With changing times, you might be concerned about your job security. Almost all states in the U.S., except for Montana, allow employers to adopt “at-will” employment policies. As long as it’s legal, your employer can dismiss you without warning or reason. If whispers through the woodwork at your office mention upcoming layoffs, don’t panic yet.

There are several things you can start doing to ensure your job security. With this in mind, here are seven ways for you to stand out in your professional life and protect your position.

Adapt to Your Manager’s Communication Style

A faulty line of communication can snowball into major issues, jeopardizing your career and livelihood. Talk to your supervisor and find out their preferred communication methods. For example, you may want to meet in person if that’s what they prefer.

You may also want to identify how often they want to review progress and adjust to fit that schedule. Your flexibility could make you visible to your employer as a committed individual. It will also go a long way to show your dedication and also help you dodge any easily avoided mistakes.

Stay True to All of Your Commitments

Something in your professional life will inevitably fall to the wayside. Make that the exception and not the rule. Complete the tasks you take on in an appropriate timeframe and with your best effort.

If you know your progress hit a roadblock or the work will not be up to par, inform your manager as soon as possible. This can provide an opportunity to receive help from other team members and keep the issue from spiraling out of control.

Surpass All Expectations

Do your best to surpass all expectations. Stand out among your other colleagues. Each time a new project comes your way, consider how you can excel in at least one part, if not the whole task.

You can also exceed their expectations through your demeanor and involvement in the professional space. Maintain a positive attitude, or a willingness to try, and that will follow through in your interactions. Create your own standards and work on self-motivation to aid in this process. Those around you will come to see your contributions as distinctive as long as you push yourself towards that goal.

Improve Your Skill Set and Expertise

Stay up-to-date and educate yourself on the expectations of your field. Since industries are constantly changing, it’s imperative to stay current on all the happenings in your specific industry. View yourself as a student or as a work in progress. Improve the skills you already have or obtain new ones by reading up on these changes.

You may also want to take any opportunity to learn and enhance your skillset. Your office or management may offer a workshop, for example, or maybe you might pursue an educational course in your personal life. Once you improve or even develop new skills, you can bring them back into your professional work. Put yourself in a position to be sought after for advice. Having expertise makes you more valuable to your employer and helps ensure your job security.

Request Feedback

Feedback is a navigational necessity for both you and your employer. It allows them to identify you as both proactive and invested in the quality of your work. Success is subjective, so make sure you ask what their definition of it is and put that concept into practice.

They may have suggestions for improvement you are not prepared for, whether it’s a critique or acknowledgment. It’s hard to hear a critique, but don’t shut out the recommendation. Your boss arrived at this opinion regardless, and it’s better to address the issue sooner rather than later.

Record All Accomplishments

The repetition of work may cause the days to blur. But, if you fall into the habit of checking off the to-do list, you risk losing track of the specifics. Use your organizational skills (or take the opportunity to sharpen some here) and track all of your accomplishments. This puts you in a better position to advocate for yourself and your work.

Your accomplishment list will have what you need to provide accurate information when you need to self-report or even when the opportunity comes to seek a promotion. Accomplishments may include successful projects, awards, lesson moments, and more.

Always Be a Problem Solver

When issues arise, demonstrate leadership and hands-on, active problem-solving. Don’t wait for someone to ask for help or for others to solve it. Showcase how you are an asset to the company and help keep things afloat. You might have to do this as an individual or in a group setting.

If you help in a collaborative setting, then your peers and employer may have a specific moment to refer to when advocating for your abilities. Sharpening your problem-solving skills can help you offer input on a wider array of problems.

The Bottom Line

Try incorporating this list into your professional life. With the uncertainty of the current job market, you want to do your best to remain valuable to your employer. Become a problem solver as well as an asset to the company you work for. Job security requires consistency and activity, so do your best to keep on top of it.

When you are aware of your strengths and capable of improvement, you feel more confident in yourself. Self-assurance keeps you focused on your work and helps you showcase the best you to your employer. This, in turn, could lead to better job security.

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