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CAREER CORNER: So what’s your career strategy?

by Tracy Collingwood, '94


“Things are different this time.” These words have been used in many contexts, including the ever-changing employment market and current economy. In the case of career planning, this saying seems to be true as well.

The notion of holding a job for life no longer exists. Organizations need to be flexible and nimble, employees are expected to change along with the organization and its operating environment, job security is ambiguous, and companies are no longer stable entities due to increasing mergers and acquisitions resulting from increased global competition.

In this environment, employees need to be better prepared for change. Creating an effective strategy for your job search or career management involves
following a logical process.

  • DO YOUR RESEARCH:  Whether you are seeking a job or changing careers, research is critical. One must figure out where the jobs are, who is hiring, and what the prospects are for the future of that job/company.
  • CONDUCT A SELF ASSESSMENT:  Since low job satisfaction levels typically involve a mismatch between the person and the position, it is essential that you conduct an honest self assessment. Be sure to consider your interests, abilities, values and personality. You need to figure out what you are good at and what is stopping you from enhancing your current position.
  • GENERATE LEADS AND NETWORK:  Next in line would be to develop a plan to market your skill set and generate leads. The most commonly perceived way of marketing yourself is the résumé, but other tactics such as writing a persuasive cover letter, building a contact base and networking are also effective.
  • PREPARE FOR YOUR INTERVIEW:  The interview is the last step of the hiring process and the most important. It offers you and the employer the opportunity to meet one another, exchange ideas and information, and come to tentative conclusions about “hiring” one another.

As more people enter the job search market and do so with more frequency, it is essential for job seekers to circumvent the traditional search avenues in order to gain an edge. The person who can network their way to a decision maker has the best chances of landing even the most highly sought after position. Once in the job, you must start the cycle once again of adapting to your new environment and continually improving yourself by adding new skills and qualifications.

If you need assistance developing your career strategy, contact the Career Development Office at (716) 673-3327 or schedule an appointment at We start with an in-depth conversation with you, either in person or by phone, arranged by appointment. Remember, our relationship with all of our alumni continues as long as you need it – and at no cost – no matter what stage of your career.

Tracy Collingwood is the Interim Director of the Career  Development Office.

posted @ Friday, January 28, 2011 2:52 PM by Christine Davis Mantai

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