Do you have Career Independence?

Happy July 4th ! As I think about Independence Day, I want to ask you a question. Do you have Career Independence?

Recently, Lynn talked with me about this important concern. “I’ve worked so hard to figure out what is my dream career. Then I worked as hard or harder to land the job I now have, which I love. But with the economy and job market being so volatile, how can I feel more in control of my new career?” Lynn is seeking what I refer to as “Career Independence.”

When you have Career Independence, you are free from the need to worry about the security of your current position. You are confident you can get another job any time you need one. In fact, you always have one eye open toward your other options.

Do you want to take control of your career? Would you like to feel you are the one directing your success and satisfaction? You can, by making sure your career toolbox is up-to-date and active.

Here are 5 strategies to implement to develop your own Career Independence and be prepared for whatever comes your way.

1. Keep your tools current.

As you start your new job, and complete your first project or take on new responsibilities, make it a priority to update your resume and LinkedIn profile. If you maintain a Master Accomplishments List, which I recommend, make it a priority to update that as well. One of my friends updates her resume every time she takes the car in for an oil change.

By maintaining your tools as you go along, if you suddenly find you need to look for a new job, or if the next perfect opportunity unexpectedly comes your way, you will be ready.

2. Keep your network active.

Stay in touch with your in person and online networks when you are happily employed, not just when you need help finding a job. Offer to help others find their dream job, or next job, or even a good plumber. If you focus on strengthening the relationships with people in your network while you’re employed, you will have more help available to you when you need it.

 3. Keep your skills up to date.

Seek training. Ask for projects that allow you to build marketable skills. Stay abreast of the tools used by your peers in the industry. If there are certifications that are valued in your field, pursue those. By keeping your skills current, you make yourself marketable and create more options for employment.

4. Keep abreast of what’s out there.

Make a point of searching the job boards periodically to discover what options are out there. This is also a great way to discover what skills and education are currently required in your field. Besides, you never know when the next great opportunity for you might appear.

5. Keep your eyes open.

This final strategy is about keeping your eyes open to see what’s going on within your current organization. Are the good people leaving? How are the company financials? Are budgets tightening? Are you hearing rumors of layoffs? Keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground so you can be aware of how secure your current organization or position is.

By implementing these 5 strategies, you will boost your confidence and make sure you are in the driver’s seat as you steer your career in the direction you want it go.

Do you have career independence? Which strategy are you willing to commit to implementing over the next few days?

I invite you to share your thoughts below.

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Lori took my old, tired, out of date resume and transformed it into a resume which got results.  In transitioning from owning a business back to the corporate world, Lori asked the tough questions to dig out all the relevant skills and accomplishments which would catch the eye of a potential employer.   One of the first employers to receive my new resume and customized cover letter (created by Lori) called me for a phone interview, followed by a face to face meeting, and finally offered me a job twenty-four hours after the interview.  I'm convinced I would not have even been able to get my foot in the door without my new resume created by Lori.  As I told my wife, retrospectively, spending the money to work with Lori was well worth it.

Howard Kier, Evanston, IL