The title of this article is the one fundamental question I would ask everyone who is currently employed and expects to stay that way for more than another year or two.
What are you learning today that your next employer would desire?
Let’s break down this question a little bit.
First of all, it’s a mistake to assume that you will be with the same employer for your entire career. This may have been a regular thing fifty years ago, but that model simply doesn’t hold true today. This article suggests that people hold onto jobs for an average of about three years. While some will come in under that average and others will shoot over that average, neither group will have very many people who have excessively long tenures at a single company.
In other words, you should pretty much expect change in your career.
Given that as an assumption, it is reasonable to also assume that you’ll be going through a hiring process sometime in the next several years – assuming, of course, that you’re remaining in the workforce.
There’s an obvious principle that also needs to be stated here – in a hiring process, companies often rely on standout resumes and personal recommendations. Both of those things play a role when you’re getting hired at a new place.
Add all of these things together and what do you get? Every single person working today should approach their work with an eye on their resume and their professional network. Each day, you should be doing something that either boosts your resume or boosts your professional connections in a positive way – and, ideally, you’re doing lots of those things.
There are a lot of ways to do that, of course.
Within the workplace, focus on tasks that lead directly to things you can write on your resume. Don’t shy away from big projects, as big projects are great resume material.
You should also take advantage of every educational opportunity. If there is any opportunity to improve your education and certification within the workplace, you should grab that opportunity quickly.
Unless you are completely opposed to the idea in every way, you should also take advantage of any leadership opportunities that you see. People who step up to the plate to lead projects and manage small teams always look good to prospective employers.
Another useful tactic is to do everything you can to maintain good relationships with everyone at work. Those people will be migrating to different employers, just like you are, and there will often come a time where you will find yourself applying to a place where one of your previous co-workers or supervisors is now working. A positive word or two from that person will make all the difference.
So, cut out the negative talk at work. Find ways to speak positively of people and, if you can’t, say nothing at all. Save your frustration for times when you’re alone.
If you have opportunities, build professional connections with people outside your workplace. When you’re at work and you interact with people from other businesses, take that chance to get to know them a little and make their job a bit easier if you can. They’ll remember – and that can often help you in surprising ways.
It all comes back to one simple question – what are you learning today that your next employer would desire?
Your next employer desires someone that comes with a good resume and perhaps a good recommendation, too.
What can you do today to build those things? Look for those opportunities every single day.