Do you know why any job exists? Strip away all the window dressing and at its core, all jobs exist for one reason: to identify, prevent and solve problems within its area of responsibility, in order to help the company make money, save money or otherwise improve productivity.
Make 2014 the year you see yourself and your work in this light: You are a problem solver with a particular area of expertise. And you resolve to:
- Execute every aspect of your work in ways that anticipate, identify and reduce the occurrence of the problems that typically plague your week.
- Execute your responsibilities in ways that show respect for the responsibilities of others, both within your department and elsewhere, who in turn must deal with the product of your work.
- Address the problems and challenges that occur within your areas of responsibility in an efficient, professional, timely and good-natured manner.
- Learn something from the problems you tackle every day, that will help you improve personal productivity by anticipating preventable problems, and lessening the impact of the unpreventable ones.
Stay Current and Connected
Unfortunately, technology constantly changes the skills you need to do your work. If you are not consistently developing new skills, you are being paid for abilities that are rapidly becoming obsolete; a situation that can cost you this job and your ability to find another.
There are many ways to protect your job and boost your employability, but first steps should always involve self-analysis and a talk with your boss.
There isn’t a boss in the world that doesn’t appreciate a staffer asking for guidance about ways to improve skills and performance. Implement the advice you receive, and follow-up informally every 6-8 weeks to communicate both your progress and your commitment. Informal, but consistent, follow-up keeps you on the radar of those who matter.
In every department and company there is an inner circle and an outer circle, and these are the ways you make it into the inner circle; that place where plum assignments, raises, promotions and job security all live.
What if I Don’t Like My Job?
Change happens; successful careers don’t. Leaving a job has to be more than a reflex reaction to an employer you dislike. The grass isn’t always greener. Your next move should a strategic one, made with careful planning and encompassing the widest possible array of choices.
Once you’ve made the commitment to look for the right opportunity, set a plan in motion to make it happen, but don’t be precipitate. Take the time to build a firm foundation for a successful transition. While you build, commit yourself making a real difference at your current job. The days will go more quickly, and you will be able to interview for that dream job with greater confidence and more pride in your professionalism.
If Change is Inevitable, Do Your Homework
Determine a target job, and research job postings and employers in your target area; in the process, start building a database that includes both job descriptions and company profiles. The easiest way to start building a comprehensive database of local employers and jobs is to register at a number of relevant job sites and create profiles that define your needs. You will then automatically receive e-mail notification of matching jobs. These job openings will form the basis of a comprehensive database of companies in your area that hire people like you. You will add to it by regularly visiting the websites of companies you identify, collecting additional job postings that reflect your target job.
Your ability to find jobs throughout your career depends on the desirability of your skill-set. So, as you collect job postings, cross-reference the skills, licenses, and accreditations to see which are in the widest demand, and therefore could increase your marketability. Then take the time to develop these in-demand skills.
Network Effectively – Both On and Off-Line
Networking can be the most useful way to find professional opportunities, assuming of course that you have built networks relevant to your career needs. You goal is to know and be known by all the players in your profession, industry, and location.
Invest in a Professionally Written Resume
Your resume is the most financially important document you will ever own.. Your old resume simply won’t cut it in the new world of work, so you need to learn how to write one that will work, or find a reputable professional resume service writer to do it for you.
Resolve to invest in your work and the future of your career with these priorities in mind for success in 2014 and beyond.