Thursday, 19 July 2012

Ask James Caan – Issue 103

Dear Member,

Have you ever considered what you could do differently to make yourself redundancy-proof? When Monster asked this to 1,281 workers throughout the UK, the results surprisingly revealed that only 57% would look for opportunities to shine and show how they add value. 25% said they won’t be taking any actions and 9% said they would get up early and stay in late and make more effort.

These findings show now, more than ever, the importance of demonstrating your worth and putting in the extra effort to help safeguard a company’s future. Particularly as businesses are forced to downsize, those that don’t feel they need to make any extra effort to hang on to their jobs, could be exposing themselves to redundancy.

This leads me on to an email I received this week from Nat. She tells me the jobs she has held during the last year were all short term, typically as a result of redundancy.

Despite involving herself in volunteering and keeping her skills up-to-date with online courses, she finds herself back in the job market searching for her next opportunity.

So how can she demonstrate her value within the work environment and avoid facing redundancy again?

Nat, redundancy, or the prospect of it, is something that many people have thought about over the last year or so, and unfortunately, your situation reflects many others across the country. I’m pleased to hear that you are being proactive in developing your skills and participating in voluntary work – there is no time to waste and competition is tough.

You have already amassed some terrific experience exposing you to a variety of industries, in addition to your voluntary work and qualifications. The fact that you have been landing opportunities – even if short term – illustrates that your CV is working. But how can you ensure that once you’ve landed the job, you will remain recession-proof?

First and foremost, make sure you stand out from your colleagues by taking an active interest in issues and making constructive suggestions during meetings. Prove you are a valuable team member, make sure your boss is aware of your achievements and take a positive approach in getting to know people. Even if it’s voluntary work or a short-term contract – these people are valuable connections and could help you with finding full time employment.

By building up a network of valuable connections, if you do unfortunately find yourself facing redundancy, you can get in touch with former bosses or colleagues and find out whether there are any job opportunities out there. That way, you are more likely to have something to fall back on should you lose your job.

It’s fantastic to see you are keeping your skills up-to-date. Not only will this increase your employability, but in the work environment, you’re much better placed against your colleagues. If you see an area within the business where your skills could be of benefit – offer to help and take on some more responsibility.

As an employer, I look for those who go above and beyond the call of duty and can demonstrate their business value. I don’t mean turning up early and leaving late – whilst it’s great to see you working so hard, this could just mean you’re not managing the work you already have. Instead impress me by knuckling down and getting a good job done to the required deadline.

In reality, hiring managers and recruiters are all too aware of the cut-backs many businesses are facing. Short-term jobs don’t have to be a red-flag to employers and, with your experience, you are clearly an attractive candidate. It’s ensuring you differentiate yourself, showcase your talents and prove your commercial value in the workplace.

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