The job market is a
little dicey these days, and you need to be career savvy in order to keep your
job, or get into a new one.
So how can you
bullet proof your career so that you stay in high demand with people who could
potentially hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you?
A new client I’ll
call “Shawn” recently called me and said that he had gone through a
change in management which resulted in losing his 7-year position as a Leading
Program Manager of a prestigious high tech company.
He told me that
after one year of searching, he had taken the “only job he could get” which was
working part-time in the IT department for another company. After talking for a
few minutes, it became painfully clear why Shawn wasn’t able to get back on his
- Keep yourself marketable. Shawn shared that the high tech
industry was starting to require a project management certification for
project and program managers. However,
Shawn wasn’t stepping up to get the required training.What he WANTED was to get re-hired as a Program Manager, and then have the
new company pay for his certification. What he GOT was two years sitting on the bench without a job.
Never let your career sit on a shelf longer than 6-months. Never! Keep
the same drive and discipline that you had when you were employed.
Get focused. Get a plan. Make it happen. Wallowing isn’t allowed.
Instead, seek out opportunities to keep yourself marketable. Use your
“in-between” jobs time to get advanced training and education to
help advance your career. Consider expanding your skillset by
freelancing or consulting. Join an association’s Board of Directors, or
minimum, a committee. These strategies will help keep you visible,
your network, and keep yourself marketable.
- Fish where the fish are. Another mistake Shawn was making was
not having a solid job search strategy. Where are your potential
employers? Find out by reading trade magazines, industry publications,
company websites and classified ads in your local newspapers to learn
which industries are hiring, which companies are hiring, and what the hot
jobs are.Start attending industry conferences, trade shows, business networking
events and association meetings. Also, join professional
networking sites such as LinkedIn.com (you can connect to me!) to get
connected to industry leaders and company decision makers. Make it a
priority to get connected, and stay connected, to people who can inspire
you, hire you, or introduce you to potential employers.
- Be a resource to others. Never give the impression that
you’re hungry for a job. Instead, you want to be seen as someone who
drives initiatives, solves problems and leads teams. This is one
reason why you want to consult, freelance, or volunteer while you’re in
between jobs. Get personal with your professional network. Send out links to
reports, case studies, press releases and websites that you think might
interest those in your network. Invite them to business networking
events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers. Influencers
are drawn to those who are resourceful.
- Give your resume the “it” factor. When it comes to resumes – looks are
everything! If you’ve been applying for jobs that you’re qualified
for, but you’re not getting the interviews, then you need a stronger
resume.Hiring managers can have stacks and stacks of resumes piled high on their
desk which means that if your resume doesn’t have the “it”
factor – you’re toast. Don’t lose out on a great job because your
resume doesn’t stand up against your competition. Instead, invest in
resume critique. You’ll get specific strategies based on your goals,
strengths and accomplishments to get the attention of hiring managers and
put yourself in high demand!
- Consider Hiring a Career Coach. Everyone
has career bumps, so it’s completely normal to be stuck sometimes. The important thing is to have a strong
support system in place of mentors and career coaches who can offer
support and guidance. A great career coach can give you
the tools, support, and a step-by-step roadmap to help put your career
back on track. Making an investment in a career coach means investing in
yourself and your career, and could result in cutting your search time by
as much as 50-percent, plus MORE money in your pocket with a higher
The point is that if you’ve been
unemployed or at a lower level position for longer than six months, then you
need to shake things up! Try
different career strategies and start thinking outside the box. And never, ever
give up your drive, ambition and courage that it takes to move your career
Your job is out
there waiting for you. You just need to go get it!