a prospective employer). Share this resume and bio with everyone to get feedback.

An updated resume and bio prevents an opportunity ‘train wreck.’ A train wreck is an accidental opportunity such as an introduction to someone at a dinner party or conference. You may not even know who the person is or what their connections are. You need to be able to give a clear description of who you are in a couple of short sentences.

Here are his main points:

Build a foundation in three core areas:

  • Domain expertise – Talk about your technical skills or training. Identify yourself by role or job title - this should align to some area of the business (e.g., sales finance, clinical operations). Also talk about ‘what you do.’ He says, “This is what your mom says you do.”
  • Business knowledge – Understand how your company makes money, and have a basic understanding of how you fit into that.
  • Social and relationship skills – Make sure your communication skills are up-to-date. If not, get training on it so that you can express yourself both in a written and verbal manner. And don’t forget your manners: Learn a proper hand shake and correct table manners. Understand the political landscape. Build your personal brand – that way people know what to expect of you.

Set up a team of mentors – One of the most beneficial things you can do to accomplish your career goals. Go more for quality than quantity, because it can be hard to meet if there are too many. Make a list and then pick someone who could help you change your life. When building your list, create a list of best-fit companies in your industry. Within those companies, identify leaders or stakeholders who fit your parameters.

Create an ongoing learning system – use formal and informal learning that builds toward your goal. Join clubs, associations and groups that can advance your career and knowledge. Network.

Experiment – Dedicate time and allocate resources to this. Start small – do one thing. Maybe start with updating your resume or starting a communication with someone you met at MWSUG 2012.

“It’s where your passion is and what you care about,” said Donovan in closing. “If you can get those two to line up to what you do every day, that’s a homerun; that’s gold. Look at your career and don’t make it an accident, make it formal. Do something that structures it.”

Download and read Donovan's paper and all of the MWSUG papers, now.

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About Author

Waynette Tubbs

Editor, Marketing Editorial

+Waynette Tubbs is the Editor of the Risk Management Knowledge Exchange at SAS, Managing Editor of sascom Magazine and Editor of the SAS Tech Report. Tubbs has developed a comprehensive portfolio of strategic business and marketing communications during her career spanning 15 years of magazine, marketing and agency work.

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