The wisdom expressed in the adage "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" is applicable to job seekers. It is usually far easier to find another job if you're already employed. But how can you ensure that the worst never happens to you -- that you're never left without a job and possibilities for your next opportunity?
Here are five suggestions from career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman:
Keep Thinking Positive
It sounds deceptively simple, but try embracing the power of positive thinking when you're thinking about your career. "When you tell yourself something bad will happen to your job, something bad will probably happen," says Brown-Volkman. "If you tell yourself that you are marketable and confident and that you will always be working, your words can make this true."
Keep Thinking Ahead
If you're not following trends within your particular industry, you could be caught off-guard by a layoff. Is your position or division vulnerable to outsourcing, further automation or elimination? "If your job is being eliminated or outsourced, you will want to know about it before you are in the room with the human resources person telling you that your job is going away," Brown-Volkman says.
She urges professionals to look for trends and then train yourself in growth areas. "Having the right skills at the right time ensures that no matter what is happening around you, you will be needed and employable," she says.
Keep Your Resume Ready
Having your resume at the ready gives you confidence. You always know that if opportunity casually knocks, you're prepared to answer. "Even if you are not looking for work, your resume reminds you of the contributions you make on a regular basis, something you can easily forget when you are immersed in the day-to-day," Brown-Volkman says. "Whether you are looking for a job, or you already have one, an updated resume is essential for your career."
Keep Cultivating Your Network
Brown-Volkman says networking should always be a part of your professional life. "If you start to network only when you need something, you will have a lot of catching up to do," she says. Instead of waiting until the 11th hour, she advises workers to network in some way every day. "Wherever there are people, there is an opportunity to network," she says.
She also urges workers to network within their own workplaces. If coworkers understand what you do and your value, this could help safeguard your job in dicey times.
Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open
You're up on the trends. You're networking. You've got a current resume. You're thinking positive thoughts. Now it's time to get creative -- by creating your own opportunities.
Read up on what your peers are doing and what you aren't. Consider how you might strike out on your own -- or on the side. "Rather than thinking, 'It cannot happen,' believe that what you want is possible and is within your reach,' Brown-Volkman adds. "Then, make it happen."