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5 strategies to build career security


Ways to take control of your career regardless of what happens to your job.

Create your own career security and you’ll never have to worry about job security again. We’ve got five strategies to help you build career security today. And here’s our secret – you need to run your career like a business.


The problem with job security


This pandemic has shown us that there is a problem with job security. Having a sense of job security is heavily reliant on the employer, the economy, and on things outside of our control. Job security and familiarity and consistency we gain from our job is a safety net. But what happens when the safety net is removed? This is when we need to have career security.


What is career security?


Career security is knowing that no matter what happens to the job you have right now, or the one you have in the future, your career will not be derailed.


When you have a strong sense of career security, you feel more in control of your own adventure. You’re more confident in your ability to make an impact through your work, and less fearful of the effects of external forces, such as business decisions or changes in the economic climate, on your livelihood.


The secret to creating career security is to run your career like it’s your own business.


How to run your career like a business


Whether you are in work or out of work, a leader, an individual contributor or a freelancer, you have two jobs in that business. You are an employee. And you are a boss. 


Your mission is to be the boss you always wanted and the employee you dreamed of hiring. This is because nobody else cares more about your career than you. That is your superpower, should you choose to use it. 


When you are building your career, you work for yourself. You are not building your career for anyone else. You cannot employ anyone to build your career for you. It can't be outsourced. 


5 strategies to run your career like a business:


1. Make a business plan. One that is sustainable, profitable and socially conscious. Consider:

  • Do you have a financial budget, marketing strategy and learning and development plan?
  • Have you positioned yourself in the best location (geographically or electronically) for your target market?
  • Are you conscious of how your time is spent and tracked?
  • Do you give back on top of making a profit?


Most importantly, where you are getting your next customer from? That could be your next employer or your next client if you are a freelancer or sole trader – it's whoever will pay you money for the career you are building.


These are the same decisions that a CEO makes about the business they run and you are making them for yours. The business that you run – your career.


2. Find experts who will invest in your business


Running your own business doesn’t mean you need to know everything. It just means you need to know where to go to find the information and how to ask for help.


Conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis, then surround yourself with experts who complement your skill set and are willing to invest in you. Make sure you have a coach or mentor in the mix to invest in you and to help you grow and develop.


3. Conduct a performance and development review 


Your business has one boss and one employee: they are the same person, they are you.


But now that you know you are your own boss; would you say you are a good employee?  Is a performance improvement plan needed? Are you ready for your next stretch challenge? Do you deserve a day off? Or maybe even a bonus this month?


The business of your career is only as strong as its weakest link. Don't let that be the boss or the employee. Because both of those roles are you. 


4. Seek out new business opportunities


One of the most difficult challenges for a business owner is splitting their time between working on the business and working in the business. It is the tension between doing productive, fee-generating work now at the same time as filling the pipeline with potential future opportunities, ready for when you are.


In the business of your career, focus specifically on finding opportunities to be uncomfortable now and get used to sitting in that feeling. Embracing these new opportunities to stretch and grow will work wonders at times when you don’t have job security.


5. Focus on what is in your control. There are only three things:

  • What you think
  • What you feel
  • What you do


The choices you make everyday matter. The way you responded to that email at 11am on Tuesday, or the way you reacted to a decision that your boss made, or the time you spent completing extra study every Sunday for the past year – these are examples of how well you are controlling what you think, feel and do. This is the best chance you have to create career security, because this is completely in your control.


By running your career like a business your foundations will be solid. With this kind of career security, you won’t need a safety net. You won’t feel like you are at the mercy of forces outside your control. You’ll have confidence to know that you’re in control of your career adventure and that whatever happens to your job, you’ll land new and exciting opportunities to make an impact.


We think job security is old news. Instead, run your career like and business and start building your career security today.


Shelley Johnson and Emily Bowen are HR professionals and host the my millennial career podcast.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. We do not recommend any third party products or services and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information only and we do not endorse their content.

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