The pandemic has changed the world of work what it takes to be relevant and marketable.
Perhaps the “new world of work” is best defined by Ash Ali, is an award-winning start up entrepreneur, angel investor and author best known for his book ‘The Unfair Advantage’. Despite not going to college, he became the marketing director of Just Eat, an online food-ordering business worth over $5 billion. In his book, he documents how the world’s most impressive start-ups have defined their own categories and offered something no one else was providing.
Today’s job searcher also needs to ask the question, what’s my “unfair advantage” and define what you can offer that few other candidates can. Using a start-up mentality, consider testing the job market BEFORE you start searching and going after jobs that give you a competitive edge with employers.
Countless CEO’s, including Jeff Bezos often say that their competitive edge is to think like start-ups. That same mindset can be applied to your career. Too many job searchers look for a job clone of what they have been doing instead of looking for a growth and learning position. It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and focus on personal growth with less of an emphasis on your years of past experience or qualifications.
I once gave a speech entitled, “When You’re Green You Grow and When You’re Ripe You Rot”. It’s a phrase from Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s.
Smartphones were around for almost 10 years before Steve Jobs finally changed the phone industry with the iPhone in 2007. It's since become the phone of choice for hundreds of millions of people around the world. It redrew mobile phone design and changed the entire phone industry. And it pretty much led to the end of standalone music players, GPS receivers and low-end to midrange digital cameras.
Snapchat, Google and Richard Branson used their “unfair advantage” (UA) and offered something no one else was providing. They all evolved from existing similar businesses by figuring out a unique competitive edge.
The Power of Neuroplasticity
The rewiring of your brain to think about your UA is tied to neuroplasticity involving neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons) and synaptogenesis (new connections between neurons). You can enhance the growth of those 2 things through reflective self-inquiry, mindfulness and asking meaningful questions. Through visualization, you can actually turn an abstract hope into a picture that not only inspires you, but also guides you. It also opens your mind to creative ideas and how you can reinvent yourself matched to a new career.
The same thing happens with a job. Somewhere between 2 and 4 years you are unlikely to continue learning new things unless you change jobs or pursue growth-focused continuing education. That’s why looking for work doing the same thing is more often than not the worst way to approach making a job change. The key is focusing on growth-focused continuing education on an ongoing basis to prepare you for something new. Writing down a PLAN to build you career with a focus on staying relevant and marketable is the key for your continued INCOME security.
Many employees will have had 5 jobs by the time they reach the age of 30. Learning how to navigate a new environment, position yourself for the next level of income and connecting with new colleagues is vital to avoid getting stuck in a flat learning curve with raises that barely change your quality of life.
Changing jobs every 3-5 years used to look bad on a resume, however that stigma is fast becoming antiquated, especially as millennials rise in the workplace with expectations to continuously learn and advance in their careers.
Remember these lyrics from the song Freewill by the band Rush?
Not doing anything to develop your career is actually a choice that can have long-term implications. So consider thinking of “resonable” job-hopping as a precursor to enhancing your employment future.
Careers are no longer linear. You need to link many diverse positions together to build a great career and embrace the idea of a contract portfolio where you can get ahead by showing results quickly and providing value. When you job-hop, you can expand your network significantly. Keep in mind that it’s your resume AND your NETWORK that will get you in the door for your next job.
It's time to update your brain by determining your “unfair advantage” and think of your career development and job search as a PROCESS not just an event.