Error! No TTF font found! March « 2012 « The 6Ps of the BIG 3™

March, 2012

Mar 12

Job Hopping: Turn A High Number to Your Advantage (#SXSWi 2012)

The SXSW session on job hopping, Job Hopping: Turn A High Number to Your Advantage, offered some interesting facts about job hopping:

  • As a general rule, 18 months is the magic timeframe – you must stay in a job longer than 18 months to avoid the label of job hopper.
  • However, the larger the company, the longer the magic timeframe.  Many larger companies view 3 years as the minimum amount of time you must stay in a job to avoid the label of job hopper.

Since the legal profession is not as forgiving of job hopping, many ideas shared in this session regarding overcoming the job hopping stigma would not work for lawyers.  However, I managed to find three takeaways for lawyers who have job hopped:

  1. Timebox your achievements. You resume should timebox your achievements in a particular position–quantify what you did in a specific timeframe to illustrate your accomplishments in a short period of time.  For example, “In my first 60 days at Miller Smith, LLP, I drafted a motion for summary judgment regarding ____  issue, argued the motion and obtained  ____ for my client. “
  2. Don’t say, “I was recruited away.” If you left a job to take a new job that a recruiter brought to your attention, don’t say that you were “recruited away.”  Recruited away is a red flag that you took a new position for more money.  Instead, discuss the challenges and opportunities that you are seeking and would make you stay in a position for the long term.
  3. You need outstanding references. Choose your references wisely.  If you left a position because of a bad experience, choose former colleagues who have first-hand knowledge of your experience and can speak about it.  Consider your mentors as well — especially if they have mentored you over a long period of time and witnessed your various career moves.

Mar 12

Your Career is a Work in Progress

I’m in Austin for SXSW and attended a session on Saturday that focused on a blueprint for managing your career.   The session was led by Ben Casnocha and Reid Hoffman, co-authors of The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career.   The session focused on the premise that your career is in “permanent beta”–the world and your competition are changing constantly and, therefore, your career is never a finished product but rather a work in progress.  Casnocha and Hoffman offered three strategies for managing your career in permanent beta.

  1. Plan to adapt. Flexible persistence is key for both start-up companies and individuals, and you must employ ABZ planning where Plan A is what you are doing now in your current career (e.g., practicing law).  Plan B is not what you do if Plan A fails but rather what you do when other opportunities with more potential arise (e.g., leave the law and start a business).   Plan Z is the worst case scenario, and it allows you to take the risk in your Plan B (e.g., if my debt arises to $X while starting a business, I’ll work as a contract attorney on a doc review project).
  2. Strengthen your network (especially your looser ties). As you probably know, the majority of people obtain new jobs through someone in their network.  Moreover, it’s the loose ties in your network that aid in your job search because they offer informational diversity.  Your close or strong ties are going to be very similar to you; thus, those ties often read the same information and share the same information.  However, your loose or weak ties are more different and offer different information and leads.
  3. Take intelligent risks. Anticipate risks (possible layoff or a replacement) and become resilient to risks.  You become resilient to risks by introducing risks along your career path.  Think of a flu shot–you build up your immunity to the flu virus by injecting the virus (flu shot) into your body.  Similarly, you become immune to risks by injecting risk along your career path.