5 Tips for Career Management in Uncertain Times
You’ve heard the saying “the only thing constant is change itself.” Change affects all aspects of our lives, whether economic, political, and social. Any number of factors can completely alter an employer, industry, or region, which in turn can affect your career. So how do you effectively job search or improve career stability in the midst of uncertain times? Here are five tips.
- Evaluate and Update Your Skills
Conduct a thorough assessment of your technical and non-technical skills. Compile a list of your skills and annotate your level of expertise. Reassess your list of skills every three to six months. As you evaluate your skills, examine job advertisements relevant to your target field/industry to ensure that you’re developing and maintaining skills that will be in demand. Don’t forget to build transferrable skills, as those skills could prove valuable if you need to transition to a new industry or field.
- Make Yourself Indispensable
When faced with financial hardship, employers often opt to reduce headcount to save costs. To protect yourself, it’s important to maximize your professional value. The employee who’s always willing to take on new challenges and offer new ideas is much more valuable (and safer from downsizing) than the employee who skips out of the office a few minutes early each day. You never know when circumstances beyond your control will affect your employment status. Every choice you make can impact how dispensable you are to an employer.
- Continually Maintain Your Professional Brand
By the time you actually need a new resume or updated LinkedIn profile, it’s probably too late. You’ll find yourself scrambling to get your materials together for just the perfect opportunity, for instance. Make it a best practice to revisit your career branding materials every few months to add or modify content based on your new experiences. In tumultuous times, having these core marketing tools at the ready can be a lifesaver.
- Focus on Growth Industries/Fields
Let’s face it, there are certain industries or fields that are dwindling for one reason or another, particularly as technology advances and economies change. If you’re worried about job security and professional continuity, you’ll want to identify and focus on industries or fields that show signs of growth and prosperity. Many studies indicate that aerospace, healthcare, energy, and IT are among some of the fastest growing sectors and fields, in terms of employment prospects. If you’re not already in one of these industries/fields, it might be worth your while to consider making a move to reduce career instability.
- Build a Diverse Network
Sometimes there are factors beyond your control that can impact the continuity of your career chronology. You never know when you might be thrust into a job search, so it’s critical to develop and maintain an effective network to act like a “career radar,” well before you actually need it. An active, diverse network can give you valuable intelligence about job opportunities and industry/field trends to help keep you on the right track. Ultimately, a strong network can give you better data to make more informed career decisions.
Uncertain times don’t necessarily have to negatively affect your career. You can still grow and prosper, as long as you stay ahead of the game and plan strategically.