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Advice from a former recruiting executive on building your most resilient career

My professional career has been spent in marketing, most of it in marketing talent so I wanted to share three tips that make a candidate more valuable at any age.

 Prepare to Do-it-Yourself – Call me crazy, but I think with a continued challenging economy and traditional businesses becoming leaner and leaner, that you are likely better on your own. I’m not encouraging you to actually quit your job…yet.  Just to take the time to think through your options regularly. By creating a habit of considering the Do-It-Yourself option each month, you maintain a constant focus on how YOU specifically are adding value each day, which makes you more valuable if you stay or go.  To get started, think about how you add value in your current role. Literally write down how.  Read it back.  Is this the most value you can bring to the market?   

  1. At least once a month take a big step back.  What opportunities do you see?  What skills do you have that can fill a gap in the market?  Assume you were laid off today.  Would you want to continue in the industry if you were no longer getting a paycheck from your current organization?  If the answer is yes, is there an opportunity to buy, advise, or participate in a related business? 

 Assume you were running the company you are currently working for, what would you do differently? What is the leadership of your company missing?  What is new in your industry and how will the tides change your opportunity?  If these questions are not of interest to you, then maybe it’s time to consider a change.

 Perhaps it’s time to start your own company.  While the entrepreneurial path isn’t for everyone, taking a chance to explore creating your own business options stretches your thinking in a way that will help even if you never make the move.  If you decide to make a move, keeping the larger market perspective helps you as a candidate.  Within your current job, thinking at your boss’ level will make you more valuable.

 

  1. Don’t Weight on your Health… It happens to most of us, we gain a persistent pound or two each year and all of those gains take their toll.  Demands of our careers make it easy to drop fitness and eating right from any given day’s schedule, but the cumulative effect is staggering.  You must be vigilant each day. 

 While your health is definitely the best investment you can make, a recent study by George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services’ Department of Health Policy showed another great reason to invest in managing your weight.  They identified a direct negative impact on your compensation if you are obese, especially if you are female. 

 

Other costs may be more subtle, ranging from on-the-job discrimination to costs for maintaining a wardrobe to accommodate a shifting range of sizes.  The most surprising cost I’ve seen was highlighted in a study by Eric Finkelstein and his colleagues showing the large relative cost of presenteeism.  Presenteeism is coming to work, but because of sickness or lost attention, not being fully present on the job. It is highly associated with people who are currently overweight or obese.  That concept is not an unfamiliar one to me when I think of the lack of energy and general vitality I had prior to getting my own weight under control.

 

Investing in managing your weight is likely to return great dividends.  On my website, retrofitme.com we focus on losing just 10% of your weight, that modest amount of weight drives big health changes, including:

 

  • Lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Reducing incidence of depression
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing your risk of cancer
  • Increasing your energy & restful sleep
  • Lowering cholesterol and improving triglyceride levels

 

  1. Love what you do.  Passion can’t be faked, whether it is a job interview or a sales call.  You are either a believer in your product or this opportunity or simply doing a job and everyone around knows it.  Especially, as we all are interacting in an increasingly networked and social world, pretending to love what you do is at best extremely exhausting.  Being genuine is the only way to go.  There is no shortage of candidates for your prospective job or other opportunity.  The money, the talent and other resources are going to go to the person who makes the best connection.   Your chances of connecting when you are in love with what you do is high.  Test this yourself.  Pick two people you know on LinkedIn. Check out their profiles. Does one demonstrate their passion better than the other?  Who would you rather hire?  What about their connections?  Can you see the energy or drive played out throughout their networks reinforcing their genuine connection to the opportunity? 

Are you currently doing what you love?  If not, why not?  How long will it take you to move to a position that is authentic and worthy of the talents you have to share?  How can you demonstrate that passion in the meantime?  What people may help you develop towards that longer-term goal? 

 Our time and attention are limited. To invest them on anything less than what you love will undercut your career potential and life satisfaction.

Maximizing your value as a candidate is not easy, but it can be well managed by planning to go it alone (even if you don’t have to), investing in your health and doing what you love.

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Jeff Hyman is Founder & CEO of Retrofit a new weight loss company that focuses on long-term weight loss.  He is offering an incredible friends and family rate to all readers of BoomersNextStep if they call 855-4-RETROFIT before December 30th.