The world of work is very different from the way we were brought up to believe. We can not rely on our employer to provide us with satisfaction in our job. In the highly competitive global economy in which we work, you need to look out for your own best interests. You must take responsibility and manage your own career. It is no longer an option to wait for your employer to manage it for you. Whether you are in a job search now or thinking about making a career change in the near future, it’s time to discover what makes work satisfying for you.

Here are a few tips to help you survive in todays’ changing world of work:

1. Be self-managing. Think of yourself as working for yourself. You are the person in control of your own career and have to manage it. No one else can do it for you. Put a marketing plan together for YOU and just do it!

2. Know your brand. It is imperative in today’s competitive job market to know YOU and YOUR brand. Know what you have to offer and then market yourself as the person with that information. This will help to separate you from your competition. Your marketability will depend on your ability to demonstrate, on paper and verbally, your skills (even if within the same organization). Today, whether you are working in a “for profit” or “not for profit”, employers pay for results and what you can produce for them.  And those that are succeeding are the ones that know what they have to offer and what they are capable of doing better than some of their competition. What do you bring to the table in the way of assets, strengths and values?

3. Keep on learning. I would encourage you to look beyond your current skill set and look at developing additional benefits of “marketing you”. By asking yourself the following questions (and discussing with your peers, friends, family and/or “board of advisors”), you should be able to come up with specific ways you might want to work on improving your product…you, in the next 6 months.

• I am known among my peers or co-workers for these projects or skills.
• My current project is challenging and provocative to me in these ways.
• In the past 3 months, I have learned the following new things that will help me to move forward.
• 3 important people that I have added to my Rolodex (or Palm Pilot) in the last 3 months.
• By next year at this time, I would like to be known for these skills or projects.

4. Understand business trends. Read industry papers, keep track of the fast changing economic and social landscape and understand your competition. Stay current in your field(s).

5. Prepare yourself for areas of competence, not jobs. Focus on developing core competencies that your association or another association is likely to require in the future. Define yourself by what you do and how to get it done NOT by your job title.