Dynamism in the job market is the new normal. It’s shaped many aspects of job security and has influenced a lot of decisions with respect to career planning.
Gone are the days of traditional career planning.
In today’s world, self-learned skills and flexibility are perhaps more vital for your success than your academic qualifications are.
As they say, the only constant in life is change. To stay ahead of the pack, you have to know your way around the rough edges.
Here are a few insights to guide you in your career path:
1. Be responsible
Are you familiar with “Me Inc.”?
It’s a concept introduced in a recent article by Tom Peters. Basically, you are responsible for turning yourself into a brand and marketing yourself to achieve your career goals.
In this regard, your success or failure is your own doing.
Peters says we’re the CEOs of our own companies. We’re accountable to ourselves, and only to ourselves, for our own prosperity.
In the ever-changing business world, it is up to you to scout for potential opportunities, especially those that carry a new promise of individual fulfillment and guarantee your financial breakthrough.
When you do find them, market yourself aggressively. Position yourself the best way you know how. Take advantage of the opportunity.
Do this by expanding your expertise, learning from a mentor or picking up a new skill set.
On top of it all, remember that the most important role in your success is to be “head marketer of the brand called You.”
2. Learn from your failures
Have you changed jobs so many times that you feel lost? Tire not.
Robert Greene, in his book, “Mastery” describes this as a necessary process in defining you and “your disposition.” Going through such situations helps you understand what you can and cannot do thereby realigning you to your set path.
He goes further to provide a three-step guideline for understanding your career disposition, a requisite for job prosperity:
- First, you must have self-awareness; understand yourself and what you want before absorbing and considering what others think and say of you.
- Next, look out for career opportunities that are aligned to your character in order to enhance and better yourself.
- Finally, understand that your career won’t last forever. Be flexible.
3. Diversify your income
With changes in the career landscape come uncertainty with respect to job security. Therefore, you have to prepare well for the unstable moments like lack of employment or transitioning to a new job.
Explore several avenues of income and settle on the most productive in terms of return on investment and skill enhancement.
Make use of any extra time you have on your plate to better your brand.
It is also important to look for a flexible investment that you can run even when you are stable. Remember, everything in life should have a Plan B, especially your career.
Branch out into freelance work, and spend some time on that startup idea that’s been brewing in your head.
4. Become indispensable
Strive to be so good that your organization cannot do away with you.
A valuable employee is always keen to learn more, and perform better than expected by the organization or as laid down in a predetermined set of measures of success.
In the book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, Seth Godin describes the competitive advantage of any organization as coming from an employee who is passionate and mature about their role, and one who has some degree of chemistry with entities within and without the organization.
Such an employee, he says, is far more indispensable than “someone willing to work more hours, or someone with more industry experience, or someone who could score better on a standardized test.”
5. Keep learning
For you to stay relevant in the job market, you have to keep learning.
From hard materials such as books and newspapers, to online soft copy resources, to live sources such as other human beings and real life experiences, you need to consume it all.
Interacting with other people from other spheres and fields of expertise opens you up to a whole new world.
In many cases, people’s perspectives of life and related aspects are shaped by their careers, so it’s important to understand as many different interpretations as possible. Seeing the world through a different lens opens up our minds and fills us with ideas that make work easier.
Master a new skill in your free time or in the course of your interactions. This will make you more marketable and productive at your work place.
Added bonus: Such skills will not only help you enhance your career, but they’ll also make you better as a person in terms of how you relate with others. Who doesn’t love a sociable person?