Getting Ready to Pounce When the Next Opportunity Comes

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“Can you make the connection for me? I would love to get an opportunity with them based on this article.”

The other email read, “Could you send a copy of my resume over to her and tell her to “help a brother out.”

Friday is a day for me to connect back to the U.S. with requests like the one above, follow-up, and meet new people. But sometimes I get a little perturbed with the level of request and the cluelessness of the people making it.

Granted, I do know a lot of people and I am always willing to share my network with them. The problem is that sometime the requestors do not realize is that this is the major leagues. This career conundrum is a serious business.

Are you really prepared?

What this means is that every job you apply for is one you need to aggressively compete for — and in order to compete, you have to be prepared.

A resume half done, a profile that’s incomplete, or a note that shows no value will not cut it today.

Have you ever googled yourself to see what comes up? You can’t expect that someone would refer your resume or you to someone else if you do not take the job seriously. By seriously, I mean did you read the job description or did you craft the cover letter that reflects your ability to synch with the job description? Did you submit a marketing document that shows your major accomplishments?

Yes, it is that serious.

You have to stand on your own

There is not a week that goes by that I get request like the two above, wanting me to work wonders.

This is how I operate when I recommend someone. I write, “I am going to send over a resume and other documentation of a person that I think you should talk to about the role you have listed.”

That’s it. One sentence is my so-called seal of approval. After that, the document has to stand on its own.

The narrative that you develop also has to stand on its own. The two quotes above received a negative reply, to say the least.

Building a career

Careers today have to be built. It could be a total rehab or minor updating, but remember that all the rules have changed. In discussing a deal that I was working on a month ago, the respondent on the other end mentioned that they would love to work for this particular organization. Because I had worked with him before, I knew he was top notch.

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“Fine,” I said, “Send me your paper and whatever you have and I will pass it along.” I was totally shocked that it took one month for me to get his documents. When I checked my email the other night before bed, I saw the email with all the drivel about rewrite, no time, etc. I had to put the phone down and deal with this the next day.

When we got a chance to talk later, I told him that I could not do this now. My reason was that I told them a month ago how great you were, they were excited and wanted to meet. Now I go back a month later — what do I tell them?

When the opportunity arises, pounce

This is my rule of thumb. If someone called you in the morning and said “can you get a copy of your resume over to this person before end of day because they fly out this afternoon?” could you do it? The vast majority of people who are reading this sadly could not.

It is what I call being prepared when the opportunity arises.

My other pet peeve is that the new career runway is LinkedIn. For people who read my work, you know that I am a huge fan of this platform. To all you Facebook users, If you spend as much time on LinkedIn as you do on Facebook, your career outlook would be a lot more promising.

Last week I was conference chair for two HR conferences, one in Abu Dhabi and another in Muscat, Oman. As soon as the link for both conferences went live, my resume was updated and my LinkedIn profile was updated too, as well as Facebook — in that order.

Make the most of your chances

Yes, folks it is that serious. You have to train like an athlete because when the opportunity arises, you want to make the most of your chances.

So, spend more time in the career development gym so that when your opportunity rears its head, you are ready to pounce.

Ron Thomas is Managing Director, Strategy Focused Group DWC LLC, based in Dubai. He is also a senior faculty member and representative of the Human Capital Institute covering the MENA/Asia Pacific region.

He was formerly CEO of Great Place to Work-Gulf and former CHRO based in Riyadh. He holds certifications from the Human Capital Institute as Global Human Capital Strategist, Master Human Capital Strategist, and Strategic Workforce Planner.

He's been cited by CIPD as one of the top 5 HR Thinkers in the Middle East. He received the Outstanding Leadership Award for Global HR Excellence at the World Human Resources Development Congress in Mumbai, and was named as one of the 50 Most Talented Global HR Leaders in Asia

Ron's prior roles included senior HR positions with Xerox HR services, IBM, and Martha Stewart Living.

Board memberships include the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, McKinsey Quarterly's Executive Online Panel, and HCI's Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy.

His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Workforce Management and numerous international HR magazines covering Africa, India and the Middle East.

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