While much of our work at Career Horizons involves helping folks who are actively in transition, and between jobs, we remain just as committed to helping professionals manage their careers effectively on an ongoing basis. In fact, we routinely advise some of our alumni on the steps necessary to ensure they maintain peak marketability and enjoy a steady stream of employment options, going forward.
Along these lines, we’d offer five tips for those working (or soon-to-be-working) professionals who are seeking to develop more effective “career management habits” and inoculate themselves as much as possible against future periods of unemployment:
1. Each month, make a point to have lunch with someone in a position to hire you (I’ll confess, I stole this tip from a business acquaintance, but it’s a great one, nonetheless!)
2. Keep your profiles fully updated on LinkedIn, Zoominfo, TheLadders, and any other job boards or social networking websites that recruiters use to find “passive” candidates in your field; also, while maintaining a fully-updated resume at all times is probably overkill, at least keep a running list of your key projects/accomplishments so that you can update your resume in a hurry if the need arises
3. Once per quarter, jump on Indeed.com and review a representative slate of job opportunities related to your industry and professional field; pay attention to any skills, keywords, and qualifications you uncover that you don’t fully understand or have direct experience in, since these might signal important “knowledge gaps” you’ll want to address in order to stay marketable to future employers
4. Make a concerted effort to build a professional reputation (and contact network) for yourself outside of your current company; if you fall back into the trap of allowing all of your relationships to be internally-focused, and never build bridges for yourself outside of the office, you’ll be at considerable risk should a sudden career setback or downsizing event occur
5. Last but not least, practice good karma; in other words, do as many favors for people as possible while you’re in position to do so, since the more you “pay it forward” and build up good will among those around you, the more you’ll be able to withdraw from this bank of social capital when the time comes that you, yourself, require some assistance
Bonus 6th Point:
6. After penning the five points above, a former client of ours shared an innovative step he’s taken in his own career to improve his long-term networking and career management efforts; he used the LinkedIn system to locate and reach out to a number of his professional peers around the country who work in his same specialized field (software licensing management), and then he organized these folks into a “virtual peer group” to share ideas, tips, and topical information; now THAT’S a great example of smart, creative thinking and how to practice proactive career management in the 21st Century!