The number of stories about executives who were doing a good job and who felt secure until a merger closed or the deadly pandemic emerged and spread are too numerous to count. 

For those of you who have not been laid off, my best advice is to not get too comfortable.   Even if you are killing it with your performance, meeting your budget targets as well as your  KPIs, that is no guarantee of secure employment, especially in the middle of a pandemic.

Here is why.  There will always be:

  • Someone with better political connections than you
  • There is someone who has more seniority than you
  • Someone who has done a better job than you
  • Someone who is more visible in the organization than you
  • Someone who is qualified but is younger and makes less money than you

That is why it is so important to keep your career in a state of constant preparedness.  You never know when the unpredicted will happen, especially in these uncertain times.

But there is good news.  There are positive actions you can take to avoid riding your career into a ditch.

Here are six steps that can help you achieve constant preparedness: 

  1. 1.Keep your Personal Vision Statement up to date.  When the unexpected happens, you need to know what your next steps will be.  If you do not have a clear vision for your career, it is hard to have a cohesive strategy. 
  1. 2.Understand your value.  When a prospective employer asks, What can you do for our organization, you must be locked in with your answer.  Composing an answer at that very moment is a terrible idea, and it probably will sound like it, too. 
  2. 3.Develop a career management plan.  If you do not know where you are going, virtually every road you take will be wrong unless you want to rely on good fortune.
  1. 4.Maintain your professional journal.  Having a ready record of your recent accomplishments with specific supporting data is vital.  Reflecting on other observations will, in all likelihood, help you prepare for the job interviews. 
  1. 5.Keep your resume up to dateAlthough your resume design must be easily customizable, keeping it updated with your most recent impressive accomplishments will save time.  If you are forced to recreate your resume from scratch, shame on you. More than likely it will not be as strong as it should be. 
  1. 6.Stay in touch with your professional network.  A smaller more focused network, populated with executives in targeted organizations and/or geographic areas, makes it easier to build and sustain relationships.  Consider using a very brief introductory video when you connect with someone.  Initial research suggests videos can accelerate engagement.  

If you have questions, or would like additional information, call or email me: