In this day and age, change is the only certainty.
Whether you’ve been in your career for the last 20 years or you’re just starting out, you simply can’t take a passive approach anymore. If you’re not building your personal brand and adding value to your organization, you’re at risk.
Instead of growing increasingly concerned with the unfairness of the modern job market, I highly suggest embracing it. The modern business world is an exciting place that’s built on opportunity and not complacency. For those willing to put themselves out there, jobs can offer a great deal of reward. If you’re concerned about relevancy, use these tips to stay competitive:
- Spend 5-10 hours a week learning something new. Everyone needs to embrace the idea that learning is perpetual. If you don’t keep learning, you’ll quickly fall behind. You don’t have to take on a major undertaking like learning a new language or earning a new degree. Find something that will help your career over the short term. Take a short course on technology or sign up for an advanced training seminar.
- Network, network, network. Who you know is incredibly important. Many people cringe when they hear the word “network” because they think it means selling yourself in an uncomfortable professional environment. That’s only one form of networking. Volunteer somewhere or talk to people in stores. You can network wherever you spend time, and you may discover your next career opportunity in doing so. Try joining a public speaking group or another leader-guided activity to get your feet wet and learn a new skill at the same time.
- Look at strategic business goals from your perspective. Today, businesses are breaking down departmental barriers in favor of collaboration and constant innovation. Your role gives you a unique perspective. How does what you do add value to customers or clients? What do you do that adds to the bottom line, directly or indirectly? If you’re adding value, you’re indispensable. Continually look for ways to contribute to the bottom line.
- Dress the part. Appearances do matter. If you dress in trends from the past or fail to take grooming seriously, colleagues and clients will form snap judgments about you. However, if you have a particular style, own it. Confidence often matters more than dressing on point. Stand up straight, speak clearly, and show your enthusiasm (even if you’re bored to tears).
- Stay current. Regardless of your age, business is always about the present and future. Remove preconceived notions about how you think things should be, and maintain an awareness for current trends and interests. You may not understand Instagram, but it’s a relevant business tool today. You want to come across as someone who knows how to succeed, not someone hanging on to an old way of life.
Technology plays a major role in today’s workplace, as do philosophies of collaboration and flexibility. If you understand the factors changing the business world, you can easily adjust your approach to match them.
You have complete control over your relevancy in today’s business world, and the only truly wrong approach is to remain disengaged.
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