Today begins day one of a shutdown for thousands of federal employees and government contractors…definitely not a good Tuesday!
More importantly, the impact to the economy is hard hitting…a harsh, but sobering reminder that more often than not, our careers are vulnerable to unexpected changes and setbacks.
Normally, I would use this Tuesday to share some of my top career articles, but I think it’s only fitting that I address strategies for building a “recession-proof” career. If you have been following me long enough, you know that I am a big proponent of proactive career management.
So here are few things to keep in mind to make sure you are ready for career challenges:
Have a clear vision for your career
It is fruitless to have a career master plan if you don’t have a clear vision of where you want to be in the future. Wherever your aspirations are taking you from executive director of a large non-profit organization to managerial role in the public sector or CEO of your own company, develop a career blueprint. Consider where you want to be in terms of a career not just a job.
- Where do you want to be in 12 months to three years?
- Are you in the right place for personal growth that aligns with your long-term career goals?
- What will it take in terms of education, experience, advanced training, projects to get you to the next level?
Clarify your executive brand
What true career success? Know your value, identify your brand and spread the word. There are things that you do better than anyone else and it translates to incredible value for employers. Understanding your value proposition allows you to outcompete for higher paying positions, get access to high-profile projects and get recommendations for internal career opportunities.
- How can you become a trusted source in your industry?
- How are you consistently providing solutions to your company’s pressing issues?
- What are your company’s greatest needs within your company for the next six to twelve months and how can you position yourself to be a key source?
Don’t wait until you are in a career crisis to being building your personal brand; make yourself well known and visible throughout your company and industry.
Build your network and create a following
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or corporate executive, your success is tied to a strong, vibrant and growing personal and professional network. At the end of the day, it’s who you know AND what you know that will open doors for you. Being comfortable in your career and loving your company is no excuse for neglecting your network.
- Volunteer for internal and external company events and contribute to special projects as much as possible.
- Take advantage of public speaking opportunities at conferences, trade shows and industry events.
- Join and participate in professional and industry associations outside your company.
Become a lifelong learner
Stay abreast of industry trends, increase your competitive advantage and expand your knowledge to avoid becoming “obsolete” in your career. Develop an annual training plan and make a personal investment in your career growth or solicit company sponsorship.
- Identify the key skills, new technologies or current trends most important to your company and industry
- Use annual conferences and local networking/business events as avenues for informal educational opportunities
- Research appropriate e-courses, training catalogues for new classes that will benefit your career goals.
When was the last time you faced a career crisis? How did you handle it?