There's a fine line between a career that is thriving and one that is dying in supply chain chaos. Success depends on careful, ongoing career management.
Any disaster, whether it's a tornado, an explosion, or simply a new boss, can translate to career disaster. With the right planning, though, these changes can be a solid path to career advancement.
Gerry Fay, chief global logistics and operations officer for Avnet, in an article on EBNonline, made the statement that "companies created the greatest risk for themselves when they did not engage in robust risk assessment -- essentially saying that not having such an assessment in place was tantamount to not planning." Your career deserves the same risk management and planning.
Keeping your career fresh need not be an onerous chore. Consider adding a few of these activities to your list of must-do chores, and you will be one step closer to career safety.
Read, read, read
Set aside a minimum of one hour a week to read Internet articles about trends in the supply chain, especially in your area of expertise. EBNonline is an excellent source, but do not neglect standard business publications, including Huffington Post, The New York Times (especially the global business section), and the Wall Street Journal. Always stay on the lookout for other new and fabulous sources of new information.
Make sure your reading list includes newly released titles that will keep you abreast on the latest technologies and techniques. Read a book on SaaS, even if you think it's just another fad.
Use groups on LinkedIn
Update your LinkedIn profile regularly, but also join professional groups on LinkedIn and make an effort to regularly comment on what you read. If you quickly search for the term "supply chain group" on LinkedIn, you will see almost 5,000 potential groups. Don't be a passive reader in your selected groups. Respond to learn from others and create a digital footprint for building a broader reputation. Make sure to provide advice and resources to others, since you want to avoid being seen as simply a "taker."
By regularly engaging in this way, you'll put yourself on the radar of recruiters, as well as put yourself in the best light when you apply for a job. After a recruiter receives your resume, s/he will probably begin the research by checking your online social media presence. A recent article in Forbes online magazine, titled "Recruiting Reinvented: How Companies Are Using Social Media in the Hiring Process," provides much thoughtful insight into the importance of your digital footprint.
Mingle with purpose
You really do have to get out of the office once in awhile. "I've been too busy working to have any networking friends," is an excuse I often hear from job seekers. However, having face-to-face contact with other people in the industry goes a long way to raising your profile and generating new contacts.
Attend one or two professional meetings or civic groups a month. Don't just take up space. Get to know people who know people. Whether you choose groups like CSCMP or Toastmasters, mingle to foster relationships. No weak handshakes, either!
Concentrate on making yourself memorable. "I've interviewed a few times in the past six months since I've been laid off. When I follow up, the recruiters don't seem to know who I am!" Sounds like this individual may need to improve his or her interviewing skills. Seek help from a friendly recruiter or a friend, but make sure you put yourself in the hands of someone who will be ruthless with feedback.
If you are conducting interviews, be mindful of how you treat potential candidates. Remember, the world keeps growing smaller. The candidate in front of you may be the hiring manager next time you look for a job.
If you are a candidate, ask for help, but not a job, when you contact someone with whom you've created a business relationship. People like helping one another. Make sure you lead with a positive attitude, even if you feel as if you have been treated unfairly during your search. A positive outlook may very well be the best tool for avoiding career disaster.
Change is inevitable. Whether you are a supply chain newbie or a 35-year career veteran, you can't count on career stability. Understanding personal risk management is as important as understanding the risks in your supply chain.