Career Management: It’s for Everyone!

News | September 28, 2017

By: Paula J. Eichenbrenner, CAE, Executive Director at AMCP Foundation

Q: If you’re not actively managing your career, who is? (A: nobody.) You determine your professional future! It’s a daunting reality, but AFG is here to help and provide resources. We plan to cover career management in each edition of the AFG Connections newsletter.

At the AFG Annual Conference this past May, I participated in the “Path to Professional Success: Career Planning for Association Fundraisers” panel during the afternoon breakouts. Joining me on the panel were Bob Corlett, Founder, and President, Staffing Advisors; Katrina Dunn, Director of Development, American Fisheries Society; and Shelby Olson, PCC, Senior Consultant, Executive and Career Coach, Right Management.

Panelists discussed the spectrum of positions and experience levels in the association foundations sector. The open-ended conversation with audience members naturally turned to job search tactics. Although job transitions comprise only one part of career management, landing a new gig is inevitable from time to time. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date at all times, as this is usually a headhunter’s first stop!

We commented on the recruitment models in play and whether it is a job seeker’s market or an employer’s market. Networking was covered, with Ms. Olson advising attendees to “Maintain an open network outside your industry, and talk to as many people as you can who have jobs at the level you aspire to.” Mr. Corlett spoke about the difference between an interview and a conversation, encouraging attendees to “know the narrative arc of your career well in advance of an interview.”

One attendee asked about career advice for young professionals in particular. My two cents: if you’re just entering an organization as an intern or recent grad, you bring a wealth of information with you. Figure out how to use the frameworks you studied in your academic program in the “real world,” and don’t be stingy – share that freshly minted knowledge with your coworkers. You might be asked to slog through grunt work, but your supervisor should share the “why.” Every professional task should have a “why” behind it – even the most painful data entry task should tie to a larger goal that your department, organization or industry has set its sights on.

Thank you to the conference registrants who stopped by our breakout and posed tthought-provoking questions. Career management is up to you, so keep the conversation going: email me queries on executive presence, search committees, setting career goals or other topics. We’ll share additional perspectives from our 2017 panelists in future issues of the AFG e-news, including each speaker’s top career development tips.

Check out the resources shared by our panel at the 2017 AFG National Conference on career conversations, interview prep and senior executive job searches. And stay tuned for some creative career programming at the 2018 Conference!


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