There's way too many generic career advice out there that may have helped some people, but for the majority of us, it never leads you to your next desired career stop. Sometime last year, I read the best career advice book that I have ever read in my life. It was the book, The Start-up of You, by LinkedIn cofounder and Greylock Partner Reid Hoffman and author Ben Casnocha. If you want a book that doesn't reiterate the career advice that we all have heard time and time again, then this is the book for you. I am not going to talk about the many valuable lessons that are covered in this book, but I am going to bring up one concept that the book goes into great detail and that is how serendipity can affect your career.
The definition of serendipity is "the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way." Now we can't directly control luck, but what if we could increase the probability of possibly being lucky especially when it comes to our career. Who you know helps tremendously when it comes to your career, but it's just not for job opportunities, it helps facilitate the exchange of ideas and possible collaboration on a future project. Essentially, growing and strengthening your professional network is the goal. You need to be able to get yourself in a position to be surrounded by others where you can seek to develop mutually beneficial relationships with them. There are some things that you can do to position yourself to increase your odds of having lucky future events that can be beneficial to your career.
In the book, there's one story of an individual who would set aside money each year for investing in their career. What the individual did with the money was used it to travel to a large market city to be able to network with others. This enabled the individual to gain information from others with similar technology interests. Eventually, it led the individual into collaborating with others on a project. It's without doubt that a large market city has far more opportunities to network with others, but there are other ways to be prepared for a future pivot in your career.
Leveraging some of the myriad of social networks especially those that align with your aspirations can help you network with others which can in turn lead you to a future opportunity. Obviously, it does take time and effort to cultivate meaningful relationships with others online just as it does offline.
Another way to be better position yourself for the future is to continuously educate yourself by learning new skills and learning more about your industry. This way you'll be ready for when an opportunity presents itself where you have the right knowledge for it.
- You can join professional groups in your industry where you can gain knowledge specific to that industry.
- You can join local meetup groups to learn about new and upcoming things in your industry.
- You can meet someone for coffee or lunch to exchange ideas.
- You can listen to podcasts where you can listen to experts within an industry.
There are many more other things that you can do to network with others and, the more you do that, the greater the chance in running into a lucky event that could lead to a positive impact to your career. Overall, I highly recommend The Start-up of You, because it covers many areas on how to improve your career journey from having the right mindset to taking proactive actions that position yourself for greater career serendipity.