Alicia Karwat Alicia has over 15 years of corporate experience and has been helping professionals, managers and executives identify and develop extraordinary powers they didn’t even know they had, for over 5 years. To find out more view Alicia's full bio or visit Alicia's website

Mastering Resilient Career

By Dr Alicia Karwat, KeySteps Pty. Ltd.

Skill Shortage – What skill shortage? What does it mean to be career resilient?

Media would like us to believe that our labour market experiences skill shortage. This is true in some sectors, such as mining, engineering and trades; however, in fact most other sectors experience a rise of redundancies and retrenchments, in particular at more senior levels. Recruiters complain that their business is down because there are not many new vacancies coming in. I have seen many good candidates in my practice recently, who have been looking for jobs for more than six months.  Age seems to do quite a lot with it; perhaps because older people are looking for more senior positions than the younger ones and there are not so many senior positions advertised. Turning 40 appears to be a magical age, although one recruiter told me that in their circle mature age workers are those over 36.  “This position is too junior for you” – you can hear their response, and “I do not have anything at your level right now”. 

This gets us back to the old question of how to build career resilience and stay employable through all your life stages and economic cycles.

I have read the following in one of European magazines, and think that the career stages summary described there makes a sound advice. The more, that I can see it working, day in and day out in my own career coaching practice.

Career Stage 1: Till 35 years of age, you have to learn how to do a job search. This means self-marketing, writing resume reflecting well your achievements and contributions, mastering interview skills and developing the art of networking.

Career Stage 2: Till 45 years of age, you have to learn how to ensure that jobs will find you.

Career Stage 3: After 45, you should neither wait for a job nor search for a job, but be able to create your own place of work. You have to be Me Inc., either in your own business or in an organisation. In other words, your goal to 45 years of age is to accumulate sufficient knowledge, professional and business contacts and resources to be free to leave a job and create your own professional and business opportunities. These opportunities might be in another organisation but you come to it with a business offer; how you can specifically benefit the organisation.

I have seen only a few people in my practice who reached this “after 45” stage. They all have been in the workforce again pretty quickly, and they did not rush with decisions. They were assessing right opportunities. Majority of others had not developed sound job searching skills when there was time to do it, most importantly they neglected professional networking and did not have necessary contacts to utilise in Career Stages 2 and 3.

In what career stage are you now? Where do you see yourself in few years time?

What are your thoughts on the career resilience? Do you know people who you would consider career resilient? Who are they? How did they reach their career resilience? Maybe you would like to share your thoughts with others. We would love to hear from you.

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