My name is David Durbin. In late 2013, I made the difficult decision to leave a company that I had been part of for almost 20 years. I was fortunate in that I was able to make this choice when many others don’t have that good fortune. That said, it didn’t make the career transition process any easier or less intimidating to go through. The following paragraphs are my story of discovery and learning’s. I encourage all who read this narrative to embrace the opportunity and to be aggressive; don’t let the fear of not finding your next great adventure control your thought process. Owning the experience you want to have is empowering. Investing in you through this journey is the key to success. It can be the greatest gift you give to yourself if you are willing to ask for help, and most important, embrace the support of others!
Over the course of my professional career, I did very little external networking. Like many, I introduced myself to tools like LinkedIn as I recognized the business value but never really challenged myself to learn about its full potential. Let’s be honest, how many of us really find the time to be selfish about our careers when we already have one!!! As I began to consider a career change, I explored the power of LinkedIn in greater detail. I began to see more and more value in having an online presence. I even went so far as to spend some money with a partner to improve my LinkedIn profile. As part of that investment, I also refreshed my resume. These were great emotional steps for me to take as it began the process of me mentally preparing to leave a company I had been part of for so long. However, these steps DID NOT prepare me for marketing my talents, skills, and accomplishments in the way you need to when aggressively looking to find your next adventure. My LinkedIn profile generated little activity from potential employers or recruiters. Most of my network included people I already worked with or knew outside of my current employer. Most of my profile views were from people I already knew. It became very apparent that my online BRAND, and that is a key concept for all who are reading this to embrace, was pretty unremarkable.
As part of my transition, I engaged with an outplacement support firm. Their expertise was with more traditional forms of networking; coffee shop meetings, applying for jobs on line, interview preparation and so on. While I did find value in these traditional methods, it became very apparent that the business, and believe you me it is a business, of finding talent had dramatically changed over the past 20 years. The power of Social, and Social is capitalized for a very good reason, was evident with those who were finding success. It became very clear to me that I needed help in building out my brand. To be successful, I had to become the CEO of David A. Durbin. It was also very clear to me that I didn’t have the knowledge, time, or even the inclination to spend 3, 4, or 5 months acquiring this expertise. I made the decision to INVEST in me!
In making the decision to invest in me, I looked at many potential business partners but ultimately chose CareerToolBox and Graham Riley’s team of professionals because they provided me with documented, statistical success rates for their clients. They educated me on the power of Social. LinkedIn is a critical piece, but not the only piece. Twitter, Google+, and so on are essential to being found. I challenge anyone reading my story to answer this question: how prepared are you to market yourself in a Social world if you aren’t actively on LinkedIn, don’t have a Twitter account, and don’t understand the nuances of how recruiters use SEO tools to screen you in/out. If you are asking yourself what does SEO stand for, I’ve already made my point! I made the decision that my time was better spent on identifying what I wanted to go do and what I wanted from my next company versus becoming a Social and Brand marketing expert. I needed a business partner to help my business, ME, be successful. I needed someone to ride along with me for a while so I could learn, but most important, accelerate my journey to a new adventure. There’s nothing better than to have someone “drive” for a while so you can sit back and take in some of the adventure. CareerToolBox drives the car for a while so you can relax and learn career skills, life skills, which you will need for the rest of your professional career.
Once I engaged with CareerToolBox, Graham introduced me to my Social business partner, Sue Way. Sue helped me better articulate my talents, skills, and accomplishments through a refreshed resume. She completely revamped my LinkedIn profile so that my greatest talents, skills, passions were upfront and visible. Most important, I became SEO optimized for those talents, skills, and accomplishments. Then, the fun really started. Sue took over my LinkedIn account and for the next 30 days she actively “introduced” me to an entirely new network of people. Sue helped me understand the power of Twitter, professionally. For those of you who don’t understand Twitter, or think it’s purely a social tool like Facebook, think again! I love Twitter and see the business, and brand value of Twitter in ways I never would have imagined. My network grew from 750 1st connections to well over 6500 in 30 days. The number of times my profile was being viewed on a weekly basis went from 30 to well north of 900 some weeks. I had conversations with people I never would have met were it not for the work of Sue.
A vision, or goal, without a plan for success is only a dream: My dream was to start another adventure with a company that both wanted my experience and would appreciate and embrace having me part of their team. Prior to engaging with CareerToolBox, I really didn’t have a plan for how to accomplish this goal. Today, not only do I have a plan, but I have the network and Social knowledge to make it happen. And, I now have the knowledge to continue to manage my brand for years to come so that I can have many more adventures, if I so choose to! I’m now driving my own adventure and that is an amazing feeling given where I started not so long ago.
Good luck on finding your next great opportunity!
David A. Durbin
CareerToolbox international, LLC