CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUL. 02, 2014
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How to Boost Your Career Confidence in a Tough Industry

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With tough economies and regular industry shake-ups, it isn’t news that many careerists are struggling to stay relevant in their respective jobs. Some industries are actually so tough to the point where many fresh graduates have quit looking for jobs. And whether we like it or not, having relevant credentials doesn’t simply make the cut these days considering the monstrous number of graduates being churned out by universities worldwide every year. Interestingly enough, we’ve got many incompetent careerists clinching lucrative jobs. One might say that it’s unfair and talk about ’connections’ until you consider the daredevil instinct that they have, despite imminent industry shake-ups. We’ve also witnessed confident yet incompetent careerists filling the void of capable quitters and excelling beyond our expectations. With this in mind, we should ask ourselves, how does one boost career confidence in a tough industry?

#1 Have a range of contingency measures in place

We’ve all been taught since childhood the dangers of putting all our eggs in one basket. Having said that, we are lying to ourselves if our career confidence is solely dependent on our current jobs. Imagine the shock and despair of sudden job loss having put all your faith in your current pre-occupation. We’ve witnessed many careerists falling into depression and doing small jobs just to make ends meet. Prudent careerists on the other hand have small entrepreneurial ventures that they’ve been working on. Others have been experimenting on side - jobs just to tap into their passion. There’s also the issue of financial contingency measures such as investments, savings and insurance packages. Whichever, the case may be, you’ll need to have some contingency measures in place to preserve your career confidence in any unanticipated circumstance.

#2 Keep tabs on market seasons, trends and innovations

Farmers know the perfect time to sow and reap by assessing the prevalent season, disease challenges and weather predictions. Otherwise, they would be experiencing huge crop losses as a result of being clueless regarding the situation on the ground. Similarly, careerists who are clueless about the mechanism behind their industry struggles will have their career confidence shaken. Consequently, they’ll get confused and come up with misconceptions that give them more reason to simply quit their careers. We’ve also got farmers that experience consistent bumper harvest irrespective of the common challenges on the ground. That’s because they always keep tabs on innovative ways to tackle a wide range of diseases. Careerists that keep doing the same thing over and over again will soon find their efforts are obsolete. They’ll then find challenges getting insurmountable by the day simply because they never kept tabs on latest trends and innovations.

#3 Pay keen interest to ignored market gaps and neglected niches

The real secret behind budding entrepreneurs and thriving businesses in tough industries is the discovery of ignored market gaps and unexploited market niches. In fact, you’ll notice this with struggling companies trying to stay relevant in their respective industries. They’ll always come up with a product that hits the nail on the head when it comes to addressing customer needs. There’s also the advantage of coming up with patented products since you’ll have the monopoly of dominating a particular market niche and establishing yourself as a force to reckon with. This is actually the best insurance package when an entrepreneurial careerist looses his/her job since you’ll have a list of options from which you can begin your business venture.

#4 Be bold and spontaneous when promising opportunities present themselves

How many times have we found ourselves bidding farewell to promising opportunities simply because we never believed in ourselves? We actually kick ourselves when we wonder ’what if?’ A tough industry calls for a daring spirit especially in times of industry shake-ups. It’s better for you to clinch an opportunity without second thought especially when an inevitable job loss is imminent. Even as an entrepreneur, you can’t afford to settle in your current situation and become a regular victim of failed ventures simply because you were afraid to make a bold step in expanding your range of products. The idea of sitting pretty should in fact be disturbing and unacceptable in your mind.

#5 Diversify your academic credentials beyond familiar parameters

For those who pay keen interest to higher education quarters, you’ll notice that having a degree alone in this age of stiff competition simply doesn’t make the cut. In fact, masters and PhDs have become the norm. However, having 2-3 degrees and diplomas in different fields is what separates the eagles from the flock of ’monotonous’ graduates. For instance, in America, there are currently over 300 unemployed PhD holders. This was unheard of in the 90s. But today, things have changed and being ’single-minded’ academically can prove to be quite disastrous career wise. On the other hand, I’m yet to hear of careerists with several diversified degrees and diplomas in their resumes being unemployed. And if there are any, I bet they must be very few. Such careerists are indeed confident despite industry shake-ups since they’ll remain relevant and indispensable considering their diversity of knowledge. Plus, they’re likely to clinch any lucrative job that presents itself as companies bid to retain employees with a wide scope of resourcefulness.

#6 Network with career excellence and prune career mediocrity

If your mediocre career acquaintances are the reason behind your career stagnation, then it’s time to sever such ties and make a radical shift towards connecting with progressive and excelling careerists. Maybe it’s time you started by looking at the friends around you because such ties subliminally affect our careers despite their seemingly harmless influence in our lives. There are also careerists that don’t have career mentors since there are none on the ground. But thanks to technology, we can interact with key industry players thousands of miles away through social media, teleconferencing and career blogs or “vloggers”.

#7 Play hard ball with carefully calculated career steps

Ultimately, you play the leading role in your career life. And when it comes to nurturing career confidence, it’s the small daily steps and decisions that we make in our workplaces that end up shaping our career destiny. However, the difference comes in the thought we put into our daily career efforts. Many careerists are simply wandering in a pipe dream without any career goals in mind. Some have even gone ahead and dismissed the concept of having career goals altogether since they’re afraid of disappointments. However, despite the fact that disappointments happen once in a while, it’s wise to have a skeleton career roadmap and then let your daily efforts bring clarity to your career destiny. Otherwise, it would be pointless to expect career confidence without making informed and carefully calculated decisions. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.

In this world, there are 3 types of people. Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who ask "What happened?" Those careerists who are clueless about what happens behind the scenes end up being victims of circumstances while the spectators fall victim to career stagnation. However, those who set the tone for career excellence will always be confident movers and shakers in their respective industries, even during the toughest of times.

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