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PRAXIS, compressedThe bad economic news just keeps coming. In Atlantic City, not only are casinos and hotels closing at an alarming rate, the city has also laid off hundreds of city workers. In nearby Philadelphia, mass layoffs have arrived within the beleagured Philadelphia School District. And closer to home, by the end of this year, more than 1,200 workers will be laid off from the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca’s campus in Fairfax, Delaware.

During such unstable economic times, it is only natural to worry that your head might be next on the chopping block. While you might be tempted to hunker down and hope for the best, a much better strategy woud be to make yourself more valuable to your employer by developing new skills that will benefit the organization. And if you do lose your job, being able to add in-demand skills to your resume will make you more marketable.

Approach your boss and ask what more you could be doing to help the company in these tough times. Are there new responsibilities you can take on? Understaffed projects that could use help?

It is important to continue (or start) learning more about your industry by reading books, trade publications and blogs. Become more active in professional organizations, or join them if you do not already belong. Not only will you learn from peers, but also you will develop contacts who could be valuable if you do need to find a new job.

Learn a new software program that is important in your industry, or become more adept at the software you currently use. It is not enough to just get by, you should aspire to excel!

Learning a foreign language is another good way to increase your marketability, though it will require a longer-term commitment.

Also look for seminars or courses that can enhance your expertise in customer service, management or marketing. Take a course in business writing. Offer to pay for the course yourself. And of course, take advantage of any training your employer offers.

To learn a new skill quickly, consider a tutor who can teach you 1-on-1, focusing directly on your needs. If you have been laid off, this is a good time to continue your education.

And, if prospects in your current industry look bleak, consider a career change. Health care remains a growth industry, and one with little potential for outsourcing. It is well known that nurses are in demand, but also look into other health care jobs, such as physical therapy and geriatric care.

Yes, times are still uncertain, but you can take some control by having an action plan for making yourself more valuable to current or future employers.

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Back to Basics Learning Dynamics is the undisputed leader in 1-on-1 tutoring in Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania for over 60 subjects. The company offers a unique Department of Education-approved 1-on-1 K-12 Private School in Wilmington, Delaware and a Delaware Business and Trade School for ages 16 and older. In addition, the company offers translating and interpreting in 16 languages throughout Delaware. Back to Basics is the winner of numerous awards for academic and business excellence including the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.

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