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How to Prepare for a Turbulent Job Market

If anyone would have asked me in June 2014 whether I would predict a 50% drop in crude oil prices by the end of 2014, I wouldn’t have believed them. Some analysts predict a further decline in oil prices into 2015, and in the meantime, jobs in the Oil and Gas industry are being squeezed, particularly in some exploration and production companies and service companies. The downward spiral of oil prices is shaking some workers’ confidence in their ability to continue earning a paycheck.

By planning ahead now, you can boost your chances of keeping or finding a job. Below are helpful tips to consider to help you weather the storm:

Don’t Jump Ship Too Quickly

If the company you work for is showing signs of distress, your first instinct may be to bail out as soon as possible. But if you land a job at another company, who’s to say your job is more stable there under the same unstable job market conditions? You’ve already proven yourself in your current company and hopefully you’ve established a network of contacts. At a new job, in most cases you have fewer networks who can vouch for your performance and potential. As the saying goes, “it’s last in, first out.” So look before you leap.

Be a Team Player

Oftentimes when layoffs occur, you may be asked to assume more work that belonged to other employees who’ve been laid off. It’s a bummer, but guess what? Who’s standing in the unemployment line and who still has a paycheck? In which situation would you rather be? Be a good sport – expressing dismay could put your employment at risk when the next wave of layoffs occur. Companies remember those who’ve helped them out through a tough time. If you have not been asked to take on extra projects, now is your time to be the “teacher’s pet.” Raise your hand and volunteer.

Work Harder

Work the way you did when you were trying to get promoted to another position – companies are less likely to get rid of star performers. Companies primarily consider performance reviews when faced with difficult layoff decisions, but may also consider an employee’s tenure, an employee’s ability to work well within a team, etc. Take control of the impression you want your boss and co-workers to have of you.

Work Smarter

Do you have an idea to help streamline a process, save the company money, or make the company money? Document them, and present them to your boss. Think about your company’s situation in the same way that your boss is thinking about it.

Keep Records of Your Past Accomplishments

Ensure that you keep an electronic file of all of your career accomplishments if at all possible, including documentation of any year-end reviews that were favorable for you.

Update Your Résumé, Cover Letter and LinkedIn Profile

Expect the best, but be prepared for the worst. Make sure that you already have an updated résumé, cover letter and LinkedIn profile on-hand, because if you wait until you no longer have a job, the chances are higher that you’ll make typos or omit important details. Need help with updating these items? Contact us at and ask us for details on how our staff can help you update your résumé, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. We’d be more than happy to help you save some time while you focus on your current job!

Continually Network

One of the most important tips I can give you is to continually network – never “rest on your laurels,” as the saying goes. Just because you have a job today does not mean you won’t need another one in the future, whether it’s an internal job or external. Make a genuine effort to reconnect with past supervisors, former colleagues, mentors, academic advisors, and other potential advocates. Reaching out to them only in times of distress is a turnoff, so offer yourself as a resource in advance of your needing them for something. This gesture will provide them with an incentive to reciprocate. Start networking today!

Consider a Reduction in Salary

If you think your position may be impacted by a layoff, consider accepting a temporary pay cut, because doing so will buy you more time until you land another position at the same salary or higher than the salary you were at before you took the pay cut.

Search Internally

Review your company’s job site for positions where your skills may be transferable. Network with colleagues in these business units to learn about job openings before they’re advertised publicly and to see if you can obtain a referral. If you work remotely, make sure you make yourself visible at company functions and be in the office more often than not, particularly in times when your company may be announcing layoffs.