Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
September 18, 2009

Boomerang Pink Slips

Did you hear about the daily newspaper employees who were told that their positions were being redefined, that they would have to apply for their jobs all over again and that by the time the reorganizational musical chairs stopped, 70 of them would be unemployed. Who could make this up? Staffers at The Journal News, a Westchester daily owned by Gannett, just lived through this nightmare.

This is definitely one of the harsher stories floating around. However, after we all finish shaking our heads in sympathy, there’s a question we need to ask ourselves: “If this involved us, would we be hired?”

What if you had to reapply for your job right now? Or if you’re not currently employed, what are you doing to ensure you’re marketable in this unpredictable, unstable economy?

Here are three key questions to ask yourself right now that will increase your marketability for your current job or for a new one:

  1. What value do you bring to the table? Whether you’re meeting your boss or a prospective employer, you should be able to articulate how you contribute to organizational success. By the way, I’m talking about providing value, not products or services. For example, don’t think of yourself as providing focus group moderating. Think of enabling companies to identify what their customers need most.
  2. How are you improving yourself to stay competitive? Here’s a new way to think about this: Instead of addressing deficiencies, consider further developing one of your strengths. You’re already good in this area; why not turn into a rock star?
  3. In what ways are you stretching out of your comfort zone? Workers at The Journal News were confronted by a challenge faced by all journalists today — the jobs they reapplied for emphasized Web site skills. Changing skill sets are a reality for all workers. To stay competitive, it’s critical to stay abreast of the needs of your clients, whether internal or external. This is the time to broaden your experience level and develop new offerings.

By Jenny Schade, president, JRS Consulting. JRS Consulting helps organizations dramatically increase attraction among customers and employees. Jenny Schade has interviewed more than 1,000 employees while guiding organizations through turbulent change. Get more tips from the free JRS newsletter.


Join Jenny for her co-presentation, along with Don Spetner, “How to Build Your Public Relations Career in a Challenging Economy” at the PRSA 2009 International Conference: Delivering Value, November 7–10, in San Diego, CA!

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