Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Top 10 Career Moves Even The Happily Employed Should Make

Posted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine

People who seek out career advice are probably dissatisfied with some area of their current job. But even if you’re content with your job, not interested in a promotion, totally satisfied with your pay and 100% secure nothing will change, here are 10 career moves you should make anyway to maintain your blissful situation:

Set aside your lunch hours. Take your 2011 calendar and block out one lunch hour per week. At the very least, you build in a reserve of time for emergencies. Ideally, you use these to catch up with people you normally don’t – think old friends, former colleagues, people outside your immediate department.

Return recruiter phone calls. You’re not looking for a job so these calls don’t seem important. It’s always good to hear what’s on the market – you confirm your value, and you may be able to help a friend who is looking. Recruiters love candidates who aren’t looking but return calls anyway.

Find a mentee. You must be doing the right things to be in your situation. Sharing what you know is a great way to reinforce all these good habits.

Find a mentor. There is always more to learn. While you may not feel the urgency for a formal class, you can learn on your next break. Seek out people you admire (not just for professional reasons, but maybe it’s the colleague with an amazing sense of humor). Hang out with them even occasionally. You take on the habits of people around you, so surround yourself with successful people.

Review your company perks. I worked at a company that was part of a program to get free or dramatically reduced admission to almost all of the museums and cultural venues in the area. A separate program gave over 50% off movie tickets and free popcorn. These benefits may not be life-changing, but they certainly are quality-of-life changing, and they might mean dollars saved.

Review your org chart. If your company has an internal phone directory, how many people do you know? If you work for a very large company, it might be a small fraction but you should at least know people in the departments that impact your job. Roles turn over frequently, and if you don’t pay attention there could be more and more people you should know but don’t. Get to know your coworkers. At the very least, you may find new lunch partners.

Review your resume. No, you don’t need to send your resume anywhere – you’re not looking for a job. But your resume is a great audit tool for your career. Do you have anything to add from the last six months? If not, this could be a sign of stagnation. At the very least, you’d rather update your resume every few months when you’re relaxed and happy, rather than have to cram several years of job memories when the need to job search is urgent.

Review your online brand. Same reasons as above, except that your online profile is separate from your resume. Your online profile is even more important for the content employee than for the active jobseeker because it is your gateway to passive opportunities.

Get some exercise. Career bliss doesn’t last forever. There will be crunch times ahead – it doesn’t have to be a major restructuring but it could be a project with a tight deadline or a difficult client. Being fit gives you the energy to power through these difficult times. While you’re in a stable career phase, build in good exercise and self-care habits now.

Go public. Get quoted in the press about your expertise. Contribute to your local newspaper or your industry trade journal. Speak at a conference or even your alma mater. Media mentions and public speaking are helpful with any career. While you’re feeling good and confident about your career, step out and get noticed.

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