QUESTION: I work for a bank that was recently acquired by a larger bank. Management has told us that there will be layoffs in a few months, but we don’t yet know who will be affected. Should I wait and see what happens or start looking for another position now?
ANSWER: With your job security in doubt, you would be wise to start preparing for the worst. But don’t let anxiety send you running wildly off in all directions. Use this time to plan and organize an effective job search. First, acquire the job-seeking skills that will make you a first-class applicant. Look for books and Web resources on networking, résumé-writing and interviewing. Mastering these three areas will greatly increase your odds of being hired. If you’ve been out of the job market for a while, update yourself on the latest electronic job search strategies. Using online resources can affect everything from your networking techniques to the wording of your résumé.
While you’re online, find out what curious employers can learn about you. Google yourself and try to remove any worrisome information.
Carefully review social networking sites to be sure that you present a professional image. Next, create a basic template for your résumé and cover letter.
When you start applying for jobs, you can use this template to customize your documents for each specific position. Interviewers will be more interested in a résumé that closely matches their job requirements.
Finally, start the networking process by letting people know that you want to hear about job opportunities. Get involved with professional associations, community organizations, or any other group that might produce job leads. Even if you survive the upcoming layoff, your preparation will not be wasted. At some point in your career, these job-seeking skills will come in handy.
QUESTION: Management told our receptionist, “Anna,” that she should start handling all phone calls from vendors. She is very unhappy about this and complains constantly. To escape her new responsibility, Anna is now transferring vendor calls to me instead of talking with them herself. How do I keep her from doing this?
ANSWER: The simple solution is to stop accepting the transferred calls. First, touch base with your boss to be sure this is OK. Then tell Anna what you plan to do. For example: “My manager says that I’m not supposed to be dealing with vendors, so in the future I won’t be able to take those calls.”After that, you must never accept another one. If you do, you will just encourage the behavior that you are trying to eliminate. If Anna continues to send vendors your way, simply explain that you are not the correct person and transfer them back to her. She’ll quickly get the message.
(Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.” Send questions in at www.yourofficecoach.com.