Of all the people I coach, one of the most difficult categories I teach is the folks who have been laid off several times. Their resumes look like patchwork quilts. Even if they aren’t, they definitely look like job jumpers. Some are in industries that have been notorious for buy-outs and downsizing (telecom, media, or IT). Others work in fields that have all but disappeared (printing, traditional graphic arts, print journalism). And lastly, then there are those employed in fields decimated by the stalled economy (manufacturing and construction). At least we are finally seeing an up tick in building and home buying! Despite the instability within certain industries, some star performers consistently survive the merger or buyout with finesse. How do they do it? Here are some non-negotiable "survive the next downsizing" best practices: Continuously improve your skills. For example, if you are in project management, become certified in agile project management. Make sure you bolster your IT skills. Knowing how to use technology to improve processes and save time, money and headcount sets you apart from the pack. Be able to work in more than one area or department so you can step up if other team members are eliminated. Play nice in the "sandbox" and be a team player by being flexible about constant change and not saying "that’s not my job!" Hone your observational skills to spot shifting power politics, and stay well connected to informal information channels. And if you are from one of the industries that has been unstable, be prepared to explain this in your interview. Or even better use the survival tactics noted above and become one of the “keepers”!
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