One of my hobbies is coaching people on their fitness goals as a Certified Personal Trainer. When I ask clients about their biggest obstacle in implementing a regular workout plan, the most common reply is “I don’t have time.”
Here’s the challenge – without consistency and discipline in an exercise routine, goals go unmet. The same is true for careers.
In the same way it would be a stretch to drop 20 lbs two weeks before your 25th Reunion, it can be equally difficult to jumpstart a career transition on short notice. The best way to remain marketable and ensure that you achieve your professional goals is to practice consistency and discipline in managing your career.
Here are simple strategies to cultivate your career fitness in less than 10 minutes a day (whether you’re embarking on a transition or not):
- Stay active on Linked In. Endorse others, post (or share) insightful articles, join a discussion, invite new connections, or follow a group. Building and maintaining a consistent online brand will ensure you stay top of mind with your network.
- Subscribe to an industry blog or publication. New information and ideas are constantly generated and shared in all professions. Staying current is critical to both your present role and any potential future positions.
- Walk the halls. With a packed schedule, it’s tempting to interact with the same few people, eat lunch at your desk, and skip the monthly birthday cake in the employee lounge. However, small interactions with colleagues can go a long way in building trust and deepening relationships, which will ultimately make future interactions go more smoothly.
- Ask for feedback. Plain and simple, feedback is a gift. Welcome it with open arms. Since many shy away from providing constructive criticism, proactively seek it out. Before your next presentation, ask a colleague to notice one thing you can improve for next time. Prior to your next 1-on-1 meeting with your Boss, ask her to have an idea of something you can develop.
- Meet someone new. We’re typically drawn to familiar faces in meetings, networking events, and conferences. Make it a point to introduce yourself to people you don’t know. You’ll instantly broaden your contacts and you never know who you might meet.
- Read your local Biz Journal or Daily Newspaper. Ok, so print media is going the way of the rotary phone, however, spending 10 minutes each weekday familiarizing yourself with current events broadens your perspective and makes you more conversant and interesting.
- Peruse job openings. Even if you aren’t currently in a search, remaining informed about what skills, experiences and knowledge employers are looking for in your role/industry can help you to stay marketable. Periodically evaluate how you measure up.
- Shut up. If you’re speaking, you’re not learning anything new. Be curious, ask questions and listen. Everyone has something to teach you. Everyone.