It’s Time to Bullet-Proof Your Career!

Nervous about your career?  

In today’s increasingly volatile economy, it’s more important than ever to be prepared for any kind of change, should your career take a turn for the worst. 

From a layoff, to a demotion, to a change in your job role – it happens to everyone! And I know from personal experience that when you are prepared for change – you’re more likely to rebound quicker and faster!

Below are five things you can do RIGHT NOW to bullet-proof your career and keep yourself in high demand in today’s job market…
 

  1. Invest in a professionally written resume. Think your resume is good enough?  Think again.  The unemployment pool is getting bigger and your resume must be in the top 2-percent to get noticed. 

    Imagine that a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity comes up and you have one shot to get your resume in front of the hiring manager.  Will your resume help you, or hurt you?  Invest in a professionaly written resume.
     

  2. Create an “Interview Prep Kit” including a polished portfolio, briefcase and power suit.  Make sure you’re prepared for an interview, by having a hefty sample of your best work available including reports, strategic plans, proposals, campaigns or presentations that you created.  This helps validate your successes and what you can do for the next company that hires you.

    Also, invest in interview coaching so you’ll know how to answer those tough questions, and what to say to close the deal. 

    Finally, don’t wait until the night before your interview to go suit shopping.  Make sure you have a smart looking briefcase, power suit, and matching shoes so that you make a great impression when you walk into a room.  You’ll need these for business networking events, plus all of your interviews!
     

  3. Make a list of your high powered references.  Start identifying those who could give you a strong professional recommendation.  Go after those managers and executives with the highest title, biggest influence, and work for the most prestigious companies. 

    If you’ve lost touch with someone on your list, start searching them out now. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.com makes it easy to find past colleagues.  Also, consider who you WANT on your list and start looking for opportunities to get connected. 
     

  4. Build a deep and wide professional network.  Don’t wait to start networking – do it now. Send your contacts links to videos, reports, case studies, press releases and websites that you think may interest them.  Invite them to business networking events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers.  Career influencers (those who could hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you) are drawn to those who are resourceful and well connected.

    Make sure you have updated contact information including e-mail address and phone numbers.
     

  5. Develop Your Plan “B”.  What kind of work could you do to generate income if you lost your job right now?  Could you freelance or start consulting?  Would you prefer to work part-time while getting some specialized training or advanced education to help you come back better and stronger?

    Your Plan B is a back-up plan that should include a career strategy, as well as a finance plan with monthly costs you’re prepared to cut immediately if the worst should happen.

Remember, hope is not a strategy.  Nobody else is going to own and drive your career.  It’s yours, and yours alone, to manage. 

By having the right strategies and plans in place, you’ll be better equipped to manage through any career change, as well as come back faster and stronger! 

Your Assignment… 🙂

Start creating your Plan “B” in case you need to make it your Plan “A” 🙂

Start thinking about your next career move. exploring all of the opportunities around you. If you want to change into a freelance or consulting role then create a plan that defines financial budgets, marketing strategies and potential customers.  If you want a new job role, then research companies who are hiring and what their requirements are for that job.  Make a plan on how to fill any skillset gaps with experience or training. 

If you’re feeling ‘stuck’ and not sure what you want to be when you grow up 🙂  then read the business journal, trade magazines, industry publications and your local newspaper to see what kinds of jobs are available and what inspires you. Also, start talking to past and present colleagues, clients and those in your network to learn about their job. 

The point is to become proactive in your career.  Get prepared for any change so that you can rebound quicker and faster, and get into a career that inspires you! 🙂

Which Season is Your Career In…?

I recently had a client, David, who after 15+ years of employment, advancement and promotions with the same company, found his career at a standstill.  His manager encouraged him to stay put because opportunities may be on the horizon, but with downsizing and layoffs happening across other departments David saw a bleak future ahead of him and decided to take control of his career and look for a new job.

Like many people in David’s situation, career changes can be difficult to face.   But career changes are a part of life.  And the quicker you can recognize change and make adjustments in your career, the easier and more successful your career will be.

Just like the weather, careers have seasons.  The springtime is like starting out in a new job.  Everything is fresh, new, and exciting.  The summer is when you hit your stride, you’re confident, making significant contributions, and your job is actually FUN!

During the fall, you’re a seasoned veteran in your comfort zone and an expert in your role.  Strangely, this is also the time when many professionals and executives begin thinking about a career change.  Some become antsy for a new challenge or a bigger step up the corporate ladder to change into a deeper, more meaningful career.

David was in the winter season of his career.  This is the final phase of your job when you realize that change is inevitable, and that you must move on. 

Whether you find yourself being pushed out of the nest due to corporate mergers or downsizing, or you’ve made the decision for change on your own, the quicker you recognize and respond to change, the quicker you can take control and get your career on the RIGHT track.

Most professionals change careers 4-7 times during their lifetime.  For David, it was his 3rd,  and I’m happy to say that he navigated through the storm beautifully.  We created a step-by-step career transition plan and within just a few weeks he was considering job offers from two different companies.

 

If your career is in a fall or winter season, then here is your assignment…

Start exploring all of the opportunities around you. If you’re currently employed, then consider taking on new projects or joining teams that excite you or at minimum, help strengthen a skill and boost your resume. 

Also, beef up your professional network by attending industry conferences, training seminars, and business networking events to talk to other professionals and discover new career opportunities. Learn about the skills and qualifications required to move into those new jobs.

If you’re feeling ‘stuck’ and not sure where you want to go or how to get there, invest in a few personal career coaching sessions with a qualified career coach.   

The point is to take control of your career.  Identify which season you’re in and if it’s time for a change – then get on with it.  Do the work necessary to get through the storm and you’ll find that your career (and your life) welcome a fresh new start.

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Need a few gift ideas this holiday season?  Here are a few gifts to help someone on your list jump start their new career –

  • The”Six Week, Six Step Career Change Program” – includes the “Career Change Boot Camp” 2-CD program, the e-book “Interviewing Smart – Insider Secrets to Getting the Job“, professional, customizable and proven resume templates, and “The Salary Compensation Guide” to help you negotiate the best deal for you!
  • The “Career Change Boot Camp Program” –   a complete do-it-yourself self study program that includes step-by-step strategies, tools and resources to help you change careers quickly and easily.  Includes 2 CD’s, eWorkbook and transcripts so you can get started immediately!
  • Sherri’s new book, “THE BOUNCE BACK – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback.”  Available in hardcover and Kindle formats on AMAZON and Barnes & Noble.  
  • Book, “CAREER SMART – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” – on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books!  Available in hardcover, Kindle and audio on AMAZON and Barnes & Noble.  

Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of The Bounce Back and Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand. “ Get more tips and strategies on how you can bounce back from a layoff, re-org, bad manager or other career threatening setback in Sherri’s new book, “The Bounce Back” now available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE. You can download three FREE chapters of THE BOUNCE BACK at http://www.MyBounceBack.com