Career Management Tips - Control Your Destiny, Manage Your Career

By Martin Yate, CPC

We all hope to do better professionally, get a promotion, make more money, get a better job, but all too often we fail to harness these dreams to a workable plan of action.

Here are some smart ways to control your destiny by actively managing your career and control your destiny through actionable career management.

Live up to your dreams

Most people live up to their incomes instead of up to their dreams and a life of fulfillment. They let yearnings for ephemeral status and instant gratification derail the work it requires to bring life's dreams to reality. Commit to your dreams and more importantly to the pursuit of plans that will bring them to life.

Commit to your enlightened self-interest. You are somewhere in the midst of a half century work life, in which the statistics tell us, you are likely to have three or more distinct careers and on average will change jobs about once every four years.

Strategic career moves don't just happen; they begin with an awareness of the reality in which they will be pursued and the commitment to learn the strategies that will make them happen.

Make this the year you cease blind loyalty to a corporation that has none for you. In its place commit to enlightened self-interest and the long-term economic survival of "Me Inc."

Protect your job and boost your employability

Protect the job you have, for the security it brings and as a foundation for future growth. Every day, technology changes the skills you need to compete in the workplace, so if you are not consistently developing new skills, you are being paid for abilities that are rapidly becoming obsolete.

There are a number of ways to maximize your skills, but the first steps always involve:

  1. Competitive analysis. Collect job postings for the job you hold now. Develop the skills that make you desirable to this employer and other companies.

  2. Identify your next step up the professional ladder. Collect some more job postings for this promotion job title and do a GAP analysis between the skills you have and the skills you need to develop for that next step; develop these skills.

  3. Talk to your boss. Let him or her know you are committed to your job and making a difference with your presence in the department; ask about ways to improve your skills and performance, and ask about how you can help.

  4. Implement the advice, and follow-up informally every 6-8 weeks to communicate both your commitment and progress; this establishes credibility and visibility where it counts.

  5. Look for problems that need solving, be alert for vacuums and volunteer to fill them. Make every effort to demonstrate that you are a committed team player.

Visible commitment and consistent skill development will result in inner-circle membership, better assignments, better raises, a more secure job and greater potential for promotion. Simultaneously, you will become a more desirable professional to other employers, further protecting your economic survival.

Commit to execution of programs that secure your professional viability.

Connect to your profession

Just as your company has an inner circle, so does your profession. Becoming connected to the most committed and best-connected people in your profession will have many long-term benefits, not the least of which will be increasing your visibility and the job opportunities that can generate.

Professional association membership is one of the smartest career strategies you can initiate. Association meetings will keep you abreast of new workplace skills, and you will get to know and be known by everyone who is anyone in your profession. You'll get access to the membership database, great for gathering advice and expertise on any professional challenge and simply the best networking tool for your next job search. Commit to increasing your professional visibility and credibility.

Pay attention to the most valuable document you will ever own. The most important document you will ever own is your resume; it's the tool that brands you as the professional commodity you are and opens the doors of professional opportunity.

You need to know how to build:

  • One resume that will deliver when looking for a new job.

  • Another version that helps you compete for promotions with a current employer.

Never knowing when you will need the most important document in your life; give it due respect and maintain it on a regular basis with relevant content. Commit to professional packaging for the most important document you will ever own.

Be prepared for catastrophes

Unexpectedly losing a job happens to everyone at one time or another, but it doesn't need to happen more than once. Learn to read the signs and understand how to execute a job search and develop first rate and interviewing skills.

If you just lost a job, learn to recognize that you don't know how to execute this critical skill and commit to developing state-of-art job search skills and place it all in the context of a lifetime career management strategy.

If you are employed, do it now when there is no urgency and you can put strategies in place that will have you prepared for the unforeseen catastrophes and dramatically increase the odds of that next job coming to you. Commit to develop a readiness plan for job search, a critical skill you will use time and again.

Maintain a career management database

Even when happily employed, keep yourself registered (with a sanitized resume) on appropriate job sites and resume banks and save the contact information and jobs you are notified about in your personal career management database.

Keep your profile posted on the social networking sites that headhunters love. The company that hired someone like you last year will be hiring again this year, and how much better to know a headhunter and have the option to say "no" to an opportunity rather than never to hear about it in the first place. Maintain your career management database and nurture the contacts you develop along the way; it will make navigating many aspects of a long career so much easier. Commit to a little grunt work and avoid financial panic.

Steal time to give birth to your success

Make thirty minutes' career management time for yourself every week by giving up one TV sitcom. Use that time for protecting your employability, connecting to your profession, understanding job search, updating your resume and maintaining a career management database. Commit to stealing time from television.

With these practical career management strategies you can gain control of your professional destiny and change your dreams into realities.

All it takes is giving up one sitcom a week on the boob tube. Don't watch life pass you by, commit to a plan and succeed in your life.

About the author:

An ex-Silicon Valley headhunter & HR Director of a publicly traded storage company, N.Y. Times bestseller, Martin Yate CPC, brings a lifetime of street-wise career management experience to his work.

The Knock Em Dead career management books unfold a new and unique approach to getting what you want out of life rather than becoming a powerless drone trapped in some high-rise salt mine.

With 17 career management books collectively published in 81 domestic and 63 foreign language editions, he is increasingly thought of as the father of the new career management. Perceptive, direct and witty you can join Martin here to change the trajectory of your life forever. As Dun & Bradstreet says, "He's just about the best in the business." delivers exemplary resume and coaching services and encourages affiliate relationships with professional colleagues.