This past week, I wrote a blog on how different corporate roles are today, than they were for our parents. I received very good feedback on this posting, so I decided to continue the thread this week with a few thoughts on what we should be doing to address these changes. To read the first half of this article, follow this link.
If you agree with the premise that your job is much different today than it was for your parents generation, or for yourself when you entered the job market, or even 5 years ago – then what should you do about it? In my opinion, you should immediately take the following steps:
1) Build your business network – We hear it over, and over again, “You need a personal network”. However, most people don’t really understand what this means, and very few actively build and maintain one. It isn’t until we are between jobs that we realize how important our network is. It is critical to have a strong support system when you are “in-transition”, yet this is the hardest time to start building one. I have written previously on this topic, so rather than repeating myself, please visit my blog post on “Building Strong Business Relationships”.
2) Always Consider Yourself “In-Transition” – Statistically, business professionals change jobs every 18 to 36 months. This could be due to upward mobility (you got a better job), or due to rightsizing (you got laid off). You should consider every full-time project a consulting engagement, because that is what it is. You are brought in “to turn the company around”, “to create a new department”, or “to move the startup to a possible exit”. Your role is not a career, but rather a consulting project when you think about it. As they say, “full-time employees are just between ‘transition’ stages”.
3) Create a New Role – Traditional jobs are becoming scarce. You need to think differently, and in many cases, create a role for yourself within a company. New roles are evolving all the time. Who was hiring a “social media” expert five years ago? Think of all the people giving seminars on LinkedIn today? Your new role may not have existed the last time you were in search mode. Think creatively and look for unconventional opportunities (e.g., remote employment, consulting, etc.) – your competition is.
4) Consider a “portfolio income” – More and more people have income from four or five different sources. They work part-time in a company, but also consult and have their own business. They may be an advisor or a member of a board of directors, but also write for trade publication. Don’t be opposed to having several smaller incomes that result in a comfortable lifestyle.
5) Build your personal brand – This is probably the most important thing you can do. It is a broad topic and I promise to dedicate an entire post to it shortly (Update: This posting is now available here). Think about the value you bring to a company, and begin to determine how you want to position yourself in the market. Whether you are a sales executive, a CFO or an office manager, you need to position yourself as an expert to your target market. This can be done online (e.g., blogs, websites, Twitter, Facebook) or in-person (e.g., industry networking events, speaking opportunities) or through traditional media (e.g., published articles). There are many tools available to build your brand. However, without an established brand in the market, it is very difficult to sell yourself when you are in transition.
What other actions are you taking to prepare yourself for the new job market?
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