Some of us are told education is the key for success; others are told to work for a large company, the government or a bank, and the expected result is a job for life. The truth is that in a very volatile marketplace in the 21st century, there is no one ingredient for success. You need to apply a number of strategies and approaches to ensure your marketability. You are the only person that can secure life-time employment.

People today need to deal with greater uncertainty in the marketplace and a good way to do this is to take ownership of your career. It is clear that individuals who consciously invest in their careers stand out from other employees.

Group of young business people sitting around table on office te

To take your career in your own hands, start with implementing these simple strategies:

1. Assessment & Mindset: Through self-assessments and self awareness, know your strengths and areas that need improvement, and determine if those are what are in demand in the marketplace. Make sure your skill-set is up to date. Know what you need for today, and for tomorrow.  Understand the challenges and influences within and around you.

2. Reputation Awareness: Everyone has a reputation, and it is important to manage yours effectively. Understand your own credibility and track record, and how you are perceived by others. Speak to a manager, colleagues and even friends for feedback on their experiences with   you. Do some self-reflection through someone else’s eyes and then determine what qualities and characteristics to keep working on and what should remain the same.

3. Network: Cross network and really get to know the people on your team, within your company and in the marketplace. Taking the time to network is a crucial investment in your career. “Coffee” and “lunch” are important skills to learn and have. Networking while you are in a position is equally as important as when you’re looking for a job.

4. Sharing Goals: Managers can’t read minds, so give them a sense of who you are, what you want and your expectations. Seek out your manager, don’t just wait for your quarterly or annual review. Have ongoing career conversations in formal and informal settings.

5. Understand your Why:  Why do you do what you do?  We know the difference between a person that is truly passionate and aligned with what they are doing and the person that just shows up to work.  If you can, always articulate “why” your value to the organization will be clear.