Mid Career Job Search Part V: Create Value & Stay Visible

By Lisa Parker

Right now, who is attempting to recruit you for an opportunity in line with your abilities and interests? What about over the past year? 5 years? 10 years?

Not counting the abundant multilevel marketing opportunities making the circuit these days, if you haven’t been the target of a recruitment effort, you may be in the middle, or on the verge, of a professional crisis. A key thing we learned from the economic downturn is those fortunate enough to be visible and recognized as having in-demand skills fare much better professionally. Not only are they able to land jobs faster when needed, they are less likely to lose their jobs to begin with because their employers recognize their street value and appreciate their contribution to the company. If no one is trying to recruit you, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions.

  1. Do you have skills with street value? For your profession, what’s hot at the moment?
  2. Are you visible in professional circles relevant to what you do?
  3. Is your employer, let alone potential employers, aware of your connections and abilities?
  4. How unique are you compared to others in your field? Would it be easy to replace you with someone else?
  5. What could your employer lose and your next employer gain were you to be recruited away? Are you the only one aware of these answers?

Whether you’re working or unemployed, a good sign you have valuable skills and are demonstrating them in a visible way is a call from a company attempting to woo you to join its team. It’s amazing to me how many people view a company attempting to recruit them as rude or off putting. It’s the opposite. It’s positive reinforcement your efforts aren’t going unnoticed. If strangers see what you’re doing and recognize your value, all the  more likely your current employer sees it, too.

Why is this important? For the unemployed, the answer is obvious. If you’re invisible and/or viewed as not having recruit-worthy skills, you’re not going to land a job easily. Quick work must be made of closing the visibility and skill gap, while dealing with the stress already a part of being without a job. For the employed, you are increasing the odds you might be viewed as dispensable by your current employer and missing out on the chance to build a solid safety net of connections and options should you find yourself on the hunt.

It’s great to get a plan in place for how to become a sought after recruit while you have time on your side. This doesn’t mean you have to entertain all of the attempts to recruit you. This doesn’t mean you have to be looking for a job 24/7. All this means is you should be taking care to ensure you remain in demand, because demand contributes greatly to stable employment and professional growth.

What can you do to increase your chance of being targeted for recruitment?

  1. Keep current with in-demand skills in your field. If you don’t know what they are, network with similar professionals, research job postings for skills noted at your level and above and contact universities with your degree program and ask for course descriptions now required for majors relevant to your subject area.
  2. Be visible to your employer and to prospective employers. If you’re the only one who knows the good work you are doing, it’s a problem. Join professional associations, create a LinkedIn profile, offer to speak or submit articles in your field and create reports noting the results of the work you are performing (or have performed) even if an employer hasn’t required you to do so.
  3. Remain open to conversations about opportunity. Those who only talk to people when they are actually looking for a job miss out on the chance to be in the flow of valuable information and risk coming off as self-serving.

At the end of the day, know a company attempting to recruit you is a very good thing. It shows you are at the top of your game. It shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing by you or the company you work for. As a manager, I was always happy to hear when someone was chasing an employee of mine. It reinforced I’d made a good hire and kept me focused on making sure I was growing that person professionally so they’d want to continue to be a part of my team as their star continued to shine brighter.

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Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.

With 15+ years’ experience in third party recruiting, Lisa offers a balanced understanding of both employee and employer perspectives.

Lisa is a firm advocate of the networking process and considers it a vital element in a successful job search. In addition to helping job seekers develop and best utilize networking contacts, Lisa shares her knowledge and insigh-gained aiding corporate recruiting efforts-to give Spartan job seekers an edge in terms of lead sourcing, resume presentation and interview strategy.

Among Lisa’s notable accomplishments: Prima Civitas Foundation Scholar; Michigan Works Association Volunteer of the Year; Pink Slip Mid Michigan Planning Committee; RecruiterUncensored.com career content blogger.

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