Design Your Career Destiny So It Doesn’t Happen by Default
While unemployment rates are deceptively low, job layoffs, company re-organizations, and downsizing are ubiquitous. Perhaps you are pursuing a new opportunity to align with a better work culture or a higher salary. As the Greek philosopher Herclitus said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” My question to you is, are you ready for it?
As an executive coach, I advise my clients to have a growth, or exit strategy always in the works even if you are blissfully happy in your current role. You should design your career destiny so it doesn’t happen by default and have a plan if your employment situation should change suddenly. Here are 5 strategies that can help empower you on the job – whatever changes may come your way:
- Have Your Resume/ LinkedIn At the Ready. There’s tremendous power in having a resume that’s ready to go at a moment’s notice, as well as a LinkedIn profile that’s fully fleshed out and current – even if you don’t plan on leaving your job any time soon. The update process can help you take stock of what you do and do well, and, as a result, you’ll have a renewed level of confidence that’s beneficial whether you stay in your current job or suddenly need to start interviewing.
- Network Before You Need It. If you haven’t connected in a while, touch base with former bosses and co-workers, satisfied customers, colleagues from trade or volunteer organizations – anyone you consider to be a part of your network. Authentically reaching out on a regular basis (as opposed to only when you need something) will help create a reliable source of support and reference – especially if you need to make a job or career change. Keeping in touch at least every four months helps to keep your network fresh.
- Think Like An Entrepreneur. Reid Hoffmann and Ben Casnocha, authors of The Start-Up of You, stress the importance of approaching every job with an entrepreneurial mindset – regardless whether you have your own business or work for an organization. By staying relentlessly curious, on the cutting edge of best practices, and a passionate problem-solver – as entrepreneurs must routinely be – you strengthen your skills and marketability should you need to make a change.
- Manage Up. Many of my coaching clients fear they’ll be seen as braggarts if they promote themselves within their office or beyond. While that’s understandable, informing managers and colleagues, both within and outside of your organization, of your accomplishments, with humble confidence, can open up new doors and plant seeds for future success. If you don’t tell them, they may never know. You are your own best PR agent and sharing your well-earned wins could lead to sponsorship by someone interested in your career growth.
- Be a Thought Leader. Write a blog, start your own You Tube channel, contribute articles to trade publications. When you get your name and ideas out into the world, you’re building a strong foundation beyond your current job/ place of employment. You become known as an authority in your field – helping open new doors if a job change is required.
I encourage you to expect the best, but be prepared for anything when it comes to job security. Having a growth or exit strategy in place can give you added confidence, as well as tremendous peace of mind.