I meet lots of job seekers each month and see lots of resumes. The stories I hear and the resumes I review indicate that, increasingly, job tenures have shrunk and people are changing employers much more frequently than they did in the last century — in most cases, through no fault of their own.
My conclusion? Job security isn’t what it used to be. As a matter of fact, it is continuing to become increasingly difficult to establish and maintain. Perhaps you have seen this in your own career, or in the careers of your friends and relatives.
If you are finding this to be the case, then what can you do about it? My answer: Stop thinking job security and start thinking employment security. From Chapter 16 in my book (Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!)), I define these terms as follows:
“Job security WAS the likelihood of ongoing employment in a single employer due to U.S. economic circumstances — the economy was expanding, employer payrolls were stable and growing, and positive job performance was normally rewarded.”
“Employment security IS the likelihood of ongoing employment in a profession you desire due to your strong positive attributes and proactive career management.”
In my last post, I mentioned that Corporate America has been saying goodbye to the concept of long term employment for the past decade. This has resulted in increased employment turbulence and uncertainty. Since the employment model has changed, you must change with it in order to be successful. You must, in effect, build a more positive and employable brand. So, how might you do this? A sampling of the suggestions in my book include improvement in these areas:
- Communications skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Management skills
- Professional and industry knowledge
- Self-marketing and self-selling skills
Since most employee development programs have been pared down to job skills training, the first three items may still be available to you within your employer. The last two, most likely, will need to come from your own personal development efforts.
In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey’s last habit is “Sharpen the Saw”. This is what I am talking about… sharpening your skills and abilities in order to make yourself more marketable.
Do you have a plan for increasing your professional knowledge, industry knowledge, self-marketing skills, and self-selling skills? If not, perhaps you should. Improving yourself in these areas will increase your employment security. And increasing your employment security can most definitely increase your ongoing income, job satisfaction, and overall well being.
What do you think? Do you agree that job security isn’t what it used to be? What are you doing to increase your employment security? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Richard Kirby is an executive career consultant, speaker on career strategies, and author of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!). Richard Kirby’s earlier experience includes managing engineering, human resources, marketing and sales teams for employers that ranged from a Fortune 100 to a VC-funded entrepreneurial startup. For the past 11 years at Executive Impact, Richard has helped hundreds of executives and professionals successfully navigate today’s transformed 21st century job market and achieve better employment for themselves. Richard’s expertise includes career assessments and goal setting, personal marketing/branding, resume enhancement, strategic networking and job interviewing, and “contrarian” job search methodologies. He is a Board Certified Coach (in career coaching) and a Certified Management Consultant (recognized by the ISO).