Network. It has been said that the best time to dig your well is when you’re not thirsty. The same is true for networking; the best time to grow your network is when you don’t need it. If you grow your network while you are working, you’ll have a group of warm contacts who are happy to offer you support.
Keep your skills sharp. You don’t want to be suddenly thrust into the job market only to discover that your skills are no longer marketable. It is important that you pay attention to your industry so that you are always aware of your current strengths and weaknesses. That way if there is a skill that would make you more competitive, you can get it now. A good approach is to review job advertisements for positions that you may be targeting in the future and make a note of the requirements.
Keep your resume current. Since you never know when you will see a position that interests you, it is a good idea to keep your resume up to date. Otherwise, it may feel like too much trouble and you’ll let the opportunity pass. As you get new experiences and gain new skills, throw them on your resume. When you’re applying to a specific position, you can include the skills that are relevant to the job and leave off the ones that aren’t.
Keep your eyes open. There are opportunities everywhere but you have to pay attention. Read the newspaper and talk to people about what’s happening in your community and industry. At the back of your mind, always have the question, ‘what opportunities could this bring for me?’
Look good. In the professional world, your appearance matters. Exercise and take care of yourself. Always be well groomed and have a set of professional business clothes that are clean and pressed. If you want your career to grow, you have to look the part.
You never know what lies around the corner, but that can be as exciting as it is scary. However, if you are always mentally prepared to make a career change, you can just look at it as your next adventure.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)