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Get the Career You Deserve

After the last recession, recruiters have to be asking themselves, "How do I have a meaningful career in this field of work?". The minute the economy goes south, the nanosecond hiring slows, recruiters get their pink slips. There is no job security in recruiting. You can however, create something even better: career security.

Career security is the ability always to be employed and always by an employer of your choice. If you think that's a pipe dream, consider this: between February and April of 2010, more Americans resigned from their jobs (2.0 million) than were laid off (1.7 million). A cohort of the American workforce as large as the city of Houston decided they could work wherever it best suited them, not the other way around. That's career security in action.

Contrast it with the faux promise of job security. In survey after survey, job security is the #1 goal of working Americans. Yet, it is something they can't control - employers do - and it's something that only works when times are good - when they don't need it.

How do you achieve career security? By taking charge of the direction and shape of your career.

Recruiters are the only profession in which its members spend all day, every day, promoting the careers of others. If recruiting were a religion, they'd all be candidates for sainthood. But, as anyone who's been in the field for more than five minutes knows, recruiting is a profession. And, professional people are only as successful as they are competent in managing their own careers. In other words, the sole way to achieve career security is to be proficient and proactive in career self-management.

Become an Expert in Career Self-Management

The challenge for many recruiters today is that virtually all of the training they take, all of the conference presentations they attend, and all of the recruitment-related publications they read focus on just one aspect of what it takes to be a successful recruiting professional. They are inundated with content designed to expand their expertise in sourcing and recruiting, but told nothing at all about what else they must do to achieve career security.

What are those other activities? They are the seven essential steps of what I call Career Fitness - a system of principles and practices for proactively building a career that will steadily increase both the paycheck and the satisfaction you bring home from your work..

To build Career Fitness, you must devote the time and make the effort to attend to ALL of the following:

Pump Up Your Cardiovascular System. The heart of your career is the range and depth of your expertise in recruiting. It has to be at the state-of-the-art, but unlike what many pundits now suggest, that includes both the latest techniques and those that are established but still effective.

Strengthen Your Circulatory System. The circulatory system of your career is your network of professional contacts and connections. The wider and deeper that network, the more visible you and your capabilities will be in the workplace.

Develop All of Your Muscle Groups. The muscle groups of your career are the ancillary skills and knowledge you bring to work (e.g., a second language, the ability to lead). The broader your set of capabilities, the wider the range of situations and assignments in which you can be employed.

Increase Your Flexibility & Range of Motion. The flexibility and range of motion in your career dictate your willingness and ability to adapt to new circumstances and requirements. The greater those attributes, the more pronounced your perceived value will be to employers.

Work With Winners. The environment in which you work can either enable and empower you or frustrate and even derail you. Working for the right employer is the only way to ensure you have an unfettered shot at being the best you can be.

Stretch Your Soul. The soul of your career is your talent - your capacity for excellence in your chosen field of work. When you contribute that talent to the good of others - a social service or civic organization, for example - you enrich your own career, as well.

Pace Yourself. The pace you set for your work and career dictate your resilience and endurance at work. The right pace ensures that you can do your best work even in times of high demand and over the long arc of your entire career.

Taking an active role in building your Career Fitness as a recruiting professional is not something you should do. It's something you (and your career) deserve. It enables you to be the best you can be and, as a result, to experience the financial and spiritual benefits of career security.

Thanks for reading,

Visit my blog at Weddles.com/WorkStrong.

January 2012
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