We could all use a little help in building our careers – identifying what’s next. And few people know more about how to do just that than Lars Leafblad, Co-Founder and Principal at Ballinger | Leafblad, Inc. Lars will share his expertise on how to reinvigorate your communications career at IABC’s lunch event on April 25 in St. Paul. IABC recently caught up with Lars to learn more about what he will present and his advice for taking your career to the next level.

IABC-MN: How important is it to have a vision, a strategic plan if you will, for where you want to take your career? Do enough of us do it, and if not, how do we start?

Lars:  I subscribe to the belief that having a core set of values and learning mindset is more important than a strategic plan for career planning. What matters most to you? What tradeoffs are you willing to make? What do you want to be said about the mark you left on, or in, the world? Answering those questions for yourself will guide how you assess and explore the array of pathways that present themselves to you throughout your career.

What are some of the biggest mistakes that people make in advancing their careers? What are the biggest missed opportunities?

The biggest missed opportunity/mistake is waiting until you need a new job to be open to a new job. Exploring a new career opportunity from a proactive, versus reactive, vantage point is a huge strategic advantage for your career planning.

Get more useful advice from Lars at the “Reinvigorate your Career” lunch event on April 25 — Register today  

Let’s talk about job searching today. What works? What is yesterday’s news? How can people get that all-important interview, and then the next, and the next?

Face-to-face relationship building leads to the most promising and viable new career pathways. Establishing trust, credibility and rapport with a wide and diverse network is the most critical success factor for job searching.

How do you define “personal brand” and is it something important for anyone in communications to develop? If so, why?

I think of “personal brand” as the mask(s) professionals seek to wear on the stage(s) of their workplace, and as with every play, eventually it comes to an end. Humans have an incredible filter for authenticity. Be authentic. Treat others as you would wish to be treated. Be generous. Be humble. Pay it forward. Help others without expectations for reciprocity. Let your actions, not your blog posts, build your reputation.

We all know we need to network, but too many of us neglect it. What are your strategies for successful networking?

As with any approach to forming a health habit, it takes intentionality, repetition and daily goal setting. What is one action you can take daily that advances the work, knowledge or morale of someone in your network?