We have seen many recent announcements from large well known and respected organisations where Australian jobs will be cut, many of them in higher-level management, and this has left many executives wondering if their company will be next.
Sadly, the foreign buyout of Australian companies followed by employee reduction is nothing new, and the days of executive job security are gone.
On the bright side, forewarned is forearmed, and whether you’re an executive who has already been made redundant, or you think you may face redundancy in the future, you can take action now to ensure that you stay relevant throughout your career journey.
1. Build your personal brand. Branding isn’t just about selling goods and services anymore: It’s about selling yourself. Times have changed and it’s no longer enough to have a resumé packed with impressive roles. (In fact, it’s better to be selective on your resumé and highlight skills from the past 10 years, that will most impress hiring managers.) What makes you unique besides the jobs you have held? What are your values? What sort of interpersonal or technical skills can you bring to the table that will put you at the top of the pile?
This then becomes translated into your brand that you project out onto the world, whether it’s through your resumé, business cards, online profiles, or even your own website. This can be a challenge for the more experienced executives who haven’t had to think about personal branding before. But it’s not as hard as it seems, especially when you have help. This is where an executive career coach can be an invaluable asset - see https://www.ontalent.com.au/career-management-services/executive-coaching-and-mentoring-for-individual-excellence/
2. Live online. All workers, from the youngest graduates to the most experienced CEOs, are expected to have an online presence. The easiest—and most effective—way to do this on the career front is to build up your LinkedIn profile and become an active member. The more comprehensive your LinkedIn profile, the more impressive it will be. You can also join professional LinkedIn groups where you can join in discussions around your skill/interest areas and build your connections.
Twitter is the other weapon in your online arsenal. Once you get the hang of it, engaging with others on Twitter can be an easy way to get your name known by engaging with other Twitter users and building up your following. You do this by mentioning other Twitter users and starting conversations with them.
3. Become a thought leader. The wonderful thing about the online world is the ability to convey your wisdom and knowledge to others who will benefit from it. Known as “thought leadership”, this involves a variety of ways to show you are a leader in your field. One of the easiest ways is to write a series of short articles in your subject area and publish them on LinkedIn under your profile. Or, you can post them as blogs on your company website or even your own personal website. If you enjoy making videos, you can create your own YouTube channel and make a series of short informational or how-to videos. Or, you can take it a step further and become a Ted talk speaker - ted.com/talks.
If writing is more your cup of tea, self-published books by thought leaders are becoming today’s business card. Working on your own or with a copywriter, you can start with an outline and flesh it out into short chapters that will help readers solve the problems you are an expert at addressing.
4. Keep the ball rolling. It’s important to sustain your momentum and do as much as you can to proactively make yourself into the ideal person for the role you want—even if that role is the one you’re currently in. Engage in continuing professional development with the myriad of affordable and free courses available at lynda.com or through universities online at edx.org. And of course, don’t forget good old-fashioned networking: as we know, it’s often not what you know, but who you know. Although, the ways we network today can be different than what you might be used to. There are many ways to connect with people - directly, events and organisations online through LinkedIn and other platforms.
If you’re an executive going through a career transition, or even simply wish to stay in your current job, you have the power to take charge and stay relevant in your career. Build your brand, connect with others both online and in the “real world”, demonstrate your expertise, and keep learning new skills. In this way, you can help buffer your job against industry downtrends and maintain a satisfying career.