Imagine a forest full of large trees and you are walking through leisurely looking at the gift of nature. Suddenly, you notice a red-colored fruit on a tree, and your eyes are drawn to it.
As you go toward it, you realize that there are trees after trees of richly laden apples, and while you love seeing them, the uniqueness of their red color is no longer a wow thing.
But as you go forward, you notice that some apples have a slight orangish tinge and you are again hooked, looking for this new color.
Our aspirations in career are of the same nature.
We get attracted toward the uniqueness of the career, whether it is around designation, responsibility or the company. For almost all ambitious corporate professionals, it’s how they stand out that matters.
However, in today’s world, where everyone and everything is on social media, it is quite easy to get lost in the crowd, with the old way of doing things.
It seems everyone wants more money, a higher designation, a better job and fulfillment. But only those who proactively track the trends and act on them get those things in reality.
As a coach for mid-career professionals, helping people get promoted, get new jobs and have more fulfilled careers, I’ve observed three trends for job search/promotions/more money. These are missed out on by most because they are right in the thick of it, which makes it difficult for them to see the forest for the trees.
Trend 1: Promotions used to be about skills and capability, but now they are all about influence and confidence.
It’s common knowledge that work is 80% mindset and 20% skills, but most people wanting to grow in their career focus on gaps they have in their skills and they invest time, money and energy in getting certifications.
Two reasons why this doesn’t work:
One, because everyone is doing it — it is like the apple trees. The recruiting managers no longer notice it.
Two, because it is time for contextual learning and not about having general tick boxes in technology. You need to make a better assessment of the skills you need to develop, not only to attract the job but also to rock it with ease.
There has to be a shift in people’s perspectives about building influence and confidence. Influence will get them to the interview table, and confidence will see them through.
Trend 2: Income used to be dependent on salary, but now it is positioning in the marketplace that brings the benefit in terms of bonuses/stocks.
I was once accidentally sent some information about how much a person two levels above me made in my company.
While it was a larger salary figure than I expected, I was not prepared for the shock of seeing the bonus and stock component. It was six times my bonus. Add the stock onto it, and you can imagine.
Such exceptional results become possible as people go higher up in their roles and they position themselves well, with authenticity.
Trend 3: Job search used to be about your CV, connections, skills and chasing the jobs. Now it is all about becoming sought after.
I changed my job five times in 16 years. One of those was when I got hunted for the job. It not only felt good but also led me to negotiate significantly more salary than usual.
Unfortunately, most people follow a strategy of brute force. They apply to hundreds of jobs, and many of them get successful this way. But what they don’t realize is that they get average pay for these jobs, whereas for the same job, there are people who end up getting 40% to 80% more money.
Job search is now not about floating a good CV, leveraging connections or having the most degrees/certifications. It is about having a personal brand in the forefront of a thought-through strategy that the hiring manager feels attracted to.
You have to work not to seek out, but to become a sought-after professional in the marketplace. There are clear strategies to be followed here that I will cover in a future article.
Anyone can do a job — but only a few do it extremely well. The fast-trackers today are becoming more of intrapreneurs within their jobs, and as a result, creating their own economy. For that to happen, corporate professionals must master each of the three trends described in this article.