Well, it’s that time of year again, time to reflect on the past 365 days and see on what we can improve. And in the current job market,employees and job seekers alike need to mull over how best to advance their careers.
Despite a fairly bleak outlook when it comes to keeping and/or finding jobs in 2009, the workplace authorities at global outplacement and executive coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. insist that those making employment-related New Year’s resolutions should not assume that their efforts will fail.
We researchers at Challenger have tracked more than 1,000,000 job cuts through November 2008. December job cuts could push the year-end total to around 1.2 million. While heavy job cuts are expected to continue through at least the first half of 2009, Challenger is doubtful that annual job cuts will reach the record levels of 2001 and 2002, when employers announced 1,956,876 and 1,466,823 job cuts, respectively.
It is important to understand that those who keep their positions during this downturn are not going to do so by flying under the radar. And those who find jobs are not going to do it by simply responding to Internet job ads. It will take a more aggressive approach that goes beyond most people’s comfort zone.
The other key to succeeding in your resolution, whether it is related to career, health or personal finance, is to set specific objectives and reasonable deadlines for achieving them. Instead of making it your goal to find a new job, focus on the smaller steps need to get that job. For instance, resolve to join a professional association or find other ways to meet 10 new people in your field.
We have issued tips similar to this before, during Labor Day. However, it’s always good to have a refresher:
2009 Workplace New Year’s Resolutions
To Keep Your Job
Seek more responsibility. Volunteer for challenging tasks and exhibit a take-charge attitude. By assuming additional responsibilities, you demonstrate how you can increase value for the corporation.
Meet your boss’s boss. At the next company event, go out of your way to meet those at least two rungs higher on the corporate ladder. They are the ones who can advance your career.
Join a company committee. Whether it is a committee developing new workplace policies or simply planning the company holiday party, joining or volunteering can help you build relationships with other people in your company whom you might otherwise never meet.
Find and/or become a mentor. Mentoring and being mentored provide perspectives and new ideas about career goals and how to achieve them.
Align individual and company goals. Evaluate your company’s goals and identify the similarities and differences in comparison to your personal career objectives. Look to bridge the gap in differences by attending meetings and company-offered development courses. This illustrates your willingness to be on board with the company’s future plans.
Discover ways to save money. Find ways to increase efficiency and performance while decreasing costs. This is especially important in a time when employers are looking for ways to reduce spending. You will be making a significant contribution to the organization’s profitability.
Become an expert on one facet of your field. It is important to be a generalist, but knowing more than anyone else on a specific issue or topic will help make you the “go-to” person for anyone in the company who has a question on that area. This specialized knowledge makes you extremely valuable and should be covered in your resume.
To Find a Job
Join LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, etc. More companies are searching the Internet for more information about candidates, so create a professional looking page that tells them you are exceptional. With millions of members, these professional and social networking sites are a valuable job-search tool.
Remove/Cover tattoos. While body art is becoming more common and more accepted in some offices, many still find it unprofessional.
Get involved with community service group. This is a great way to build your network as well as hone your professional skills.
Join a professional/trade association. These organizations can provide training and education opportunities and most hold several networking functions every year. The dues are worth their weight in gold if you meet a person at an event who can help you find a new job.
Meet 10 new people in your field but outside of your company. Building these relationships may help you in your current position and they will definitely help when you enter the job market.
Rev up your skills. Build upon your established skill set. Explore online courses and local certificate programs to broaden your industry knowledge, increasing your marketability to a variety of employers.
Stay positive and be patient. Job searches are never easy, but it can be particularly daunting in a downturn economy. By maintaining a positive attitude and exhibiting patience, you can overcome the emotional barriers that could lengthen your search. Even in tough economic times, job opportunities are out there.