While a Great Depression is unlikely, it looks like it will be quite some time before the U.S. economy smiles upon us again.
Since you don’t have much control over your company’s financial situation, you need to make sure you are ready if the sh*t hits the fan. Here are seven tips for increasing your marketability in a shaky economy, compliments from LiveMocha.
1. Optimize technology.
The more you know about technology, the better. Be familiar not only with the basics (MS office suite, email, SMS and IM), but also the newest types of business presentation software, interactive meeting software, social networks, and more. Advancements in technology are happening all around us, so there’s no doubt they are touching your business or field too. If there’s a new development that will revolutionize your industry, find out how you can get training online, through a professional development service, or at a local community college.
2. Learn a foreign language.
With increased globalization, immigration and international travel, it’s important to be able to communicate with business associates, potential employers and partners from across the globe. It’s easy to obtain conversational proficiency or just brush up on language skills through a free online service, like LiveMocha. Livemocha provides instructional content in 13 popular languages and the opportunity to practice with over 1 million native speakers worldwide through online chat and audio.
3. Put your network to work for you.
Build your Rolodex by making friends with influential people in your field. You can do this by connecting with colleagues at trade shows or even association mixers for your industry. You never know when someone will be able to offer a promising sales lead, provide you with a recommendation for a new job, or become an investor for your new business venture. Use professional networking services like LinkedIn to maintain contact with your network and keep at top of mind. It’s an easy way to keep track of colleagues and get basic background information.
4. Be your own advocate.
It’s fairly easy to improve your visibility through a blog, email newsletter or personal website that focuses on your profession or industry. It establishes you as an authority in your field if people can look to you to access information about your industry. There are a number of low-cost or no-cost tools out there that can help you in developing a Website or blog, including SixApart and WetPaint.
5. Obtain a professional certificate.
Many universities offer certificate programs in marketing, accounting, and other fields for seasoned professionals. This will offer another opportunity to network with colleagues, while enhancing your skills and rounding out your knowledge about your field. Not to mention it also offer another point of differentiation on your resume.
6. Stay current on key issues facing your industry.
Read industry publications and blogs that will help you to better understand hot topics in your field on a daily basis. This can lead to stimulating conversation topics with employers and colleagues, and will help you to quickly become an expert on many subjects.
7. Seek advice from mentors.
Always make use of those who have experience. Mentors can help you in avoiding the pitfalls and mistakes they’ve already made, in addition to learning from their successes. Don’t be afraid to call upon someone who has already traveled down the path you are about to take – many successful professionals are happy to offer advice, and can provide the kind of invaluable insight that can’t be found in books or on the web.
Any advice you’d like to share?