Today’s post is in honor of Job Action Day, a blogging event organized by Quintessential Careersto encourage service-oriented articles and blog entries that provide workers and job-seekers with information, ideas and concrete steps that they can take to secure their futures — both in the short-term and the long-term.
Secure your future for the short- and long-term – a tall order in today’s turbulent, fast-changing economy. According to former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley, the top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 may not have existed in 2004. (Hat Tip: The Creative Career.) How can you thrive professionally when keeping up seems about as easy as holding water in your bare hands?
While there is much we as individuals cannot control (e.g., the stock market, whether or not the industry we chose for our career will thrive in tomorrow’s economy and if layoffs will be necessary in our company), careerists still have a lot of power. My advice for those who expect thrive in today’s marketplace…
Seize control of what you can! Don’t be a victim of circumstances. Drive your own career bus. Steps to take:
- Draw your own career map.
- Design your vehicle.
- Take the keys and start the ignition.
- Don’t let fear drive you.
- Back out carefully, but do get rolling…
Draw Your Own Career Map
Identify your goals. You can’t get anywhere until you decide the destination! Stop and evaluate. What characteristics and traits make you special? What are you (or do you hope to be) known for in your field?
Review trends and industries with career potential. See if there are matches between your skills and interests and the fields and organizations most likely to have opportunities. If not, consider re-focusing slightly without altering your dream.
When setting your goals, be open to the possibilities that new industries provide. Consider the glass “half full.” Instead of cursing a business with a shrinking job market, be willing to re-adjust, re-tool and re-train to take advantage of possibilities coming down the road.
Design Your Vehicle – Brand YOU!
Once you identify a destination, you need to drive there! Take the time and effort necessary to learn how to position yourself as the expert in your field of choice. Use all of the tools at your disposal to create a “vehicle” (your brand) that will drive you where you want to go.
If you haven’t looked for a job in a while and/or aren’t tuned in to managing your “digital footprint” – what comes up when someone “Googles” your name – it’s time for a quick lesson in social media. The long and the short of it is this: an online presence is key to how people will perceive you. Presenting yourself well both online and in person will help open doors that seemed closed to you.
Dan Schawbel, Personal Branding Expert, suggests these steps to get you started: “Buy yourname.com to secure your brand, make a video resume, start a WordPress blog, use Google Reader, participate (comment on blogs and link to them), get on Facebook and LinkedIn, network and more.”
The key is to become the “go to” person in your field. When you leverage your expertise online and become part of the social networking community, doors will open that you otherwise would never have even considered knocking on!
Take the Keys!
The key to a successful career is to network generously. There is nothing more important or more useful than networking. In our digital, Web 2.0 world, success will depend more and more on your ability to broaden your professional circles and to reach out to a diverse socio-economic group of people representing a mix of opinions and beliefs. Professionals who habitually introduce people who otherwise may not meet earn goodwill and reputations as valuable resources and colleagues. Become that professional to help you overcome obstacles to career success.
Start the Ignition – Communicate Your Value
Your ability to promote, communicate and connect your value to colleagues and superiors is crucial. Hone this “soft” skill – practice your writing, emailing, speaking, interviewing and presenting skills. Join Toastmasters. Make a point to learn how to communicate well. There is no doubt that the superior communicator in a field has the best chance to win the job. When you can articulate why your role is vital, you will certainly help secure your future.
Confidently Forge Ahead – Start Rolling
Adjust your rear-view mirrow, but keep your eyes on the road! Move forward with your plans knowing that you DO control your career. Is it as easy as reading these steps? No, but if you follow this plan, you will be on your way to managing your job hunt and/or your career with finesse and aplomb!
Have other ideas to help empower job seekers and workers? Please share them in the comments. I also invite you to review an updated list of Job Action Day participants and to visit their blogs.
You’d love to drive your own career bus, but it sounds like a lot of work? I can help you! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how to get your career bus moving in the right direction!
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photo by gwen