(5) Tips for Surviving your Career in a New Economy

It’s not just about getting a job in our new economy; it’s about keeping your job and maintaining your value in the employment market.  Instead of just looking at your job as a job, you need to assess what you want from your current career and what goals you want to accomplish.

The following are some useful tips to help you find your way in highly competitive and sluggish economy:

  • Know who you are and brand yourself.  Spend some time determining what image you want to convey to the public.  Own your image…make yourself a standout. Leverage your current skills by identifying what they are.  Are you an excellent communicator?  Are you a good detail person? Identify what your skills are that make you successful at what you are doing?  You need to know this before you can change jobs or careers.  You can only create your value if you can effectively articulate who you are and what you can provide to a networking contact, client or potential employer.
  • Create a business plan for your career.  Set up a strategy for one year, three years and five years.  This will force you to focus on what you want and need from your jobs and your career.  It will help you define the steps needed to assure your success.  Work on your organizational skills and clear out the clutter in your life that we are constantly surrounded by. Build a database of contacts that are going to give back; avoid the takers who offer nothing. Participate in social media, but do it on your own time.  My favorite for building meaningful contacts and business relationships is, LinkedIn.  They are doing all the right things by selling ads, listing jobs and making it easy for professionals to connect and share information.
  • Be the expert in your given industry.  Read, write and talk about what you do.  Stay updated by taking classes, reading trade magazines and attending seminars, conference & networking events in your industry.  It’s all about knowledge in this job market.  Many are educated and experienced in any given field, but most are not as well-read as they should be or as connected in their industries that they need to be to maintain their value in the marketplace.
  • Create a meaningful network.  Don’t fall into the trap of just adding names to your social media sites which often leads to a database of names, but no real connections.  Use these sites as a database for people you forgot about or want to re-connect with or meet, then get the info and connect, but make sure to respond privately when you are using Facebook or Twitter. Take time to build a database of contacts that you can gain mutual benefit and support in your career. Purge contacts that are no longer helpful or useful.  Over the years you need to build a database of business contacts with whom you trust and respect.  This is essential to maintaining a successful career.  Befriend an executive recruiter/staffing firm when you are employed and stay in touch with them.  Make sure to respond to their calls when they are seeking to fill a position and for referrals.  Build a relationship with a recruiter you like and trust.  They are invaluable to surviving your career.
  • Gather written referrals from bosses, colleges, and subordinates when you are not looking for a job.  Build a file on yourself, so when you do have to make a job change your “file” is current. Consider whether you are still passionate about what you do.  Passion sells…if you love what you are doing you will not only enjoy your life, but will also be more successful and fulfilled.  If you are not still engaged by what you do for a living, do some soul searching as to what kind of life you want to live and what money it takes to live that lifestyle.  Then set up a plan for yourself to get there by determining what steps you need to take.

Look at your career as part of your lifestyle.  Work on combining your job with how you want to live your life.  The average change of careers now is 3-4 in your work cycle.  You may change your job or career, yet if you follow these tips, you will remain valuable to an employer and be more self-fulfilled.


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