Editor’s Note: Read Part 1 here.
Do you know why your job exists or what ensures your employability? Strip away all the window dressing and at its core, your job exists for one simple reason: to identify, prevent, and solve problems within an area of responsibility, in order to help the company make money, save money, or otherwise improve productivity.
Try to see yourself and your work in this light: You are a problem solver with a particular area of expertise. This will lead you to engage in your work with new priorities:
- Anticipate, identify, and reduce the incidence of the problems that occur within my area of responsibility
- Solve the problems and challenges that still occur within my areas of responsibility in an efficient, professional, timely and good-natured manner
- Execute my duties in ways that show respect for the responsibility of others, who in turn must deal with the product of my work
- Learn something from every problem I tackle that will help me improve personal productivity by anticipating preventable problems, and reducing the impact of the unpreventable ones, thus boosting my employability
Unfortunately, technological developments constantly change the skills you need to do your work. If you are not consistently developing new skills, you are being paid for abilities that are rapidly becoming obsolete, a situation that can cost you not only this job but your ability to find another.
There are many ways to protect your job and boost your employability, but first steps should always involve self-analysis and a talk with your boss. There isn’t a boss in the world who doesn’t appreciate a staffer asking for guidance about ways to improve skills and performance. Implement the advice you receive, and follow-up informally every 6-8 weeks to communicate both your progress and your commitment. Informal, but consistent, follow-up keeps you on the radar of those who matter.
In every department and company there is an inner circle and an outer circle, and these are the ways you make it into the inner circle: that place where plum assignments, raises, promotions, and job security all live.
How to Protect Your Job
Your resume is the most financially important document you will ever own because it opens the doors of professional employability for you. It’s the vehicle you use to package all the skills we talked about in the first part of this article; it’s the tool that will convince someone to give you enough money to pay the mortgage on a regular basis.
When your resume works, you work; when it doesn’t, you don’t. If you are looking for a promotion, you will actually use two variations of your resume:
- A resume that helps get you that next great opportunity
- A resume that helps you compete for promotions once settled in the job
It’s a mistake to think that new jobs are the way you get promotions. Almost always, a candidate is hired for the skills, experience, and track record he brings to a particular job. In other words, you get hired for your credentials, not your potential. Promotions are more likely to go to someone who has proven herself on staff and is a known commodity; otherwise the company goes outside for someone with . . . the credentials doing that job.
Be Prepared for Unexpected Change with One Killer Tool
You might be working today, but the situation could change without notice. Show me a job hunter with a stalled job search and I can almost certainly show you a flawed resume. Your resume opens the doors of opportunity and sets the stage for the interviews and the job offer that gets you that next job. Learn why some resumes work and others don’t.
Develop the skills to judge and fix a troubled resume, or consider having a professional create one for you. Again, it’s the most financially important document you will ever own, you need to treat its creation and maintenance with the appropriate respect.
How are you upping your employability factor? What new things are you learning in 2012? We’d love to hear your story in the comments!
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