In an insecure world of work, where job security is a thing of the past, you obviously want to stay connected with the right people and avoid the traumas of financial dislocation that come with unanticipated job change.
All clear-headed professionals, as a matter of enlightened self-interest, need to learn and apply the practical career survival strategies that will give them greater control over their destinies and better tools for staying in their jobs.
How to Stay Connected & Be Visible to Headhunters
Just as your company has an inner circle, so too does your profession, and becoming part of it delivers benefits that can have an immediate impact on your career. The inner circle of your profession, those most committed and best-connected, know each other through social networking and membership in professional associations.
Social networking, through Linkedin.com or one of the many other networking sites, allows you to stay connected and reach out into an almost limitless community of like-minded professionals, on a local or global basis. These contacts can help you grow professionally, acting as mentors and allies. They can also help you in a job search today, or one planned for the future, with introductions at their own companies or to the right people at other companies.
Begin by linking up with people you have worked with in the past, then expand your network by joining special interest groups and connecting with others who share your professional interests.
These benefits make getting connected through LinkedIn, the premier networking site for professionals, one of the easiest and smartest career strategies for professional connectivity. There are many social networking sites, and it is probably a good idea to have a presence on two of the biggest.
After LinkedIn, Facebook should be your second choice. For a complete listing of networking sites by special interests, languages, sex, race, and more, go to http://www.wikipedia.org and key in “social networks.”
You should also become a member in the local or regional chapter of a professional association. This offers similar benefits to social networking but on a smaller scale. However, association membership gives you at least a nodding acquaintance with the most committed and connected people in your profession and local area; these are the people who can most immediately help you with your career and with who you should stay connected.
No one has ever thought to explain to you that in a world with zero job security, the two most important skills you can develop to achieve and maintain success are those of job search and career management*.
Keep a current resume. Never knowing exactly when you will next need to go into job search mode, you will create (or have created for you) an effective resume to be prepared for the realities of the work-world, and you will maintain it with regular updates.
Keep your profile posted on the social networking sites and maintain some involvement with your special interest groups. Headhunters love these groups, and so should you: It’s much better to get to know a headhunter and turn down an opportunity than never to hear about it in the first place.
Even when happily employed, keep yourself registered (with an anonymous/ sanitized resume) on appropriate job sites and resume banks. Save job opportunities you are notified about to a career management database.
Your 4-Step Readiness Plan
- Create and maintain a killer resume; remember that an up-to-date resume can be useful in pursuing internal promotions as well as new jobs.
- Nurture new professional contracts through social networks, because who you know increases what you know. The contacts increase your visibility, while the skills increase your credibility; and these are what a good professional brand is built on.
- Keep relevant job postings, because companies hire similar people every year.
- Save, contacts, resumes, job postings: — everything relevant to your career — in a career management database. It will make navigating the twists and turns of a long career much easier and help keep yourfocus on what’s best for you.
It’s your future. Make this the time when you build the job search and career management skills that enable you compete in a fiercely competitive job market.
* This failure of communication in matters that pertain to every American’s ability to survive and succeed in the adult world is damning evidence of the entire educational system’s frightening ignorance of the world that must be faced by working people.
How do you stay connected and leverage social media in your industry? Got a success story to share?
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