Careers advice: Manage your career in 9 minutes a day

25 February 2021

It’s fair to say that looking for a new role can be a full-time job, so what do you do if you  can barely make time to ‘get the day job’ done, let alone ‘manage your career’ with an eye to the future? In this blog, Alumni Careers Manager Caroline Egan takes you through her advice.

A couple of years ago, I met a LinkedIn marketer at an overseas conference – she mentioned that LinkedIn advocate a ‘9-minute a day’ approach for managing your career, and I’ve never forgotten the conversation, or the idea.

We all know that Covid has greatly accelerated the pace of change in the workplace, and that social and technological change have increased fluidity in the job market as well decreased job stability and tenure. In addition, our current inability to network face-to-face with both colleagues and new contacts means that proactive, continuous career management is more essential than ever. Employers are often looking for a ‘safe hire' - a known quantity ideally - and your network can make all the difference to whether you get interviewed or hired for your next role. But how do you find the time to do it?

9 minutes a day

9 minutes a day is a short window of time which can easily be slotted into your busy day. By making those 9 minutes a continuous habit and part of your daily routine, it shouldn’t add any pressure to your existing schedule or to do list. 9 minutes is enough to give you complete focus – a time away to focus on you – to reflect on your current career status and more importantly, your career aspirations.

Sticking to 9 minutes in a world of distraction

Every professional is busy and time poor, so it’s easy to get distracted and lose focus on your 9-minute ritual. To avoid this, set a specific time of day for your 9 minutes of career management. This could be first thing in the morning before you get caught up in other priorities, or during your lunch break. Try to prioritise your actions for the 9 minutes so you are truly focused, and keep a daily note of, or diarise, your 9-minute actions so you can see what you’re achieving over time, which will help you keep on track.

How to spend your 9 minutes a day

Refine your profile

  • Add media you’ve created or share presentations (non-confidential) that your contacts can watch: people are more likely to connect up with you if they can form a perception of professionalism before you even connect
  • Add recent achievements to your profile on LinkedIn to keep it current and relevant
  • If you know you’ll be going for promotions or new roles, request recommendations from your networks to bolster your credibility

Become a thought leader

  • Look at companies and countries emerging from Covid ahead of us - there are countless media and business articles on how countries and companies are dealing with ‘disruption’ in their (and your) sector
  • Join the professional membership body for your target sector if you haven’t already done so: this will be likely to provide you with sector-wide intelligence on how it is being affected, as well as a member-only jobs board
  • Follow professional services and consulting firms: insights, podcasts, articles and webinars
  • Share your thoughts - create your personal brand as a ‘thought leader’: lead a forum or LinkedIn group, publish an article, start a blog, speak publicly, or recommend a high-quality business or professional development book to your peers.

Build and maintain your network

  • Cultivate your existing network and LinkedIn groups: messaging, discussions, maintaining relationships by recommending and congratulating others in their careers - everyone enjoys being recognised
  • Join virtual conferences and the breakout networking - it can work surprisingly well
  • Engage with companies during their webinars on Covid-19: research speakers in advance and connect up with them afterwards. Be thoughtful, express interest in what they have said, and pose interesting questions to them
  • Read and comment on articles written by people in companies you want to join, and engage with individuals and companies on all social media platforms
  • Do your research: try to get to know more about your clients, partners and competitors.

The key to managing your career is “not to prioritise what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities. (Stephen Covey, author of ‘The 7 habits of Highly Effective People’)

WBS alumni can access our free online Career Management Course to help structure their thinking or set up a free consultation with one of our Alumni Careers Managers. Contact alumnicareers@wbs.ac.uk to find out more.

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