Developing Your Plan For Career Resilience

We have been fortunate as a society to experience several years of significant economic growth and prosperity that fostered career advancement and seamless career transitions without serious contemplation given to our plan for career resilience. In fact the term career resilience has only recently gained attention as it applies to undertaking self-directed learning initiatives to keep pace with change and maintaining responsibility for our own careers beyond those required of company performance programs.

Now, we are set to experience the after effects of a booming economic cycle, a period of contraction that regardless of its severity and depth remains part of the typical business timeline. Contrary to the overwhelming amount of media attention placed on the negative components of the employment situation, most Southern Californians are indeed employed and will be able to keep their jobs throughout the recessionary period. We must also remember we will return to periods of growth in the future and in the foreseeable future.

The possibility of an unexpected job loss should not be the primary motivator for one to take stock of their career; yet this fear might be just the motivation needed to promote a needed type of inward reflection and reminder that we hold the key to our own career resilience. Perhaps this fear has been a good reminder that whether in good or bad economic times, maintaining career resilience is of the utmost importance.

What is career resilience? Career resilience is the ability to adjust to career change as it happens and adapt to what the market demands. Rather than relying on your company for a career compass, it is imperative to develop your own inner compass of where you are going and what you want in your career. The five steps below can help you start to develop your own sense of career resilience and when conducted on a reoccurring basis, these steps help create a career resilient mindset.

1. Take an honest inventory of your current skills, competencies and abilities. Begin by listing your professional certifications followed by your key achievements. Finally include the skills you possess that have made your perform successfully at your job. The US Department of Labor sponsors the website to help you quickly identify your competencies and select those that best apply to you.

2. Clearly define your career goals and objectives.
More than your expectations for your current job, these career goals have a long-term focus and may be different than those written in your annual performance appraisal. It is important that your goals are not employer-specific and match the personal commitments in your life and are flexible and adaptable to the unexpected changes in the market place, your own life changes or shifting patterns of interest.

3. Create a training plan. Browse over the job descriptions of a desired future job goal and identify any gaps in training or skill sets that are required for this job opportunity from those you currently possess. Create a detailed plan with dates and training targets for each of those identified gaps.

4. Beef up your career network and identify a mentor. It is important to create a network through professional societies as well as key social networking sites and critical to regularly update your profile, especially those related to your professional career. Keeping your resume and skill set current allows your network to be updated with the advancements you have made professionally. Leverage the use of technology on sites such as LinkedIn to create mentor relationships and discussion group forums around your profession which allows you to stay in touch with professionals across industries and organizations as well as develop mentorship opportunities for ongoing skill development.

5. Hold yourself accountable. Support groups and professional organizations provide a key networking role and also assist in holding us accountable toward progression on overcoming a specific problem or achieving a career goal. The Department of Labor now provides a listing of professional organizations available that match your career interest at Joining an active group and sharing your career plan is an important step to achieving your goals.

Serena is a professional career counselor and trainer currently working with individuals and groups in the processes of team building, personality assessment, communication development, career transition as well as career exploration. She has been in private practice for the last decade working with adults in career transition in addition to consulting with companies in the realm of career and organizational development. She has a Master of Science in Counseling, Career Counseling and is the Past-President of the California Career Development Association. She has recently been interviewed by KABC and The Early Show (CBS) on how people can maneuver their careers through this tough economy. You can learn more about career counseling or upcoming webinars at