Caroline Dowd-HigginsYou must take responsibility for your own career future since it's not your boss's job to look out for you. Many people are blindsided by lay-offs and downsizings that are economy driven and don't have anything to do with work performance. We are all expendable so it's imperative to have a short-term and long-term plan and be in charge of your own career destiny so it never happens by default.
Here are some great tips to help you become more pro-active as you develop and implement your personal career action plan.
Network Before You Need It -- you should always be growing your professional community even when you are not job searching. Think of it as building relationships, an opportunity to stay on top of current trends, and a chance to share your strengths story and abilities with others. The hidden job market is alive and well since approximately 80 percent of jobs are still never posted. People hire who they know and trust so you must not be a well-kept secret. Get out there and meet people face-to-face so you are ready when opportunity knocks, or when you need to rally your troops for advice and counsel. Remember to be a good networker and pay-it-forward to others in need.
Have an Exit Strategy -- with mergers & acquisitions in the corporate and non-profit arena part of the new normal, you must be ready to leave on your own terms before the pink slips are distributed along with the new company letterhead. Consider where you want to go when things are going well on the job so you have the luxury of thinking clearly, without stress and can plan your next steps well in advance.
Always Tell Your Strengths Story -- men have been talking about what they do well with confidence for decades and women lag far behind in promoting themselves. You must be your own best self advocate and learn to talk about what you do well so you can articulate your unique special sauce and professional worth. Consider the humble confidence mindset so you can brag comfortably in your own skin about the accolades you have earned. Remember nobody gave you these success stories -- you worked your tail off to earn them.
Keep Your Resume/Portfolio Current -- things change fast so you need to have your resume/CV or professional portfolio polished and ready when opportunity knocks or when you find yourself in job search mode. Share your documents with trusted advisors to get their feedback on what your professional persona is on paper and how effective your materials are at showcasing you at your best. Seek out the services of a professional resume writer if you need expert assistance.
Don't Rely on Your Boss to Grow Your Career - More advice and complete article
Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book "This Is Not the Career I Ordered" and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name (www.carolinedowdhiggins.com) She is also the Director of Career & Professional Development and an Adjunct Faculty member at Indiana University Maurer School of Law.
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