Are You Relevant? Retooling Your Career For the Future

How marketable are you right now? What will you need to do to make sure you're still relevant five years from now?

When the economy is in recession, workers focus on their marketability. They're either trying to hang on to their jobs or trying to land new ones. Nobody wants to be deemed redundant, or expendable, or a weak candidate. Those are labels no one can afford to be tagged with. People spend time thinking about how they can shore up weaknesses and increase perceived value.

Unfortunately, though, when the job market finally rights itself, a lot of those same people will just as suddenly put thoughts about how to stay relevant on the back burner. And that will be a mistake.

Even when the economy begins expanding again, we're still going to be looking at a dynamic job market. Remember back just a few short years ago when the market was red hot? People were still facing layoffs. Companies were still merging – or outsourcing – or streamlining operations – resulting in head count reductions. Of course jobs were not being lost at the pace they are now, but the point is … you're better make sure you're marketable.

If you do not keep up with the pace of change, you will always be vulnerable.

Your skill set needs to be broad and relevant. You need to be sure you're making a meaningful contribution to the organization. You need to identify future trends early and understand what you need to do to adapt and thrive.

This will require initiative on your part. Nobody's going to do this for you; it's your responsibility to make sure you're as marketable as possible.