Whether you’re a Baby Boomer, a Generation X’er, or part of Generation Y, you need to treat your career as a business.
The days of finding a job and staying there for your entire career ended with my father’s generation. My dad needed to manage work relationships and his own performance, but he didn’t have to manage his career. I’m going to give you five ways to start managing your career right now.
- Create a LinkedIn profile. At the very least, do this one thing. It will pay off for years. If you’re trying to get away from hourly positions and into salaried roles, you won’t be able to do it without a profile here. If this is brand new to you, keep it simple but proofread it many times to make sure you don’t have a single spelling or grammar error.
- Make a list right now of other companies you’d consider working for. Keep that list in a drawer or in Google Documents or wherever you like to store things. If something happens to your job, this is your go-to source of encouragement and early action.
- Invest in your career by taking a course or reading a business book. I can’t stress this enough. Responsibility for your professional growth and development belongs to you, not your employer. If you decide to take your career to a new place of employment, keeping your learning skills sharp will help you tremendously during the interview phase (you’ll stand out from your competitors) and you’ll be better positioned to learn a new job quickly because you’ve been stretching your mind.
- Join at least one group or association. This can be an in-person group, or online if that’s your preference. Use LinkedIn to find groups that interest you. Become a contributor in some way so that you’re known by the others in the group. Joining a group will keep you up to date on what’s happening and where the jobs are.
- Research your job skills in your market. It’s a good idea to know how common or rare your skills are and what the going rate is. Monster and Workopolis both have salary calculators you can use. You’ll need this information for your next negotiation whether that’s with your current employer or your next employer.
Enjoy taking control of your career.
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