In my previous blog post I raised the issue of employability. Whether you are happy with your employer or you feel it’s high time for you to make a change in your career, I recommend you to evaluate and maintain it. Note that in tough economic times it’s crucial to adapt to them and stand out of the crowd.
In order to assess your employability you should proceed to analyze both the context and your particular situation.
Assuming that you are not a psychic and you accept that you can’t predict the future, I suggest you to try PEST analysis. This is a way of trying to understand and asses the most likely future developments and trends in your industry sector.
PEST analysis takes into consideration several factors that influence the current state and possible changes of your sector and workplace: political, economic, social, technological. Understanding these factors can give you a clearer image of what is happening to your company and industry sector and, trough that, a clearer understanding of your situation in the workplace.
- Political factors – Take into consideration issues such as: political stability, government’s policy on economy, changes in legislation, EU requirements that must be met during the next period, etc. The political arena has a powerful influence on businesses regulation and spending power of both other businesses and consumers.
- Economic factors –Take into consideration: interest rates, exchange rates, inflation rates, economic growth. The impact these factors have on how businesses operate and make decisions can be easily seen trough the major changes caused by the current economic crisis.
- Social trends – Include: career attitudes, age distribution, attitude towards the social services, financial system, consumer habits etc.
- Technological factors – Can determine the minimum efficient productivity level and influence outsourcing decisions. Technology is vital for competitive advantage, and it’s a major driver of globalization.
After completing the analysis, try to answer some questions:
- What changes have occurred or are likely to occur in your job function’s role?
- What are the threats and opportunities you identified for your company/sector? How could these impact your job role?
- What changes have occurred and what is the trend of the workforce market in your sector?
- What are the actions you should take in order to be prepared for these changes?
Now that you have a clearer sense of what is happening around you, take a good look at yourself and your particular situation. In order to find out where you are and where you should be heading, try a SWOT analysis. This is a breakdown of your strengths and weaknesses combined with the opportunities and threats of your particular situation.
Strengths and weaknesses refer to your competencies (your inner qualities) whilst the threats and opportunities refer to the external environment in which you operate.
It’s high time for you to be completely honest with yourself. Unless you openly and honestly appraise your own strengths and weaknesses and consider the situation you find yourself in, this analysis will be a waste of time.
Take some time to think and find solid arguments for everything you write in your SWOT. Think about more aspects of your life as a professional. E.g.: Ask yourself what are your strengths and weaknesses as: a coworker, a team member, a partner, a manager, a leader, a subordinate etc.
After you devised this, try to find trusted and qualified people to provide you with a feedback on it. Choose people who will give you an honest feedback and whose opinion you trust and value on those specific issues.
Answer yourself the next few questions and use the answers to build an action plan of your future development.
- In which job role would your strengths be mostly valued? What would be the impact of your weaknesses?
- Is the job that best fits you also the one that motivates you?
- How many of your competencies identified as strengths are transferable to a new job?
- What weaknesses mostly affect your current job?
- What could you do to diminish your weaknesses?
- What are you planning to do to make the most of the identified opportunities?
- How could you transform the threats in opportunities for development?
Now that you have a better image of both your competencies and workforce market needs, you can also start building your personal brand.
Piece of advice: periodically update your PEST and SWOT in order to keep an accurate image on your employability and development.
LE: If you are intrerested in employability self- assesment and you want to know more about this, I recommend you to read: Teach Yourself Getting a Better Job by Roderic Ashley.