We all know and probably envy people who regularly get poached from their current role by another employer.
Essentially, what they are doing is creating career opportunities. Perhaps without realising it, they behave as if they are a business – in career terms, it’s called “Me Ltd”.
When I came to design our company logo a few years ago, I hesitated quite a while, worried that it was a bit corny. But I stuck with it (and love it) because to me it absolutely represents what “Me Ltd” is all about. If you can master ALL of the elements of “Me Ltd”, you SOAR. Hence, the logo.
In my role, where I often work with people whose jobs have been made redundant, I try to grab them for a final discussion / strategic planning session before they start their new role. They have had the ultimate proof that there is no job security, so they are keen to explore this issue of “Me Ltd” and we end up having a very useful, interesting discussion.
You have to be good!
The first element of “Me Ltd” revolves around how well you do your job. Employers are not stupid – they are not going to try to poach a worker who is not good!
Roughly about 15% of that assessment relates to the Hard Skills attached to the workplace. Here, I offer the following advice:
• Do your job well
• Ensure your qualifications meet the expectations of the market place
• Learn to wear many hats
• Request feedback about performance
• Strengthen your technology skills: Word, Excel, PowerPoint skills
What about the other 85%? Here, we are talking about EQ, not IQ.
Looking beyond the technical aspects of the job, you need to have high level soft skills. Here are some things to think about:
• Develop your soft skills – at a minimum, attend training in key areas such as: Conflict Resolution, Delegation, Teamwork, Time Management, Customer Service
• Treat your boss and co-workers like customers
• Be a problem-solver not a problem-finder
• Build relationships outside your unit
• Be politically savvy, not political
• Accept change or move on
Does the Market Place know that you exist?
All of the above, however, is not enough. No-one will buy you, if they don’t know that you exist. It is critical to ensure the wider market place knows about you. Here, I suggest that you focus carefully on a strong personal marketing plan.
Firstly, you package together a good marketing kit: a convincing, interesting résumé (see Your Recipie for a 'Wow' Résumé); persuasive interview skills (see Swinging the Balance of Power to You in Job Interviews; and strong public speaking ability.
Next, you nurture your internal contacts beyond your immediate work team. You look for an internal mentor or, failing that, an external one.
Finally, you implement a systematic and ongoing program to keep up with your current contacts and to meet new people.
Measure Yourself against Personal Career KPIs
The final piece of the puzzle is to actually put your plan into action. When I first started working for myself, I measured myself quarterly against my Strategic Personal Development & Marketing Plan. I was used to doing this in my previous workplace and I merely continued the same practice, complete with KPIs.
Now, many years later, I have internalised this approach and don’t stray from it TOO often. If I don’t operate this way, I don’t get enough work. The challenge for an employee is to understand that their situation is basically the same.
Adopt “Me Ltd’ as an integral part of your professional life and you’ll be able to sleep at night…at least when it comes to job security.
aBOUT THE AUTHOR
Catherine Cunningham is Adelaide's leading career expert. She appears regularly in The Weekend Australian Careers section, in The Advertiser's CareerOne, as well as in online publications such as news.com.au, thenewdaily.com.au and womensagenda.com.au