By Heather Huhman
In today's world, everyone is a temporary worker.
Even if you're an executive at a well-established company, your job could be temporary. Working for yourself? There's no telling how long your business might last.
Particularly in a down economy and a tight job market, it's important to keep this in mind. Companies downsize. People get fired or laid off. The market changes. And while you might find another job in your field, your career is likely less stable than the careers your grandparents had years ago.
You may be tempted to get comfortable in your job because it doesn't seem threatened at the moment. But as recent news goes to show, the multitude of jobs that seemed like they would be around forever are disappearing. Several cases in point: Bank of America laying off 30,000 workers, Borders bookstore closing, and even the U.S. Postal Service closing offices across the country.
How can you prepare for these inevitable changes in your career? Here are a few ways to safeguard your income:
Create a strong personal brand. Although your current job andportfol career play a part in your professional brand, your personal brand is something that stays with you throughout your entire career, no matter where you end up working. Get active online, share and create relevant content, and give people a reason to remember – and hire – you.
Continually build upon your skills and education. Stay on top of news and trends within your industry. If your company won't pay for professional development, figure out other ways to make it a priority. Learn new skills by attending webinars, conferences and training sessions, and gain skills that will help you regardless of whether you decide to move up in your current career or transition into a related field.
Build a professional portfolio. Keep track of your accomplishments, work pieces, recommendations and referrals in one place. Consider securing your own domain name (www.firstnamelastname.com) to house your professional portfolio. That way, when it comes time for a new job search, you'll have everything you need all in one place.
Have a back-up career. When I was laid off from my job in public relations a few years ago, I realized the importance of starting my own side business to ensure I always had a job. Now, my back-up career is my full-time one. You never know how things will pan out, and you can no longer count on a company to keep you employed. So think outside the box about how you can grow your own side gig that can serve as a back-up plan. Thanks to the Internet and social networking, it's easier to start your own business than ever before.
Maintain your professional network. Networking is still one of the top ways to land a new job. By keeping in contact with your professional connections, you're more likely to learn about new job opportunities, gain referrals and make additional connections. And if you do lose your job, you'll have a network to turn to for help.
What steps have you taken to set yourself up for success even if your current job disappears?
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