Robyn Winters’ S.M.A.R.T. Recipe


As someone who has lived through multiple career transitions, I know and understand that it can be a frustrating process. As someone who has survived – and also thrived – following career transitions, I also know and understand that there is hope and that, amid the many questions, there are answers.

I’ve put together my personal “recipe for success” during this time, one that is founded on my personal career journey. I call it the S-M-A-R-T path to career success, and I’m pleased to share it with you.

S = Support. It’s not possible to navigate successfully through the waters of transition without a support team. Whether it is family, friends, a colleague, a former college roommate, or a group of like-minded individuals who meet weekly (such as our Monday morning LINKS), you will better be able to ride the waves of uncertainty, fear, concern, joy, and hope with a network of people who unconditionally support you (the operative word here being unconditional). Let others hold you up, as you will hold them. It is a noble effort on anybody’s part.

M = Motivation. There are times, and moments, when you may feel that it’s difficult to keep moving forward. You didn’t get the interview you wanted, or the job went to an internal candidate. Or you didn’t have the energy to get up and out. I subscribe to the 10-minute whining rule: you can whine for 10 minutes, and then it’s time to move on. You can move on to anything, but it must be something. Someone knowledgeable once said that you must do the most productive thing at any given moment. Sometimes being productive is writing one more cover letter, or dragging yourself to one more meeting, or doing… nothing. Take the time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished so far, and hang around with people who are happy, productive, and positive.

A = Accomplishments. Whether on your résumé, during networking, an interview, or simply self-talk, it’s essential for you to both acknowledge and express what you have achieved in your career. This is where humility takes a back seat and is replaced by pride – in yourself, your work, and your success. No one can articulate your achievements better than you. So get ready to toot your own horn and acknowledge the results that have benefited those for whom you have worked.

R = Resources. So many — and too many. In 2015, there are a myriad of resources available to assist in your job search: Internet, LinkedIn, recruiters, online postings, networking groups, meet-up groups, your own network – the list goes on. There are so many options – and time to explore them, that you may get lost in information overload. What to do? Be selective! Develop a schedule that will allow you to allocate your time wisely, keeping in mind that people need to physically see you some of the time. So get out from behind your computer, take a breath, and plunge into the real world. By so doing, you will put your resources to good use.

Make It Happen in a jigsaw puzzle graphic

T = Truth. When you are looking for work, no matter what your situation, be honest about what you truly want, and what you are willing to do. It’s called the Truth. It’s easy to be swayed by what you think you should do, or what others advise you to do. But, in reality, it’s only you on the job, doing the work every day. Be sure it’s the right work. The best work for you. Work that will make you smile when you get up in the morning and start your day, and happy when the day is done. Everybody wins when you’re truthful.

So what’s the bottom line? You’re already smart. Take the S-M-A-R-T approach to job search, and you’ll have the perfect recipe for success.

Robyn Winters is a Career Strategist at TBJL and has more than 20 years of experience in workforce development.

Photo credit by Stuart Miles |

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