July 9, 2020

9 Steps to Secure Your Job in a Pandemic © Cici Mattiuzzi

If there is a silver lining in the midst of this awful time, it is that people are reinventing their jobs and creating options for how they work, when they work, and where they work.

They are also figuring out how to thrive in their jobs and how to stand out when they are not sitting in the same room as their boss or their co-workers.

Many companies are learning that having employees working from home does not reduce productivity. In fact, productivity is actually increasing.

With people commuting less and working with a flexible schedule, there is actually more time to network - getting reacquainted with former colleagues and finding old contacts. And there is also more time for self-care (exercise and family time) and self-reflection (What should I do with my life? Am I happy?). Both good things that help you move forward in uncertain times.

As you settle into the new normal, it is time to think about your career.

Surviving and growing your career during the pandemic is possible. Here is what a Marketing Manager suggested I share with you:
  1. Start by getting into a field with high demand
  2. Look for jobs in growth industries with companies that are pushing the edge
  3. Next - work your way onto strategic projects with very high priority
  4. If you are not super busy, take advantage of your company’s professional development benefits - go get your MS or special certifications
  5. Always attend company wide meetings
  6. Always attend departmental meetings
  7. Seek feedback from your manager and from your co-workers so you know how you are doing - and equally important, it builds trust.
  8. Take full advantage of your company’s training resources to update your knowledge and skills!
  9. Many companies provide LinkedIn Learning accounts for their employees. Get one!!! Even if your company is not providing the service take advantage of LinkedIn’s training - Lynda.com.
Company wide meetings are where good companies communicate their focus and mission to their employees. Good communication is absolutely essential to a company’s success. A good CEO motivates employees by identifying the company direction based on what is happening in the market. Market driven decisions identify areas of growth that are ripe for opportunity: the right product in the right place at the right time. Sharing information gets everyone onboard and ready to march in the same direction.

Department level meetings are where managers layout the priorities. They tell you how to get onboard the train, if not exactly how to do your job - that is up to you. They hired you because you are smart, so show them how smart you are by absorbing and analyzing information from multiple sources, sharing your thoughts and ideas, and demonstrating your worth. Now is the time to be part of the team that is moving forward.

Seeking feedback from people you trust allows you to improve and distinguish yourself as a team player who listens and is open to change. If you want to get informal feedback, ask open ended questions like “What do you think I should be focusing on?” and “How would you like me to contribute to your project?”

Your professional development depends on updating yourself for each new change that comes down the pike. The more you know and the more relevant your knowledge is, the more valuable you are. It is how you secure your job. And it is how you ensure your marketability if an unexpected layoff happens.

If you are blessed enough to be employed right now don’t screw it up… be aware, stay connected and make yourself visible in the best ways and for the best reasons.

You got this!

Cici Mattiuzzi is the Author of ‘The Serious Job Seeker’ and the founding director (emeritus) of the Career Services Office for the College of Engineering and Computer Science at CSUS