Today, even a great job doesn’t come with the guaranteed job security that has been generally afforded to previous generations of workers. The fight for top talent is fierce and employees can no longer get comfortable in their positions and wait for their pension to kick in. Today, each individual worker must create job security for themselves.
Here’s how it’s done:
Build your personal brand. You can’t just rely on the identity of the company you work for to carry you through. You need to build your own professional identity based on your unique skills, independent of whatever your employer’s reputation is. While this often means extracurricular work, you should look for ways to make that work enjoyable.
So how can you expand your personal brand outside of your day to day work responsibilities? Take part in conferences and industry meet-ups. Meet people from outside your company and widen your professional circle. Be active on social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn. Write blogs that share your perspective on whatever has your attention in the industry and engage people in conversation about it. If you’re looking for more advice on how to build your personal brand, Jacob Morgan outlines a great three step process in this video.
Hone your expertise. Work should be a place where you continue your personal development, in terms of further developing your skills and exploring your passions. It should be a place where, through practice, you get even better at what you already excel at. It should also be a place where you learn new skills and become a more well-rounded person.
Ultimately, you want to focus on what sets you apart from others in similar positions. If I asked you, what’s one area where you’re just flat out better than the competition, what would you say? That’s the area you should be focusing on. Instead of being competent in a number of areas, you’ll be more valuable, more coveted if you find one specific area to absolutely own. Specification is one of the trends I see gaining traction this year and if you want to rise to the top, you need to have a skill at which you consistently outperform your peers.
So there you have it. Though the world of work is getting more complicated and more cutthroat for both employers and employees, there are things you can do to manufacture job security for yourself. Start by focusing on your personal brand. What does it look like now and how can it be improved? Then, ask yourself what your expertise is and how you can hone it even further. Want to talk about building your personal brand? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
photo credit: c/94, Locked all over, Sowcarpet, Chennai via photopin (license)