For the many job seekers who have recently landed a job…CONGRATULATIONS- it isn’t over though. The economy is unstable still. Employer loyalty is dead. You never want to be caught flat footed again. In order for you to feel like you have control over your career, you need to constantly keep your eyes open for you next great gig!
I realize most of you do not want to hear this, nor will you probably read this. Denial is dangerous and hope is not a strategy. One of the most sought-after job qualities is security. I am afraid to tell you this, but…most jobs no longer offer this benefit. However, you can take control by implementing some or all of these suggestions.
Monitor Job Postings on Job Boards
The easiest method of monitoring job postings to create alerts via the job boards. Do this. However, before you invest time applying for that job, contact someone you know inside the company and ask for an update on the status of the job.
Keep In Contact with People You Met
While you were active in your job search, you undoubtedly met many new people. Set up a system to keep in contact with the most influential folks. You can invite key people for coffee to catch up, shoot them an email, invite them to an event, forward them an interesting article or book review, congratulate them on their success or their company’s success. Look for ways to keep in touch and do this regularly. Does it take time? Absolutely. But keeping your network alive is crucial in developing career insurance.
Hopefully you added them to LinkedIn because this can make it easier to implement your system. Remember, not everyone uses LinkedIn regularly or is as competent as you are in using it. It may not be a primary source for their communication.
Don’t forget to include:
- The people you interviewed with who turned you down
- Past colleagues
Whatever you do, continue to network!
Join a Professional Association
Now that you are employed, you have more money. Invest in yourself and your professional development by joining a professional association in your field. Your new employer may even offer to cover that membership. Let them know you are joining and ask if they may be willing to pay for your membership. (You will never know unless you ask.) Be sure to put your request in terms that would benefit your employer such as: it will provide good PR for the company, you’ll be able to bring back new ideas and information, you’ll understand what the competition is doing, etc.
Take a class or workshop
Remember when you were searching for a job and you felt your skills may not have been up-to-date? Don’t let that happen again. Either pay for it yourself or ask your company to reimburse you. Again, if you are asking your employer to pay, you will have to share what the benefits are to them! And remember to build your network while you are attending!
With the pressure to find a job off, you know have time to focus on giving back to your community (local or global). Become involved in some group as a volunteer or perhaps a board member. Investing your spare time should be done with great thought. Make sure that the organization is one which you are proud to support and makes you feel good! Don’t forget about your college or university. They need your help too. Host an alumni event, offer to mentor new graduates, or offer to help out with an event.
Build Your Personal Reputation
Update your LinkedIn profile and other social network profiles with your new information. Begin tracking your accomplishments from day one in your new job and look for ways you can record these accomplishments. When you receive an email from a manager, client or colleague, thanking you for a job well-done, print it and save it in a personal file and bring this home with you! You may even want to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn. Look for opportunities to represent your employer in the community.
Public speaking may not be your thing, but perhaps contributing to an industry newsletter would be more up your alley.
Attend professional conferences and/or trade shows. Get your name out there.
Go above and beyond what is expected every day.
Remember, it is unlikely your next job will last forever. You want to be faced with options when you least need them and there is no greater ego-boost than an unexpected job offer. Taking some of these steps will help you hit the ground running faster next time!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.