Obviously, these are tough and uncertain economic times. Most financial experts believe that a recession is inevitable, or has already begun, and the slowdown will affect every segment of our economy. During every recession people always lose their jobs; it’s the quickest way for a corporation to cut costs. No job is completely recession-proof, but if you follow these six guidelines you may avoid becoming a “recession casualty” by keeping your career on track.
- Keep your professional network up-to-date. Call it politics, schmoozing or building alliances – stay close to those people who can help make you even more successful. Attend meetings, seminars and conferences to make new contacts and maintain old ones. Make friends with the company stars. Help them attain their goals and you help yourself. Learn how to market yourself. Understand this is how business operates in the real world.
- Be alert and look at the big picture. You are a business unto yourself - be your own CEO. Constantly be watchful for key signals. Understand your business. Just because your unit or department is doing well don’t assume you are immune to being let go. Know what’s happening with the entire company. Read the business and trade publications that cover your company and industry. Check out rumors. Most are usually not true, but it’s how management responds to rumors that will give you a real indication of their veracity.
- Keep your career sales kit up-to-date. As you achieve new goals and gain new responsibilities, keep your resume current - don’t wait until you are looking for a job. Establish your list of influential people now, before you need it. Write articles for professional publications. Stay in contact with several search firms or employment agencies; tell them about your achievements. Call or meet with your mentors – bring them up to date and ask their advice.
- Ask yourself what you should be learning. Are you really prepared for that position you’re striving for? What are the gaps in your knowledge base? Take classes in management, leadership or even public speaking. Master new software, particularly advanced software used in your profession. What proficiencies are you lacking that the company values? Do a reality check of your skills.
- Complacency is deadly. Reach inside yourself. Do you really know what your boss expects of you? Strive to become a better manager/boss. Make yourself indispensable. Do tasks others shun. Even if your future looks grim, keep a positive attitude and stay upbeat – it may be the difference between keeping your job and the street.
- Of course it’s easy to say, but don’t panic and leave your job because you think you will be let go. Unless you have a firm offer for a new job, stick with your old one, even if you know the end is near. You will probably be eligible for a severance package including benefits and job search support.