Many countries are going through a recession at the moment, and one of the side effects of this is that there is a decline in the job market. Companies want to reduce costs – and one of the easiest ways for them to do this is to reduce the number of employees they have. However, there are a few things you can do – have a read of these tips on how to keep your IT job during a recession.
Get Noticed (In A Good Way)
A good way to keep your job is to get yourself noticed in your company. I mean this in a good way – by doing good work or tasks that help others, not by causing trouble or getting drunk at a work function. If you do something great, let your boss know about it. You can even let their boss know about it – or make sure that they know about it somehow. This way, when it comes to the time of letting people in the company go, and your name comes up, people will know who you are and the good things you’ve done for the company – which should help you keep your job.
Be More Marketable To Keep Your IT Job During A Recession
The word marketable in this case means the ability to be sold, or to be used in different roles. In the role of an IT professional, the more professional and versatile you are, the more marketable you can be. You may have been hired as someone who develops Java code, but perhaps over the years you have improved your communication skills to a level that your boss is comfortable with you speaking to management teams. This may be more than the average person in that role – which means you have more to offer the company (both the Java development and client communication skills). This also flows into the next point – versatility.
Become Multi Skilled and Increase Your Versatility
Another great way of improving your chances of keeping your job during a recession is to become a more versatile worker. This would mean you know how to do more than just one role or one skill at your workplace. While there is some debate about whether it’s better to be an expert in one IT field or be good at several (a “jack of all trades” kind of person), this versatility tip is slightly different.
Some ideas to become a more versatile worker are:
- Learn how to do someone else’s role, or a task that someone else does. This can be seen as a win-win situation – you get more experience and knowledge about another area of the company, and as you know how to do this task, it makes you more valuable to the company. The company would also benefit as there is now one more person who is able to do this role or task.
- Learn or enhance a skill that is used. Improving a skill that you’re not so strong in, or one that can be improved to be as good as your main skill, is a good way to add value to your team and company. Let’s use the same example above where you’re a Java developer. Perhaps you don’t know a lot about Unix systems, and a team you work with uses these systems regularly. If you were to improve your Unix system skills or knowledge to a level that you are comfortable using it in your day to day work, then it benefits both you and the company. Another little way to help you keep your job!
- Take on an extra role in your workplace. This doesn’t have to be related to your current role. You could get involved in the emergency evacuation process, take control of the office or fridge supplies ordering, or become first aid certified for your office. This means that there’s one extra skill that you have that other’s don’t – which helps you keep your job!
Be Profitable To Your Company
As mentioned above, the main reason companies let people go in a recession is to save on costs. To help avoid this, you should be able to show how your role either improves profit or reduces costs for the company. This is important – if you know this, and are able to explain it to your bosses, then it’s a strong case to keep you on their payroll.
If you’re developing a system that helps to save half a million dollars per year in manual work, then this may be seen as a good reason to keep you employed. Similarly, if you’re involved in a project that increases the profitability of products that your company sells, then your role is beneficial to the company.
You should be able to explain this to anyone you come across – your boss, their boss, people in Human Resources, and other people in the company. The more people who are able to understand the value you provide to the company, the better your chances are of keeping your job.
Make Sure Your Skills Are Up To Date
The IT industry is constantly changing. New technologies are being released all the time, and existing technologies are evolving or being phased out. As an IT professional, you’ll need to keep your skills up to date as your career progresses. Being able to program in a language that was popular 10 years ago may have minimal impact now if it’s not as highly used. You may have done a project management course six years ago, but if methods and processes have changed in the industry or the company since then, you may not be as effective at your role.
Keeping your skills up to date is a good tip on how to keep your IT job during a recession. You can do this by:
- Taking a short course at a university part time.
- Reading a recently published book on the topic.
- Getting an official qualification
Be Prepared In Case You Are Fired
Of course, sometimes getting fired or losing your job in a recession can’t be helped. It may be out of your control – even if you follow these tips. The best thing you can do in this situation is to be prepared. Prepare for losing your job before it actually happens, so it has less impact to your life if it does happen. Some ways to be prepared for this are:
- Networking – Ensure you stay in touch with former co-workers, bosses, and employers. Communicate with them on social networks (LinkedIn is great for this), speak to them on the phone every now and then, catch up for lunches – whatever your preference is. You should be able to get a job sooner if you’re still in contact with other people in your industry. There’s an article I wrote recently on networking and how it can be done to improve your career.
- Ensure your resume is updated. Keep your job history, skills and contacts on your resume up to date so it can be easily handed out when you’re in a position of applying for a job. Do this in your own time though – it’s not a good look if you’re updating your resume while at work!
- Tell people you’re looking for a job. This may only apply if you do actually lose your job. Tell your family, your friends, former co-workers and people on any social networks you’re a member of. If people know you’re looking for a job, you have more avenues for jobs to come in.
The job market can be tough at the moment, and it can be hard to keep your job, even if you’re good at it. If you follow these tips on how to keep your IT job during a recession, you should have a better chance of keeping your job!
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