I recently spoke at a LeanIn circle breakfast meeting about my new book Career Management: Access the Hidden Job Market. The LeanIn circle members were seven professional women from different industries (banking, oil and gas, engineering consulting, shipping) who meet once a month to discuss topics suggested via the LeanIn.org website.
One of the issues I heard about from several of the circle members was the constant restructuring in their workplaces and one asked when things would “calm down” so she would feel secure again in her permanent position. This constant state of change is something I have observed in the job market over the last few years and I hear about regularly from clients too. A candidate expressed to me the other day that he had stopped making long term career plans as things change so rapidly in the geological services business he works for. The current market reminds me of that saying “there is nothing more certain than change”.
The women at the LeanIn circle breakfast were there to strategize with each other and hear from me ways to best to manage their career in a tumultuous environment. My advice was yes, it is possible to proactively manage a career and thrive in todays job market, rather than be at the mercy of change.
At the end of the LeanIn breakfast meeting one of the women, a commercial banker at a major bank, came up to me and said “I enjoyed your talk, I have bullet proof my career by keeping my core set of analytical skills current, which I can fall back on no matter what the job market is doing”. I was impressed with this lady’s self-reliant attitude and lack of fear about what the future might bring. She had confidence in her core skills and their ability to produce her an income. As an experienced banker she has been through, and seen her clients go through several change inflexion cycles. This commercial banker wasn’t taking anything for granted though which is why she is an active networker, involved in groups such as LeanIn and keeps her ears open for the latest ways to manage her career.
Are you confident in your core skill set?
What can you do to bullet proof your career?
How are you preparing for inevitable change?
What will you do today, this week and this month to invest in your career?
Here are six things you can do immediately to proactively take charge of your career:
1. Regularly network strategically and effectively. Networks are the new companies in the social era, according to Nilofer Merchant and others.
2. Have a polished professional 10 – 30 second pitch for when you meet new people or reacquaint with previous contacts. Dorie Clark gives some great tips in her article on the art of the elevator pitch . I also really enjoyed her book, which I reference several times in my book.
3. Keep an updated CV and polished online profile at the ready.
4. Check out market updates relevant for your profession and industry.
5. Invest in yourself, as Reid Hoffman Co-founder of LinkedIn recommends in his essential guide The Start Up of You to innovating your career.
6. Learn how to access the hidden job market so you can be found for career opportunities by search consultants like me.
To find out more ways smart professionals are getting ahead in a volatile job market read my new book Career Management: Access the Hidden Job Market, available now through Amazon, iBooks or download directly from this website: