Must-Have Qualities to Ensure Long-Term Job Security

by Little House on 27 August 2010 4 comments

Securing a job in today's economy is more challenging than it's been in decades. Whether you've just graduated from college and are looking for your first "real" job or you're between jobs, there are a couple of qualities that are timeless. They can make you an indispensable part of any company or business, or can help you strike out on your own: Flexibility and Resourcefulness.

Become Engrossed in Your Position

You've just heard the news; a company you interviewed for has selected you as their favorite candidate. You start in a couple of weeks and can't wait to begin your new career.

A great way to become an essential part of a company's team is to become engrossed in the company's product or service. Though many positions have specific responsibilities associated with them, taking on more challenging tasks, redefining your position, and "getting your hands dirty" can ensure the beginning of a long career.

Many years ago, I interviewed for an online video streaming company. The job entailed a lot of research and contact database management. Being a hard worker, I knew I could manage the responsibilities of the job. However, the job also entailed some new responsibilities that I had little experience with. A few months into the position, I decided to redefine my role; I organized a large trade show and began writing press releases for their upcoming product. This act alone ensured my position with the company and I happily transitioned to trade show manager.

Enjoying the learning process is essential to growing your career. The more you commit to a position, the more likely you'll be regarded as the point-person within that arena.

Flexibility and Balancing Acts

Two people in your department have left and now their responsibilities have been placed upon your shoulders.

More and more I hear stories from friends about reductions in their office staff, yet those tasks, which are now unassigned, still need to be completed. The coworkers who are happily, or at least willing, to assimilate the new responsibilities into their work load are the ones who will benefit in the end.

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My first corporate job as a sales coordinator was region specific. I was responsible for the east coast region and three other coworkers were responsible for the other cardinal directions (west, north, and south regions). A few months into my new job, two of the coordinators left. All of a sudden, there were two coordinators for a total of four regions — all with similar tasks. Being flexible, I assumed responsibilities for one additional region and won the praise of many colleagues.

Flexibility is highly regarded in most environments. The more tasks you can manage and coordinate seamlessly, the better chances of management regarding you as promotion material.

Resourcefulness Breeds Creativity

Layoffs are looming and you're beginning to think you might be next. That entrepreneurial spirit is kicking in.

Not everyone is cut out for one life-time career; lifestyles change, job opportunities pop up, and independent ventures become possibilities. Acquiring different talents, or becoming a "Jack-of-all-Trades," instills resourcefulness in oneself and nurtures creativity. Being resourceful means opening yourself up to potential job opportunities and multiple streams of income.

After realizing that a nine-to-five corporate job wasn't what I had in mind for myself, I began working side jobs to cover my bills while transitioning into a new career path. Having good time management skills, I juggled working as a Starbucks barista, a lactation educator, and a substitute teacher while redefining what I wanted my career to look like. Being resourceful allowed me the flexibility and opportunity to envision the career I really wanted. Like a chameleon, I was able to meld into temporary positions until I found one that suited me best.

The ability to draw upon skills and resources means there is less of a likelihood of becoming financially strapped. Multiple streams of income create plenty of opportunities to branch out into a new field without worrying about your bottom line.

Though these must-have qualities come in handy during tough economic times, they can also be helpful for future job seekers and entrepreneurs.

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Guest's picture

Good advice, Jen - especially your second point. In my experience, the employees that take on the thankless jobs that nobody wants, and are constantly willing to learn new things are the ones that are the last to be laid off in tough times. In short, they make themselves indispensable to their employers.

All the best,

Len
Len Penzo dot Com

Guest's picture

Offering solutions to problems and being seen as the "go to" person are also strategies. I agree that it's more important than ever to hang on to your job today. As usual, great job Jennifer.

Guest's picture
Forest

It's very important to not be half assed in front of your employer I guess.... No matter how sick of looking you are or how over qualified you may be for a position. If you go for every job like it's going for the head of the board then this quality will shine through and you will rise once you get in.

Guest's picture

I liked the explanation with real life scenarios. Great work.

Naveen from Winning Ideas

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