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Managing your Career: Lessons learned by the recently unemployed

Recently, a client shared these canny observations about what he wished he’d learned before he found himself on the job market. This job seeker hasHere’s identified a short list of “best practices” of career maintenance that, in my experience, are applicable to everyone who want to manage their career wisely.I had a recent conversation with a client who is newly unemployed and has taken time to reflect. We can all learn from the observations of this person.

  • I wish I’d kept a copy of my performance reviews.

Lesson:Keep your own file of reviews and accolades. They are helpful to prompt written accomplishment statements, review for interview examples and to remind yourself of achievements when doubts creep in.

  • I wish I had continued to network and spent time developingdevelop outside contacts.

Lesson: Don’t wait until you are unemployed to start networking. Stay in touch with colleagues, classmates, ex- bosses, other parents, fellow volunteers, and so on.

  • I wish I had joined LinkedIn earlier on.

Lesson: Proactively keep your LinkedIn profile vital. It’s a tool for being found by recruiters, connected, a source of articles and information for professional development, and more. Spend an hour a week updating your profile, reconnecting, joining interest groups, and staying abreast of your profession.

  • I wish I had not taken it so personally; I let this lay-off really get to me.

Lesson: When your job ends, take time to mourn the loss and acknowledge the emotional reaction; then let it go. Evaluate the job market, then take up your career tool box and forth. Know that when you are part of a reduction in force, it’s a business decision not a personal one. Proactively take charge of your career with a personal marketing plan; this will help you manage what you can control and let go of what you cannot.

  • I wish I had taken it upon myself to reach out and pass along my professional knowledge to younger colleagues before I left.

Lesson: A great source of career satisfaction is found in teaching. Some companies have formal programs for knowledge transfer. This may take initiative on your part but the reward you’ll feel in passing on your knowledge to others

  • I wish I had paid more attention to my own development- and taken advantage of challenges that would give me more exposure.

Lesson: Proactive career management means stepping up to challenges. Volunteering for projects and committees or getting cross-trained to learn new skillsare a few ways to gain new skills. This will get you noticed by your boss, as well as bring greater satisfaction to your daily work. Ask yourself at the end of each day, what did I learn today? Find ways to answer that question with substance.

  • I wish I had been more comfortable with asking for help early on in my job search. Things have changed so much; I feel a bit lost.

Lesson: common.For help, retain a career coach who will offer expert information and advice about the job market and how to put your best foot forward in your search.Portland is blessed to have many great career resources, including local colleges, private coaches, and job search support groups. A guide to Portland counselors can be found at: Career Counseling Help is available. Be wise and ask for it.

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