Prepare for Your Next Job Search NOW – While You're Still Employed
By Ruth Anderson
Are you worried about job security? By taking the following ten steps now, you can position yourself to move more quickly and easily through your next job transition. At the same time, you may find that you become more valuable to your current employer.
1. Inventory your strengths and skills, especially those you enjoy using most, and keep daily or weekly notes on how you are using them in your present job. This information will help you to update your resume and prepare for future job interviews, should they become necessary.
2. Keep notes, as well, on the parts of your job that you find very difficult or don't enjoy. With this information, you will know what to de-emphasize or leave out altogether in your updated resume. You will also be able to focus future job-hunting efforts on the jobs that suit you best.
3. While doing steps 1 and 2, did you discover that you spend too much time on things you aren't good at or don't like to do, and not enough on the things you are good at and enjoy? If so, consider how you can shift this balance, perhaps by streamlining certain tasks, delegating, or managing your time differently. Your value to your present employer, as well as any future ones, is maximized when you are doing what you do best.
4. Think about and write down what you have accomplished in your current job. What have you done that you are most proud of, and what did it take to achieve those things? A focus on accomplishments, especially ones that you enjoyed, will give you confidence and highlight your qualifications in any future job search.
5. In step 4, did you find yourself struggling to think of accomplishments that you want to highlight? If so, now is the time to create accomplishments, while you are still in a position to do so. Ask yourself: What project can I initiate or what goal can I set that, once completed, can be pointed to with pride in my next review or job search?
6. Would it be advantageous, either in your current job or when you change jobs, to learn a new skill or update your area of expertise? Are you interested in exploring a new or related line of work? If yes, look for ways to develop your interests and skills now – for instance, by taking a college course, doing free-lance work, or volunteering for a cause you care about.
7. Consider who you will want to use as references in the event that you have to find a new job. Are there at least three people, other than your boss, who know your work well and can recommend you enthusiastically? Now is the time to make sure that you have strong, positive connections with those people, and to update them on what you are doing.
8. In addition to the three people you identified in step 7, you will likely want to use your current boss as a reference sometime in the future. With this in mind, put yourself in your boss's shoes. Are you meeting and exceeding his or her expectations? Do you know which aspects of your job are most valuable to your boss, and do you give those high priority?
9. If and when you find yourself hunting for new job opportunities, your network of friends, relatives, and acquaintances can be an important source of information and support. Be sure that you are keeping in touch with these
people and helping them out as needed – later on, they'll be happy to help you out, too.
10. Last but not least, revise and update your resume now, while you are not under pressure to do so or feeling worried about finding work. Take the time to consider your resume carefully and seek feedback from friends or professionals. If you suddenly find yourself without a job, you'll be glad to have a resume in hand.
Copyright (c) 2004 by Ruth Anderson
Ruth Anderson is a personal and professional coach, owner of VANTAGE POINT Coaching & Consulting, and creator of the unique "Introduction to Coaching" and "Job Search Tune-Up" programs. Visit her at http://www.vantagepointcoaching.com or write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more