It’s no secret that the job market is tough. With so many people competing for a limited number of jobs, it can be hard to know how to best position yourself for success. The following are some of the working strategies that will give you enough boosts to build your career path:
1. Build Your Network
No matter how good you are, without the right connections, it’s hard to get a job. So get out there and meet people. Join interest groups, attend seminars, join professional associations and make friends with colleagues at work. The more connections you have, the better your chances will be of finding a new job or moving up in your career.
“Your network is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have,” says Steven Rothberg, President of Chicago-based MultiMedia Marketing. “It’s also one that just about everyone has, but few use to their full advantage.”
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. People are usually flattered you choose to ask them for advice, and they’re likely to be more willing to help than you think.
2. Go With the Flow
There are going to be times in your career when you aren’t going to have a job, whether it’s because of a re-structure or a redundancy. It’s important at these times that you keep busy. Look for ways to volunteer or take on part-time work, join a class, read industry newsletters and journals – the list of possibilities is endless. The point is to keep your name out there, working towards something.
“Your career is like any plant you might grow,” says Rothberg. “It requires attention to thrive.”
3. Don’t Panic
Panicking when you lose your job or think you might be about to lose it can actually do more harm than good. Rather than focusing your energy on finding a new job, take the time to assess your skills and experience. The results may surprise you.
“I have seen many people put their lives on hold for months because they have been out of work,” says Rothberg. “In some cases, they have lost valuable networking opportunities, which could have helped them get a new job.”
As well as losing networking opportunities, you also run the risk of becoming unemployable. If, for example, had been at your old company for more than three years, it’s likely that you had built a good network, which must be maintained.
4. Be Realistic
It’s no use setting your expectations unrealistically high in terms of salary and position, or you will find yourself continually disappointed. In fact, once you have set a basic level for what you think is fair, it might be a better idea to ask for less than what you really want. If the company agrees, you have room for negotiation.
“Don’t put all of your energy into chasing unrealistic job titles,” says Rothberg. “You’ll only over-promise yourself and then get disappointed when that new job doesn’t work out.”
For example, there are many CIO’s who wish they could be COO’s – but if you have all the skills required to be a CIO, chances are you will make a great CIO.
5. Keep Yourself Busy
It’s important that your mind is focused on something other than your current situation. Keep active and involved in things that interest you; this way, you won’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. The more active you are, the better off you’ll be because this gives you something to talk about in your interviews.
“Your resume is like anything else that goes through the wash; it will fade if it isn’t used,” says Rothberg. “So stay active and keep adding new things to your resume.”
6. Maintain Relationships
It’s important not to burn any bridges, so always maintain good relationships with the people you work for and with. Keep in contact with them even if it’s just a letter or e-mail every now again. They could one day be looking for somebody exactly like you.
“Never say no to an invitation to coffee,” says Rothberg. “This is the time to nurture these relationships.”
If you are more established in your career, it’s important that you put yourself out there and start creating new relationships. The more people know who you are, the better chance of expanding your network. And expanding your network can lead to bigger opportunities.
7. Work on Building up Your Company Knowledge
It’s important to keep up to date with the latest technologies and the ever-changing industry you work in. Read trade journals, subscribe to a newsletter, or sign up for a training course.
“Most companies appreciate employees who take an interest in their profession,” says Rothberg. “Wherever you go – try and do your homework.”
Take this opportunity to re-evaluate all of your skills and experiences. What problem-solving techniques do you naturally use? Which technology do you feel most comfortable with?
8. Keep an Open Mind
It’s important not to let pride get in the way when it comes to finding a new job. Sometimes people think that they are too good for certain jobs, but this isn’t true. No matter how good you think you are, there is always somebody else waiting in the wings to take your place.”
“You may be thinking that you don’t want to take a step back in your career,” says Rothberg. “But sometimes making lateral moves can give you valuable experience and put you in line for bigger opportunities.”
You may also find that you need to change your mindset before you can move ahead. When people are unemployed or feeling low, they tend to take the most unsuitable job, which doesn’t help them get back on track.
“If you want to carry on climbing up the ladder, then it’s time to go back down and pick up another rung,” says Rothberg.
However, this should not be seen as a career change, just a stepping stone. It may take you two or three jobs to find the right one for you.”
Here are some other tips to help you build your career path and make sure you stand out from the crowd.
9. Don’t Give Up
There are lots of reasons someone might give up on their job search. Maybe they didn’t hear back from any employers, or maybe the demands of school or family have taken over. Whatever the reason, don’t let it become an excuse to stop doing your very best. Keep your chin up and your eyes open for jobs that are a good fit for you. Employers are looking for people who show persistence in the face of obstacles, so if you keep looking, you’ll find something that’s right for you.
10. Take Advantage Of Every Opportunity
When it comes to forging your own path, every opportunity is an opportunity to succeed. Even jobs that aren’t exactly what you’re looking for can be a chance to prove yourself. Take every interview, every meeting, and every assignment as seriously as possible so you can really impress any future employers with your work ethic and skill set.
11. Broaden Your Experience
Never underestimate the value of off-duty job experience! Volunteering at school events or taking on leadership roles within an academic group can help you build your resume invaluable way. Additionally, it’s important to keep growing by learning new skills that will set you apart from other candidates.
12. Build Relationships Early And Often
The best way to get the job is to be someone’s top choice for the job, and nothing helps with that, like building relationships early on. If you know someone in the organization you want to join, spend some time getting to know them and their work. You might even consider working with them on a project or assignment so they can get to know your skillset better. The more people who see your value, the easier it will be for you when it comes time for employers to choose between two candidates.
13. Be Ready For Any Situation
Your career path is full of twists, turns, and challenges. You need to be ready for anything that might come your way, which means you should always be building up your skillset. Learning new technologies or refining old ones can make you an invaluable asset to any employer in the future.
The job market may be tougher than ever, but if you believe in yourself and put your best foot forward, good things will come. As long as you have passion, drive, and a willingness to learn, success will follow.