Career Development: You should never have nothing to do

As seen in Cynopsis Classified Advantage

You should never have nothing to do.
By Michael Pollock

Have you ever found yourself feeling discouraged in that awkward period after you’ve sent out your pitch letters and resumes – and while you’re waiting for those hoped-for responses, the ones that are bound to be coming soon?

Here is a simple and enormously valuable way to keep up the momentum – and your spirits – and keep advancing in your career development. Use your own unique and acute understanding and insight of your industry sector to write a White Paper that lays out what in your view are the likely next developments in your field. Base it from your own history and your own skills so that it is something that only you can write.

Hit the keyboard without fear, starting with the invaluable brain-dump of the sh-tty first draft, untroubled by considerations of grammar, spelling or organization. Frame it from the angle that you see it. It will make it easier if you have a specific reader in mind, and write as though you are talking to them.

Read the trades. Follow the trends. Go to industry events. Think big-picture about your sector. Each article you read or conversation you have will get your brain cranking, and all of this will sharpen your own thinking and make you more interesting and more valuable.

Your White Paper could become a manifesto for your career goals. If and when you publish, it should proactively set you up as a thought leader. I very much hope that you will feel that you can publish it – maybe as a starter piece for your new industry niche blog – or by submitting it to one of the publications you have been using for research. And I don’t want to hear you say gloomily that no-one will read it. You will be amazed! And the more you are thinking about the issues and the evolution of your sector, the smarter you will become and the stronger you will be at your interviews when the time comes.
You should consider all this research and writing to be a key part of your job: that job which I define as “developing your own career path.” When you get up in the morning you will always have this project to work on, with you yourself as the demanding client.

So now how could you possibly have time to sit around and be discouraged? Just because you don’t have a new job prospect in the pipeline, or you are dragging yourself to a day-job you can’t bear any more – despite these factors, you still have your own job to do. If I may be blunt, thinking there is nothing to do when you get up in the morning displays a lamentable lack of imagination.

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  • In addition to white papers, I would highly recommend joining an Expert Network like Justanswer, Askvisory, or Maven Research. Expert networks connect experienced professionals with investors, individuals, and corporations looking for answers to professional questions. Engagement are typically conducted over the phone, last 30 to 60 minutes, pay well, and provide a great opportunity to network with decision makers in your field. Finally, many Expert Networks allow you to publish articles that can raise your visisibility among professionals in your industry.

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