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How to avoid redundancy

Techniques to sidestep unemployment.

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5. Think cheap
Headcount reductions are often an effort to cut costs, but IT pros who prove to managers they can find inexpensive technology and reduce costs in-house could save their jobs.

"Think like the owner. Don't waste resources or buy things that really aren't critical," Nobscot's Carvin says. "Employees that are efficient are chosen to stay over those that act irresponsibly with budgets."

IT pros should not only check price tags, but also offer cost-effective alternatives to the status quo. Citigroup's Mercer introduced automation tasks that enabled his company to save time and money, while also avoiding downtime caused by human error.

"We had a lot of mundane tasks and I knew a few scripting languages so I was able to streamline workflows and become valuable in terms of our automation strategy," he explains.

 
6. Stay away from the drama
Most companies have a bit of in-office drama, but it's best to stay far away from the water cooler gossip during tough economic times.

"You really want to present yourself as a likeable person, a great citizen at work," says Lori Gale, president of online job board FastLane Hires. "Don't be one of those people that hangs around the water cooler gossiping and acting stressed out. You will call attention to yourself for the wrong reasons."

Be optimistic, adds Lauren Milligan, resume expert/job coach at ResuMAYDAY.com. "Everyone has problems, including your manager. Don't become an added source of problems," she says.

It's best to avoid making negative comments about your peers, too. "People that find and offer solutions are much more valuable than the people that identify problems and do little more," says SIM New York's Rotella.

7. Sell yourself
While many in IT aren't accustomed to the spotlight, experts recommend high-tech workers learn how to sell their skills to the company.

"Toot your own horn. This is not the time for humility. In the current business arena in which everyone is stretched thin, make sure your accomplishments are noticed," says Katie Prizy, communications specialist at IT talent provider Instant Technology.

And to be able to truly demonstrate their contributions to the company, IT pros need to be able to measure what their work has added to the bottom line.

"If you can't measure your own success and be able to clearly demonstrate how your technology work has benefited the company, then you can't expect managers to be able to when it comes time to reduce staff," Beyond.com's Milgram says.

IT workers should continually track and document where their ideas, work or processes changed technology systems for the better at the company. Having this information at the ready will enable IT pros to make a better case for themselves staying on staff.

"Track your technical and business accomplishments – if you do not continually evolve as an employee, you become less needed," says Elizabeth DeFazio, vice president at IT staffing and recruiting firm Instant Technology.



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