Official figures confirmed that the UK is experiencing its worst recession in over half a century. And with more job losses expected over the coming months the pain of recession will continue for many people. But employees can take matters into their own hands and safeguard their jobs from the threat of redundancy, says Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, one of the UK’s most well-known career advice and guidance experts.

He says: “This time last year the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development warned that 2008 would be the worst year for jobs in a decade in the UK. It was. But it now seems that 2008 was simply a prelude to what has since become the worst year for jobs in two decades, 2009. With 600,000 jobs lost since the start of the recession and many more yet to come it is no wonder that many of us are concerned about our own future prospects.

So if your company is faced with the unenviable task of short-listing those people who are up for redundancy, how can you ensure that the red pen doesn’t strike through your name?

1. Skills and knowledge

When you go for a new job, your interviewer will ask you a series of questions to establish whether you are the right candidate for the job you are applying for. And it is your task to convince them that you have the necessary skills and attributes required to fulfil the expectations of the position. It is exactly the same when redundancies strike – you are in effect about to embark on a mission to prove your worth and demonstrate precisely why you are the right person to continue doing your job.

Employers want to see that you have shown a commitment to improving your overall performance and that means taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the company through skills workshops, training courses and professional study. Some courses are mandatory whilst others are voluntary. Yet failing to attend these courses “can and does affect an employees career in the long term – it will be a red mark against them and their  loyalty and commitment will be questioned,” says Zoe Tizzard, Human Resources Manager at Ystrad Mynach College near Cardiff.

You need to constantly bear in mind that employers are running a business and they want to get the maximum return on their investment i.e. you. How has the company benefited with you as an employee? What can you offer that your colleague performing a similar role can’t? It could be that you have become proficient in SPSS, CAD or ECDL. Or that you work for a public body and are able to speak Welsh whereas a colleague in the same role can’t, thereby saving your organisation money in translation services.

2. Attendance

Poor time keeping is a major nuisance for managers and can make or break your chances of safeguarding your job. Even if you are late just 5 minutes each morning, you will actually owe your employer 25 minutes each week, 100 minutes every month and by the end of the year, two-and-a-half days yet you will have been paid for this time. And over the course of five years, you have cost your company almost two weeks in pay – approximately £1,300 based on the average salary. This makes you a liability and a costly one at that.

3. Complacency and diversification

When you have worked in the same role for a certain period of time, it is easy to fall into the trap of becoming complacent with your work. You were willing to learn and enthusiastic to take on more responsibility when you first started your job, so what’s changed? Seek out opportunities to maximise your talents and demonstrate to your boss that you have initiative and you are not afraid to try your hand at other roles.

4. There is no ‘I’ in ‘team

As clichéd as it may sound, being a team player is fundamental to the success of most modern businesses. And getting stuck with the label of not being a team player is one of the surest ways to kill off your chances of securing your position when the cuts come. Loners and mavericks are often be considered by managers as loose canons and are regarded as looking out for Number One.

About yourcareermatters
CareerMatters was founded as part of MacKenzie-Cummins Communications in 2006 by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins MICG (Member Institute of Careers Guidance), regarded as one of the UK's leading career's advice and guidance writers and specialist PR consultant for the UK recruitment industry. Since 2006 Paul has been the leading advice writer for and - the two biggest careers website in the world -tackling all aspects of workplace and management issues, job seeking, career change and hiring trends. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 his writing contributed to Monster winning the Best Employment Advice on the Internet Award for an unprecedented three times beating the likes of The Guardian, Learn Direct and Personnel Today on each occasion. And his work was a runner-up for the same award in 2009. In 2009 Paul was a nominee in the prestigious HR Journalist of the Year Award and Recruitment, Retention & Motivation Journalist of the Year Award. Paul has been commissioned to write more than 500 careers advice and guidance articles for a number of lpublications, from regional and national newspapers to industry publications and various career-specific websites in the UK and USA. Recently, Paul was the Technical Editor for career psychologist Dr Rob Yeung's Job Hunting & Career Change for Dummies (John Wiley & Son, 2007). Dr Yeung is better known as the TV psychologist for Channel 4's Big Brother and the BBC's Who Would Hire You? series. Clients include: MSN Careers (Europe) TheLadders TotalJobs IntaPeople Recruitment Lifetracks/YouthNET MediaSalesJobs The Press Gazette

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