As a military spouse or accompanying partner it can be difficult to set career goals when you are constantly relocating and changing jobs. In a journal article I read recently (A Paradigm Shift: strategies for assisting military spouses in obtaining a successful career path), career experts Pamela McBride and Lori Cleymans made the point that your goal should be to be more marketable when you leave a position than when you arrive. This is great advice. Critical for success in today’s world of work is to be marketable to employers and lifelong learning is essential. However, it doesn’t matter whether you are in a paid position right now or not (or working in your desired field or not or whether you are suitably or under-employed). You can still set yourself a goal to be more marketable at the end of a defined period than you were when you entered it.
In his book “The Start-Up of You” LinkedIn in cofounder and chairman Reid Hoffman sets readers the task of investing themselves. So here’s my challenge to you this month- Invest in Yourself! Define a timeframe for yourself and endeavor to make yourself more marketable at the end of it than at the start.
Let’s start with some of Hoffman’s suggestions:
- deliberately under schedule yourself for a day and read a book you wouldn’t otherwise read, attend a seminar in a different but related field, or some other activity that will broaden your horizons.
- find an industry event or conference to attend in the next six months and book your ticket
Or you could:
- join a group (in person or online) that will give you an opportunity to share ideas and resources.
- take a short course at your local college or university (many of them have community course offerings, professional development courses etc). You can take free online courses at websites such as EdX.
- work on your online profile (update your LinkedIn profile or create a personal website)
- join a professional association in your field or engage with one you are currently in (attend a meeting, comment on a LinkedIn discussion, attend an event).
- mentor someone or find someone to mentor you
- make a new connection or deepen a connection you already have
- keep up to date with news and advances in your field e.g subscribe to an industry or professional association publication
- choose a skill you want to learn or develop e.g communication skills (writing, public speaking etc), technology skills, leadership skills. Choose a skill that is transferable across industries for maximum benefit.
The possibilities are endless. Be responsible for your own career management and invest in yourself today. Investing in yourself is another strategy for managing your career that doesn’t necessarily rely on outside forces. For more on internal career strategies read my article here