I Can’t Help You…

……if you’re not willing to help yourself.

I’m committed to assisting anyone on their professional journey who asks for my help. I hope my body of work speaks for itself. People always ask me how I find the time, but it really isn’t that difficult for me. And I believe it is my duty to share knowledge.

Sometimes it’s something as simple as an introduction or a 15 minute conversation. Other times it requires more effort for in-depth mentoring and training. No matter the path, one thing is certain…one only gets, what one puts in.. 

speaking with guests at an NAHJ event in Washington, DC

It is frustrating for me to be approached with a generic salutation in person or via social media asking if I know of any opportunities. This is a lazy tactic which automatically tells me the person is not worth my time and attention. They spend more time buttering me up than with details about themselves (who they are, what they’ve done, where they want to go). 

Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate a kind word. But stroking my ego doesn’t interest me…working with brilliant, dedicated and passionate people does. 

Ok. 

Breathe. 

Sigh.

I needed to get that off my chest.

Success is in the details. Achieving goals is based on one’s ability to be hyper focused. 

Here are three things to consider not only before contacting me, but really…before starting a job search: 

1. What’s at the finish line?

Depending on where you are on your career journey (student, early/mid career, veteran), the finish line can be quite a distance away or within sight. Regardless…the position you ultimately seek needs to be clear to you if you’re going to be successful in developing a road map to get there.

I do quite a bit of traveling; often to cities I am not familiar with. The first thing I do once I get in to the rental car is type the address of the destination on my phone’s GPS app. I follow the voice’s instructions and BOOM…mission accomplished. 

It’s even a little gratifying hearing, “you have arrived”. If you want to “arrive” at your career destination; you need to be clear about the address.

2. What skills do I have? Where are my gaps?

Are you road ready or do you need to get some work done? Ah? Ah? See what I did there?

I once aspired to becoming a General Manager at a local television station. I was confident from working with my station’s GM (I was VP/News Director at the time) that I had talent and experience which were transferable to the position I aspired. Still, I also understood that some of the responsibilities of a general manager would be a stretch assignment for me given that I did not have any hands on experience in sales and marketing.

So, I conducted a personal litmus test by searching for general manager opportunities at local TV stations in three different markets. I looked for commonalities and differences between the job responsibilities/ requirements and myself. In a short amount of time I learned if I would be a strong candidate or not. Simply put if you have 7 or more of the requirements they’re looking for…consider yourself on the short list. Six or less…well, now you know what you have to work on before throwing your hat in the ring.

Too often candidates aren’t realistic about their experience and the demands of the job they seek.

3. There’s no fast track to success.

Continuing the ground transportation theme…there is no HOV lane that’s going to get you to your career goal quickly. You will sit in traffic, encounter detours and the occasional fender-bender.

I don’t have jobs in my pockets to give away like so many business cards. While it is critical to network because yes, it is most definitely about who you know and not just what you know in getting doors of opportunity to open…you’re not going to get a job because you went to the same school as me, are social media friends with the same people as me, are Peruvian like me, etc., etc.

Those enlaces (common threads) might get us talking, but if you don’t have what it takes – I’m not going to risk my reputation on a lemon.

In order to close the distance between where you are now and your professional finish line, it’s essential for you to be hyper focused on your goal, invest in yourself and use your network smartly.

Oh, and “click it or ticket”…I can’t fix your traffic violations either.  🙂

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