Does it ever feel like the world is passing you by?
Are former colleagues moving on to bigger and better career opportunities, while you’ve been in the same position for a decade?
If this is you, chances are you have failed to grow your career and are just doing enough to get by. This type of employee suddenly becomes very expendable when a company needs to make some major staff cuts
If your career isn’t growing, it’s dying! And, if your career is dying, it’s safe to say recruiters aren’t knocking on your door with new opportunities.
There are two types of job seekers in the world today:
A. Active–you need a job and are proactively looking for one.
B. Passive–you’ve got a job, but will consider new opportunities when they arise.
You should always aim to be the passive job seeker. It keeps you motivated to grow your career, and it will make you a more attractive candidate to recruiters looking to fill open positions.
Now if this first scenario doesn’t apply to you, that doesn’t mean that you’re out of the woods.
There are many other ways that your career can be in trouble. These are six warning signs to look for:
- You’ve been out of work for more than six months.
Perception is reality! Studies show recruiters discriminate against people who have been out of work for over six months. Fair or not, the assumption is something is wrong with your skills and abilities, making it harder and harder to get interviews and job offers.
Solution: Prepare to explain to recruiters your long-term unemployment. Perhaps you had a really good reason, like taking care of a sick relative. Explain the situation to the recruiter, and if you learned anything from it that you could apply to your new career. If you used your time out of work to volunteer or upskill with career courses, you should mention that as well.
- You keep getting told you’re overqualified during job interviews.
This could be easy to shake off if it happens once, but if it happens repeatedly then something doesn’t add up. The whole reason you were brought in for the interview in the first place is that the skills on your resume or LinkedIn profile matched the job position, so you shouldn’t be getting told that you’re overqualified. It’s more likely that you’re doing something wrong in the interview process or giving off a vibe that you’re uncompromising and set in your ways.
Solution: Interview preparation is key! From knowing what the most common interview questions are, to understanding how you respond to questions and carry yourself during the interview, no detail is too small!
You may want to consider doing a mock interview with someone you trust to give you honest feedback or a career coach. This feedback can help you adjust your interview techniques.
- You haven’t learned and applied any significantly new and needed skills to your job.
If you have been at the same job for three years and the job is exactly the same as it was on day one, you have a problem. After a few years, you should have at least evolved with some new skills, or taken on some new responsibilities. If you stay stuck in neutral too long, your career will start dying.
Solution: Take an interest in some skillsets that are outside of your current job responsibilities. You can grow a lot professionally just by taking an online course or certification. When you take control of your own professional growth outside of the company it shows your employer that you’re an engaged employee.
- You haven’t been promoted or given any new responsibilities.
As outlined in No. 3, you may not be putting enough effort into growing your career. In addition, management may not be giving you new challenges, because they view you as incapable of additional responsibilities.
Solution: The best way to get back on track is to set a meeting with your manager or supervisor and discuss how you can provide more value to the organization. If you’ve been up-skilling outside of work, or have some ideas about how you can grow your career, now is time to lay your cards on the table.
At the very least, this will show your employer some signs of life, and to not give up on you yet!
- Opportunity isn’t knocking.
As you climb the corporate ladder, the opportunities become more competitive and limited. You’ll also find that many of the great opportunities available aren’t posted publicly, instead most of these jobs are filled via referral. If you haven’t done enough to market yourself as an in-demand employee, you’ll never even know when the perfect opportunity becomes available.
Solution: While making an effort to grow your career is a great first step, you also need to make sure that you’re properly documenting your career journey on your online profiles. Recruiters use tools like LinkedIn to find passive candidates. It’s important that your profile has up-to-date information and quality keywords that properly shows where you’re at in your career and what your specialties are.
- Your network is unresponsive.
A strong professional network is a valuable thing to have. There’s nothing better than having friends and colleagues spread out across multiple industries and companies. If your network is working well, you’ll always know when there’s a job opportunity coming up, and will have plenty of people willing to vouch for your skills. If this isn’t the case, it could be that you’re not offering enough value to your network and they don’t know enough about you and what you have to offer.
Solution: Make a stronger effort to engage with your network. Share articles on LinkedIn that relate to your industry or area of expertise. It’s even better if you create your own content around your profession. That way you start to establish credibility as an authority on a subject. The more your network sees you, the more likely you are to have an impression on them.
I can’t stress enough the importance of constantly working on your career, and finding ways to grow it. Every job is temporary and you have to consider yourself a business-of-one. At any moment your career circumstances could change, and you have to be ready to market yourself to your next potential employer.
Are you overwhelmed by some of this information and don’t know where to start?
My company, Work It Daily, is the No. 1 online career growth club. We can get you back on track from the comfort of your own home and from the convenience of a phone app.
We have a team of trained career support specialists that will work 1-1 with you to come up with a specialized plan to help you. All of our memberships offer private 1-1 coaching along with unlimited networking potential, and a library of exclusive career courses. Additionally and for no extra cost, you’ll also receive unlimited resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile reviews by our trained specialists as part of our membership.
P.S. If you don’t think a membership to my company’s career coaching service is for you (yet). At Work It Daily, we put together the following free career growth tools for you: