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Career Advice For Tackling The Unknown

Published: Friday 26th June 2015

Woman looking up at a chalk board with 'career' written on it

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself out of work – today? It happens and if you haven’t planned for it, you could be in trouble. Depending on your circumstances, you might need to find a job quickly. And that’s just one of the reasons that you need to have some form of career plan in place.

Not only will that strategy give you the confidence to deal with such an emergency, but actively planning your career means there’s much more chance it will take you where you want to go. That does mean devoting time and effort to your plan, but ultimately, that time and effort will pay off. Many people only start career planning when a crisis has already happened and they find themselves out of work. Starting to plan at the point where you need to make a career change is often too late to do it effectively and derive the best outcome for your long-term career.

‘Points Of Inflection’

Ask someone whose career is peaking if this is where he or she thought they’d end up and most will say ‘no’. What usually happens is that unexpected opportunities appear that give people the chance to go in a different direction. Sometimes that’s for the better but sometimes people will take up a new role simply for the sake of change, and by doing so, get knocked off their preferred career path. These are called ‘points of inflection’. In a sense, it’s a bit like a journey where your train has been cancelled, so you have to work out a different route. It all demonstrates just how important it is to make time for career planning. However, when you’re working full-time, planning where you want to be five years from now can seem unimportant. But it’s only by doing it now and taking action as needed that you’ll ever get to those long-term destinations.

Take Steps Now To Control Your Future

Pick any moment in your career and ask yourself what would have happened if, at that very point, the job you were in ended? Whatever your answer, what is for sure is that trying to get back into the jobs market when you’ve just been taken out of it is much more challenging than making a career move when you are steadily employed. Yet unemployment can happen to anyone of us, at any time, for any number of reasons. Organisational restructuring, a takeover, a downturn in the economy or a strategic change in company direction can all suddenly result in a job loss or redundancy – especially today when there is greater uncertainty for organisations in every respect when it comes to their supply chains, their products, even their relevance in the markets in which they operate. You need to be prepared for these eventualities, taking into account where you want your career to take you in future. This may mean looking for your next role while you are still happy where you are. It’s all about being able to pre-empt and manage change, whether it’s expected or not.

Things To Consider When Planning For Your Career To Come:

Never Stop Networking – This is important for contingency planning, even if you are happy in your current role. If something happens suddenly and you have a phone number, or email address, that could see you back in work in days rather than months, then that could be a real career-saver.

Develop A Relationship With A Recruitment Agency – Agency jobs aren’t always advertised and if you aren’t looking for work you could miss out on some life-changing career options. That’s why it’s important to keep a relationship with a recruitment agency. Choose one that specialises in your field and get in touch regularly. That way they’ll be there to help you when you do need them. The best will be able to advise on both your career path and will contact you with the most suitable opportunities as they arise.

Keep Your CV Up-To-Date… – You never know when you’ll need to take your CV out of retirement, so keep it updated and close to hand.

…and Your Skills – If you’ve been in your current role for some time, your skills may become outdated. Look out for educational and developmental opportunities, or training in new technologies that will help both in your current role and future ones.

Know The Market – Keep an eye on the economy and job markets, so you can pre-empt downturns, as well as increases in demand for people with your skill-set. Look at what projects other companies have in the pipeline. There could be opportunities there for someone like you.

We’ve lots more job-hunting tips on our blog or you can follow us on Twitter @Zoekappuk. You can also download our new app in the Apple or Android app stores.

Or simply start your job search now.

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