Council Post: How To Take A Three-Dimensional Approach To Your Career Future


Terry Powell is the Visionary Founder of The Entrepreneur’s Source, a Career Ownership Coaching franchise.

Don’t limit yourself to a one-dimensional career. Embrace the possibility of a rewarding future.

The traditional résumé forces people to condense their entire life’s work into a quickly digestible and increasingly keyword-searchable document. Rather than showcase your achievements and skills, a résumé is one-dimensional and feels more like an epitaph on a tombstone. About 24% of hiring managers spend fewer than 30 seconds looking at a résumé, according to CareerBuilder, an employment website.

A one-dimensional career focuses only on your skill set and loses sight of your true value and achievements. We need to take a three-dimensional approach by celebrating our careers and accomplishments. Your résumé should highlight your contributions to employers, co-workers and society.

Create a new measuring stick.

Stop being a minor character in your life. Most of the characters in a typical novel or screenplay are one-dimensional. They fill supporting roles to shine the spotlight on the main character. One-dimensional characters do not change or grow. Being well-rounded can help create new pathways to success and increase your chances of achieving the American dream.

I have more than 38 years of experience helping people invest in themselves and follow a better road map to develop a three-dimensional future. To have a three-dimensional résumé, you need to establish a three-dimensional résumé career. Let’s explore strategies to create the three-dimensional résumé future you deserve.

Define your goals.

Start creating a well-rounded future by defining your goals. Take time to hone your financial and lifestyle goals to give yourself purpose. Understanding if your current career path will allow you to achieve your vision is important. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. As an example, business ownership may help you achieve your goals. Entrepreneurship does not focus on your pedigree. You can have a Ph.D. or a GED and be successful at business ownership.

Foster good communication skills.

It’s essential to have good communication skills for your development. Practice speaking clearly and concisely. Ask questions and provide feedback to management.

Connect with others.

Networking is another tool to help round out your résumé. Gleaning knowledge and advice from mentors and peers is invaluable.

Focus on learning.

You’re never too old to learn. Technology is always evolving, and it’s important to stay abreast of new developments. If available, take advantage of your company’s continuing education perks by taking a course or obtaining a certification. Professional associations can help you network with people in your field and learn about new developments and opportunities.

Track your progress.

Keep track of your wins and losses. Creating a list of your accomplishments can be motivational. It can also provide evidence of where you excel and give you an idea of the track you need to focus on to succeed.

Schedule time to exercise.

Getting daily exercise can really make all the difference in how you approach your career. Exercise kicks your endorphins into high gear. It improves mood and can give you the energy you need to improve motivation. Exercise gives you time to think without disruption, and it’s where I come up with many of my big ideas.

Listen to feedback.

Being receptive to feedback and being flexible can be a major asset. Make sure to take feedback to heart and pivot if required. It’s never easy to hear you need to make changes, but it will make you more valuable in the long run.

Leverage social media.

Human resource professionals are paying attention to what potential candidates post on social media. About 60% of employers research candidates on social media. Social media allows you to provide a three-dimensional showcase of your qualifications. Make sure to keep your social media polished. LinkedIn can be an invaluable marketing tool for your career, particularly if you are actively seeking a new opportunity.

Be open to possibilities.

Keeping up with the daily grind can be overwhelming. American workers are expected to take on more responsibilities with less compensation. Make sure to remain open to possibilities. Don’t let your to-do list stop you from exploring new opportunities and being open to change. The answer to ending a one-dimensional career may be charting a new course or a non-traditional path.

Find your path forward.

I think corporate America needs a wake-up call. Large corporations are creating an assembly line of potential candidates and leaving people stuck in a rut. The MBA-educated taskmasters of corporate America need to revamp hiring practices to look over the horizon at employees’ future goals and aspirations.

Henry Ford is a rare example of an entrepreneur who saw the world in 3-D. He flouted social norms and traditions with his groundbreaking invention of the automotive assembly line in 1913, which changed the landscape of American business. Ford was unwilling to accept the status quo. In addition to creating a new manufacturing process, Ford made sweeping changes for his employees by increasing wages, adding profit sharing and limiting work hours.

Take a page out of Ford’s playbook and stop trying to live in the past. Don’t limit your future by boiling your life experiences down to a one-page synopsis. Take steps to create a three-dimensional career.

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

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