Identifying options and setting realistic goals should be a regular exercise for every professional, no matter where you are in your career.

When the marketplace tightens, however, there is even more reason to be focused on career management. Should you stay at your job or leave? If you lose your current position, what will you do? Are you prepared for an extended job search?

While a shrinking economy might seem threatening, it can offer new opportunities. Acting now to meet future challenges will keep your career on track.

  • Take stock of where you are. List your accomplishments. Know your value and what you have to offer, whether to your current employer or a new one.
  • Identify your options. What are your career choices with your current employer? In the larger marketplace? What new responsibilities would you like to have? Do you need to sharpen or learn skills? Are there ways to do that in your current position? Can you take on new tasks or a new position with your current employer? Do you need additional training or a graduate degree to advance?
  • Set short-term and long-term career goals. What is your next logical career step? What will it take to reach that step? What comes after that step? Can you accomplish these with your current employer?
  • Create a strategy. Update your résumé. Network with alumni, professional contacts, family and friends for advice. Register for the new HoosOnline Network at http://uva.affinitycircles.com/virginia/auth/login, which features a job board for U. Va. alumni. Find a trusted mentor, inside the organization or elsewhere.
  • Work your plan. The best plan in the world will not work if it is only on paper. Set aside time every day to move your plan forward. Follow up on every lead or contact you receive. Keep your networking contacts apprised of what happens at each turn.

Alumni Career Services provides comprehensive career services for all alumni and their spouses. Visit our Web site for information and to schedule an appointment.