Everyone agrees 2011 could be a tough year. We all know that there will be challenges and many of you could find it a tough year to advance your career, or to enhance your reputation.
It does not have to be so, especially if you are confident in your own ability and you combine this with a really good track record and with sound results behind you. So even if we start a new year with slightly less optimism than we might have done, here are some things that I would like you to promise me you will do in the next 12 months:
Stop thinking that the Internet is the only place that will advance your career. Smart operators know that it is still personal contact, reputation and a really sound track record that moves their career on.
Stop thinking that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. This is especially so if you have tried grazing in a few different "fields" already, and have a career that is looking unstable. Another move simply is not going to do it for you.
View every new opportunity with healthy cynicism. Why are they looking for a replacement, have they recruited many times before, what is their track record as an employer, how will this look in three years time on your CV.
Prepare thoroughly for every interview. Know your figures, know the company you are going to see, look the part, make sure you know where you are going. Too many people do these things "on the hoof", look unprofessional and blow great opportunities.
Get close to the manufacturer.
If you know your brand, if you love working with it and they love working with you, then leverage this relationship. They will not want to lose you and can often be very instrumental in helping you move up the career ladder.
Be careful about who you work with and who you trust.
Agencies can be a great help, and good ones can represent you very well. But bad ones are a nightmare, and rarely have your interests at heart. Do not believe everything they tell you -try to find out from recommendation those you can trust. Not all employers are the same, nor are agencies. Be careful.
Be confident. Believe in yourself, while this is a competitive market if you have much to offer then tell people about it. Don't try to show off, but be prepared to stand up for yourself. Everybody else is and many of them do not have your talent.
Challenging years like 2011 often move people's careers much further forward than times when pickings are easy and profits are spectacular even for average performers. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."
If you reckon you are one of the good ones, then do not miss this opportunity to develop yourself. You can do and should this within your own organisation.
But if you don't reckon you work for one of the better ones, then find a new home. There are some great employers out there developing people in the right way. Your first task is to find them, your second to make sure they find you.