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As the economic times go from bad to worse, and organisations in most industries face up to reality of declining revenues, they must respond with similar reductions in their overall cost structure. Many HR leaders in the past 12 months have had to use the hatchet regularly to cull the overcrowded layers of middle management. Unemployment is rising every month, salary freezes are commonplace and IT jobs are just as vulnerable as other jobs in this recession. With this ever widening economic crisis how do you differentiate yourself in the workplace? Here is some advice on how to increase the chances of keeping your IT job:

- Attend industry events, become an expert on your industry, talk to functional leads from the front office daily, and ensure you can add value during discussions on requirements by fully understanding the challenges & opportunities facing the business.

- Act as a catalyst for change and help implement cost saving IT strategies through cloud computing, offshoring and negotiate better rates with your existing suppliers. Be seen as someone who delivers savings that directly impact the bottom line.

- Solve complex IT problems regularly. Be seen as someone who does not just talk about problems but always come with suggestions, solutions and ideas. Leverage knowledge from your suppliers, the web and colleagues to get the job done.

- Define success for your projects and have a strong communication plan in place to let everyone know about your success. It is during these times you should boast about your achievements; your company will enjoy the positive news.

- Execute fearlessly, be known by everyone as someone who gets things done, follow up and close all open actions after meetings.

- Get a functional sponsor i.e. head of sales, marketing or operations. Deliver the IT necessary to support their business vision. Make them shine in front of their peers and they will most likely take care of you when talking to the CIO.

- Invest, recruit, retain top talent within your service provider or internally. You are only as good as your team, so create excitement for your projects to ensure the top performers will want to work with you.

- Develop an expertise so that you are the only person within the organisation who can confidently talk & deliver in that area.

- Try to work on projects that will not be cancelled during the recession, such as compliance or cost cutting initiatives like offshoring that are so critical to the business that they have to continue, regardless of how bad things get.

These are uncertain times, but it is also the time where many opportunities are created. Be positive, set yourself aggressive goals and take on the tough challenges at work and there should be no reason why you will not come out in a stronger position after the recession. 

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