Interview questions and structured interviewing
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Managing Your Career For Optimum Satisfaction

Marcia Bench for Top Ten List for Business

Whether the economy is up or down, these tips for career management will ensure that you are both marketable and pursuing work that is in line with your passion.

1. Do what you love for a living!
If you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it well. And the stress that results from dissatisfaction causes physical illness and mental/emotional disease. If you don’t know what you love, contact a career coach of your choice to help!

2. Think of yourself as self-employed – even if you work for someone else!
You can no longer count on your employer to manage your career for you – you must do it! What is your marketing plan? Your R&D strategy for future skills development? For more information, see “We Are All Self-Employed” by Cliff Hakim and similar books.

3. If you’re seeking a new job now, don’t limit yourself to the published (or advertised) market!
Develop a network that goes outside your existing industry or profession, and don’t be afraid to ask people for help. But be specific: “Who do you know that I should be talking to? This is my goal…” is a great approach.

4. Learn a new skill.
If you haven’t learned a new skill -- job-related or not! -- in the past year, it’s time. We live in an era of lifelong learning, and if you don’t keep your skills fresh you not only lose marketability -- the challenge and fun of your job evaporates into the staleness of daily routine.

5. Find ways to be more valuable, even in your existing job.
Take on a new project, head a committee to plan the company picnic, or set up informational meetings with people in other parts of the company to learn more about what they do.

6. Demonstrate your value proactively when annual review time comes.
Rather than relying on vague statements about feeling like you’ve improved over the past 12 months, keep a record (file, folder, or computer document) of your accomplishments during the year. You can use these both to support a request for a promotion or raise at annual review AND to keep you r*sum* current in case a new job opportunity comes along.

7. Nurture your network.
Have lunch with someone you know professionally at least once a month. Keep your name on the “radar screen” so that you can immediately tap that network if you are laid off or wish to change jobs – and can return the favor for them! 25% of us will change jobs each year, so it’s just a question of time when your turn is up!

8. Keep yourself current on trends in your company and industry.
Do you know the top 10 companies in your field? Where the new products or services are headed? This knowledge will make you more valuable to your existing employer, enable you to challenge yourself with new assignments, and facilitate a transition when you need to make one.

9. Keep your r*sum* up to date.
See secret number 6 above for tips on this.

10. Decide where you want to be in 5 years – and start taking steps toward your goal.
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably get there,” as the saying goes. If you could create your ideal life, begin living it right now and be where you’d love to be in 5 years, where would it be?