Time for a Career Check-Up!
Feeling underpaid? Unhappy with your current position? Worried about your job security? Hoping to get a raise or promotion? It’s time to give your career a checkup. In today’s changing workplace, the average worker will hold more than 11 jobs during their working lifetime. Career management is your responsibility, so learn where you stand and carve a better path for yourself. -– RR

Are you ready when opportunity knocks?

Is your resume updated so you can send it to a potential employer on a moment’s notice? Human Resource Manager Melinda Combs, who has hired hundreds of professionals, revealed that human resource offices sort resumes with a quick 15 seconds glance to determine if they should take a closer look, and eliminate 80% or more. Resumés get noticed when you describe specific results and accomplishments. Note what you have increased or decreased, how you saved money, and contributed to productivity and the bottomline. By adding a Summary of Qualifications section, with five to six sentences that highlight your experience and top selling points to do the job, you will stand out. Be sure you have polished your interview skills, have practiced answering the tough tricky questions, and can negotiate salary like a pro.

Have you established your career identity?

Your professional reputation -– what other bosses, workers and associates think about you -- is more important than your resume. It’s others who decide your fate when it comes to raises, promotions or determining who to hire for a new position, so this year work on building on your strengths – the natural talents you excel in. Results from an exclusive CEO survey we conducted advise people to create a reputation of being very good at something (i.e. writing, sales, designing, client relations, etc.) to advance in the workplace and insure lifetime career success. Foster your growth by networking, the top executives advised, both internally -- within your company -- and with peers in associations and professional groups. Networking is the best way to get noticed and insure a future with many career opportunities being sent your way.

What new skills will you pick up this year?

“Life-long learning is essential to keep yourself marketable,” recommends CEO and “How to Work Smart” author Melinda Howard Erickson. If more education isn’t in your plans, it may need to be. Employers demand highly productive workers that bring a contemporary skill set. You need to continuously add to the skills you can sell to an employer. Too many workers let this extra effort slide, only to see promotions go to other, better trained and more adaptable workers. If you are job hunting, you need to be able to jump back into the workplace with marketable skills employers want. Important ones you need to perfect are technical and computer skills, good writing and public speaking proficiency, leadership competence, sales expertise, negotiating talent and the ability to manage budgets. Employers want you to improve your job knowledge. To do so, take courses in your field offered by associations, colleges, and e-learning training programs. Read trade journals, keep up on trends, industry changes, and advances. Join a professional organization. Advancing your technical competencemakes you a more desirable employee to retain or hire.