While uncertainty about the future of the U.S. economy might make you nervous, it can also represent an opportunity to step up and manage your own career.
Staffing decisions often depend on individual performance and available skills rather than just payroll numbers. Employers are getting better at carefully evaluating their headcount needs, and this trend is affecting workers. As an employee, it is important for you to keep your skills up to date and marketable.
With so much uncertainty in the job market, it is definitely worth the time and effort to manage your career, no matter how secure you feel about your job. Here are a few things you can do to take charge of your career:
- Show Leadership. Positioning yourself as someone who coworkers come to with questions will allow you to demonstrate your value to your organization.
- Use training opportunities to improve your skills within your industry/career. These opportunities should be easily available through industry trade publications, online resources or government agencies. Training opportunities can be used to update your skills or learn new ones. This doesn’t have to involve getting an advanced degree. Attending workshops, taking online courses, or even participating in a webinar over a lunch hour can impress your employer and make you a more valuable employee.
- Define your career objectives. Individuals who know where they want to go tend to get there faster. Look objectively at the position you currently have within your organization, compare it to the position you wish to have, and determine which specific skills are necessary to get there.
- Do some research. Look for local employers using sites such as LinkedIn. Search for prospective employers with have team members doing the same sort of work you do, or would like to do. Create an employer list that you can use to organize your job search.
- Think about a career change. Individuals with technical skills appear to be in high demand. According to the Manpower Hardest Jobs-to-Fill List, hands-on jobs such as machinist, mechanic, carpenter, welder and electrician are in short supply and the demand for these skilled workers is expected to remain strong for the foreseeable future.
- Consider part-time, temporary or contract work in an industry you want to enter. Temporary positions often lead to full-time employment. In fact, 40 percent of Manpower staffing associates are eventually hired as full-time employees by our clients.
- Find a mentor that you can learn from. A mentor isn’t always someone older than you; he or she is simply someone with the skills and knowledge to benefit you and your career.
While thinking about your career, consider this: as recently as 15 years ago, a worker could expect to have, on average, two jobs between 18 and 38 years of age. Today, the average is 10 jobs between 18 and 38 years of age.
What does this dramatic change mean? Quite simply, the working world is changing quickly. Embracing these changes will allow you to achieve your goals.
Easier Than You Think
Remember that, even in today’s uncertain labor market, taking control of your career isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Employers will often provide incentives, such as flex-time, telecommuting, job sharing, etc., to individuals that have the skills they want. But, the most important thing is for you to take action in managing your career.