The term "job security" is so quaint that it could practically be the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting. In this new economy, if you want any semblance of job security, you’ve got to make yourself indispensable. Here are three things you can start to do to move closer toward that goal. Stay cutting edge – It used to be that being “current” in your field was good enough. Not anymore. If you want to be indispensable, you’ve got to stay on the leading edge of your field. Not only does this allow you to drive advancements within your organization (which is a very good resume builder), it also positions you as an expert.
Being on the cutting edge of your field has never been easier; leverage traditional and emerging techniques – trade journals, LinkedIn groups, industry conferences, social media, etc. – to build and maintain your expertise while you also develop your reputation as leader in your field.
Find your niche – In the new economy, generalists are a dime a dozen. To be indispensible, you’ve got to specialize. In my case, I maintain broad HR competencies (including an HR certification) but my specific areas of expertise (and my passion) are in Organizational Effectiveness and Career Development. By bringing a level of expertise in a very specific area of my field, I set myself apart and make myself more competitive.
Identify areas within your field where you can specialize. Make yourself indispensable by positioning yourself as the go-to expert in an in-demand, but unsaturated, area of focus.
Know your impact – Staying current and being a specialist will not make you indispensible if you aren’t aware of your impact. All to often, I interview or work with professionals who – simply based on their area of focus – are indispensable (engineers, I’m talking to you). All too often, these professionals aren’t fully aware of the impact they have on their clients / organizations. And when they are aware, they often have a difficult time articulating that impact.
Regardless of your area of focus, the real key to being indispensable is to know – and be able to communicate – your impact. One way to build this competency is to keep a "win" file. Keep track of each achievement and the impact of that achievement (including metrics whenever possible). Doing so will not only make it easier to speak to accomplishments, it will habituate recognition of your wins and shift your success orientation.
I understand that it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by these kinds of tips. The key is to start moving in the direction of making yourself indispensable. Build a career management plan that includes the above items; that alone will get you heading in the right direction.
If you need help, get in touch.