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Tips to recession-proof your job

Staff Report • Jan 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Another 524,000 jobs were cut across the country in December, pushing the nation’s unemployment rate to 7.2 percent — the highest level in 16 years.

In all, the U.S. lost a net total of 2.6 million jobs in 2008 — the most since 1945, when nearly 2.8 million jobs were lost.

Cher Murphy, president of Cher Murphy PR, a public relations firm with offices in Miami and Virginia, said it’s easy in this economy to get caught up in the “domino effect” of layoffs in the workplace.

“But the truth of the matter is that what started with the banks doesn’t have to end with your career. There are more people working than not; we just have to start concentrating on the positive,” Murphy said in a news release.

Murphy offered 10 tips for recession-proofing your career. They are:

1. Remain noticeably active on the job. Regardless of what type of field you work in, it is important that you let people see you are busy. If you look like you aren’t doing much, it gives others the idea that you are not needed.

2. Document your contributions. Keep a file of everything you do to help the company, no matter how small it is. That information can be quite handy later, if you have to defend your position by explaining your contribution to the company.

3. Help make cuts. Many businesses need to make economic cuts right now. Offer a list of ideas that may help your company lower its bottom line.

4. Reduce your overhead. If you own a small business, consider taking it home if it can be done there, rather than from a rented space, which could save a great deal of money each month. Also, re-evaluate how you are getting your business name out to the public. Now is the time to utilize public relations, in order to increase brand-name recognition and sales.

5. Don’t complain. The last thing your employer wants to hear is you whining about taking on additional tasks or having to be more flexible in order to help them stay afloat. Vent your complaints in the car as you head home, rather than to your employer.

6. Improve your skills. If there is a class, degree, convention, or some other skill-building tool you can undertake or experience, you should do it. It will make you that much more valuable at your current job, and it can help with future ones, as well.

7. Network. While you may have heard it a million times before, it’s true that networking can help you in your career. You never know who is going to be instrumental in helping you when you need it most.

8. Switch careers. If you are not happy in the field in which you work, you may want to choose a new path — one that is considered recession-proof.

9. Polish resume. Be sure to keep your resume polished and updated, so that if you need it right away (or someone you network with would like to see it), you have it ready to hand over.

10. Stay optimistic. Attitudes are like colds — they are contagious. Keeping an optimistic attitude will keep you in much better graces than if you bring others down.

“While there is no absolute way to save someone’s job, there are things people can do to help avoid losing it,” said Murphy.

“If people still lose their job after trying these suggestions, at least they can feel they did what they could to try to save it. But they may just be surprised at how far these suggestions can take them.”

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