Do you believe… “My job is secure because [fill in the blank].” “I’m stuck because I have no marketable skills.” “My boss is looking out for me.” “I can ride a few more years before I retire.”
Whether you have two or twenty years of work experience, YOU are the person who cares most about your career and job security. You cannot afford to remain passive about it. All jobs change. Here are 2 ways you can take full advantage of opportunities to strengthen your career security.
Pay attention to the trends in your profession, your industry as well as your organization.Your job title may be unique to your organization. But your profession is found in many organizations. These organizations make up an industry. For example, your job title is ‘resource analyst’ however your profession could be Accounting. Most organizations have an Accounting function. Organizations that produce similar products or services are considered to be an industry – Health Care, Education, Housing, Agriculture and Food Services being prime examples.
What are the issues of the day? How are things such as regulations, policies, funding, technology driving your work? Who are the key people and decision-makers? Set your news alerts to get updates on your industry and primary organizations in your area. You’ll get valuable information to share and make better decisions.
The 2nd step is to clearly and thoroughly inventory your skills, knowledge and personal characteristics. You have technical skills (things you know how to do for your job and profession), functional skills (basic reading, writing, mathematics, and computer skills) and transferable skills (your people, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, research and data analysis, project management and organization skills). The result will be an impressive combination that is uniquely yours.
Share this list with at least 3 people who know you well from work and your friends. Ask them to verify add or delete things from their perspective. This can be very eye-opening to learn how they see you. Not only may they discover more of your skills, but they can make you more aware of valuable skills you take for granted. Both of these can lead to conversations about different work opportunities. You’ll see areas of strength and, maybe a few obsolete or gaps of a skill or characteristic you’d like to work on. One thing we’ll continue to hear is to update our skills to be ready for the next change in our career. What skills can you use in a different way or in a different context? It may be like word games trying to form new words from a variety of letters. Combine skills and knowledge that don’t typically go together – have fun with it!