Invest in Your Career

Ray’s Take The days of lifetime employment until retirement are gone for good – just like that traditional gold watch. Today, companies merge and splinter or boom and bust constantly. It’s no longer enough to be well prepared at the start of your career with a good education, you have to keep up your skills to remain valuable.

Just like with your financial plan, you should have long-term goals for your career. Decide where you want to be in five, 10 and 15 years. Put it in writing. Then determine what you need to do to achieve that goal.

You may need to pursue an advanced degree, or get special certification. You can seek out professional seminars to gain updated information and learn new skills. At the very least read industry publications and books that can advance your knowledge – and your career.

Keep in mind the skills needed for almost every job constantly evolve, so even if your career plans are not ambitious you still need to enhance your desirability as an employee. Droves of fresh college graduates hunger for jobs just like yours. Their health care and retirement benefits costs are much lower than yours. You need to always be able to bring more value to your company – or another one – than they can.

To heighten your ability to land a new job when you need to, keep yourself visible. Don’t just join professional organizations, become active in them. Not only will this broaden your sphere of influence, you will also have the chance to impress potential future employers with your abilities. Good managers keep a “bench” of qualified potential employees who may one day become available. You need to do the same with potential employers.

Your career probably is the single most valuable economic asset you have. Invest in it and you can see returns that far outweigh any other financial investment you could ever make.

Dana’s Take Consider your social network presence part of your resume – whether you are seeking a job or not.

When your blog or Facebook posts reflect your professionalism and ability, that’s great. However, if you tend toward political rants or crude comments, it can turn out to be quite detrimental.

What you put on the Internet is open to anyone else who connects. That includes employers, associates, potential employers, and headhunters. You may think, “No one knows about my blog.” However, all it might take is a simple Google of your name to reveal your blog, Facebook page, Twitter account and more.

On top of that, anything you’ve put up may have been shared or linked to multiple times, creating a web of your presence.

It might not matter. It could be beneficial. It could put a stop to a possible job offer. Look at your social media posts like an employer would. What do you see?

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