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Set Your Career Up for Success in 2021

By Nikki MacCallum

The legendary 2020 is coming to a close and it has been a tough year for everyone from a professional standpoint. As of November 2020, the US unemployment rate was at 6.7% creating a highly competitive job market. This number doesn’t discount the number of individuals who remained employed during 2020 but intentionally may have put off a job transition to hold onto stability during uncertain times. All this to say, regardless of whether you’re gainfully employed or in search of a role, there is a strong possibility 2021 is going to bring a lot of job movement in a competitive market. This is especially true for ediscovery, which has remained a robust and growing industry given the nature of litigation. With the events of the last year, the majority of corporate America is suffering from burnout. Below are five things you can do before the end of the year that don’t require a lot of time, effort, or energy, but could have a dramatic impact on setting your career up for success in the new year.

  1. Read one article about something innovative happening in your current field, post it on your LinkedIn, and send it to one person in your network who might find it interesting. This is especially important in ediscovery, an industry that thrives on technology and social media. It is always important to educate ourselves on the latest technology trends that are happening in our field. You might even be able to use it as a talking point in a conversation. You’ve already done the legwork of finding the article, so go ahead and post it on LinkedIn and share it with your network. Posting something relevant gives you visibility in a virtual world and sharing information is a form of creating value. This is a win-win. By taking this a step further and sending this article to someone who might find it interesting you are adding value and information to someone’s day and also creating the opportunity for dialogue. If you find an article that is about cloud technology, send it to a contact whom you know specializes in that field. At the very least, you will be on their brain.
  2. Comment on ten different people’s LinkedIn posts. Social media has become more important than ever and what I’m noticing is that it is those individuals who are the most active in conversations online that are now being regarded as thought leaders. If someone on your LinkedIn feed posts something interesting to you, comment on it. It is a way to spark dialogue. If you say something super interesting, someone may even click on your profile. This is a great way to gain visibility and make new connections.
  3. Attend one virtual event before the end of the year. Virtual events can be draining but the amazing thing is that because they are virtual, we are no longer restricted by geography. I can now network with folks in LA as easily as I can with individuals in New York. There are countless virtual events happening this month, especially in ediscovery. ACEDS hosts monthly webinars, as does Women in eDiscovery. It doesn’t matter if this is a networking event, a fundraiser, or a webinar. Force yourself to attend and email the panelists and or presenters after the fact with comments on their presentation. This is an easy way to make some connections before the new year.
  4. Reach out to five people from your network you haven’t spoken to in a year. I always remind people that building a network in a virtual world is in many ways easier than in a non-virtual world primarily because contacts change. I always like to start with the known to help uncover the unknown. A contact you made ten years ago might hold an entirely different position today and serve an entirely different purpose in your career than they did ten years ago. Pick five, email them just to check in, and maybe this will spark dialogue. One of the most satisfying aspects of my role over the years has been having candidates evolve into clients and then back into candidates. People’s roles change.
  5. Schedule time with a mentor and ask for feedback. This mentor could be your current boss, or if you’re unemployed, this could be a former boss or someone you simply go to for career advice. This is important for two reasons. First and foremost, it is always important to get both positive and negative feedback so you know what you’re up against. This way you can keep doing your strengths and learn what you need to do to combat your weaknesses. In addition, this is a great opportunity to strengthen a relationship with a mentor. This is important because a mentor is essentially someone who has a personal investment in you. Your success is a reflection of their success. Get one more person in your corner for 2021!

These five small action items should take no more than a few hours. Make the investment in yourself because you are worth it!

To discuss this topic more or to ask questions, feel free to reach out to me at nmaccallum@lighthouseglobal.com

Nikki MacCallum

Nikki MacCallum brings over thirteen years of experience in the executive search space with a focus on litigation technology and eDiscovery. She’s spoken on panels and at conferences nation-wide (ABC News, Women in eDiscovery, LegalTech, CALSM, ARIAS) and was recently the key note speaker for a global Career Panel Workshop at American Express. Nikki is also a resident speaker at New York City’s Coalition for the Homeless where she privately mentors underprivileged women looking to re-enter the workforce.

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