The world of work is changing, and so are the rules for achieving success in the job market. Learning these new rules will enable you to develop “employment security” in these rapidly changing times.  (In Part 1, we focused on the first two “rules” for succeeding in the job market of today and tomorrow: Rule #1: Take responsibility for your own career development, and Rule #2: Become a need-finder.)

Rule #3: Recognize your need to be an ongoing learner. No longer does one “finish” their education and then “get on” with work. Career fields and technology are constantly changing, and to be successful each of us needs to become a lifelong learner. What does this mean? First, it means staying up-to-date in your field. Join and/or become active in at least one professional association. Check the Encyclopedia of Associations (a reference book found in most libraries) to find which association(s) pertain to your current or desired career field.

Rule #4: Be prepared to “prove” your abilities and accomplishments.  You should be ready at all times to demonstrate to your current or prospective employer what you have accomplished. We recommend that you develop a “success portfolio” to assist you in performance evaluations and job interviews. A success portfolio consists of documenting information in each of the following areas:

  • Professional experience (job titles, responsibilities, key accomplishments)
  • Related experience (volunteer activities, etc. that relate to your career area or target)
  • Professional recognition (formal and informal feedback you have received about your performance and contributions, including writing down any positive comments you receive from your boss, co-workers, clients, etc.)
  • Professional development (training sessions, seminars, etc. you have attended)
  • Education

  • References (name, job title, address, phone number, e-mail address, etc. for each of your professional references)

Rule #5: Demonstrate the characteristics of a desirable employee. A 1996 survey of hiring managers (conducted by the Thomas Mangum Company) found 12 areas of skill and experience that managers looked for in people they interviewed: cross-functional skills; computer skills; being a team player; management/leadership skills; being a risk-taker; communication skills; flexibility; willingness to learn; entrepreneurial skills; specialization; transferable skills; and, a positive attitude.

Developing a more positive attitude at work is one area in which each of us can improve immediately! Do you find yourself complaining, dwelling on negative thoughts about your workplace, leading or joining in on “gripe sessions”? It’s an easy trap to fall into, but one that is detrimental to everyone, including yourself. The Bible instructs us: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).