My first love was compliance, specifically in the financial industry. I began my professional career as a compliance officer and branch operations manager with ownership of all compliance functions.
I loved it. To me, it was a puzzle. Everyone had a piece, from the brokers, agents, clients, FINRA, MSRB, trading desks, margins, options – you name it everyone had a piece of that puzzle. It was my job to know what the picture was we were putting together and get all the pieces in place.
When dealing with local, state or federal rules or regulations I had to not only put the puzzle together, I had to monitor it, create or keep reports on it and prove I was keeping the puzzle together.
I had to know what I was measuring, prove I was measuring it and prove that the measuring was creating a positive effect.
That is a pretty standard process in measuring success: define the goal, create metrics, measure, compare results to goals and make modifications when needed.
This formula is utilized in measuring the success in all forms of business from a sales campaign to an employee’s performance.
There are interdependent keys to this: know what you are measuring, measure and make adjustments. Each element is important. I have yet to talk to anyone working on a project or business that does not incorporate this into practice.
However, I rarely talk to job seekers who incorporate this into their business of finding the next right job.
When searching for a job, it is a job in itself. Treat it as you would in working for someone else because you are – you are working for yourself to build your own business and sell your product – you.
What do you want to do? If you know exactly what you want, this is an easy part. Not sure what you want to do next, great! Really, in making a no list of things you do not want in the next position instead of a yes list of only the things you want, you allow yourself more flexibility and openness to different opportunities.
Your definition can range from “Project Manager Position” to a list of things you want to do, for example:
Work on a collaborative team
Opportunity to learn new things
Be the behind the scenes support
Talk to and support clients
Utilize systems I know and learn new ones
Flexibility to work on different projects
Something in marketing or sales
Or a no list might include:
Being stuck in a cubicle doing the same thing for 8 hours never leaving my desk
Pushing paper that never goes anywhere
Working in a vacuum
Creating excel spreadsheets all day long
Customer service – taking calls from customers all day long
Doing certain tasks that you are good at but hate
Leading a team
These are simplistic lists, yet they are a start.
Whether you have a yes list or a no list, create a list. You need something to compare the job opportunities to in order to effectively evaluate them. There might be a time during your job search that you have a moment of frustration and get excited about a job that you know you can do; however, it is nowhere near what you want but the length of time it has been since you had a decent prospect has been so long you just do not care. Having that list nearby keeps you grounded.
How do you know if you are being successful? How can you keep yourself on task during the difficult slow or silent periods? Metrics. Set goals. Your goal can be to meet five new people a week. It can be through LinkedIn, networking, a volunteer activity – whatever you chose, just make a goal. Think about how this goal will help you achieve your success.
Meeting new people is awesome, unless you just do a “hello” and then there is dead air. Metrics are not one line items. Meet new people, create conversations, follow up, offer assistance, get involved – these are all sub-metrics in support of your goal.
Once you have your goal, action steps (metrics) now you need to keep yourself to task in completing them and measuring their effectiveness. The measuring aspect will also help you refine your metrics.
For example, if one of your goals is to get more visibility on LinkedIn, you may set a goal to join groups that support your business. If you join a group and begin activity with no result, that gives you vital information. The first is that this is not giving you ROI. It is also telling you that you might want to set metrics for your metrics.
The next group that you look at joining, perhaps there should be some parameters before you join. Evaluate the group size, members and current activity. If it is a very small group that has not had any interaction within the last six months and there are no members that have any correlation with you in any way – this is probably not the group to join.
This holds true to sending out inquires or resumes. If you find that you sent out 50 resumes last week with no response, it is time to evaluate your metrics. By the way, if you sent the same resume to 50 jobs you do not qualify for any of them.
What types of jobs are you applying for? Do you really meet the criteria? Did you demonstrate this? Did you speak directly to their needs and goals? Did you align with the job requirements and responsibilities? Did you follow their directions exactly? Have you defined your value? Can they understand it and find it easily on your resume?
If you find that you are sending out to just anything, odds are you will not get a response. Be strategic, get in alignment, follow up when possible and keep moving.
If you come to a point of frustration, modify your plans. Take a short break and come up with a plan that is not about you. Make a goal of connecting five people next week. Figure out who might be good connections and how you can make that happen. Sometimes the best leads come when you are helping others.
Not only will implementing the act of defining, setting metrics, measuring and modifying help generate more activity, it can serve as a boost during down times. There might be a period where you feel that nothing is happening and you start to question yourself. This is when you take out your business plan, metrics and measurements and you can see – visually, in hand see – that you have come a long way. You are taking action, you are being proactive and the right opportunity will come about because you have a plan and you are working it the right way!
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I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:
Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility
Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.
Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.