Achieve Employment Security with These 3 Tips

All types of experts and pundits have their best and worst of 2011 lists out there for us to review. The best and worst need to be noted, of course but, to me, neither of them is actionable. They just serve as history reminders. Instead, I prefer to look at the experiences we’ve had over the year and then determine what lessons we can learn from those experiences to make ourselves better. 2011, while offering greatness, was a pretty tough year for many of us. Here are some important lessons I want to share with you that just might make your 2012 a memorable one!

Control the Outcome of Your Performance Reviews

The number of performance reviews that don’t reflect a favorable performance is too high. Whether it is managers showing favoritism, not knowing what accomplishments you’ve made during the year, or not putting in the effort to make it meaningful, performance reviews remain as one of the least favorite activities to work on.

But your career path, raise and (perhaps) bonus depend on it.

A mid-level security manager recently told me that unless she did better than a “successful” on her performance review, she didn’t get a bonus. And, despite all that she does — and compared to her coworkers — she never gets better than a successful review. That costs her a lot of money in addition to causing a festering resentment.  If this pattern continues no matter what she does, that tells me she should consider alternative employment.

While this is an example of an employee actively trying to influence her performance review, too many just passively wait for the review without trying to influence it — start today with serious goal-setting and continue this during the course of the year. Set measurable goals that can be reviewed regularly and that you can make a part of your review. Make a list of notable accomplishments you achieved during the year. If you just take the review as it comes, that can lead to frustration, exasperation, even anger — and missed dollars for your family’s well-being. That one extra level of performance can mean a world of difference to your career growth and income.

Focus on Improving Your Career Search and Interview Skills

The recession has highlighted the importance of having excellent interview skills and I have written many blogs here on this topic. It is also an important area of emphasis in my candidate preparation. You know why?  Candidates are security and business professionals–not professionals at interviewing. Even when you have secured an interview through a security industry recruiter or another contact, you still must prepare for the hard work of getting properly prepared for an interview. The employer likely has several talented candidates to choose from and those who are prepared are going to standout above the others. Research and practical experience demonstrate that those who practice answering interview questions go further in the interview process and get jobs more than those who don’t practice and prepare for interview questions.

Before my career in recruiting, I was also a hiring manager and I can tell you that well qualified candidates are routinely passed over because of their lack of preparation and skill at interviewing.

Constantly networking, conducting a job search and knowing how to interview is now a basic, needed job skill in your career profile. With nearly 6 people looking for work for every job opening, job interview skills are more important than ever because of your competition for the job.

There are good materials and resources out there (and on this site) to help with your interviewing skills. It just takes a little effort.

Build Employment Security, Not Job, Security

We are still experiencing layoffs from the recession. The recovery is painfully slow. As a result, the natural reaction to that is to hold on to your current job no matter what.  Although this is understandable, a job is the least secure thing to hang on to because a company can take that job away in an instant. Instead, we should focus on building employment security. Employment security says that, though I may lose my job, I’m still employable because of the work I have done and unique ability, knowledge and skills that I possess.

We know that long-term unemployment is at one of the highest points in our history. The longer someone remains unemployed, the harder it is to get a job. It is truly a vicious circle. You can build employment security. It requires a dedicated effort and commitment to invest in you. Come to the realization, as I have, that in today’s world job security is gone and employment security needs to replace it. Hopefully, I have laid a foundation that you can build upon to create employment security for you in 2012 and beyond.

Wishing you prosperity in the New Year!

David Lammert

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