Career Basics

The TEN basics

1 Mastery of organizational knowledge
Know thy workplace and employer! Become fully knowledgeable of institutional practices, rules (informal and formal), regulations and politics that impinge upon one’s terms and conditions of employment.

2 Portfolio-building
Develop and maintain comprehensive written and visual records of work products, scholarships, service contributions and other aspects of one’s professional development, which independently document accomplishments and evaluate performance.

3 Networking
Cultivate alliances and establish memberships with professional associations, scholarly bodies and other forums for presenting perspectives and gathering feedback. Accolades and recognition from prestigious and highly respected bodies external to the workplace will enhance status.

4 Publishing
Utilize a variety of modes and media for disseminating perspectives, ideas, insights and points of view about workplace or professional experiences to more expansive audiences beyond the work setting.

5 Technology
Establish a national and international community of colleagues and professional peers on the information highway as allies for professional support and resources. Effectively utilize technology to achieve goals to professional ends.

6 Organic résumé development
Maintain an updated and current résumé that documents and affirms your ever-evolving demonstration of skills, abilities and knowledge.

7 Professional development
Utilize formal and informal modes of education to enhance knowledge, to develop specializations and to sharpen marketability.

8 Cultivation of advocates
Cultivate a cadre of professional advocates in your field of expertise who will speak up on your behalf, who will render letters of recommendation or endorsements, and who will vouch for you professionally.

9 Contingency planning
Define a plan of action that will facilitate a smooth transition to future employment, if necessary, and will enable you to exercise viable employment options.

10 Personal resource development
Take stock of financial resources. Conserve, save, invest and bolster resources in order to diversify options in the event of sudden “reorganizations,” downsizing and/or unexpected job displacements.

Excerpted from Barbara Marshall’s “Working while Black: Contours of an Unequal Playing Field,” published Autumn-Winter 2001 by Phylon and found online through JSTOR archive. At the time of publication, Marshall worked at Boston College in its Office of Affirmative Action.