Are You Career Ready?

Several friends are currently looking for work because of company closings and downsizing. A few friends, who are gainfully employed, have expressed concerns about shaky futures with their company.

While none of us can accurately predict the future, we can prepare for it. As someone who handles crisis routinely, I follow certain steps and procedures to ensure readiness.

The same holds true for career preparedness. Here are five steps to keep you career ready:

  1. Update your resume. I review my resume at least once a year, and sometimes more. If I join a board, earn an award, add new responsibilities, I update the resume. It’s best to do it when the information is fresh.
  2. Maintain a list of companies/dream jobs: You may have a good position at the moment, but if there is a company that you dream of working for, follow it on LinkedIn or routinely check its website. That’s what I did with my most recent position. Keep the list and review it regularly. All of my jobs came when I wasn’t necessarily looking, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
  3. Be active on LinkedIn. Speaking of LinkedIn, it’s good to keep your profile updated and to check in at least once a week to review the latest openings in your profession and to see what others are talking about. The top stories often surface during job interviews. It’s also good to share information that would be of interest to others in your network.
  4. Network. Years ago a trusted advisor encouraged me to have lunch at least twice a month with individuals within my network. I took that to heart and went so far as to track my efforts and what was discussed until it simply became part of my career habits. I regularly meet with others in my network to share ideas and best practices, to learn what they are doing, to provide connections to others and, yes, sometimes to ask for something. It’s amazing how many people you will meet with in a year if you make this part of your routine.
  5. Collect work samples. Keep copies of your output offsite. You don’t want to be scrambling on the last day to find a copy of a great press release you wrote so that you have it to share at a job interview. Be sure to also maintain a list of key contacts away from the office. It’s one of the reasons, I find LinkedIn so valuable – I can always reach someone within my network through LinkedIn even if I can’t immediately find the person’s phone number or email.

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