The most recent JobsSunday features have addressed topics such as job relocation, career changing, and getting a new job for the New Year. All of these flavors result in workers being in a new situation, frequently working for a new company or at least a new manager.
In each case the worker is essentially starting over, building their reputation in a new environment.
Just as it is important for a college graduate to make a strong first impression on a new company, it is equally important for a seasoned veteran to do the same. Regardless of how much experience is being brought to the table from past work, the new company is going to have a different perspective on the new worker.
If things go south later in the year, and a company has to think about layoffs, newer workers tend to be the first to go. It’s just the nature of the business. So how valuable a worker becomes on the job can have a direct impact on their ability to weather the storm and stay on the job.
Here are a few tips that can help a worker become indispensable to the new company.
· Anticipate the needs of the department. Being a reliable source for the manager or department leader and seeing opportunities are great ways to be better at the job. Take on tasks that the department leader may not need to oversee directly and present a finished product. When a department leader sees this type of initiative it often helps them understand the value of the worker they now have.
· Work to get to know management. Let’s face it – management controls the workers destiny. It is always in the best interest of the worker to get to know them better both personally and professionally. It doesn’t mean there is a need to be best friends outside of the office, but it is important to learn their work philosophy and priority. The more communication the better. Also get to know management two levels up the corporate ladder.
· Always assume success. A positive attitude can be seen in facial expressions, posture, tone and speed. A worker should always believe that they are uniquely qualified to do exactly what they do. Always envision that everything accomplished contributes to the bottom line. Even setbacks can be considered opportunities. Managers tend to look at things positively – that’s how they got where they are. Emulate that attitude.
· Study the industry. Every industry is constantly changing and evolving. Workers need to keep up with what is currently happening in their particular industry. Most industries have trade magazines or websites that have the latest news in that industry. It’s important to read these and stay well informed. Take the opportunity to discuss recent industry events and changes with coworkers and managers. Information is power.
· Always come to the table with a solution. Offering a solution or idea is only half of the equation and many managers feel that an idea without an action plan will only create more work for them. Share ideas with context and a clear path for implementation for the manager to evaluate. Present any issue with a recommended solution. If the manager gives the ok, implement that solution in a timely and effective manner. The more the manager comes to rely on the worker, the more value they will assign to that person. Value will translate into future projects and new responsibilities.
· Be flexible. One of the soft skills that managers value most in their workers is the ability to do multiple tasks. When a company has to run lean in order to stay competitive, they need workers who can wear many hats. So a worker who goes out of their way to learn new skills, improve on existing ones, and volunteers to try something new can significantly increase their value. It also shows an attitude and willingness to go the extra mile. Managers think of that when they decide who stays and who goes.
Becoming indispensable isn’t impossible – it’s just a matter of determination.
Whether a worker has relocated, taken on a new job, or just a new assignment, there can be gaps in their employment history. Next week, JobsSunday examines ways to address gaps in employment.