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3 Ways To Get & Keep a Great Job In a Tough Economy

Friday, March 12, 2010

With a flooded job market, employers can be selective and choose to hire only the best of the best.  It's hard enough to keep a job in this economy, let alone secure a new job, so there are a few things you can do to move yourself to the front of the pack. Whether you're looking for a job or have a job already, here are three important things to keep in mind:

1. TAKE ON MORE RESPONSIBILITY

•    Offer to do an extra assignment or help out with a new business project.

In tough economic times, companies need employees who have the initiative and drive to tackle problems and determine solutions.  When management has to make decisions about promotions or tough choices about layoffs, they look out for the people who can carry the load.  By helping out with a new project, you become more visible in the organization as a team player who can handle big responsibilities.

•    Show that you can pull your weight and more.

Your managers take note of who steps up.  They recognize who does high quality and high quantity work.  Maybe they can’t reward you with a bonus or a huge pay raise right now, but they will want you at their company through the tough times, and they most likely will reward you when the conditions improve.  Show that you can pull your weight and more, and you’re in a good spot.

•    Make yourself invaluable at work.

It’s great to be familiar with all aspects of the company, but it’s even better if you are the absolute expert in one area.  Find something that’s important to your company and latch onto it.  Maybe you become the guru on the latest technology, or volunteer to lead new business efforts, or maintain the best relationships with your customers.  Make yourself invaluable, so your managers just can’t imagine the team without your specialties and skills.

2. GO DIGITAL

•    Create a professional profile on LinkedIn.

More and more professionals and HR Directors are turning to LinkedIn to search for employees and screen candidates.  Make sure you showcase your accomplishments in your job experiences and profile.  Expand your network, and make new, online connections in your field.  You also can join a few industry groups on LinkedIn and contribute to the conversation.

•    Take a social media class. 

It’s all about online connections and networks.  Learn about the trends in social media, and you present yourself as an attractive candidate.

3. GAIN THE RIGHT SKILLS

•    Volunteer

If you want to make a career change or break into a new industry or position, volunteering is a great way to gain the skills that you need.  You can help out with projects for a non-profit, do pro-bono work for an organization, or offer to intern or volunteer at a company that interests you.  Through this volunteer work, you can gain transferable skills to market on your resume and in the job search.

•    Go back to school.

Companies want employees who can hit the ground running from day one.  Everyone’s situation is different, but usually more education can mean the difference between landing the interview or landing in the “no” pile.  If you are going back to school to get specific skills with a specific end in mind, then you may want to consider career focused classes or degree programs.  I work with a number of colleges and universities and one of the ones I work with is DeVry University.  They offer a wide variety of career-focused degree programs that you can pursue on campus, online or both.  Any school that can provide real-world training that allows you to pick up valuable career skills will dramatically help you when it comes time to land a job.  Especially in this economy, it’s more difficult for organizations to invest in significant amounts of training.  Employers are looking for candidates with the exact skills to do the job. 

Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be sure to stand out in a competitive market.

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