A reporter contacted me recently to ask my recommendations for Preparing for Unemployment: The Best Time to Plan for Job Loss is While You’re Still Working.
This is an important topic because no one can guarantee that we will not be laid off or knows when we will be looking for a new job. So, as business executive Harvey McKay says, you want to “dig your well before you are thirsty.”
In the Star Tribune article, I said the most important thing all employees can do is to stop thinking they are just their job title. Your career is more than the job you have now.
Develop long-term career goals today. Be active and aware of trends in your field. When you are thrown into a job search with little warning, you will want to know what skills and industry issues employers find important.
Here are a few more tips to prepare for a job search or career move:
Network before you need to. Networking is simply relationship building. You already know people; therefore, you already have a network. Be aware of how your contacts might be able to help you if you needed to find work.
Also, think about ways that you can help you contacts today. You can always exchange resources and information with your network to keep the lines of communication open. Exchanging helpful information is a good way to stay in touch with past coworkers and supervisors, former instructors and students, and people you met while volunteering.
Update your resume every six months or when you complete a major project. Keep an ongoing “master resume” that lists all of your jobs and activities. Be sure to include major school assignments, and long-term and one-time community projects. Cut and paste from your master list to create resumes tailored to the jobs that you apply.
Use LinkedIn as your career homepage. Unless you have a website or blog of your own, direct people to your LinkedIn page to find out about your professional experience.
In the “Summary” by your name, give a short description of who you are professionally, not your current job description. Have a professional-looking photo with your profile. In your experience, choose only the jobs and duties that fit your personal brand.
Now is the time to complete your degree, or update any certifications or credentials employers want. You might not need the credential for your current job, but not having it might keep you from getting your next job. As hard as it seems, it’s better to get the training or education you need while your employed than try to go back to school and worry about job searching at the same time.
Find out if your current employer offers tuition reimbursement or pays for training. Take advantage of employer-sponsored workshops, conferences and webinars. Use them to gain new skills and keep up on industry trends. That’s knowledge you will take with you to your next job.
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