How To Remain Highly Valuable For The Next Step In Your Career

There was a time when lifelong employment existed, but all that is now a pipe dream.

Nowadays, if you stayed many years in one job, you might just be seen as inflexible or lacking exposure. Some of us may be getting jaded in our current jobs, and look forward to a career switch. In any case, a wise person once told me this: “you should start planning your next career move once you land a new job.”

Here are 4 ways how you can remain valuable in the workforce.

1) Keep Your Online Profile Updated

How long has it been since you last updated your LinkedIn profile?

Just as we will naturally update our resume, we must do the same for our LinkedIn profile. In my experience, LinkedIn is one of your key professional presence on the world wide web, and I cannot imagine any professional worth his or her salt not having a LinkedIn account.

I mean, you never know who is going to come looking. Having said that, keep your narration of your personal employment history and achievements succinct and professional-looking. You want to sell yourself well, but there is no need to brag or beat around the bush.

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2) Sharpen Your Saw – Keep Upgrading Yourself

What this means is “training”.

Now I know this is a buzz word from our well-to-do government brandishing training as something which can solve our employment woes.

There is a saying that a person can “retrain, reskill and upskill”, acquiring many certificates along the way. At the end of the day, when it comes to crunch time, you guessed it – there are not enough suitable jobs.

While this is undeniably true, we should nevertheless continue to improve ourselves and not find lame excuses for not sharpening our saw.

Before embarking on any training, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is this training relevant to my current or future job?
  2. Do I have the ability or the pre-requisites for this training?
  3. What are the objectives, benefits and learning outcome?
  4. If this training is to address a particular skill/knowledge/competency gap, what is my current level, and what is my expected or desired level (to be achieved through the training)?

In short, what you have just done is a simple exercise to determine your own learning needs.

As an advocate for lifelong learning, I would urge you to relish any training opportunity, be it company or self-sponsored.

If cost is a major consideration, consider funding schemes available in the market. For starters, Singaporeans have the SkillsFuture credit. Do make full use of the $500, for it is your hard-earned money. It is always wise to invest in yourself, as it will pay dividends in future.

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3) Spruce Up Your Networking

Networking is not just about meeting people and collecting their name cards.

It is, in every sense of the word, hard work to build up a professional relationship with the people who can help advance your career. This will take time, patience and good interpersonal skills. For starters, please do not be mercenary or aim for instant gratification, expecting quick results.

If your contact can put in a recommendation and link you up for that dream job, be grateful and do thank him or her, regardless of the outcome. You need to invest in and nurture that relationship. Should the time come, do expect to return the favour and reciprocate if your contact needs your help.

Networking is built upon and sustained by trust, respect and mutual gain.

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4) Expand Your Horizons

In almost any conversation nowadays, the topic will invariably involve one’s career or material possessions.

And heaven forbid, should the person be unemployed, he or she will likely be frowned upon. Well, we have to be practical as we are living in the most expensive city in the world, according to an expatriate survey.

This is really sad.

Is your life only about your job or career? Of course, if you are lucky to be born into a wealthy family, then employment isn’t that important.

For the vast majority of people in Singapore, this is an obsession, the need to be always gainfully employed to feed the family, pay off the bills, service the loans, etc.

While we must be realistic, life is not just about the lauded 5Cs (Cash, Condo, Car, Credit Card & Club Membership). There is much more to life.

Take the simple example of an apple.

A few decades ago, when I walked past a fruit stall selling apples, I could actually smell the freshness of the fruit. You didn’t even have to taste it to know which one was sweet and juicy.

Nowadays, if you come across a nice red juicy-looking apple, it will likely not smell fresh. And should you take a bite, it will taste… flat. This is what we have become in our daily pursuit of goals and material wants. As a result, I think many people today do not know what apples really taste like.

In fact, many have forgotten or never had the chance to smell the freshness of apples.

Well, this may be so in Singapore. But Singapore is not the world, and there is a whole wide world out there.

Step out of your boundaries, and expand your horizons. Get to know more people, how things are done in other countries, etc. You will likely make many self-discoveries, and be humbled in the process because many Singaporean values and brands trumpeted here have long been outdone by others. Yet many Singaporeans continue to think the world of themselves.

Well, think again.

Expanding your horizons will make you a more open, interesting and better informed person, which will facilitate your networking and job hunting. This soft skill will put you in better stead for a career change in due course.

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Now that you know how to keep yourself valuable, it’s time to let your friends know too!

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