Overcoming Job Loss Risk

There is no such thing as a safe job.  No such thing.  So please, please don’t count on your paycheck.  Instead count on your ability to get another job.  There’s your job security — the ability to rustle up more income when you need it.

I do recognize some situations have more risk than others.  Some jobs are more temporary than others.  Some employers are more stable than others.  Let’s say both income earners in a household are employed at the same workplace.  Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that having you whole households income come from one source is risky.  No matter how good you are, how hard you work, or how smart you are, you can still get laid off.

So, what to do?  Make yourself easily and immediately hire-able.  How do you do that?  Here are some tips:

  1. Have a solid education.  The numbers don’t lie, see my previous post “Escape the Bleak Road” for a great outline of how education affects unemployment and earnings.  That’s right, the higher your educational attainment, the more money you make (generally), and the lower the unemployment percentage suffered.  Make it your business to be properly educated for your career.
  2. Have superior qualifications.  You’re out in the workforce competing with all other possible candidates, which could be upward of several dozen to over a hundred applicants.  These are not good odds.  Tip the scales in your favor by being very well qualified for the job offered.  Pursue certifications and additional training in you field of expertise.
  3. Have pertinent experience.  If you’ve never done the job before, don’t hold your breath for the job that you’re applying for.  The more closely your experience matches what your possible future employer is looking for, the more likely you are to land the job.  Get the experience you need to be easily employable.
  4. Maintain and build your network.  Network.  It comes across as such an unfeeling word, usually used by smarmy people who are proud of their ability to manipulate others for their gain.  I don’t want you to think of your network as a vein to be tapped, but as a wide variety of warm relationships with fellow professionals.  The best time to start building these relationships was years ago.  The second best time is now.  LinkedIn is an excellent tool for managing contact with your colleagues and showcasing your skills.
  5. Develop your “brand.”  Again, I find the way this term is used tremendously off-putting.  Nevertheless, it’s an effective way to think about your career.  What work will you be known for?  What’s your expertise?  Take time to figure out what your brand is, then communicate it.

A five-pronged attack along all these avenues will help you increase your attractiveness to potential employers and your value to your current employer.

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