How to Get Ahead in This Tough Economy
Unemployment is still high and employers are reluctant to spend more of their resources to further an employee's career. But, there are ways to keep moving forward if you put time and energy into it. Remember, it's not about what a current or potential employer can do for you but rather what you can do for the employer - how you can add to the company's profits, client base or revenue.
My middle daughter (I have three), Alexa, who is now twenty-three, has been working part-time since she was sixteen. Over the last seven years, while in school, she has been a sales clerk at a local boutique, a model, a store manager for a ladies' accessory store, an intern for an Italian fashion design house and most recently an as an a full-time intern for a world-wide financial services company. In college her major was international business and marketing.
The last internship was offered by a friend who had been an intern at the financial services company and was leaving to take a full-time job. Alexa jumped at the chance; she was hired five months ago and in a few weeks will be working for the company as a full-time employee. The saying "It's not what you know but who you know", is particularly relevant in today's employment environment. But, if the door opens, it’s imperative that you do your homework, commit yourself to the job and look for ways to add value.
Alexa wasn't familiar with the new company’s systems, programs or products but she dove into the corporate mix and immediately began networking with as many managers and officers as possible. In addition to working hard, she asked each of her superiors if they had 10 minutes to chat with her. Through these short meetings she learned more about the inner workings of the company and became acquainted with many people in upper management.
Whenever an opportunity presented itself Alexa took the initiative. She took a company sponsored online Spanish course in her spare time and, in addition to her main job which was a contracts project reorganizing and updating client contract information, she was asked to arrange corporate events. She was also selected as an internal ambassador to educate employees on a new product. She did everything with enthusiasm and met many more company personnel as a result. More recently, Alexa was given 24 hours to make a presentation to the head of a new group within the company regarding the effectiveness of the contracts project.
The point to all of this bragging about my middle daughter is that getting a job these days takes hard work. Joining networking groups, sending out resumes, contacting friends and reconnecting with anyone you know who might know someone else who is hiring. But the work doesn’t stop once you’ve landed a job. Again, networking with co-workers and management, providing value-added, and producing good work will help you keep your job and move up the corporate ladder.Continued on the next page