What do General Electric, Proctor & Gamble, Intel, and Siemens all have in common?
They have all been recognized for their dedication to leadership and career development throughout all levels of their organizations. These companies have been ranked for providing “extensive training, education and mentoring programs,” according to CareerBuilder.
So what’s the takeaway for job seekers? If your current employer isn’t offering any career development opportunities, take control of your career health. This will provide you with a safeguard for when a job change is necessary, and you’ll be on the right path toward your career goals.
What do I mean by career health? In short, I’m referring to maintaining your current skills, learning new ones, and being present in the industry in which you work. It’s easy to get into a lull and forget new things are happening, new skills can be attained, and new networking contacts can be made.
Here are three monthly tasks to help you maintain your career health:
1. Periodically look back on your current skills, accomplishments, and setbacks.
To maintain career health, you should periodically reevaluate your job history. Some questions to consider include:
- Have you been involved recently in a successful project or outcome?
- Have you faced career setbacks or errors in the past month?
- What are your strongest skills? What are your weakest?
Take the time to acknowledge these points and write a little about each in a document on your computer. Noting your achievements and setbacks will make it easier for you to maintain your personal brand, update your resume and cover letters, and pinpoint improvements you need to make in the future.
2. Develop new skills via webinars, professional organizations, education, or volunteering.
Now that you’ve identified the skills you’d like to improve, do just that!
If you’re not already a part of your industry’s professional organization, become a member now. This organization likely offers access to webinars, peer mentoring programs, and conferences as part of your membership fee.
If you are a part of a professional organization, how long has it been since you were actively involved? If it’s been more than three months, consider watching a webinar or another career development benefit.
Getting a certificate or second degree is also a viable option for people who are looking to rev up their careers. But if you’d like to save the money, try volunteering somewhere that will allow you to develop the new skills you desire. This will also add to your resume when the time comes to dust it off.
Develop new knowledge and skills via at least one career development tool per month to maintain your career goals.
3. Keep up with your professional contacts and make new ones every now and again.
Think back on the last time you networked. Were you actively looking for a job at that time?
If you said yes, don’t feel bad. We all have a tendency to ask for things only when in need, especially during a job search. But networking is something that should occur even when you’re not actively looking for a job.
Maintaining your networking contacts takes some time and attention. So keep notes in your address book on your networking contacts so you don’t forget as you meet them. Search through your list to see if there’s someone you could touch base with this month. Maybe you can offer help with something they need.
Stay cognizant of other people’s needs so when your turn comes along, it won’t be so difficult to pinpoint your network and find job leads.
Take time to maintain your career health. Look back on your months with your career goals in mind. Be responsible for your career development and become more valuable as an employee.
Don’t they say hindsight is 20/20?
About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.