We are living in a tough working market, where unemployment rates are creeping up to all time highs. Many people have found their positions cut, companies once strong in the market are now closing their doors; others are beginning to get nervous and their fear levels are rising. People are finding themselves in unfamiliar territory, trying to reinvent themselves in a down job market.

So, how do you separate yourself from the pack? What can you do to increase your personal value? What do you have control over? When the budgets get cut, you don’t want to be the one eliminated. Here are three simple strategies to protect your job, improve your professional reputation and prove that you are a valuable team member that is irreplaceable.

Increase your Value
“That’s not my job,” eliminate these words from your vocabulary. With all the downsizing and budget cuts, everything just became your job. Take the initiative to learn everything you can at the position you are in, which includes your boss’s duties as well. You want to become indispensable. You want to become the go to person when someone has a work related question or a problem; become the specialist.

Recreate your position, adapt the job description to the current market. Analyze the current processes in your office, are there things that can be streamlined or eliminated all together. Develop a plan and present it to your managers. This will show initiative and that you are concerned with the bottom line. Make it a point to be sure your employer is getting good value with you. Eliminate as much overtime as possible. Show that you can work hard and get your tasks done within the eight hour day. Help out where needed, answer phones, take orders, help others and work on new projects. What other services can you provide?

Increase your Visibility
Don’t bury your head in your work, it isn’t enough these days. You need to be seen as well as heard. Make yourself known, not just by those that are in your direct working area; those higher up need to know who you are and the contributions that you make. Do not be shy about your accomplishments and skills; be your own PR firm.

Showing up early for work, meetings and appointments shows punctuality as well as dedication, but make sure that your thoughts, opinions and great ideas are heard. When attending an industry event be sure to network and share ideas. Upon returning to the office summarize the event for your department and managers with what you learned and how it can be used in your office.

Remember, you are a company’s ambassador when attending conferences or any function outside the office. Refrain from gossiping and speaking badly about the company or fellow workers.

Increase your Ease
What are you like to be around? Moods are very contagious and positive optimistic people are more pleasant to be with. Understand this isn’t just about smiling and being happy; be the leader in your group. Mentor and encourage those you work with. Be willing to share what you know with others, along with sharing the praise and accomplishments.

Be flexible and dependable. This means doing what is in the best interest of the company. Are you needed to work various hours or in other departments? Volunteer for various projects that others hesitate on and finish projects and reports in a timely manner.

Being successful at your job today, is not enough in today’s market. You have much more to consider and improve on than just your actual work. You need to work on yourself each and every day. Demonstrate your value constantly, use every opportunity to get visible and seen by the people who make decisions about cuts and be easy to work with. These steps will improve your reputation and hopefully prevent you from holding your own pink slip.

Author's Bio: 

Laurie-Ann Murabito is a Results Coach, Author and Speaker who helps companies and individuals by empowering them to make the changes they want for their unique situations. She is available to speak on various topics. For more information call 603-765-6145.

Permission is granted to reprint this article in print or on your web site as long as the paragraph above is included and contact information is provided for LA@LA-Murabito.net