October 14, 2008

Treat your career like a business

By DC Velocity Staff

"Lessons from the Front Line—The Realities of a Career Change" featured four supply chain professionals who have made a number of career changes. David Durtsche of Tranzact Technologies, Beth McClurg of Cushman & Wakefield, Paul Newbourne of Leveraged Execution Providers, and Michael Slattery of Campbell Soup Company outlined their own career paths and shared the lessons they had learned along the way.

Honest self-assessment is important, all agreed. That assessment should consider marketable skills you already have and those you want or need to get; your level of flexibility, including a willingness to make a lateral move to acquire knowledge; and your level of commitment to change, including your willingness to accept temporary disruption.

The panel recommended against selling oneself to a prospective employer; instead, job seekers should sell their value to an organization. That requires identifying your skills and knowledge (and where they could be most effective); matching your experience and accomplishments with the specific needs of a prospective employer; and telling your "STORY"—an acronym that stands for summarizing your value by describing your "situation, task, opportunity, result, and yield." In good times and bad, they counseled, you should always be prepared to leave or be laid off from a job, even if you think you are safe. Their overall message: Manage your career like a business, taking action now that will benefit you in the future.