Wednesday, October 3, 2012

You’ve Got the Job . . . Now What? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Tips for Staying Marketable

Many job seekers with whom I have worked have asked this question: 
    "How do I ensure that I am never laid off again?"
      Of course, the truthful answer is “You can’t.”  

Congratulations!  You have landed your new job.
But, unfortunately, you can never ensure that you will not be looking for another new job again.  Such is the employment marketplace of the 2000's.

Gone are the days when companies and organizations hired employees for the long haul, and an effective and productive worker could count on many years of employment with the same firm.  The pace of change companies face in order to stay viable just doesn’t allow them to guarantee long tenures for their employees when they themselves don’t know what their firm will look like a few years down the road.

So it is futile for an employee to seek a position which will last a lifetime.

However, I think there is a better question for job seekers who have landed their next role to ask.  It is: “How do I ensure that if I am faced again with losing my job, I am in the best position to find another job  – and sooner rather later?”  What we are really talking about in answering this question is how to best manage your career.

“How do I ensure that if I am faced again with losing my job, 
I am in the best position to find another job  – and sooner rather later?”

Managing Your Career? . . . or . . . Just Doing Your Job?
We’ve all heard that you need to pro-actively manage your own career.  Yet, when it comes down to it, many if not most job seekers who land their new job go right back to their old habits:  Nose to the grindstone  –  working hard, putting in the hours, going the extra mile and then some.  This approach is not Managing Your Career; it is simply doing your job.   This approach didn’t protect you from losing your previous job and it won’t eliminate the possibility that you could lose your new job either.

No one would argue that in your new position, you need to do an excellent job.  That’s a given just to keep it!  However, I would argue that you need to do more!

You need to do more than just your job
Over the course of your job search, you learned a lot about how the employment world works.  You learned about how to market yourself.  You developed marketing tools to showcase your capabilities, experience and accomplishments.  You attended professional events and association meetings.  You developed new contacts and renewed old ones.  You brushed up old skills, gained new knowledge, and may have even secured new credentials.  You developed a new set of work habits that have to do with managing your own career.  What you need to do now is keep it up!

Keeping up your new-found marketability
 One of my last messages to my clients who have worked so hard and finally landed their new position is don’t let your new found knowledge about what keeps you marketable wane.  Should the unthinkable happen, and you find yourself on the employment market again, you will be better positioned to find a new position if you keep up your new habits. 

10 TIPS to put on your Career Management TO DO List:
1.  Manage your own career.
No one will manage it for you – no matter what they say – “they” being the companies who hire you that promise they will do so. 

2.  Expect change.
It can happen again, and probably will, in the course of your career.  Don’t let it surprise you. 

3.  Manage your public professional “profile.”
I am referring to the profile you established during your search in which you:
  • Developed marketing tools to showcase your capabilities, experience and accomplishments.  Keep your marketing tools current. 
  • Achieved visibility by attending and participating in professional events, conferences, and association meetings.  Stay visible in your profession. 
  • Developed a network of new contacts and renewed old ones.  Stay in touch. 
  • Enhanced your skills and knowledge.  Keep learning and document it.
Continue all of these worthwhile pursuits.

4.  Manage your internal company professional “profile.”
Use the same networking skills you learned in your job search internally within your new company.   (See Tip #3.)  Knowing people inside your firm who know, respect, like, and see you as a contributor can lengthen your longevity in the firm. 

5.  Develop and build your physical portfolio.
Just as an artist can always demonstrate their work by showing their portfolio, you should develop yours.  Fill your portfolio with physical evidence of your accomplishments, including such items as e-mails recognizing the caliber of your work, key reports, commendations from the employer or customers, recommendations you gave the company that were adopted, awards & rewards, excellent performance reviews, etc.    
Strong hint: Keep a complete copy of your portfolio in your home office as well as your work office. 

6.  Weekly, make a note of your activity and accomplishments.
Pick a time each week to review the week’s work:
  • Note what you achieved.
  • Note where you feel short and what you intend to about it.
  • And note what’s next on your Business Agenda.
Clients often pick late Friday to do this weekly review.  Importantly, write it all down!  This is a great habit to get into.  Doing this, you will never again have to try to remember your accomplishments when it comes time to sell yourself in your new resume, your annual performance review, or your annual argument for why you deserve a raise!

7.  Update your resume quarterly!  No exceptions!
Make a date with yourself, and put it on your calendar, that you will sit at your desk, in your home office, and update this all-important document.

8.  Be observant and Recognize hints of change
I can not stress strongly enough that you recognize hints of change in your company, industry, geographic locale, and profession and don’t ignore these hints of change.  Most of the time, clients who swore the layoff or downsizing was a “complete surprise,” later admit to me that they did notice some changes but chose to ignore these warning signs.  Heed the early warning signs and head off change at the pass!

9.  Develop your presentation skills
A key skill for keeping and getting a job.  Good presenters are of value to a company.  Good presenters, who are speaking at an event or conference, are known to have gotten job offers just by doing so.  Happened to me!

10.  Stay physically fit.
Many job seekers tell me that this was the first time they actually had time to practice a physical fitness routine.   Keep us this good habit!  To exude good physical fitness is attractive to prospective employers!

Following these 10 Tips is your best insurance that you will be viewed as a MVP inside your company and as a potential MVP by hiring firms!

For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
 ____________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path
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