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Where Where You When The Lights Went Out?

Make sure you’re ready for the unexpected in your career

lights outWhere were you when the lights went out? We lose power fairly often in Fairfield County. Usually, it’s only a brief inconvenience. However, one Thursday in August proved different for us and 50 million of our neighbors.

Were you one of those who lost power? How did the blackout affect you? Did you spend the evening sitting in the dark? Were you disconnected to the outside world? Counting the minutes till the power was restored?

My husband and I were among the lucky ones. No we don’t have a generator. Nor was our power restored early. But, with a screened porch, gas grill, candles, flashlights and a portable radio we had an enjoyable evening. Since all the local lights were out, we even had the opportunity to see Mars.

One of the reasons we were “lucky” was because we were prepared. This also is true when it comes to managing your career. You have a better chance of being “lucky” if you plan ahead. Use these four ways to get started:

Update Your Resume

Even if you’re not actively searching for a new position you should have an updated resume on your home computer. Spend some time evaluating your last resume. Does it include your most recent responsibilities? Does it highlight your successes? Does it make you stand out from the crowd?

Start reworking your resume today. You never know when a perfect opportunity will present itself. Or when the proverbial rug may be pulled out from under you.

Market Yourself

Most people think of marketing as something for businesses. Not so. If you work for a corporation or a non-profit find a way to get involved. Contribute an article to the company newsletter. Volunteer for high-visibility projects. Make sure you participate in events like the company picnic and the holiday party.

Look for ways to make upper management aware of you and what you can do. You’re more likely to get a promotion if the higher-ups know who you are.

Build Your Skills

When was the last time you took a class or seminar? When was the last time you read something other than a newspaper or a novel? Don’t make the mistake of relying on your boss to update and upgrade your skills.

It’s your responsibility to increase your value in the marketplace. Think about learning a new software program or perfecting your ability as a speaker. Pick up a good business book. The more you have to offer an employer or client, the bigger your edge.

Develop Your Network

Build your network before you need it. Most people only think about networking when they lose their job or start a new business. What they seem to forget is that the key to having a strong support system is to develop your contacts before you need them.

When was the last time you went to business event? When was the last time you had lunch with someone other than your best buddy? Make it a point to connect with new people. Be sure to stay in touch with people you’ve worked with in the past. Remember it’s easier to ask a favor from a friend than a new acquaintance.

Last month’s blackout showed us the power of the unexpected. Whether you were prepared or not, I think you’ll agree that being prepared is better. Think of your career the same way. Planning ahead will help you seize unexpected opportunities and make it through those unavoidable setbacks.

About Annette Richmond, MA

Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.


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