Gone are the days of old-fashioned job security where you could get into a “safe” industry or stay somewhere long enough that you would never have to worry about being laid-off, downsized or becoming obsolete. The only job security that exists anymore is to make sure you are consistently making yourself valuable and marketable in the job market.
The best way to keep increasing your marketability is to make you sure you never get “pigeon-holed.” Getting “pigeon-holed” is a phrase used for becoming so specific in your expertise that it would be challenging to fit in anywhere else. Sometimes people become so specialized that they can’t even get promoted or move to different roles within their current company.
So here are the top 3 ways to avoid getting “pigeon-holed” in your career.
1. Use your subject matter expertise for leverage. If you are the “go-to” guy/gal for a particular expertise, use that as leverage to get you in the meetings instead of just handing off your knowledge. It might be a good idea to beef up your presentation skills. When you are recognized for presentation and communication capabilities your upward options are almost limitless. This is also a good time to convey your ability to understand the business as a big picture and recommend solutions from the perspective of your expertise. Being recognized as someone who can think at the “10,000 ft. level” will also prove to be extremely valuable to your upward mobility let alone job security.
2. Find the right vehicle. If you are not in a company that nurtures talent you might as well take a mo-ped down the interstate. Make sure you scout your companies thoroughly as not all companies nurture top talent. If your company does not place a priority on nurturing talent, then it is time to update the resume or you will be paying for it later if your job or company ever goes away. We have seen too many examples of that in this last recession.
3. Grow more branches than roots. Yes, it is important to stay current on your expertise but pay attention to the other areas and disciplines that your subject matter affects and learn about them. The more you know about how what you do affects others and how to solve their problems the more valuable you will be. The more you learn about areas and businesses that are a direct effect of your expertise and reach out to people in that arena, the more likely you will be to NOT be the person left without a chair when the music stops. As a matter of fact, you will be the one everyone wants to hire no matter the economic climate.
Not being “pigeon-holed” is not only about job security but it’s about making sure your career is exciting, challenging and changing everyday so you wake up and are excited about going to work despite what time the alarm rings. When you feel this way about your career you can’t help but be a success.
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Posted by:Saundra LeePresident,Dubin & Lee