Many people believe that professional success is achieved through hard work, doing the right things and doing things right. That sure sounds noble and admirable!

Being proactive about our career management can help bring order to many complicated and confusing situations that come along with working for a living. For example, not everything in life or work is fair. Bad stuff happens to good people and good stuff happens to bad people – all the time!

The reality is, our careers are complex and full of unique events, decisions, and of course outside influences that sometimes create positive results and other times produce setbacks. Setting goals can ensure that we don’t lose sight of what really matters to us.

Even with continuous growth and development, once a person realizes that their current situation is no longer offering the right type of challenge, stability or opportunity, it might be time to seek out something new and different. Doing so might seem easy for certain people, such as those fortunate to have positions present themselves at the right time and in the right place.

For others, the process of embarking down the path of change can be a bit overwhelming. Unless one is a “professional job seeker,” the various steps and obstacles involved are not always obvious.

We don’t hear the phrase “you only have one chance to make a first impression” for anything quite as critical as managing your professional image. Being organized and prepared can certainly make the difference in the level of effectiveness in conducting a job search.

For instance, even the most successful executives can benefit from specialized support in order to prepare an effective resume, business biography or professional profile. Career marketing and networking correspondence involved with the job search process can be tricky to navigate as well, even for those that communicate well in other areas.

Then there are the phone screens, virtual or online meetings and multiple rounds of face-to-face interviews, as well as follow-up after each contact. Salary discussions and negotiations are particularly delicate interactions. Each of these phases provides its own nuances that might be clear and straight-forward to some, but incredibly challenging to others.

The Internet has created a very fast paced world with its own set of interesting outcomes. Career management is no exception to some of the things that have been impacted by various online tools, resources and media options. It has become even more important than ever to take advantage of every possible search technique, all while managing our reputations online and offline.

Like anything with financial consequences, conducting a job search, career transformation or any other professional endeavor is something that should be taken seriously.

There are many excellent resources available offering tremendous amounts of help, guidance and advice. There also happens to be an abundance of lousy, outdated and damaging “expertise” passed off as legitimate content.

Being organized can help prioritize the right information and actions that lead to better career management productivity.



Guest blog post written by Kelly Blokdijk. As a talent optimization advisor Kelly’s professional background “Creating a Voice for Talent” includes 10+ years experience offering exceptional human resources, organization development and recruiting support to diverse organizations.

Adapted from “How’s that career treating you?” by Kelly Blokdijk originally posted on FastCompany – April 9, 2009