The rate of change in business is always increasing. In the past jobs were for life and industries employed generations of the same family. Today companies are regularly sold and acquired. Industries face global competition and well established companies can disappear overnight.
Even if you have done your job and working for the same company for years you could find yourself on the street. This is just a reality and the process is horrific for those who don’t prepare. On the other hand, there are always the few that move seamlessly from job to job, and industry to industry easily; only improve their place with each move – expected or not.
If you are not being contacted, on a monthly basis, by a recruiter, then you are not ready for the unexpected and not bulletproof.
How to bulletproof your career?
- Always be bigger than your job. Offer more value than expected and be noticed. Your current company will protect you during difficult times and other companies will be waiting for the chance to hire you should the opportunity arise. The best people are usually hired within days of a redundancy.
- Know your industry. Being good at your job – no matter what role – means knowing what is going on in your industry. Know who the competition is and build relationships with them. It is common for Directors of companies to know and even socialize with competitors. In fact, competitors often help each other in difficult times. Visit trade shows and industry events, shake hands, build alliances and friendships. The better you know your industry the better place you will be in when change happens. If you had to pick up the phone tomorrow to find a new job who would you call? If you don’t have a least three names, then you could be in trouble.
- Create a personal brand. Be known for something! Think about who you are and what you’re good at and build a personal brand around that attribute. Perhaps you are a stylish dresser, have specific knowledge, technical expertise, have a warm personality, supreme discipline, leadership or just a highly likeable person – build a brand around yourself and become known, respected and liked. The point of this is to become memorable in some meaningful way. Be remembered and then people will take your call. Hiring is always a risk and companies will always hire someone who is known to them then risking the future on a stranger.
- Dig your well before you’re thirsty. Developing a network can take years and the earlier you start the better place you will be in to call on that network when you need to make a change. Imagine if you personally knew everyone in your industry? You would have stellar, remarkable, high-flying career. It takes work and it take time – start today. Get involved in your industry and community and build a massive strong network. Social media are making this easier and easier for those willing to put in the time and the effort.
- Regularly test your market value. Find yourself approached by a competitor or a recruiter? Go for it! There is nothing wrong with window shopping, and looking at the opportunities. The process will make sure that your CV is up-to-date, that your interview skills are sharp, that you know your value. Maybe you will discover that you are happy where you are and that is okay! The process, however, will make you stronger.
Employees who reach 50 and find themselves unemployed did not do the above things. It is never too late but if you wait to bulletproof your career until later in life it is a massive undertaking.
Prepare for the inevitable, dig your well before you’re thirsty!