How have you positioned yourself? Have you been building your brand? How are you prepared to take advantage of opportunities in a down economy?

While you listen to the gloom and doom of the mainstream media, naysayers, and general pessimists, remember that only you have control of your career. Just like leaving your financial future in someone else’s hands, doing so with your career is a recipe for disappointment or worse.

Perhaps your position at your company is secure, and you don’t have to worry much. Perhaps it’s anything but secure. Either way, the realities of today dictate that one takes a more proactive approach to staying relevant to your industry, and maintaining visibility in your market.

The great part is that both these things are quite easily accessible to everyone. All you have to do is take the initiative and begin. Sure true training courses by “certified” learning facilities cost real dollars and take up real business hours. However there are other alternatives – search them out on the web. You may already be doing this on a daily basis online or through RSS feeds.

The bigger part, though, is to be making sure to gain visibility in your market. To do that, you’ll need to explore the avenues of “web 2.0” and social media. The tools are plentiful, easy to use, and low to no cost. Most of the ones that give you the most value are going to be the no-cost options, with only your time as an investment.

The time investment is creating and maintaining your presence. It could be one site or network, or it could me many. The more involved you are in sharing information and ideas, the more likely you’ll be to gain both mindshare and authority within your market and industry.

The important thing about working towards this goal, is to make yourself more marketable, more appealing to potential employers and clients. So it’s important that you give examples of your expertise as much as possible. Don’t worry about giving away shared knowledge, every industry has a shared knowledge pool at every level of experience. You need to demonstrate that base knowledge and build upon it. Showing what makes you stand out in the process.

The demand for quality, well-rounded, experienced people never diminishes. The more polished your skills are, and the more people know about them, the more valuable & desirable you become to any organization. And you need to have those qualities visible to the public to take advantage of that next opportunity.

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