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How to remain competitive on the job market career success in today's economy

sharon A. PeekCareer success in today's economy
by Sharon A. Peek, MA, LPC, NCC

Things Employees Need to Remain Competitive on the Job:

Leadership attributes are the greatest tool you can perfect. Take initiative, be a critical thinker, be a strategic problem solver, foster teamwork and be future oriented. Working with others requires not only an active interest in people's lives, but an ability to inspire, motivate and try new ideas. Don't be afraid to voice your opinions and take an active stand.

A positive attitude suggests cooperation, even in stressful or time limiting situations. Companies want employees who always speaks positively of their organization and "roll up their sleeves to help." Enthusiasm and ambition is contagious and affects other workers. Build your reputation not only on your work initiative and quality, but on your dependability, integrity and attitude.

Willingness to accept change is necessary whether or not it is in policy, tasks, departmental goals, technology or initiatives. If you can adapt quickly and work hard you will be appreciated. Accept change as a challenge.

Interpersonal skills are vital in today's market. Your style of communication and clarity can build unity and productivity.Team collaboration and an ability to listen and synthesize a great deal of information is required. More and more, we are working with a global economy where cultural exchange and an understanding of diversity is the mark of a capable employee. You must work with the people who influence, help set goals and provide vision.

Accountability in this economy is prudent. Knowing how you allocate your time and project efficiency prevails. Belt tightening in spending, increased productivity and careful analysis of services being offered could sustain continued employment.

Protecting Your Job After Work Hours:

Minimizing the risk of job loss can reduce stress, loss of health and even marital loss. Consider your career an investment in how you allocate time. Your work is your primary income, but you can also hedge against risk.
Protect your job with education. America is insisting on higher levels of education, technological knowledge and innovation. Keep abreast of the changes in your field and stay connected to your former college, colleagues and professional associations. Continually update your skills because success and viable career options are largely defined today by your knowledge.
Locate secondary income prospects and invest in education and life long learning, as well as in community, family, spiritual and volunteer work. Many people have passions that are not used in the work-place, but can act as income back up in times of need or even lead to entrepreneurial opportunities. Others have a wealth of knowledge that is not being drawn upon in the workplace, which could be capitalized on as business consulting prospects.

Find the energy to invest in endeavors you enjoy. Fatigue is a problem in work satisfaction and needs to be prevented. Don't take your health for granted. Always take the time to take care of your health, to do the things that you'd like in life and to prevent a long-term illness. Being too tired in the workplace can lead to injury.

How Do I Survive a Sudden Job Loss?

Immediately do a self-evaluation. Evaluate your skills, values, needs and the locations, types of business climates and industries you would consider. Make a focused decision regarding a career path from 'who you are' and 'what you want out of life' to target your job search.

Keep yourself connected to positive people: Be aware that your moods can fluctuate and change. Don't isolate yourself and keep your spirits high. If you find yourself loosing sleep and weight, feeling depressed, or desperate, then contact your local mental health agency. Sudden transition can disrupt your emotional state and send you into shock, denial, anger and depression. Give yourself the time to heal, but keep moving forward every day.

Start reading want ads in the newspapers and on electronic job boards to see what types of jobs are available in your field or expertise. Set-up e-mail agents, which are automatic searches that send job openings to your e-mail and post your resume on-line. Create a list of possible job options and companies you'd like to work for.
Begin networking with friends, family, co-workers and people who know your work. The best way to obtain a new job quickly is through networking. Find out the names of decision makers in the companies you'd like to work for and give them a call. Let them know your work and that you are interested in working for them should something become available. Don't send out mass mailings of resumes. This can set you up for rejection. An interpersonal connection is what creates the strongest job connections.

Be aware that resume formats change over time and that your career history could be presented in several formats to capitalize on your skills. Your cover letter is vital to capturing a potential employer's interest. You must research a company thoroughly to write an engaging cover letter.
Keep a calendar and log of all your job search activities. Post your resume and a skills list next to your telephone and note that an employer may interview you on the phone. After sending in an application or a resume call in three to five days to ask about the interviewing schedule. Keep constantly active in the job search, as if you were working full-time. This will help you secure a position more quickly.

Center for Employment Services at Lansing Community College

Career and Employment Services
Gannon Building - StarZone
Phone: (517) 483-1172
Additional contact information »

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