Proactive networking towards a S.M.A.R.T. career

On January 25th, 2018, here we are Denmark hosted its yearly kick-off event entitled ‘S.M.A.R.T. growth survival’ in collaboration with the career coach and mentor David Parkins. David talked about proactive problem-solving and progressive perspective change for smart personal and career growth.

 

But what’s S.M.A.R.T.? How to be S.M.A.R.T.? And, how proactive networking can help us grow as S.M.A.R.T.er professionals?

The job market seems to offer endless options, appealing definitions, complicate classifications and fancy techniques to approach professional roles and responsibilities. Everything runs fast and dynamically out there, and the growing international setting makes job requirements seem the more and more unachievable. We are afraid of making wrong decisions and we often focus too much on reacting to present problems for achieving short-term goals and surviving the present, instead of looking at things proactively towards a progressive change, i.e., a continuous and S.M.A.R.T. growth.

S.M.A.R.T. is a compilation of key elements from the EP3 Foundation led by the coach David Parkins and acronym for Specific, Meaningful, Action-oriented, Results-focused and Timely (i.e., not time-bound).  S.M.A.R.T.  is a high-level approach to problem-solving to minimize, or even eliminate, future problems in our career development. And it can be easier than what we think. Let’s apply the S.M.A.R.T. approach to the case of someone in search of a job.

It’s known that there’s a ‘hidden job market’, i.e., most people spend a copious amount of time in searching for a job sitting behind a computer screen, while between 70-80% of job posts are not published yet. It seems then that the best way to react to this challenge is to move our focus from getting a job to making real and healthy relationships and strengthening them. Hence the relevance of here we are, but our network mustn’t serve the purpose of us searching for a job, instead, it should be a dynamic community of interaction and mutual exchange of experience and source of inspiration and support.

What can we do ourselves for the community?

By helping others, we may better understand our strengths and weaknesses, open our minds to new perspectives, and even challenge the most solid of our career objectives. By engaging ourselves in the reality we are living, we can start developing a tentative plan for change proactively. Such a plan shouldn’t focus on a short time-scale and be limited to the present options but, more effectively, it should envision how we want to develop ourselves and our careers in 3-5 years from now.

What do we really want to be and what do we want to do, based on our education, our passions and hobbies, the causes we care about and the life experience that we have gained? We have much more to offer than our education records and technical work competencies, i.e., we can be more meaningful to others, to ourselves and, also, to the job market.

A motivated plan for career development

The key is to understand our value and all our capacities and inclinations at 360°, blend them and create a differentiator. What does inspire us and give us motivation in our lives? These elements, combined, create our perspective of the universe in which we are living, with our list of priorities, needs, and wishes. Therefore, this will reflect also on our S.M.A.R.T. plan and the way in which we present ourselves to the others and to the job market. Having such a holistic picture of ourselves and our S.M.A.R.T. plan gives us the right baseline to initiate a change, as well as anticipate and adjust to the unexpected.

This can be the baseline for us to then start organizing our growth in smaller and specific steps (i.e., actions) and prioritize them strategically to learn and grow by accomplishing concrete results at different levels. These can be learning a new language, doing yoga, studying a new subject, or traveling: any activity can open our minds by letting us face other realities and new challenges. There are several paths which may lead to our final goal, although they may be different in terms of time and intermediate steps required, as well as gained experience, and people met during the journey. And people and cultures are one of the most relevant enriching factors for us, as human beings and as professionals.

Having a S.M.A.R.T. plan equips us for a S.M.A.R.T. growth and, despite it doesn’t provide an answer to the question ‘where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?’, it certainly envisions what you are doing now to develop yourself and your career in 3-5 years. This goes far beyond a general job description and deeper by leaving more space to unlock doors leading a greater career.

Lessons learned from David Parkins’ introduction to S.M.A.R.T. by here we are’s Key Resource Person Chiari Canali. Please also find Chiari’s post Make networking your advantage in a knowledge-based job market on our blog.

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