Your Next Step


“I was recently inspired that morning, which is only interesting because I was booked as a speaker, at the Between Jobs Ministry meeting in Houston. My assignment: to inspire a room full of former C-level executives that found themselves un-, under-or unhappily-employed. It occurred to me, that we have some brilliant people, who are “between jobs”, in our community, and they are yours for the hiring. Now if you’re reading this column and you count yourself among those who are looking for a new career challenge, I’d like to share a path for you—a Map To Careersville—if you will. It’s a simple 10-step journey, but it’s not easy. Are you ready to strap on your hiking shoes? Here’s a sample few steps:

Step 1: Find Where You Are

When I visit a shopping mall, I immediately locate a Directory to find the spot, ‘You are here’. It gives me a starting point for my shopping adventure. In a job search, try to define where you are-mentally-in the process, using Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ “5-Steps To Grieving”, made famous in her 1969 tome, “On Death and Dying”. Since they apply to any trauma—or change– we have in our life, they are as follows: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Your approach to finding “Careersville” depends on your mindset at the outset.

Step 2: Know What You’re Selling

Before you “shop” your services, you need to identify your unique value or UVP (Unique Value Proposition), that you can deliver to a prospective “buyer”. Perform a S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis on yourself, to really understand your internal strengths and weaknesses, and the external opportunities and threats. For those of you who are familiar with sales and marketing, you’re the product and you must execute the proper marketing strategy.

Step 5: Determine Where To Find Your Buyers

Flesh out the associations, organizations, or events that will have an abundance of the employers, or “buyers” that may be interested in buying your dog food. Willie Sutton, the notorious bank robber, when asked why he robbed banks. His reply, “That’s where the money is”. You must put yourself, squarely, in the deal flow and hang where the money is!

Step 9: Show Up!

Welcome to The Networking Game! This is THE most important activity in which to “invest” your time. If you’re like me, you don’t “spend” time, you invest it—and knowing that more than 60% of the jobs are in the hidden job market, you need to be out in public, not hunkering down in your home office, surfing the job placement services online. REMEMBER: It’s NOT what you know. It’s NOT who you know. It’s WHO KNOWS YOU. Networking will build your “resource bank”—one that pays interest and dividends & compounds forever. Remember that old Chinese proverb: A wise man knows everything. A rich man knows everybody.

Step 10: Follow-Up and Follow-Through

When you meet someone, who introduces you to a person who you “need to know”, or opens a door for you, make sure you do what you say you’re gonna do. This is the number one rule in being referable. Just today, I found out that a gentleman I gave a job referral to, NEVER followed up with the person who was hiring. Imagine how I felt when I spoke to the employer and he said, “Sorry Jack. I never heard anything from your friend”. Talk about the height of dullness. That’s the last time I open a door for that person. Follow-up promptly, and profusely thank the person who assisted you.

If you are looking for your next job or career, try these steps on for size. Your journey will sure to be a much more profitable one, and you may just find your way to “Careersville”—where you may live for the rest of your days. Good luck on your journey! “


About Author

Jack Warkenthien, CEO, NextStep Solutions. Email him at or call him at 832-344-6998

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