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Maintaining Career Resiliency: Using a Business Approach

One of the great lessons that came out of 2020 was about career resiliency. Many people lost their jobs, transitioned to remote work or had to rethink their career plan. Almost everyone was required to reflect on their personal career path and look for ways to build career resiliency.

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What Is Career Resiliency?

Career resiliency is the ability to adjust to changes in your career. Often, many employees leave change in the hands of their employer or the overall job market. As a result, change can come as an unwelcome surprise.

A more empowered option is to use a businesslike approach to maintain career resiliency. Using this type of approach helps you to mitigate the impact of possible changes as well as effectively navigate the changes that do come.

If they want to stay in business and increase their profits, businesses and business owners have to stay informed, understand market trends, and continuously rise to new challenges and customer needs. Ideally, you should adopt the same mindset.

Approach Your Career Like a Business Owner

Imagine that you own a business. Now consider your responsibilities within the different areas of that business.

For example, every company owner needs to think about developing a product or service, marketing his or her business, and providing quality customer service. Contemplate how you can approach your career in the same way.

Consider Your Products and Services from an Employer’s Perspective

If you are the business, think about what products or services you offer within the job market. Review your resume or make a list of every type of service you can offer, every software program or piece of equipment you can operate, and every skill you have. Then determine the worth of these commodities.

For example, if you’re a high school teacher, your products and services could include curriculum development, teaching and training, instructional technology services, or student development. Research how these products and services hold value in your current or future professions.

Could you seek a higher salary in another district or state? Could you transition to a non-teaching role, doing something like curriculum development or training? If so, what are the types of roles or typical salaries in those industries?

Don’t forget to consider how you can stay relevant. How are you upgrading your products or services to keep up with market demands? Would an advanced degree, certification or a skills-based course benefit you? As the job market changes, you will need to change, too.   

Market Yourself via Your Resume

Marketing plays a key role in the success of any business. One way that professionals market their skills and accomplishments is through a resume.

Remember: Keep your resume current. Many people make the mistake of updating their resumes only after they start looking for a job. This strategy poses challenges in remembering different aspects of your previous employment or accurately documenting important skills and accomplishments.

Think about your resume as a living history of your employment, education and overall career story. Because it’s living, it needs regular time and attention. Intentionally making updates when you are not in a career crisis ensures that you have a polished resume that is ready to use when you need it.

Schedule time every three to six months to review and update your resume. Reflect on the events of the last few months and consider if you can make these additions to your resume:

  • New skills
  • Professional accomplishments
  • Promotions or changes in responsibilities
  • Educational milestones or completed certifications
  • Volunteer or internship experience
  • Awards or professional recognitions
  • Memberships to industry-specific organizations or professional associations

Market Yourself through Social Media and Networking

Just as a business would take advantage of social media to promote its products or services, you should utilize social media platforms as part of your overall marketing strategy.

Sites like LinkedIn are great tools for building and maintaining your network, displaying your accomplishments, posting articles, and engaging in meaningful, industry-specific conversations. Be sure to develop a plan so that you are contributing content regularly, as well as updating your profile and work history on a consistent basis.

In addition to utilizing social media platforms, you should join professional organizations and maintain your professional networks online and offline. Professional organizations and networks imply relationships, and relationships thrive when you maintain connections. Taking the time to maintain your connections will ensure that you have a network of people to reach out to for help when you’re navigating a career change.

Keep an updated list of possible references and make sure to reach out to them every year. Check in with those people, ask how they are doing and ensure their contact information is current. When the time comes to list a professional reference for an application, you will have people ready and willing to speak on your behalf.

Networks are also great places to find resources and industry information. Staying connected with others helps you stay on top of industry trends and changes. Networks are also synergistic in nature, which means connecting with people in your network can inspire you and encourage your professional growth.

Develop Customer Service Skills

Customers are essential for every business. As a result, establishing excellent customer service is a critical skill.

Think about the people who are your customers. Perhaps your role is customer-facing, and developing your customer service skills is a continuous aspect of your daily routine. How can you enhance these skills and serve your customers beyond what might be required in your role?

If your role is not customer-facing, think of your coworkers as customers. How do you serve, communicate or collaborate with the other staff members in your organization? Are there ways you can enhance your work connections and improve internal customer service? 

By considering who your customers are and how you can better serve them, you will build career resiliency into your personal brand. People will know your work ethic; they will want to work with you, hire you and promote you.

Practice This Businesslike Career Approach Regularly  

Make a regular practice of approaching your career like a business owner. Write down your ideas, goals and any research you’ve done. This exercise will help you track your progress and make strategic plans for the future.

Performing this exercise can also help you clearly define what you have to offer as well as help you keep up with market demands and job trends. Additionally, it puts you in a place of personal empowerment, gives you better career resiliency, and allows you to experience more control over your career and potential career changes.

Speak to a Career Coach for Help

Navigating any career change can be challenging. If you find yourself needing to pivot or rethink your career plan, schedule an appointment with our Career Exploration Specialist or one of our industry-aligned Career Coaches. We are here to help you create a career plan that fits your unique needs and goals, as well as cheer you on as you accomplish each step along your academic and career journey.

Anna Sommer began her career at the university in 2007. She has worked in the Academic Advising Department and Student Services Department, and now currently works as a Career Exploration Specialist in the Career Services Department. She thrives when working with students and alumni on career planning, researching industry trends, and developing career exploration resources. Anna holds a B.A. in English from Minnesota State University Moorhead, an M.S. in Adult Education from Kansas State University and an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University.

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