You’ve got a job that you like. There’s money coming in, your manager is nice, and you’re gaining valuable experience. What more could you ask for? Now that you’re settled in a job, you can take a break from all of this career planning, job searching, and networking, right? No! As the Chinese proverb goes, “Dig the well before you are thirsty.” Here is a list of things that you should be doing while you are happily employed:
1. Build your online profile. Create profiles on LinkedIn and Twitter. Join groups and participate in discussions. You may even want to start a blog that is relevant to your industry. Through social media, you can make valuable connections and establish yourself as an expert in the field.
2. Build and maintain your network. It is easier to make strong connections with people at a time when you don’t actually need their assistance. Also, when you are employed, networking opportunities are readily available. Conferences, district meetings, and even the lunchroom are all ideal places to make those valuable connections. It’s also a good idea to keep in touch with the people in your network while you are employed; you don’t want to be labeled as someone who only calls people when you need them.
3. Keep an eye on positions that interest you. Even though you are happily employed, you should have some idea of what you want your next step in your career to be. Pay attention to job advertisements and take a close look at any jobs that interest you. This allows you to identify potential gaps in your resume and it gives you the opportunity to upgrade yourself while you have the time.
4. Keep your resume up to date. It is always a good idea to keep your resume current. You never know when a perfect opportunity will present itself, and in this economic climate, you need to be prepared for the worst. Also, if you regularly update your resume with your new skills and experiences, you are less likely to forget about them.
5. Get feedback from your manager and your co-workers. When we talk about feedback, there is a temptation to focus on negative feedback. While negative feedback does help us to identify areas that we need to improve upon, pay special attention to the positive feedback that you receive. If there is an area that your co-workers and managers are consistently recognizing as a strength, see if it is a skill that you can focus on in future job searches.
When you are happily employed, enjoy the moment. Too many of our days are spent wishing that we were somewhere else. However, if you also take the time to follow the suggestions above, you will find yourself well prepared when you do start looking for your next opportunity.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)