5 Things to Do Now to Keep Your Career on Track

5 Things to Do Now to Keep Your Career on Track

Are you taking care of your career? If not, why not? No time? Not a priority? Too busy taking care of everyone else? Too busy working?? Or is it -- “I’m happy where I am and don’t need to think about the next step in my career at this time.”.

Whatever the reason, if you are serious about your career, or want to be prepared for the unexpected, here are a few basics.

1. Get clear on what you want.

This is more than your career; it is for your life. Your decisions in life impact your career and your decisions regarding your career impact your life. Take time periodically to get clear on what you want. What do you like and don’t like about your job? What is important to you? How satisfied are you in each area of your career? Click and download my Career Satisfaction Exercise. Reflect on your answers. Where do you want to be a year from now? What’s your plan? With clarity comes confidence.

Do today what will get you to where you want to be tomorrow.

2. Complete your LinkedIn Profile.

Review your profile. OMG -- what do you mean you're not active on LinkedIn? Be sure your picture is current and professional. Show a bit of your personality in your summary, and use the first person (I, me, my). No need to include all your resume details. A couple of bullets for each job is all you need. Lastly, get active. Connect with current co-workers and former co-workers using LinkedIn to help build your network. Reach out to people you meet at events, conferences, and networking gatherings that are in-person and online. Don’t forget customers and vendors. And join a LinkedIn group or follow an organization.

With a little bit of time and effort, you will grow your network and stay current in your areas of interest.

3. Update your resume.

Is your resume current? Or not revised since you took the job you have now? Update your resume before you need it. You never know when a recruiter may call you with an amazing opportunity. And sadly, it is not unusual to be “downsized” from your current employer, regardless of your tenure or performance.

Start by reviewing any previous resume’ and your current job description. If your job requires self-assessment and performance reviews, you are in luck. You have many of your accomplishments documented. This is much easier than trying to remember what you did three years ago. Here’s a tip: update your resume at least annually. Remember your resume should not include everything you have ever done, rather select the accomplishments that make the biggest difference. The goal of your resume is to pique interest.

A current resume is a great reminder of your awesome accomplishments. Be proud.

4. Network, Network, Network.

Was that a groan I heard from many of you? I get it - I used to be one of those who groaned and feigned illness when faced with a networking event. Networking is not an event of shaking hands with strangers and swapping business cards. Networking is about building relationships, and this can be done in many forms. Reach out to past colleagues, even if it has been a few years. Who do you want to know better at your current company (and want them to know you better)? Get on their calendar. Join an industry group or become a member of a career-related organization. Be active in your community. Did I already mention LinkedIn?

Be authentic and be professional. You want the person to get to know you, and in turn, take time to learn more about them.

5. Learn more.

Without learning, you cannot be able to advance and progress in life. Yet, there are many people who fall behind not because they don’t have the intellectual ability, but because they don’t take the time to deepen their knowledge or stay current. We become who we hang around, so surround yourself with achievers. And read! Yes, audiobooks count.

No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.” -- L. Frank Baum