The essential career survival kit


No matter what point you are on your professional path, it's important to make sure your career survival kit is always ready when you need it. Whether you are job searching, looking to advance, changing careers, entering the workforce or staying the course, it's best to be prepared for the future. You never know when your career situation may change. After all the future is still unwritten - relocation, promotion, company reorganization, or career re-launch - any of these situations can occur with little notice. Here are some items you may want to include in your career survival kit that can put you ahead of the game.

Actively Updating Your Resume

Take time to update your resume at least every six months, even if you are not actively looking for a position. As you complete professional goals, projects, or gain new responsibilities, be sure to note them on a master copy of your resume. You can always go back later to edit the information and tailor your resume to the specific position accordingly.

One piece of advice that many tend to overlook is to not rely on just one version of your resume. The core information should include any education, training and certifications you may have received at work and in the community. Keep track of any software programs and versions you use as well. Maintaining your resume to date means it will be ready to go with minimal revisions should the need arise.

Building a Strong Professional Network

Most jobs are found through the power of networking. But what about networking when you are not actively job searching? It's important to stay connected with your network regularly for many reasons including:

  • Strengthening professional relationships
  • Staying current on industry knowledge, laws and policies
  • Opportunities to ask for information, advice and referrals

Staying active and current with your network will not only allow you to participate in these activities and others, but also allow you to reciprocate the benefits to others. Don't forget to leverage your Alma Mater's alumni association as a source of building strong relationships that are grounded in common experiences. It's a way to share your school pride and sense of accomplishment with others who appreciate your hard work.

LinkedIn was specifically designed for professionals to engage in online networking activities. It provides a robust platform where you can showcase your skills, follow companies, join industry or interest groups, job search and gain new connections. Like your resume, you'll want to keep your LinkedIn profile updated by noting any new skills, completed projects, education, training, honors and rewards.

Building and Maintaining a Professional Online Presence

Whether or not you are using social media for your job search, it is important to have a professional online presence. What does your online presence look like? Begin with a quick Google search on your name. What are the first results that appear? Would you want these results to represent you as a candidate to an employer?

There are tell tale signs that can determine if your online presence may need some cleaning up including if the first results that appear in a search are made up of inappropriate pictures or content, or if someone with the same name or similar name comes up first. It is important to understand social media privacy settings when creating and managing your profiles online. Review and change these settings accordingly for all of your accounts. Even if you don't own content that features you like Facebook photos, many times you can request to have them untagged or removed all together.

Never post or comment negatively about companies you interviewed with or worked with previously, network connections, your current job, boss, or coworkers.  These words may likely end up back to someone within the company and could put your job (or future jobs) in jeopardy. Consider using LinkedIn to connect with coworkers instead of Facebook or Twitter.



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