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How to know when it’s time to call-in the Career….AGENT

Some of us don’t become truly successful in life until we quit looking for our next job.

Much has been written about today’s technical "Top Talent," "Rock Stars" and “A players.” If you’re like me, you, too, wished while growing up to be the next top athlete, role model, or leader. Yet, like anyone working uber-hard today to be good at what we do, we’re so busy running our current professions that we have no time left at the end of the day to run our careers, let alone keep our family connections intact.

Oh, sure, if you wanted to make a major career move, whether lateral, upward or to another industry altogether, you could probably launch a public-relations campaign on your own to banish your current image as, say, a #2 subordinate at a high-profile company, and surface your new image as a leader to a new company, perhaps in a new venture - but then who would introduce you to the appropriate C-level, investor-relations or product management contacts?

Yes, you probably could do that yourself with LinkedIn requests, or hire a half-dozen people to help, but you would need a year or more of your life, at minimum. And in today’s fast-moving, ever-changing landscape, with the demand for brand-name management and executives at an all-time high, let me put it bluntly. You’d need an AGENT.

The concept of a Talent Agent, common to the sports world, now more than ever is where a busy professional should target his “freetime” energy. Letting someone help you plot strategy, build networks of contacts, advise on salary, and help shape your image has never been more essential. A good Agent should also be screening your job opportunities. If not…

Well, that might just be where the difficulty really lies. Finding a “good” Agent. There still aren’t many around no matter what people say about the battalions of so-called Recruiters in the marketplace today. Frankly, take it from someone who has worked as a Career Coach, Recruiter and as a budding Agent in the technical talent pool: “there aren’t many around.”

Many who call themselves a Recruiter are merely pulling your name off LinkedIn and hoping to submit you to a potential buyer. Hey, you can pay the job board’s price and do that! Others are working and reworking a tired database of folks they’ve talked to over the years. Great. What ELSE can you do for me? How about placing an “anonymous” ad for you? Bravo. But who is going to “work the market” for you?

The best Agents around trade on their own career expertise and contacts….not once, but continuously for every new client. And many CEOs and upper-level executives and managers need that because they have been so heads-down their entire careers that they lack the contacts they need to launch off into a new direction or an entrepreneurial venture.

If your technical expertise puts your type of role in short supply, or if you are a senior exec at or near the top of your class in what you do, you are a perfect candidate for an Agent. Technology titans and wizards, artists and consultants alike can all use someone who provides them the expertise, contacts and, yes, vision for their future.

If you lack the time or inclination to plot your career strategy and build business contacts, an executive Agent can work for you from the shadows. Your Agent should be conducting anonymous job searches for you so no one will know you’re sniffing around. And when the Recruiters come calling, your Agent should be there to take names and numbers, shine them on if need be, or reel them in….while you sit pretty.

And if profile-raising is what your career needs, your Agent should be on the frontlines, armoured-up, doing that for you, too. Let your Agent arrange interviews with the trade, technical or industry publications that will catapult your career. Let your Agent book you a speaking engagement. How about scoring you a roadshow to speak about the book you’ve been busy writing or startup you’ve been bootstrapping? Or arrange a secret meeting with Angel Investors to discuss your stealth project on the side burner? Not to mention the charitable organizations you’d love to be involved in that will bring you in contact with power brokers you’ve never had the time to rub shoulders with. Your Agent should be plotting the correct people to put you in front of at all times.

Most importantly, the best of the best in Agents have your back. They won’t let you do anything off-target, or stupid. They will steer you away from opportunities that aren’t compatible with your goals, passions and aspirations, your hopes and dreams...and be there to counsel you to pass on something that could cost-you, or in the long run, hurt-you. An Agent represents Your interests at all times...and, importantly, they know to refer you to me for the deep dive into you so they know precisely how to proceed.

You may have worked your entire career in the shadow of a high-profile company and never thought of how to develop your own brand or entrepreneurial talents let alone envisioned standing on your own in a crowd of amazingly successful people. Now, the great ocean before you is, well, a tad overwhelming. Repositioning your own image in the market IS flat-out daunting. For anyone. Take Heart. You’re not alone.

But what you need is not a “Placement Specialist.” What you may, in fact, need is something more like the entertainment and consumer products industries have cultivated for years - an “Image Packager” shall we say, who delivers you to your perfect “Buyer.”

What every great Star or Entertainer has known is that their careers were built. Serviced, so-to-speak. They didn’t just happen. And in most cases, someone was behind them, mentoring, ready to take the helm, watching out for their long-term interests.

This just might be what you need, Rockstar.

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© 2017 Roberta Nasser, MS, EAP Associates / TechTalent Associates, LLC. 

All Rights Reserved.

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