By Kay Whitmore, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, ACC, CPRW, https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaywhitmore/
Too many people are caught off guard by actions taken by their employer or personal events in their lives that leave their career in shambles. Many of us have health, disability and life insurance to protect ourselves and our loved ones when unexpected events happen in our lives. Can you say you’ve done the same to protect your future earning capability if you lose your job in a way that was not planned?
Here’s a few ways to protect your career so that if the inevitable occurs, you can quickly pick up the pieces and move on to your next opportunity.
- Most importantly, don’t, for one minute, think that you or your job are too valuable to your organization to be eliminated. Corporations make changes all the time, business cycles and priorities shift, and often with little notice. Too often, employees are completely blindsided.
- Keep your resume and your LinkedIn profile updated at all times. To secure your next job, you will likely need an updated resume and a LinkedIn profile that is consistent with your resume and current experience. Time is of the essence, and spending time working on your resume and profile, or hiring someone else to help you could mean the difference between you and one of your colleagues getting the next best job.
- Maintain a list of everyone you know who can connect you with your next opportunity. This is your professional network, and it is priceless. These may be people you are connected to on LinkedIn, but I’d suggest keeping a notebook or file of people you can reach out to for career connections if you are in the market for a new position. Every time you meet someone who does something of interest to you, who is connected to people you are interested in, or who works for a company you’re interested in working for, record their names and important information about them, and to the extent possible, stay in touch with them.
- Identify and keep a list of the companies where you’d like to work. If you know someone who works there, make a connection with them, and consider a networking interview with them as part of your career insurance policy. Add this information to your personal career notebook or file.
- Keep your skills up to date and learn new skills that could make you valuable to your next employer. If your employer doesn’t promote or reimburse continuous learning, consider making the investment in yourself if you can. You will likely be more valuable to your current employer and less vulnerable to changes that could put your career in jeopardy.
- Know your worth and what makes you unique. What are your special skills and interests, and how do you make a difference? Spend some time brainstorming these things and if you need help, talk with a career counselor to explore your skills and further your career exploration. With this information, you will be in a better position to communicate to others how you can add value to their organization.
Like any insurance policy, knowing you’ve taken steps to reduce the likelihood of significant career upheaval can give you peace of mind and empower you when faced with the unexpected.