On shaky ground: dealing with job insecurity

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On some level, we all like a degree of security and stability. Even those of us who embrace change still need the confidence that there is stable ground before they can tackle something new. It is much easier to jump from a stable platform than one that is shaky. Yet there is still so much uncertainty in today’s mining and resources sector, caused by market conditions and the seemingly never-ending quest to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Here are my top tips for dealing with job insecurity and using instability to your advantage:

  • Think mobile. Complacency is likely to leave you behind the eight ball if restructuring and redundancies occur. Get to truly understand your sector, who the main players are, and what their plans are. The more you understand your sector, the easier it will be to find a new role should the worst happen. 
  • Talk to people. Networking is one of the essential ingredients of a mobile career and of job search in general. Take the opportunity to update your LinkedIn profile (see previous column on LinkedIn for further tips) and make some new, useful connections. Face-to-face networking in the form of meetings/catch ups with your contacts is also a great way to keep current with what’s happening in the market. Christmas and the New Year are great excuses to schedule a meeting or a casual coffee catch up.
  • Revamp your resume. Properly. Just adding your most recent experience to the top of your resume is unlikely to cut it in today’s competitive job market. Take the time to really work through your resume, ensure all the relevant experience is described and include plenty of achievements to make it really stand out (see my previous column on how to write a winning resumé for more information). Updating a resume can be time consuming if you do it properly, so best to take the time to do it well now, rather than being rushed later and sending off something that is second rate.
  • Understand your transferable skills. Think creatively about how you might be able to 'repackage' your background, experience and achievements to make them attractive to a different employer. Look deeper than your technical expertise to things like your communication, leadership or organisational skills that could be attractive to any employer. What skills or experience would make you stand out against others in your role/profession?
  • Make sure your tank is full. Working in an uncertain environment can be exhausting. Be sure to continue to do things that will keep your spirits up and will give you the energy to keep going. This is different for everyone but it could include exercise, a hobby or spending time with a friend or family member who thinks positively. Maintaining your resilience will give you the energy to keep bouncing back during instability.

Working with instability is certainly not easy, but if you can focus on your career mobility you will be ahead of others who haven’t gone through the same degree of reflection and preparation. It will also give you a stronger sense of positivity and control in a situation that you may feel is mostly out of your hands.

Therese Lardner is a registered psychologist with extensive experience in all areas of the employment cycle from recruitment and selection to development, employee engagement and career transition. Click here to ask for her expert advice on landing your perfect mining and resources job, moving up the career ladder or dealing with job insecurity.

Click here for lots more expert career advice from Therese Lardner.