Your Career Guide

Tips to succeed in an unstable job market

The career issue: An ambitious undertaking, to be sure, given the current precariousness of the job market. Most everyone is holding tight, grateful to have a job—any job—if they’re lucky enough to have one. During times like these, workers are less worried about where they’ll be in 10 years and more concerned about the next 10 months—or days.

Still, as whispers of economic recovery get louder, the time to think and plan for the future is now. We designed this issue with that goal in mind.

It’s not always easy, and certainly not as easy as it once was, to climb the career ladder. Shrinking department sizes and limited company resources have seen to that. Getting ahead these days means standing out from the pack, and that requires a willingness to learn, grow and adapt. Besides letting the articles in this issue guide your learning, there are a plethora of resources to tap into as an ASQ member.

The avenues to success fall into three main categories:

Read up: QP articles and archives can help you stay current. ASQ’s Quality Press bookstore is another great starting point for identifying gaps in your quality library and learning. Find everything from the classics (The Quality Toolbox, for example) to the latest releases on leadership, innovation and customer satisfaction. Visit www.asq.org/quality-press.

Polish your brand: What’s your virtual identity? How do people view you online? Done right, your brand can help portray a professional image and showcase your accomplishments to the world—and perhaps your next employer.

Get connected: Your brand becomes a useful tool in getting the most out of the many social networks that have become so popular. The new "big three"—LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter—are good venues for connecting and communicating with peers. There is also a host of networking opportunities available through ASQ. Visit www.asq.org/communities-networking to get started. The article "Social Graces"is a great primer on social networking for quality professionals.

Also in this issue is "Career Climb," in which five of QP’s Career Corner columnists weigh in on some of the biggest career-related issues facing quality professionals today. From making decisions on what educational paths to take to thoughts on the future direction of quality and related jobs, this article offers something for everyone.

And, Govind Ramu’s article "Test Run" lays out everything you need to know to prepare for an ASQ certification exam. From potential pitfalls to study tips, this article should be required pre-reading for anyone preparing for an exam. I should know. In addition to having some helpful books (The Quality Toolbox and The Quality Improvement Handbook), I had the good fortune of previewing Ramu’s article as I prepared for the Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA) exam I took in December. And, I’m happy to report, I passed!

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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