This article, written by Rick Dacri was originally published in the Maine Town City and County Management Association March newsletter
Manage your career. That’s the advice I received long ago and the advice I give to anyone who will listen. Manage your career or someone will manage it for you and you probably won’t like his or her plan.
Jake wowed me. As an executive recruiter with years of experience, I’m not easily impressed. But everything pointed to him as the one. He did everything right to get himself hired.
I was engaged to recruit a new Town Manager. When I search for executive level individuals, my success in finding candidates comes from networking. And that’s how I found Jake. Yes, I placed ads, but individuals looking for a job never see them and passive candidates are often the best.
So let me tell you about Jake, how he positioned himself as the perfect candidate, and what you can learn about managing your career from him.
To begin, Jake never applied for the job. He didn’t know the position was open and frankly, I didn’t even know Jake existed. But others did. As I networked, individual after individual recommended I contact him. He was considered a rising star among town managers. I knew I had to meet him. And, when I finally found him, I had to convince him to apply and sell him on the job.
It gets better and from the perspective of the recruiter who only wants to present solid candidates to the client, Jake continued to do everything right. When I Googled his name, there were countless articles about him and the work he had done. He had his degree and had done more. He continued his education, was involved in the community, and actively participated in MMA and ICMA, which included leadership roles. But most importantly, he was a high performer everywhere he served.
So what can you learn from Jake that you can apply to your career? Here are 9 musts to ensure a successful career:
- Develop credentials: Embrace continuous education. Speak before professional groups. Take positions, write op-eds, and never simply regurgitate the same old stuff and espouse the latest fads. Be an object of interest and command a presence.
- Produce results: Have a long track record of results. Have a history of providing value to your communities and have a strong reputation within the industry. Your reputation must be sterling.
- Sets the standard: Don’t just fix things. Help your city or town move forward. Provide different perspectives and innovative thinking. Always be formulating new ideas and concepts. Set new standards. Help to grow your community, not just by doing the things you are doing better, but by providing a broader perspective.
- Command attention: Dress, speak and present yourself well. Command attention, exuding well-earned confidence. And it goes beyond personal appearance. Be impactful.
- Be responsive: Show up early and leave late. Return phone calls and emails within hours, not days. Deliver what you promise.
- Be passionate: Believe in what you do and most importantly get excited about helping your community.
- Formulate strong relations: Work with your councils, staff, business leaders and residents. Be approachable, listen and respectful. Value differences of opinions, and having a sense of humor is a good thing.
- Develop stature and firepower: Become an expert. Do your homework. Invest in yourself. Fine-tune your skills. Get a professional coach to guide you.
- Mentor others: Enhance your career by growing your staff. Develop bench strength. Create a culture of learning.
Effectively managing your career means continuous success for you, your staff and your community. Manage your career.
Rick Dacri is a workforce expert, management consultant, and author of the book “Uncomplicating Management: Focus On Your Stars & Your Company Will Soar.” Since 1995 his firm, Dacri & Associates has helped municipalities achieve dramatic improvements in individual and organizational performance. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and http://www.dacri.com
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