In today’s economic situation, having and holding your job cannot be assured. We are no longer living in a world where the organization one works for has any guaranteed loyalty to its employees. What then can you do to stack the deck in your favor? You need to make yourself irreplaceable to your boss, your team and your company. Do this by providing extreme value both internally, within your organization, AND externally, to your field, industry and profession.
Here are six tips on how to stay competitive within your organization:
1.) Play to your strengths. Look for opportunities to do what you do best. Utilize your strengths in your current role, through both the projects you are currently involved with and when you help out with something outside your scope of responsibility. Invest your time in further developing what you do best instead of trying to fix your deficits.
Exercise: Take a strengths inventory – quantify what you are best at so you can easily talk about how you can add value within your organization. Create a list of at least five strengths and describe how you apply them in your job to contribute to your organization.
2.) Become an expert in something. Make yourself the "go-to" person on something. Your expertise can be a hard skill or soft skill. Know a specific technology, be the great conflict resolver or understand a process or protocol that is integral to your business. Remember to consider what adds to the bottom-line of the business. By making yourself the ‘go-to’ person you become an integral and irreplaceable member of the team.
Exercise: Invest in your expertise – read literature, do research, attend training or take classes to further expand your area of knowledge. If you do not have an area of expertise yet, talk to colleagues and leaders in your organization to find a focus, then plan to become the subject matter expert.
3.) Mentor others. Share your wisdom and experience to support and develop your coworkers. This expands your scope of impact and value. You look good when those around you look good. And, it doesn’t hurt if a lot of people in your organization like you and turn to you for help and advice.
Exercise: Pay attention to your accessibility - are junior people in your organization comfortable approaching you? If not, how can you make yourself more approachable and available?
4.) Know your field/industry, and be known. If you are seen as a contributor and leader to your profession, industry or field, beyond your organization, this makes you valuable to your organization. Making an impact beyond your company/firm means others know about you and the organization where you work. Get involved in professional associations, present at conferences and write articles for publication.