Does Career Planning Still Work in a Down Economy?

Have you ever wondered if career planning or career building will work at a time when so many people are unemployed? I mean, shouldn’t you just be happy to have ANY job right now, even if you feel stuck or unfulfilled?

A Wall Street Journal Online article gives some great tips on how to take your career to the next level right now and why.  First, here’s the why:

Once the economy improves, some 60% of more than 900 U.S. workers surveyed between October and November 2009 said they plan to pursue new job opportunities, reports Right Management, a talent and career-management consulting firm in Philadelphia.

So if you want to make a move, you probably don’t want to wait until everybody else does.  By then, it might be too late. Unfortunately, many people feel stuck and don’t know what to do.

“You don’t have to be stuck,” says Dory Hollander, a workplace psychologist and founder of WiseWorkplaces, a career coaching and executive-development firm based in Arlington, Va. “You can be an active player in shaping your own future.”

Here are four ways to boost your resume, build your career, and gain an advantage over others who are waiting for the job market to heat up:

  1. Volunteer to gain new skills – Volunteering with a non-profit organization is a great way to gain skills in an area you’d like to learn about or grow in.  In fact, I’ve landed several jobs by volunteering first. As I always say, sometimes it “pays” to work for free.
  2. Build a wider network of contacts – Growing your network has never been easier with social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Let others know that you’re looking to build your career.  Ask people “who do you know that could help me move into this field, position or company?”  I’m continually amazed at who I know, and who my friends know.  I’m one or two people away from some very influential and famous people.  And there’s nothing special about me.  I’ll bet the same is true for you.  It might not be who you know.  It might be who you know who knows someone else, who might be the key to your future!  And don’t forget to share your network with others who need help building their careers!
  3. Look for ways to move laterally within your company – Moving sideways can be a great way to move up.  Look for other open positions in your company that, while they might not be a promotion, can provide you with new challenges and opportunities for growth.  You’ll learn more, know more people, and be a stronger asset for the company.  Be sure to research the new position well, so that you know what you’re getting into!
  4. Enroll in workshops or classes on a subject pertinent to your goals – Once you’ve finished these courses, add them to your résumé.  This shows your current and future boss that you’re proactive in personal growth and achieving your goals.

Would you add anything else to this list?

You might also like:
Sometimes, it pays to work for free
How to find the work you love, even in a down economy
How to gain a competitive edge at your next job interview

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