Career Tips

Are You Doing Your Career Yard Work?

It’s that magical time of year when there is always something that needs weeding, planting and watering if a yard is to thrive. Regardless of the time spent laboring the day before, new things pop up daily demanding attention. Any guesses for how this relates to managing your professional development or job search? It’s pretty obvious.

Before I get to the career stuff, think about your own neighborhood. If it’s like mine, there is an assortment of yards.

  • The neglected (overgrown/starved) with random clutter added to the scenery…
  • The somewhat maintained that need attention, but aren’t out of sorts enough to get a visit from the Homeowners’ Association…
  • The unpredictable that might look great or terrible depending on the week…
  • The perfectly manicured with a team of outsiders visibly doing all of the work…
  • The groomed, but overdone, with so much going on what could have been appealing becomes an eyesore…
  • The inviting, interesting and well maintained with the homeowners often visible with their hands in the dirt working on maintaining and improving…

Now it’s time to think about your professional development and job search efforts in relation to the yards described above. Like a yard, successful efforts to grow professionally and to secure meaningful employment rely on property owners (that’s YOU!) consistently weeding, watering and planting skills, goals, network, work strategy and professional messaging.

Professionally speaking, my goal is always to resemble the final bullet. No matter my job search status, I’m actively engaged in making sure I’m learning new things, keeping current on what I’ve learned before and pulling out what I no longer need. Because it’s a consistent focus, I have 24/7 curb appeal, the labor involved in maintenance is manageable and on top of others finding me interesting, credible and motivated, I have an easier time viewing myself that way, too.


Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.

With 15+ years’ experience in third party recruiting, Lisa offers a balanced understanding of both employee and employer perspectives.

Lisa is a firm advocate of the networking process and considers it a vital element in a successful job search. In addition to helping job seekers develop and best utilize networking contacts, Lisa shares her knowledge and insight-gained aiding corporate recruiting efforts-to give Spartan job seekers an edge in terms of lead sourcing, resume presentation and interview strategy.

Among Lisa’s notable accomplishments: Prima Civitas Foundation Scholar; Michigan Works Association Volunteer of the Year; Pink Slip Mid Michigan Planning Committee; career content blogger.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Michigan State University.


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