Sunday, June 26, 2005

Think of your career as a business

In my Business 101 workshops, I constantly remind participants that business is basically just one equation: R = MV (return on equity equals profit margin times velocity; velocity is sales divided by assets).

Basically, in plain English and applied to you as a professional, it basically means that your financial return is determined by your professional value (profit margin) multiplied by HOW FAST you distribute that value.

If you're a consultant who is exposed to several corporate clients, you probably earn a bigger salary than a professional who only has one client (his employer).

Harvard Business Review in fact did a study a while ago, and compared the salary of a manager at a manufacturing plant against the salary of a consultant specialized in manufacturing. They both had more or less the same education and professional experience.

However, the consultant earned about TWICE as much as the manager.

This is not surprising, since consultants usually have greater velocity than their corporate counterparts.

This only highlights the need to network proactively in order to secure as many lucrative employment options as possible. I use the word "option" here in the financial sense, where you actually and legally secure the possibility of exercising a buy or sell transaction.

So for example, if a potential employer (or headhunter) reads your profile, and understands exactly how you would contribute to a company's profitable growth, then he/she could, in the future, call on you (through a common connection or he/she could just Google you and make you a job offer directly -- oh, yes, they are that aggressive and that blunt, which is good).

But if your profile doesn't clearly say exactly how you actually contribute to an employer's profitable growth, then there is no way that an employer or headhunter will call you in the near or far future.

This is why it's so important to carefully strategize BEFORE you post your profile. It doesn't have to be long and excruciatingly detailed, but at the very least, it should clearly state what you are good, really good at.

In the end, your career is like a business, and your profile is nothing but a brochure promoting your services and your "usefulness" (employability) to all the companies out there.