Even after you’ve accepted a new position, it’s essential to maintain your marketability. With today’s job market, you only real job security is your ability to find another job. Below are a few ways to be ready.
Maintain Your Network
Keep in touch with former colleagues and professional associates, and continue to cultivate as many professional relationships as you can. Collect business cards from people you meet at conventions and seminars, for example. Note on the back of the card where you met then and what you talked about, then enter that data into your personal address book for future reference. Touch base with them periodically to see how things are going, and actively look for opportunities to help others, both professionally and personally. Remember, is not only whom you know but also who knows you, that will bring opportunities to you.
Take advantage of social networking
Sites such as LinkedIn.com and the ACS Network are designed to make and maintain professional connections. LinkedIn.com is a popular professional networking site that can help you find and make connections with other qualified professionals. LinkedIn can help you maximize your presence, and leverage the connections you already have to grow your networks. The ACS Network is a professional networking platform for the global chemistry community that is open to anyone interested in chemistry and the chemical enterprise. As with all social networks, the purpose is to build a strong network that can help you get your message out to appropriate contacts. Make sure your information is kept current, and reach out to your connections on a regular basis with information in which they would be interested.
Expand Your Knowledge and Skills Base
An old saying applies here: “The broader the base, the higher the tower.” By all means, develop your own expertise, but don’t specialize to the extent that you become too narrow and jeopardize your future employability. Stay current in your field and with what’s happening in chemistry and science in general. Continue to refine your communication and interpersonal skills, ability to work as part of a team, and business knowledge. Learn another language. Study a related discipline, such as biology, materials science, or engineering. In some way, you’ll always want to continue your education.
Make Yourself Visible
To make you and your abilities visible to your professional peers, take every opportunity to publish and present your work. Participate actively in professional associations such as the American Chemical Society. Make the effort to communicate with and learn from your peers.
Expand the responsibilities in your current job by making a lateral move, taking a short-term assignment, participating in a task force, or doing anything that gives you a chance to see new opportunities, and other parts of the organization. By trying new things you will learn whether or not you like doing them, and whether or not you are good at them. If you eventually decide to make that new task part of your career, you will have real experience with successful projects to show.