HAVE you ever watched one of those reality shows on television where a woman gets a complete makeover, and goes from dull to dazzling seemingly overnight?

And did you think to yourself: “That’s what I need at work. I need a career makeover!”

The average tenure in an organisation is decreasing, which means there is an increasing onus on workers to look after their own careers.

Your career is your livelihood. You should insure it, manage it and invest in it.

Here are some tips on taking charge of your career. Don’t wait for a crisis in the workplace to motivate you into action.


Employers will look at how a potential employee can add value to their organisation.

To impress them, you need to list what you have done at your present and previous companies that makes you special.


It is important to update your resumé regularly even though you are presently employed. This serves as a contingency should you lose your job suddenly.

With your resumé in order, you can begin your job search immediately.


Brush up on your communication skills to enhance your working relationships with colleagues and business associates.

Studies have shown that employees who progress successfully in the organisation are those who are able to communicate effectively with people at all levels.


It is estimated that only 20 per cent of all jobs are ever advertised, meaning 80 per cent of jobs are filled by referral — that is, the “who do you know” method of recruitment. So while keeping an eye on newspaper advertisements and Internet job search sites is important, the percentages are in your favour if you start networking.

You need to start telling everyone you know that you are looking for a job (but don’t ask for a position!). Ask them for advice, suggestions and contacts.

Each individual that you network with:

* may know someone who is hiring;

* may know someone who may be hiring;

* may know someone in a company you are interested in; or

* may know someone who may know someone who fits one of the first criteria.

Ask them to keep you in mind should they hear of any positions or prospects and offer to send them a copy of your resumé.

Develop a prospect list and contact each of the individuals to whom you have been referred, mentioning the referring party’s name if you have been given permission to do so.

It takes time to network. But the effort could prove invaluable it could be a source of job leads.


The job you get, and whether you are considered at all, depends on how you market yourself.

Just as a 30-second television commercial offers viewers a tantalising glimpse of a product or service, your script has to sell your skills and achievements to your audience in a defined time-frame.

Your self-marketing script will tell people

* where you are now, your past experience and what has made you special and successful in your current job;

* Your general and specific career goals; and

* Your skills and qualities.

A sample script could sound like this: “Hi! I’m Daniel Chan. I have 12 years’ experience in management consulting in a wide variety of industries in the Asia-Pacific region.

My special expertise is conducting strategic business planning and company valuation for organisations. I would welcome an opportunity to talk to any of you who have an opening that requires my skills.”


Jobs that are lost may not be available again in today’s competitive job market.

Always be prepared to learn new skills, as you never know when you will need them. Volunteer for new challenges, such as leading a project team or chairing a fund-raising event. Do not be afraid to showcase your hidden talents — they are marketable assets.


Your self-development and education are never-ending. Keep up with what is happening in your industry and profession.

If you need to attend a course to be more competent in your job, do it! As you gain more knowledge and skills over time, your chances of keeping your job are higher.

You can also transfer your knowledge and skills to a more challenging position.


Be likeable, friendly and cooperative. These are vital traits that you should develop to the fullest. People with such traits tend to be hired first and fired last.