7 Career Management Questions You Should Ask Yourself No Matter How Old You Are in the Workforce
As a Life & Corporate Coach, I am frequently discussing career goals and job search strategies with professionals. These professionals range from the new graduate who even three years out from graduation, is still not working, or is not working in the field he/she studied; to the person who has been in the labour market over 20 or 30 years and is wondering whether to re-tool or transition into some form of entrepreneurship. Career choices will continue to be a growing concern across most adult life-stages, as retirement timelines continue to be pushed back. In this article, I highlight some key areas that professionals must pay attention to, in order to maintain their employability and viability to earn an income for as long as they need to.
- How useful are my academic background and work experience in today’s job market or for entrepreneurship success?
Careers may have a life-span and most are impacted by the state of the economy and significant changes in how we live. For example, changes in technology can make some careers and industries obsolete. Stay in touch with local and international industry news and constantly assess whether your certification and work history reflects what employers are currently requiring or what you will need to be a successful entrepreneur. If possible, ensure that your career choices are relevant in more than one country. This will improve your employability options. Bear in mind that professionals who have additional skills or skill based careers, are better able to support themselves than their theory based counterparts, in the face of job-loss, or a poor labour market, through freelance work online or via traditional modes.
- What do I have to offer the world?
Take the time to do a skill inventory and identify your skills i.e. What you can do vs. what you know about. Arrange your skills by your performance level i.e. high, medium low. Then identify which skills at each level you feel passionate about. It is ok to acknowledge that you may do a particular skill well but don’t have a passion for it, and vice versa. Do some research to identify what careers or business ventures have the combined characteristics of both your skills and your passions.
- If I lost my job today, how easily would I be able to employ relevant job search strategies?
Identify the major job search strategies and media that recruiters use to connect with and assess potential employees. Maintain an up-to-date resume in the style that meets the expectations of the Human Resource Management industry. Strengthen your public speaking skills which are transferable to interview and networking settings.
- How proficient am I in the use of social media platforms to enhance my career or entrepreneurship goals?
Based on the high rate of adoption of social media platforms by recruiters as well as entrepreneurs, comfort with the major social media platforms used by the employers and businesses you wish to attract, is a requirement for maintaining employability. Identify the social media platforms used by most professionals or entrepreneurs in your industry and include mastery of these platforms as part of your learning development plan for this year.
- How many persons with similar career backgrounds and business interests can I connect with in support of my career or entrepreneurship goals?
The more persons you cultivate a friendly and business relationship with and who share your goals and interests, the better you will do in your career and entrepreneurial journey. A thoughtfully cultivated professional network provides you with a wealth of information, as well as speed in accessing information. This will be critical to your taking advantage of employment and business opportunities.
- If I lost my job today how will I support myself and my family until I can figure out my next step to restore my income?
Be realistic. Anyone who has a job can lose it. It could happen to you. In light of the prolonged global recession and the state of your local economy, job loss could happen to you. Savings and cash flow are all important at this time, as part of your job loss strategy . You need to make whatever changes to your lifestyle as well as increase your income (e.g. do overtime, change job for higher pay, do additional freelance jobs traditional or online) in order to maintain an Emergency Savings target of 6 – 12 months of your monthly income.
- How do I remain calm, confident and hopeful about the future?
The strong will survive. Avoid being judgmental with yourself and your level of preparedness for current realities in the workforce. However, be honest with yourself and monitor yourself for any fluctuations in your self-confidence, sense of composure and positive outlook with regard to your future. Improve and maintain your strength to meet the daily demands of your life by practicing healthy habits relevant to your nutrition, exercise, rest, significant relationships, fun and enjoyment. Adopt a life-long learning value system and become knowledgeable and practiced in the areas of your life that boost your confidence personally and professionally as well as your emotional wellbeing. Don’t hope for the best and procrastinate, but deal swiftly with the gaps in your life with the help of persons who wish you well, including family, friends, religious community and professionals (i.e. counsellors, therapists, religious leaders, life-coaches).
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Coach Cheryll Messam, CPC, ELI-MP, is a Certified Professional Life & Corporate Coach, Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, and owner of YOU in Mind Jamaica, a personal and professional development company. Coach Cheryll helps local and international clients overcome their workplace, career management, job search, productivity, self-confidence and goal setting challenges.
Cheryll Messam, CPC, ELI-MP
Certified Professional Life & Corporate Coach
Energy Leadership Master Practitioner
You in Mind Jamaica – Your Ally for Excellence in Life & Work
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