With unemployment at its highest level in 26 years, many people will face an "unplanned career outage" in 2009, says Marva Goldsmith, president and chief image officer of Marva Goldsmith & Associates. How do you survive a layoff or downsizing? Think of yourself as a "brand" - a product with unique strengths and talents based on experiences, education and innate abilities - and in the New Year, learn how to market, or sell, your brand.
"The key is to know what makes you different and special," says Goldsmith, a Certified Image Consultant who made her own career shift a decade ago after spending 20 years as an electrical engineer. "You will not be the only person in your marketplace that provides your particular service or product, so your success depends on setting yourself apart and distinguishing yourself from everyone else who's out there."
Goldsmith's interactive workshops, coaching and consulting teach clients how to assess what they are good at, eliminate success-limiting beliefs, identify career goals and create a winning networking plan. Her strategy centers on applying the techniques common in branding and marketing to searching for a job, transitioning into a new career or starting a business. Goldsmith's clients have included major corporations such as Enterprise Rent-A-Car, nonprofit associations such as AARP, and government agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency.
In 2008, the United States lost nearly 2 million jobs; many economists are predicting more losses as the recession lingers. That means many employees will face challenges holding on to jobs, keeping careers on track, or shifting into industries that are recession-proof – like health care and education - or into areas that businesses always rely on, such as information technology, accounting and engineering.
"Every man and woman in the career marketplace must prepare so that if you get laid off, downsized or right-sized, you can immediately get back in the race," says Goldsmith, whose workbooks include Marketing Yourself for the Future: Driving Your Career Forward. Her new book, Branding Yourself after Age 50, will be published in January 2009.
"When you're suddenly out of a job you've had for 15 or 20 years, it's natural to feel a sense of loss and betrayal. However, even in those times we have the opportunity and privilege to move into a completely new and exciting direction. The most important thing is to learn more about what you really want to do, and then stepping out on faith to actually reinvent yourself."
Goldsmith has been a speaker at national and regional conferences on career retooling and personal branding and will be a speaker at the Society for Human Resources Management's upcoming Annual National Conference & Exposition this summer in New Orleans.
For more information about reinvention workshops or training opportunities, please contact Marva Goldsmith at 301.474.8808. To arrange an interview, contact Marvin Stewart of 94th Street Marketing at 202.241.3743.