Build Your Career Security
Face it. There is no such thing as job security anymore. We’ve seen companies disappear and merge. Even if you’re fortunate and are with the same employer, job titles and responsibilities are changing. With each reorganization, people need an expanded set of skills to achieve position objectives.
Future-oriented, smart employees are changing with the times by casting off the old mindset of “what’s in it for me?” to “how can I help myself advance?” In other words, creating personal career security.
What’s career security? It’s establishing your own unique competencies and individual reputation in the your field. No longer should an employee blame his employer or coworkers for bad performance. Even when an individual finds himself in a difficult employment situation due to operational or economic conditions, the career-security test is how that employee handles the challenging situation. An individual must assume full responsibility for his own job performance.
It’s not as hard as it sounds. Technical competency is maintained by embracing continuous learning. Professional competency is established by knowing what customers and coworkers expect and delivering it. Here’s a list of career-security strategies that you can immediately implement in your work life.
Be cheerful. My wise mother always told me, “You can’t always be happy, but you owe it to the world to be cheerful.” People don’t want to be around complainers and grumps. Life is more pleasant and more work gets accomplished when an individual’s disposition is upbeat and positive. Don’t saddle your customers or coworkers with what ails you. Be cheerful about life.
Apologize. When confronted with a situation that needs to be corrected, simply saying “I’m sorry that happened,” no matter who is responsible, moves the conversation from problem to solution. This is a tough one for many people. Customers who need to get a problem resolved want to hear the words “I’m sorry.” Those magic words can avoid emotionally escalating conversations. You’ll find that you’ll quickly begin working together to find a solution.
Always take the high road. Not everybody you meet will be cheerful. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Don’t take someone’s crankiness personally. Be patient, understanding and approach situations as if you can, and will, remedy the problem. Helping people and solving problems are opportunities to learn and shine. Take advantage of them.
Make the call. Because our business dealings are so interdependent on each other “salesperson to production, production to supplier, supplier to manufacturer” we can’t always deliver answers in the time frame we’ve promised. When this happens, customers want one thing – to be kept advised of the status of the situation. Consider this example. You promise a customer you’ll have an answer by noon. At 11:45, the information you need is not ready. Would you rather make the call to the customer at 11:45 or get a call at 12:30 wondering where the information is? Career-security minded people make the call and avoid a potentially negative and damaging interaction.
Create perceived authority. An individual can’t possibly know the answers to all questions. And some situations are outside the authority level of an employee. When this happens, employees need to refer to a higher authority to get assistance. How this communication is stated to the customer directly affects how the employee is perceived. Many people will say to the customer, “I don’t know. I need to ask my supervisor.” Instead, to achieve perceived authority the response should be, “Good question. Let me check on that, and I’ll get back to you no later than noon tomorrow.” Which sounds more professional to the customer? The second response, of course. Framing the response to give yourself authority and accountability is another way to enhance your reputation. And you must keep your agreements!
Demonstrate accountability. Change and date your outgoing voice mail message daily. By telling the caller “This is Emily Huling. Today is March 5. I’m in the office today. I’m sorry I missed your call. Please leave a message and I’ll call you back within two hours.” I have made myself accountable. Another way to demonstrate professionalism is to end all external e-mail correspondence with an e-mail signature that contains all the information found on your letterhead. If the receiver needs to forward the message, move it to a paper or automated file, or simply to get back to you in a way other than e-mail, all this information is handy. It means, I’m accessible and reliable.
We’re all in the career security business. At all times, be sure your actions show that you can be counted on to get the job done.
Emily Huling Selling Strategies, Inc. P.O. Box 200 Terrell, NC 28682
Phone: 888-309-8802 Fax: 888-309-7355