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Strategies To Take Control Of Your Career

A recurring theme throughout my blog is that we have to take personal responsibility for managing our careers. No one can afford to place their trust in their organizations to do this for them. This is not a cynical observation on the state of business today but rather a statement of fact based on the business world around us.

There was a great blog on the SHRM website by Lin Grensing-Pophal (www.SHRM.org) that addressed the key strategies that one needs to take to better manage their career in this uncertain and constantly changing world. The strategies listed below are consistent with the consulting advice we provide our career coaching clients:

    • Keep records and be articulate about the value that you provide in your role.
    • Network constantly – do not wait until you are in transition.
    • Get involved and increase your awareness amongst decision makers in your industry.
    • Practice interviewing and/or talking about what your value story is.

The blog is below for more detail on the topic.

Key Strategies for Perpetual Career Management

By: Lin Grensing-Pophal, SPHR
Published on www.SHRM.org blog dated 8/01/12

Employees, not their employers, are responsible for their own engagement. That's the theory of Timothy Clark, author of The Employee Engagement Mindset (McGraw-Hill, 2012), and his conclusions are worth keeping in mind as you seek experiences in the workplace that can enhance your career.

Clark says his research across various organizations and industries finds that employees who have this mindset are employees who excel. That doesn't mean that employers and managers don't play a role; they do. But, Clark says, it is a secondary role.

Career coach and author Ford R. Myers has a similar perspective that is particularly pertinent for job seekers. Myers is the author of Get the Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring (John Wiley & Sons, 2009). "Doing a good job" is no longer enough, says Myers. Instead, today's employees -- whether in or between jobs -- should adopt an approach he calls "Perpetual Career Management." Myers has identified a number of activities that can help you land that next job:

    • Keep all your career documents up-to-date -- resume, reference list, letters of recommendation, accomplishment stories, etc. -- so you'll be ready to leverage them at any point of transition, planned or unplanned.
    • Put time aside every week for active networking to maintain established relationships and develop new ones. You should always be positioned to leverage your professional and personal contacts when the need arises.
    • Join and take leadership roles in appropriate associations and trade organizations. This will boost your visibility and enhance your credibility in your industry.
    • Write articles or do presentations focused on your area of expertise in any venue -- associations, conferences, publications, online. This type of exposure demonstrates your level of "trade skill" and expertise.
    • Continue your career education and maintain your industry credentials through seminars, academic classes, lectures, professional events, conferences and new certifications/degrees.
    • Research and be aware of the competition -- whether it is information about other companies or other professionals in your industry. Always know who they are and what they're doing.
    • Offer to help people in your network even though they may not be in a position to "help you back" at this time. These people will remember your good will.
    • Practice your interviewing, negotiating and related skills on a regular basis. Don't wait until a career crisis arises to polish your job-seeking skills. You never know what's going to happen.