Just like we wear a life vest when out on the water, have you though of taking the same approach with your career? As you plan your career and work on improving your skills and documenting progress and accomplishments so to must you take ongoing action to protect your career.
Effective career management does not mean building a moat around you career and retreating into the castle. You must take a pro-active approach and be aware of what is happening in the economy, how it impacts your industry and company.
Too often with an industry downsizing or outsourcing those affected seems surprised that it could happen to them. Yet the signs of possible future actions that would hit them were all around.
Even if you are working in a field that may be looked upon as secure (IT, engineering, etc.) they are not immune to changes, layoffs or even companies closing. Another bitter pill to swallow in managing your career is working for a company that is not growing but rather spends an inordinate amount of time counting paper clips.
If you see the possibility of negative things happening in your industry and there is a likelihood the wave will roll through your organization the time to begin to take action is well before the event.
Here are some proactive career management actions you can begin doing right now.
1. Go back over the past two years or so and organize and list all of your accomplishments. Going forward keep a current file on accolades and accomplishments. Make them quantifiable and show the benefits and value to the employer. Study the writing of a resumes and cover letters that will showcase your accomplishments.
2. Take an audit of you career related skills. Are there any gaps in your skills or something that you need to get current on? Perhaps, you’ve done some career research and you plan on changing career directions. Now is the time to plan on building appropriate skills and qualifications for the proposed new career.
3. If your industry looks like a dead-end, begin studying other related industries that can use your skills. Research other companies and organizations in your area. Don’t forget to look carefully at smaller companies, non-profits and if appropriate government agencies.
4. If you may face a change in circumstances, now is the time to look closely at your finances. Reduce debt, postpone major purchases and build a robust rainy day fund.
5. Build you network. Become more active in a career or industry related association. Start a contact data base of those in your network. Help others in their career planning and job hunting. Actions in this area now could pay dividends in the future.
6. Research and start a small home based business. There are many opportunities in this area. One started selling on eBay and earns over $1000 a month working 10-15 hours a week, another sells affiliate items and earns up to $500 a month just working a couple of evening a week. Whatever direction you take, this will improve your financial situation and give you more options. Who knows, it could grow into a full-time type income.
Now with these actions in managing and protecting your career, you will not be totally immune to layoffs and other external changes in your career, but you’ll have developed a greater measure of safety. Moreover, now your viable career management plan will put you in charge of the situation rather than your career being starved by the slow drip-drip of circumstances outside of your control.