How to Increase Your Profile to Avoid a Layoff


Layoffs have always been a part of the business world but with our current economic downturn, you can’t avoid thinking about them. And, if you’re a particular type of worker, especially a young, professional woman, you might be a target.

A good company can use a downturn to its advantage by using layoffs and buyouts to get rid of employees who are considered to be redundant, too high-salaried, complainers, problem makers, inefficient, or just plain deadwood. They also can lay off employees who just haven’t made a big impression yet and are considered nonessential.

Many of these workers are young, professional women. They work hard, don’t make waves, and haven’t yet made a big impression. If you haven’t made a big splash in your workplace (whether you are male or female, young or old, experienced or inexperienced), here are five tips to help you increase your workplace profile and stay away from the layoff list:

1.      Assert Yourself – Look around your workplace and determine what could make you a more valuable employee. Can you take on extra work and responsibility? Is there a committee you can join? How about a new project for which you can volunteer?

2.      Think Strategically – Don’t volunteer for the first thing that comes along. Think about what’s important to your boss and your company. Volunteering for a sustainability committee or staying late to help keep a project on schedule can increase your visibility.

3.      Be Positive – Don’t be an employee who has a negative attitude or who is thought to be a complainer, or one who shies away from extra work. Managers recognize employees with a positive attitude, and they are much more likely to keep them around during layoffs.

4.      Advocate for Yourself – This can be a fine line, as you don’t want to appear to be arrogant or only out for yourself. But, it is very important that you make it known to your boss when you have done something above and beyond.

5.      Develop Your Image – In addition to taking on more duties, consider attending work-related conferences, joining associations, taking seminars or classes, or working toward a new certification or degree. These activities will indicate your professional commitment.

Young women professionals are thought to be more susceptible to layoffs because they have not yet taken the opportunity to stand out from the group. Not meaning to seem sexist, but, in the workplace, young men can be more assertive (also louder, and not hesitant to stand up and take credit).

So, just don’t sit back and worry about being a layoff statistic. Start positioning yourself to avoid a layoff. Increase your workplace profile so your supervisors and company will consider you an essential employee—one they just can’t live without.