In our current economic climate, unless your company is deemed essential, you might be facing layoffs or furloughs until we get to the other side of the current worldwide crisis. Despite this economic uncertainty, there are some things you can do to show your value so that you’re part of a core group that keeps your company operating through reorganization or furloughs.
Have specific goals in mind.
Your manager is not a mind reader. He or she may also not have time - as crisis management meetings with the executive team become a top priority - to set your goals for you. In our current climate, consider what your career might look like in a post-pandemic world. Ask yourself:
- Can you support essential company functions?
- Are you really good at something that you haven’t accessed in a while as part of your daily job functions?
- How can you insert yourself into these areas?
Do some research and see how other companies in your industry are handling communications, precautions, best practices, and so on.
Update your LinkedIn profile (or get one).
Worst case scenario, you’re one of the employees to get laid off or furloughed. Right after you file for unemployment, immediately update your LinkedIn profile (or set one up if you don't already have one).
Companies are hiring right now, but they may be looking for different skills than you have on your profile right now. Time for a refresh. Start with your photo (make it a professional and recent one), and work your way down. What new skills have you added? Does your LinkedIn bio read like an outdated resume intro, or does it showcase your brilliant personality? Do your job responsibilities include your impact on company key performance indicators (KPIs)?
Read your profile like you’re considering hiring yourself. What are you missing that someone in HR might want to know? Explain any gaps in employment. It can help to have a friend, even if they’re not in your industry, look over your LinkedIn profile. Pick someone who will give you honest feedback. We know ourselves so well, we often cannot spot weaknesses in our job history, education, or skills. Think about how you would succinctly describe your past job experiences in an interview and edit your profile with those things in mind.
Showcase your skills and experiences.
What have you learned in your current job? Sometimes we get caught up in our day to day work, we forget about what we’ve learned until it’s time for a performance review. Keep a document and set a reminder to update it biweekly. Include your wins, new skills you’ve learned, your successful impact on a team or department goal. This doesn’t just help you remember 12 months worth of work in your annual performance review; it’s documentation you can use to update your LinkedIn profile, to share with your manager during one-on-one update meetings, and identify areas for improvement.
Be direct with your boss about your intentions.
Most people who are successful at work are successful for a reason. They work hard, they bring in new accounts, they made two million dollars for the company last year, or they are the “go-to” person for just about everything. I’ve yet to meet any successful person in the business world who said they “lucked into” their job, or that they happened to be in the right place at the right time. Yes, luck can be a factor in one’s success, but the business world isn’t the lottery. You can’t just sit back and cross your fingers, hoping that you picked the right combination of numbers to land yourself a windfall.
The one thing successful people have in common? An open dialogue with their manager or supervisor about their career goals. You don’t have to slide into your boss’s office on day two of your new job to discuss a path to promotion. What you can do during your performance reviews is actively seek feedback, not just for your current role, but on what skills you need to move into a role with more responsibilities. A lot of people have a hard time doing this, but put yourself in your manager’s shoes. He or she is thinking about their own career development and is likely to have an eye on the next rung on the corporate ladder. But they can’t move up unless someone is ready to fill their role. Follow these 6 tips to strengthen your relationship with your boss.
Be a team player.
Related to #4, one of the secrets to showing your value is taking on challenges without being asked—you do the work, prove yourself, then have the leverage needed to get a raise or promotion. This is where you sign up for new responsibilities and step up to handle the difficult things that will make your boss’s job easier. It can feel like thankless work but know that it makes an impression and your manager is much more likely to see you as an apprentice than a direct report. Check out our post on the 9 Ways to Be an Amazing Employee for more ideas.
If you follow all of these recommendations, you will be in a good place to keep your job as we remain in this time of economic uncertainty, and if for any reason you are still included in a layoff or are furloughed, you'll also be in a good place to begin the job search. Just hang in there, work hard, and show your worth whenever possible.