Flexibility and Initiative, the keys to building your professional future in 2010

Published: 15th January 2010
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It's reasonable to say that 2009 wasn't necessarily the most rewarding or optimistic of years when it came to employment. Finding an interesting, challenging and well-rewarded new position proved harder than ever. Many people spent much of the year head down, getting on with their work as best they could, minding their own business, just thankful that they had a job at all.

Described by some as a 'year of fear', job cuts and recruitment freezes helped push the unemployment rate in the UK up to 7.9%, leaving as many as 2.5 million people out of work. Things might have been worse though and despite the banks teetering on the edge of collapse and talk of a global economic meltdown the unemployment catastrophe predicted by some has been, for now at least, averted.

Despite continued nervousness amongst many businesses there are even signs of a growing, cautious optimism. With 2009 best consigned to the past it's possible now to look forward to the year ahead with at least a hint of optimism - while unemployment is rising it is doing so at a slower rate than expected.

So what do you need to do to give yourself the very best opportunities to land the job you want? Maybe you're currently between jobs or maybe you are in a position that isn't giving you what you need professionally. What are employers looking for and what can you concentrate on that will give you a head start over the competition?

Well perhaps the first thing to do is to be positive, to adopt a can do, will do attitude. Not just to the work that you are applying for but also to surrounding issues such as working hours, holidays and extra-curricular activities. These days many organisations like to travel light and lean, if you can show a supple, flexible approach to your working life then the fit is likely to be easier and more natural.

Be prepared to take on ongoing training so that you can quickly equip yourself with new skills, be prepared to travel, work from home if you have to, build your own networks (it's amazing these days how many prospective employers will check your social media accounts to assess your interactivity and address books - especially in sales there are examples of companies only interviewing candidates with more than 250 Twitter followers.) That you have the new media savvy to build your own networks is considered a powerful attribute. In many ways even if you are looking beyond sales, perhaps to work through hr recruitment agencies, pharmacy employment agencies or a healthcare recruitment agency the principle still applies.

Potential employers want to see resourceful individuals, people with initiative, flexibility and a positive approach to a working environment that might not offer the same kinds of insulation from the trials and tribulations of the commercial world that especially public sector jobs once offered.

It works both ways, and as much as there is a shortage of great positions at the moment so too there is a shortage of great talent to fill them. By showing commitment and your resourcefulness, by developing modern, in demand skills you are naturally gravitating towards a position of strength, a position in which your talent and resourcefulness becomes increasingly evident. Use the flexibility and opportunities that your employer offers you to establish your own job security.

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