When you are steadily employed and occupied with the day-to-day responsibilities of your job, you may not be actively thinking about your next career move. However, even if you are completely satisfied with your current position, it is always in your best interest to keep an eye out for potential new opportunities.

You don’t want to miss out on a dream job because you weren’t prepared. On the other hand, if you are unhappy with your current position or employer, or if you are looking to relocate, you can take steps that will make it easier to find a new job. And if the worst happens and you are laid off or fired, you want to be sure you can land on your feet instead of floundering.

Here are a few tips that will help you stay abreast of new opportunities:

  1. Actively Explore and Expand Your Options

In many fields, if you don’t stay up to date with the latest technology, you risk falling behind. One beneficial exercise could be to look up job listings for either your current position or a position you hope to have in the future. Even if you are happy where you are and not currently interested in change, make sure you have the qualifications these job postings require. This will help you easily find a similar position if you are fired, let go, or have to relocate.

Of course, you should do this in your own time, instead of looking up job listings using your current employer’s computers and internet. Instead, let visit Goodwill Jobs to get started.

Identify which skills you want to improve. You may already know what you want to work on, but you can also look at past performance reviews or consult with your supervisor and/or colleagues to see if there’s an area you’ve had difficulty with in the past.

You can also learn new skills by volunteering to help out other departments or, if you believe you can handle it, ask for more responsibilities.

One way to improve skills is to take a course. This initiative, which displays a willingness and an interest in continuing to learn, ultimately reflects well on you. It shows that you are flexible, highly motivated, and always making the effort to improve. These are qualities that are impressive to employers.

  1. Stay up to Date with Your Industry

More opportunities come to those who are knowledgeable and passionate about their field. Make sure you are keeping up with the new developments in your industry. If possible, look into newsletters, publications, webinars, and conferences.

Often changes happen incrementally yet quickly, and those who keep up have a competitive advantage over others who aren’t paying as much attention.

  1. Build a Professional Network

You’ve probably heard many times that knowing the right people is the best way to open new doors. Always work at making new professional connections. You never know when you might meet someone who can lead you to an incredible new opportunity.

One way to make connections could be to join local organizations or attend conferences related to your field. There are also professional networking events that typically take place after a work day, and offer a more relaxed and social environment.

Be sure to follow up after you make a new connection and maintain regular contact. Send a quick email to check in or invite someone out to lunch or to grab a coffee. Keeping yourself visible will allow connections to think of you if they hear of any opportunities, and help you if you need to rely on them later.

When you have a network already in place, you won’t feel adrift if you have to make a transition. You should also reach out to former colleagues and classmates because they could know of an opportunity that happens to be perfect for you.

  1. Keep Your Resume Updated

Even if you are not actively looking for a job, you should always have a polished resume just in case. A recruiter might unexpectedly reach out to you one day with an offer for a better position.

Or, if a promotion at your current job becomes available, a current resume already on hand will allow you to apply promptly, which increases your chances of landing the position. It will help you feel prepared, confident, and ready to sell yourself at any time.

And if the worst-case scenario happens and you are fired or let go, already having an updated resume will give you one less thing to worry about. This also applies to your cover letter. Of course, you will need to tailor a cover letter for each position, but it always helps to have a template ready to go.

Don’t put any of this off until the last minute, either. Make sure to regularly update both your resume and your cover letter, so you are always prepared. Even if you take a little time once a quarter to look them over, it can give you an edge when you need it most.

If you are looking for help with your resume and cover letter, you can consult with a career specialist.

  1. Take Advantage of LinkedIn

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date as well, because recruiters and hiring managers will often look people up on that website before they glance at a resume.

As you take on new responsibilities and gain new skills in your current position, update your profile to reflect that. This could lead to a recruiter reaching out to you with a job offer you would not otherwise be aware of.

LinkedIn is also a great resource for networking and getting back in touch with former contacts. You can follow leaders in your industry on there as well, which will help you to stay ahead of the new developments in your field.

These steps can sometimes require you to go outside of your comfort zone. But the job market is a very competitive environment and making the extra effort will give you an advantage that can make all the difference.

And instead of sacrificing the quality of your performance at work, these tips will help you to become a better employee and could even lead to a promotion. It never hurts to open up new possibilities for your success and to be on top of things no matter what comes your way.

Have questions about staying connected in your field? Connect with a career specialist.