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Career Fridays: Creating a "Get-Ahead" Strategy

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Creating a "Get-Ahead" Strategy For Your Career

Creating a "Get-Ahead" Strategy For Your Career

If the last couple of years have taught us anything it's that job safety is a thing of the past. The current job market requires a tremendous amount of self-determination, creativity and chutzpah. Like the vision board you may have mapped out for your life, from now on your career also needs guidelines. A "get-ahead" strategy requires careful planning and the use non-traditional routes like self-branding and social media. Here are a few ideas to consider as you plot your new course of action.

Cultivate Your Personal Brand

As clichd as it to jump on the bandwagon of self-branding, it is truly a sign of the times, and unless you're ready to create an alternative model, it might be best to get on board if you're trying to stay competitive in the "me" economy. "Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others," writes Dan Schwanbel, author of "Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success." Schwanbel suggests finding your passion and deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life. "The key to success, and this isn't revolutionary, is to be compensated based on your passion. In order to find your passion, you need a lot of time to think, some luck and you need to do some research online to figure out what's out there." "To know if you've discovered your brand, you need to make this equation equal: Your self-impression = How people perceive you."

Be a Master at Managing Your Online Presence

Google Your Name: The first step to managing your online presence is to do a Google search of yourself. If there is something out there you believe is damaging, like your social security number, you can either use Google's URL Removal Tool or hire a Search Engine Reputation Management company to help you clean up your online profile.

Maintain a Presence On Networking Sites: How many times have you set up a profile on a networking site and totally forgot about it a few weeks later? You're doing yourself a disservice by not updating your profile and skills, especially on a site like LinkedIn, says Dianne Gubbin, a career coach and author of "Power Ladder: Network Your Way to Career Success." For someone who's growing their career it's really important to put a web networking presence out there you're proud of; one that says who you are or who you want to be, she adds. "If you're looking for a job, would you rather be sending out a lot of resume's and falling into a blackhole of 'nobody's calling me back' or would you rather be findable online where you can be recruited versus having to go out and find a job?"

Create a strong Professional Network

The truth is more jobs are found through personal and professional networks than any other way, so seek out people outside of your immediate circle, particularly professionals who are more advanced than you who can pull you up, advises Gubbin. "It's about finding people who have been down those paths before who can introduce you to their peers and acquaintances because they're the ones who are going to help you get that next job."

Join a Professional Association

Even in the days of online networking, nothing beats a face-to-face encounter at, say, a luncheon hosted by a respected professional association in your field. Gubbin suggests you begin by taking a volunteer position at said association and then hopefully work your way up. "You'll learn new skills and at the same time you'll expand your circle of influence in places that you wouldn't normally have the opportunity within your current company," she says.

Get a Side Hustle

Whatever you choose to do call it: moonlighting, freelancing, side-hustle, more so than ever, people are having to think about the "what-if's" of their careers. 'What if I get laid off?' 'What if I can't support myself.' It's not to say you should take away from your main job, but you should be looking at your strengths as a means of earning extra income and updating your proficiency. "You should be developing skills that you can use if you do ever choose to start a company or should you find yourself in a situation where, from no fault of your own, you lose your job and can't get a job for an extended period of time," says Gubbin. Hobbies turned into side-hustles are also a great way to boost your self-esteem and overall job performance. If it's inspiration you need, just think of Lisa Price of Carol's Daughter who started her business in her kitchen, after work.

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