Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
I was recently contacted by a national technology publication to address the issue of how to manage one’s career during an economic downturn.
I thought that you, my readers, might well be interested in hearing some of the strategies I shared. Having been a corporate manager involved with deciding who should be laid off in times of industry contraction, plus having coached many, many clients in the last 11 years as an executive and career coach after layoffs, I have five proven strategies to share with you. The goal is to position you as one of those invaluable employees that the organization chooses to keep and have you well positioned to find a new position if you are laid off.
Sometimes entire organizations or departments are laid off and no employees are spared, but often the management ranks employees and keeps the ones perceived as most valuable. I’d like YOU to be on the list of those that get to keep their jobs! Please read and follow the advice in the following five areas:
- WORK LIKE YOU ARE NEW ON THE JOB! Yes, remember back to your first few weeks on the job? Remember how you were so careful to dress right, look good, take notice of everyone and everything going on around you? You were keen to make a good impression and form good relationships. You were super motivated to do a great job and get along with everyone. You were alert and trying to learn the bigger picture of how your company worked and how you could best play a role. Well, go back to those days of being fresh and alert! Show you care and bring your best self to work each day. It will be noticed!
- COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE: Make sure that all the people around you, especially your manager and the organizations upper management, knows that you are a contributor. Clearly communicate the projects you are focused on and the contributions you are making. Let folks know the skills that you are bringing to your job. If you’ve gotten sloppy about doing status reports, change that now. Each week, write up a full report to your manager of all the work you have done. Let him/her know any questions you have, resources you need, red flags or problems. Also let them know if you see new opportunities for contribution in the organization that could make that manager looks good. Yes, make your boss look good!
- ONGOING TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT. Show that you are a lifelong learner. You are ambitious and ready to learn, grow and contribute more! Check into your company’s training department and see if there are classes you can take. Look to participate in industry conferences and meetings. See if you manager might have a budget for your development. See if there are opportunities for you to do a talk and make your company look good. Ask your manager for areas that he/she thinks you need to develop in and ask how you can learn those skills or develop those traits. Do some research on your own. Go for a higher level certification or degree! Those things also make you more employable in your industry.
- RAISE YOUR HAND! Always be the one on your team to offer to help and to take on new assignments. Offer to help train the newbies. Suggest ways that you can do extra work that can contribute to the bottom line. If there are new areas that your organization is getting into, do research and show what else can be done to help the organization become a leader. Find out the new skills that will be of value in the future and find a way to develop those skills. Be the most helpful person on the team, willing to go the distance. And be the one who publicly recognizes the contributions of others. It is important to be seen as a great team player, not someone who is only interested in their own success.
- UPDATES & BIRD DOG YOUR INDUSTRY. Update your LinkedIn.com profile and your resume. be in ready position for new opportunities. Take recruiter calls. All of them. Ask recruiters about the industry and what new types of jobs and positions are in demand. Then learn the skills needed. Energize your network. Call all of your old contacts, peers and managers. Get the ‘skinny’ on what’s happening. Who is moving where? Where are the new jobs? Expand your network now! None of us can control an economic downturn. But knowing that one might happen and doing all one can to both secure current employment and be ready for new employment is the best way to safeguard our careers. Always, BRING THE BEST OF YOU TO WORK. In fact, that is the tagline of my coaching practice: Greatin8Coaching.com Onward in your career success! COACH JOAN