Power Moves: 7 Career Strategies That Work - Black Enterprise
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7 Career Strategies That Work

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1. Embrace and ma ster change. Rethink your approach to work and step up your game. Training is essential to develop the tech and project management skills needed to stay current in the job market or transition into a new industry. Social media maven Anderson maintains more companies require recruits to have capabilities such as the ability to manage online communities. According to NYUL’s Ramadar, job seekers, especially mid-career professionals, will be forced to go back to school to gain new credentials. She says: “Isn’t  three months in class getting a new certification better than six months of unemployment?”

2. Critically evaluate yourself. Asserts ELC’s Donald: “Knowing yourself is the most powerful thing you can do in your job search. No. 2 is knowing how others view you.” To full identify such strengths and weaknesses, conduct a 360-degree assessment in which you get a range of people you have worked with–managers, peers and those who reported to you–to weigh in. Moreover, he stresses job seekers to “not talk about what you did, talk about what you’ve accomplished.” Chris Lennon, SVP and Managing Director of Executive Search Practice for head hunter The Marquin Group adds that you should not “neglect any piece of your PIE,”  an acronym that stands for performance (what you do); image (what people think you do); and exposure (how many people know what you do). “Black people concentrate too much on the P and not enough on the I and E.”

3. Increase your exposure through social media. Our experts say plugging your resume into online job sites is outmoded these days. Employers now use social media to spot new hires. Panelist Deon Barber, president of the enterprise staffing unit of The Bartech Group (No. 21 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE COMPANIES list with $190 million in revenues), says acquire at least 250 connections to gain the exposure that would lead to opportunities. Anderson advises employing such tools as Google Alerts to manage your reputation and Twitter to build relationships. Rule of thumb: 20% of your tweets should focus on you and the other 80% on information that’s useful to others.

4. Compete on a global scale. Ronald Mitchell, CEO of career development firm CareerCore Inc. bluntly states you have no choice. As companies, large and small, continue to outsource services to save costs and maximize profits, American workers must work harder to make themselves attractive prospects. Engage in comprehensive research of prospective employers to develop your value proposition to that organization. “Black people are no longer competing against White people for jobs,” he says. “We’re competing against China and India. Adopt a global perspective and take responsibility for your career development.”

5. Become a free agent. One subject debated throughout the forum was whether you should buy a job as a business-building entrepreneur or a self-employed consultant. Valentine says decide whether it’s best for you to “pursue entrepreneurship or retool your career. It depends on your DNA. Focus on pursuing your passion.” Mitchell takes a different view. Launching a full-fledged enterprise may be too painstaking for the uninitiated. You can find temp assignments quicker by applying your skills through  self-employment instead. Ramadar adds that self-employment can fill in gaps on your resume as well.

6. Find sweet spots in growth industries. Due to new federal government regulations, industries like healthcare and finance offer a myriad of opportunities. But Barber admits you have to “go granular” to identify niches in  hot sectors. For instance, the high-demand jobs in IT include cloud computing, enterprise architecture, business intelligence, IT security and network architecture. Be aware that a sweet spot today may be a dead end tomorrow.

7. Volunteer for that new job. Beaty first met Dress for Success CEO Joi Gordon in 2010 at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference. Impressed by the organization’s mission, she landed her VP job after enthusiastically working as an unpaid volunteer and demonstrating her skills sets and management prowess. “Find your gift and figure out how to offer it in service to the world,” she says. “Stop saying you won’t work for free. It’s better than sitting at home for free.”


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