Make Yourself More Employable

7 years ago

The housing industry had been good to my friend, Layla. But then the woes of the nation’s housing market slapped her in the pocket book, and she was laid off with no warning.

How is your industry doing? The favorite excuse for not looking around for different positions is, “I can’t leave what I’m doing because of the pay.” 

You are in total control of how much you make and where you work. The three reasons for the "I can’t change because of the money" excuse and how to overcome them are:
1. You are being paid too much for what you really do.
2. You have not taken inventory of your talents (or lack thereof).
3. You have no idea how to market yourself.
Reason #1:  You are being paid too much for what you really do.
If you are overpaid for your job because of company or industry wage standards, you will be out of that job soon. Most industries do have a cycle, so get yourself prepared. This may mean beginning a job search at the height of your earning power. Also, in today’s environment, every leader, manager and supervisor is looking to cut costs, and the easiest way to do it is to dump the overpriced employees. Unless you own the company, you are not in control. Period. What you do have is the personal accountability to change your outcomes.
Solution? Ask for assignments that are more difficult. Work harder and smarter. Keep a list of the all the skills you have. Without being a Steamroller or a Know It All, let it be known what you are capable of accomplishing. Volunteer to cross train others, lead an improvement team or start a Learn and Burn lunch meeting.
You do have some control over the perception others have of you. So, if you think you’re being paid too much, do something. If you don’t, they will solve the problem for you.
Reason # 2:  You have not taken inventory of your talents (or lack thereof).
Right now, without overthinking, write down the five reasons you are good at your job and why you should not be replaced. You should be able to spout these off as quickly as you say your own name. If you can’t do it, keep a Talent Journal for a few weeks or months.
If you inventory your talents and discover that you aren’t as good as you think you are, here are a few suggestions. What you must do is continue to prove your worth. Have the people working around you complete a Leadership Scorecard anonymously on you. Find the gaps between your perception of how you work and theirs.
Toot your own horn, speak up, and do your best every day. If the company takes a new direction, implements new software, merges, faces a market turndown or develops a new product, learn the nuisances and mechanics of making it work. People that wait to be trained or communicated to will be on the chopping block.
So how do you keep updated? Do you Google your company to find out what is being said in the press? Do you pay for training yourself? Are you constantly looking at ways to improve your behavior and self-awareness? If you answered any of these with a no or without a definitive yes, you are in trouble. Sorry for the bad news, but this is the real world in a bad economy.
Your talent may be that you are a pain in the rear. Do you bemoan policy changes? Are you part of the grapevine and catch yourself gossiping? Are you listening to others who are filled with negativity? If you said yes to any of these, you are on your way out the door. Companies will not embrace office politics that undermine their cause. They don’t have to. What companies will do is promote people that produce, use fewer resources, manage conflict, work successfully with colleagues, find solutions and move the company to success. This applies for all kinds of business: so don’t argue that this is not your environment.
Reason # 3: You have no idea how to market yourself.
You are a commodity. Employers buy your talents because of how you have positioned or marketed yourself. What is your marketing plan? When was the last time you updated your resume? And if you did update your resume, do you understand the nuances of resumes in today’s businesses?
Stop and take a hard look at your position, industry and success. Concentrate on the personal responsibility you can have when it comes to your career and potential. Keep yourself from becoming laid off, ticked off and broke!

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