by Sarah Thornburg
You probably know that reaching out to your network in times of need can lead to enormous support. But you may not always remember that if you do not take the time to build your network when times are good, you may be missing out on many opportunities.
In today’s job market, you can never predict what is around the corner. And, in a field that is constantly evolving, you are responsible for identifying your skill sets and matching them to the projects that are the best fit for you. In this open session, moderator Noelle H. Demas and panelists Lisa Balbes and Alison Greenwood provided useful strategies for increasing your visibility and maximizing job searches.
Evaluate your skills and identify your short-term and long-term goals. You might find that you aren’t pursuing the type of work you most enjoy. Also, consider whether what you do today is your ideal job or a position that will help you to transition into your ideal job.
Networking helps you to let people in your life know the type of work you do, and is one way to expand the circle of people who know it. You can network by attending professional meetings, volunteering, or using social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Even if your goal is not to make a change or to gain information, sharing your wealth of experience will help strengthen the medical writing community. And, who knows, it might present you with an opportunity you didn’t even know you wanted!
You can simplify how you manage your career development by making a list of the types of projects you’ve worked on and keeping an active experience summary. This list will help you see where you are in your career and think about where you want to go next. You can also create a concrete growth plan to track goals in categories like “increase skills and knowledge,” “gain credentials,” and “increase your value.”
Electronic resources can help you create a list of interesting companies during a job search or goal setting. Resources like BioSpace, Monster, and Indeed, and databases like ReferenceUSA, Sorkins, and Standard & Poor’s can connect you with information about employers, where they are located, and who their competitors are.
Keep your ear to the ground about the trends in the market by looking for keywords in job ads, reading the publications your customers read, talking to people in your industry, and tracking your company, industry, and market. Just by skimming job ads, and reading headlines in magazines and journals, you’ll gain insight into opportunities that others might not notice.
The bottom line of this presentation was that by evaluating your skills and goals, being aware of trends in your field, and maintaining a vibrant professional network, you can maximize your relationships and leverage your skills so you can recognize and respond to exciting opportunities.