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March 10, 2022, 2:42 p.m. EST

5 steps to snaring new opportunities at work without having to join the Great Resignation

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By Karyl Innis

The great career opportunity for anyone right now is not that some colleagues are quitting in the wave called the Great Resignation but that organizations are actively reorganizing and redrawing their organization charts.

The reshuffling includes the “who reports to who”, who gets sidelined, the slimming down of organizational structures and which business gets starved of resource so that others can grow.

The Great Reshuffle means there’s opportunity for you – whether you choose to leave your employer for something else or to stay — if you can master these five challenges.

Know what you want

It’s not enough to want to leave or stay. The starting place for this challenge is inside your own head and heart. You have to know what YOU want . Is it money, status, working conditions? More responsibility? A boss who respects you? You need to be clear, specific and very honest with yourself about this.

As a career coach, I’ve worked with over 10,000 people, most of whom are executives. It’s not unusual that even the most sophisticated job changer has trouble answering the question “what are you looking for.” Often, the answer is “I’ll know it when I see it.” 

If you don’t know what you are looking for, it’s much harder to find — and for others to help you.   

Know who you are

Today it is a career requirement to tell your own story and to advocate for yourself. Answer these questions before you ask for a new job, and you have the makings of your personal brand statement as well as the information needed to conduct a pretty stout interview.

  • What are you really, really good at?

  • What are you known for around the office?

  • What words do others use when talking about you? Are they different from the words you use?

  • Do you claim unique expertise in your field or company?

  • Name your three biggest contributions or your proudest moments at work.

  • Can you describe your personal value proposition and what you actually add to your company’s capabilities?

Make friends

It takes a lot of people to build a successful career. Bosses, colleagues, friends, family, customers, suppliers, professors, coaches all help. The more people you have rooting for you the better. It’s rare that someone helps or recommends someone they don’t like. Workplace frenemies don’t help your cause.

So work hard to widen your circle of friends both within and outside your company — people in other offices, in different jobs and at different levels. Head down, stay-in-your-own-lane behavior is counterproductive to your own interests whether you plan to go or stay. The valuable employee is the one who knows how departments and people are interconnected and has contacts to help get things done efficiently and nimbly.

The requirement to work across organizational borders, actively “partnering” with colleagues in different departments and different countries has become the new norm. Good collaborators are builders of ideas, not just contributors or cooperative. Reaching across organizational borders, worrying little about credit, focusing on bringing your best and others into a room to work together is the heart of collaboration and the new way of working. Being known as a great collaborator is high praise these days.

If you aren’t there yet, get there.

Be ready  

Not many of us are fluent in talking about ourselves. It can sound like bragging, it can be hard to remember last year’s accomplishments, doubly hard when asked to comment on an achievement from three years ago and how it impacted the company. Many dial down the accomplishment lingo to insure they sound humble. Others use too many words to make the point .

Whether you’re going or staying, know the facts about YOU and keep them organized. 

Build your own career portfolio. Include all the information you would need if you were making a presentation called “All About ME at WORK!”. Your one-sentence personal brand statement, your one-paragraph career story, current list of successes, proudest projects, and your strongest accomplishments belong front and center. Of course your resume and list of friends willing to be references need to be there too.  

Also include all the places you have posted your credentials: professional organizations, company job sites, executive recruiters, employment agencies and social media sites. Review and update regularly.

Reintroduce yourself

The final challenge: reintroduce yourself — to your boss, all past bosses, other people you’ve worked with previously, influencers from prior companies, suppliers, and customers.

People remember you as you were, not as you are today. Seldom do they know what you’ve learned, how you contributed or what’s interesting to you these days at work. Tell them, catch them up. Use new year’s wishes, their birthday (it’s readily available on LinkedIn or Facebook) or something else as an excuse to reach out.

A list of 30 people isn’t too many; that’s one a day for a month. You can do it.

Landing a new job or keeping a good one is a lot of work and not something done in isolation or by oneself. Your job is the economic engine for you and your family, so why leave it to whim or fleeting circumstance?

If this all seems daunting, enlist the help of your mentor, a coach or other trusted confidante. You’ll then be ready to thrive throughout the Great Reshuffle and beyond.

Karyl Innis is an executive coach and CEO of The Innis Company , experts in career trends and issues.

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