As of 2012, 7 percent of women age 20 and older are unemployed, and for African-American women and Latinos, the rate is even higher. (See Reference 4) One way to to help ensure you don't contribute to these dismal statistics is to make yourself an invaluable worker at your current place of employment. When you have skills that are difficult to replace along with a can-do attitude, your supervisor is likely to tear any pink slip with your name on it into shreds.
Think of ways to help your supervisor look good. Research and management consultant Dan Schawbel points out that your success at work is directly linked to your supervisor's success. Make her job easier by performing your job well and taking on tasks that others aren't particularly interested in. When it comes time to make cuts in the workforce, the last person your supervisor is going to want to let go is the person who found her bargain rates at the best hotel in the city when she attended her last conference. (See Reference 1)
Take on projects that rely on your specialized expertise. For example, if you're the only person in the office who is able to figure out how to update the company's website, you will be indispensable. The same holds true for having the ability to dislodge the jams in the office copier and edit important company documents using your superior grammatical skills.
On a similar note, develop a skill set that no one else in the office has. Learn a foreign language that will help your company communicate with potential new customers or teach yourself how to use a software application that streamlines a cumbersome process.
Often, becoming an invaluable worker requires stepping outside your comfort zone, notes Keith Ferrazzi, author of "Never Eat Alone." (See Reference 3) Whether this involves participating in an experiential ROPES course at a company team-building workshop or making mistakes while you learn a new skill, your career will benefit.
Work to become an expert in your field, and present yourself publicly as an authoritative source on matters related to the sphere in which your company does business. You'll become the go-to person whenever someone needs help in your area of specialty.
Make yourself look good, because when you look good, so does the company. Present your ideas at professional conferences, publish articles in trade magazines and establish an authoritative presence on the web. This can enhance your standing within the company as well as within your profession as a whole.
Bring an extra spark to the workplace. You might be the person who encourages everyone to celebrate "Dress Like a Pirate Day" or the one who remembers to bring a cake to commemorate the company's first anniversary in the new office. On an everyday basis, keep a supply of extra pens for your colleagues who don't ever seem to have one handy, and be willing to help your supervisor figure out why her computer is running slowly. In short, don't be content to stick it out in your office and hope that your work speaks for itself.
Think of your company as a customer. After all, they are paying you for your services. Use diplomacy in your dealings with your supervisor just as you would a customer, advises Beth Braccio Hering, writer for CareerBuilder.com. "Trade" excellent work for your paycheck by knowing what your company needs and expects from your presence. (See Reference 2)
- Let your supervisor know exactly what you are contributing to the company by giving her specific reports. You might say, "Today, I located three new local markets for our product and made appointments to talk to their buyers."
- Take care not to be taken for granted. While you don't want to over-promote your work, you want to make sure your company knows that five of the new clients are due to your new email campaign.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.