When should you plan for a strategic career move?

When should you plan for a strategic career move?

Martin Yate CPC
NY Times Best-Seller
35 Years in
Career Management

Most people never think about strategic career moves, in fact they only think seriously about getting a new job when they suddenly find themselves out of work and looking for one. But with job security a thing of the past, you need to think more carefully about job change and the issues of career management. So whether you have hit a plateau, cutbacks are in the wind or it is just time for a change, here are some smart ideas that will help you deal with uncertainty and prepare for opportunity.

Invest in career development tools and learn how to use them – now
Invest time in your future by learning the job search and career management strategies that will give you greater control of your professional and financial destiny.  Learn to effectively brand and market yourself and your professional skills even on short notice. 
Your resume is your primary marketing tool. Keep a current resume because you never know exactly when you will next need to go into job search mode. Create an effective resume (or have a professional resume written for you)  to be prepared for the realities of the work-world, and maintain it with regular updates. 
Then put time and thought into developing an on-line profile on LinkedIn that accurately presents you to the professional community and consider some involvement with special interest groups.  Headhunters visit these groups, and so should you: it’s much better to get to know a headhunter and turn down an opportunity, than never to hear about it in the first place. Be sure your current profile headshot looks professional and is the face you would show a client or interviewer.
Connect to your profession
Most people don’t appreciate the importance of having a professional network—that is, until they are in a job search and realize they don’t have one. The lack of security in the new world of work makes professional connectivity a priority, not as a transitory demand of the job search, but as an ongoing career management responsibility.
When you connect to your professional it community means you are connecting with the most committed and best-connected people in your profession; that has to be worth a little ongoing time and effort when who you know can be so important in terms of successful career management.
Anyone can join LinkedIn and become actively involved with the profession specific groups, increasing contacts, credibility and visibility. And when you join I hope that we can connect. If you live in a metropolitan area, involvement in the local chapter of at least one professional association offers similar benefits to social networking but on a smaller scale. It puts you on a recognize-in-the street basis with connected people in your profession and local area; these are the people who can most immediately impact your career.
Boost your employability
Changing technology constantly alters the skills you need to compete, and without current skills, you are being paid for abilities that will rapidly become obsolete. You need an ongoing program of skill development to keep you employable and desirable in the job market.
One way to max your professional skills (and protect your existing job at the same time) starts with talking to your boss. Seek input for skills to develop and strategies to improve your performance. Implement the advice, and follow up informally every couple of months to share your commitment and progress. This informal follow-up keeps you visible to the people who can affect your future.
Use job postings – even when you’re not looking
Even when happily employed, keep yourself registered (with an anonymous/ sanitized resume) on appropriate job sites and resume banks. Save job opportunities you are notified about to a career management database ( See latest edition of Knock em Dead The Ultimate Job Search Guide even if that particular job isn’t available next time you are looking, another one just like it might be.
Save the jobs you come across today, and information about the job sites they come from, and next time you’ll start with a job map showing a majority of companies in your target area that typically hire professionals like you. You’ll also have knowledge of the people they like to hire and given your professional connectivity, you will probably have people to contact immediately.
So when should you plan for a strategic career move? Right now. In a professional world where the only certainty is uncertainty, being prepared with the tools to protect your professional survival and nurture your success is simple common sense.
You can start to change the trajectory of your life as soon as you take control of your career, with the careful development of the tools and skills of the new career management.

NY Times Bestseller                                                             Resume Services
35 Years in careers                                                                Webcasts
Fourteen  books                                                                    Career Management
Martin Yate
Copyright 2013
All rights reserved

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