How to Improve Your Marketability in a Changing Job Market

A review of Forget Job Security: Build Your Marketability, by Dawn Rasmussen

Job security is dead. Loyalty to a company no longer matters. Short-term employees are now the norm in many industries. And every day employers ask workers for new ways to improve efficiency, productivity, and profits.

Most Americans struggle to cope with these changes, says Dawn Rasmussen, a job counselor and resume writer in The Dalles, Oregon. They simply haven’t learned to manage their own careers.

“There is no such thing as job security anymore,” warns Rasmussen. “It is now all about employability.”

To help people navigate today’s workplace, Rasmussen has written a guide to career management, Forget Job Security: Build Your Marketability.

Readers will find excellent advice about launching and running a successful job search, including detailed tips for cover letters, resumes, interviews, and salary negotiations. Rasmussen’s savvy as a career counselor who works with clients across the United States shines through in these sections and they make up the bulk of this very useful and practical book.

But Rasmussen’s isn’t writing for the job seeker alone. She also offers ideas on what to do after you land a job, such as learning a new company culture, keeping in touch with mentors, and dealing with the “bosszillas” you may meet along the way.

What makes the book unique, however, is her focus on career management. Here are six steps Rasmussen recommends you take to manage your career:

Define your purpose

You need to know what you want. Being clear about your career goals helps you explain what you offer and ultimately helps you answer the question every employer asks,” What can you do for me?”

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Know your value

Successful career managers can explain the unique value they offer with a short statement that connects with an employer’s wants, needs and values.

Develop your brand

If you don’t develop a personal brand, employers and colleagues will do it for you. You need to identify your passions, strengths, skills and turn these lists into a branding statement you can use in interviews and presentations.

Master the building blocks

Everybody has to have a few basic career building blocks in place. These include adding new skills, paying attention to your reputation (especially online), and building value inside and outside an organization.

Keep your tools current

Good career managers regularly update their resumes, work samples and other application materials. They see these documents as dynamic and so are ready when an unexpected opportunity presents itself.

Shape your destiny

Think and plan ahead. Be prepared for new opportunities (or layoffs) by taking classes, participating in industry organizations, mentoring others, and working to a career plan.

In the end, says Rasmussen, career management is a mindset that you can use to meet change head. Anyone who wants to be ready for unexpected opportunities or workplace decisions out of their control will find Forget Job Security to be a great guide to planning and managing a successful career.

I’m always looking for new books about job-hunting and career management. If there was a book that was particularly helpful to you, please let me know at mac@macslist.org