Preparing for the inevitable career change: Page 2

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If you are recruited by another a company, do your homework. Is their product feasible? Who else is on the team? Are those stock options really going to be worth anything a year from now? It is always nice to be wanted, but make sure the opportunity is right for you, and try to decipher your own motivations for going there. My experience has been that people who leave a company are often not running to something; they are running away from something. Will it truly be better at your next company, or will this just be a lateral move?

Becoming flexible and comfortable with change, no matter what type of change, is an important element of career management, but you must be focused, have a plan, and be prepared to react when necessary. Below are some basic suggestions on how to manage your career and handle career transition:

Only you can manage your career. However, you can get help. Recruit a career "Board of Directors." Seek out people you respect to provide you with a different perspective. Find a mentor: a friend, spouse, parent, or professional colleague. Hire an executive coach, or get your company to hire one for you. Even athletes at the top of their game have coaches.

Thoroughly examine your history and identify recurring skills and achievements. Translate this into a facile "two-minute drill" that sells your uniqueness. Practice with your board of directors.

Make sure your skills and competencies are current. This improves your employability, which translates into career security.

Build, nurture, and maintain a network of professional contacts. Become known and visible. The more people who know you and can comment on you professionally, the more opportunities you will hear about.

Update your resume every six months, listing your recent accomplishments.

React to new opportunities. If a recruiter or colleague calls, listen. //

George Stiles is the co-founder and managing director of Executive Options, an executive career counseling and coaching firm located in Wellesley, Mass. He can be reached at George@executiveoptions.com

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