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Two Key Strategies To Become Indispensable In Safety

As a safety person, are you distinguishing yourself from others and making yourself indispensable?

indispensable2Safety people in several sectors are having a tough time finding new work. The pickings are tough. Safety jobs in oil and gas, for example, have dried up while the world price stays low. That’s had a domino-effect in other industries too. It’s a tough time to look for work.

Why should we hire you? It’s the question asked when you are interviewed. Potential employers will ask the same question when surfing through your LinkedIn profile.

Employers looking for safety people search for something that distinguishes that person from others and makes them indispensable. Unfortunately, safety people have a lot of boring profiles on LinkedIn.

Here’s what your LinkedIn profile probably looks like:

January 2010 - present

-Responsible for managing the company’s health, safety and environment compliance issues.
-Deliver and maintain a safe and secure working environment for all staff.
-Identify hazardous conditions and practices in the workplace.
-Review and oversee safety procedures.
-Organize in-house health & safety training for managers and employees.
-Carry out site safety inspections.
-Ensure the safe installation of new equipment.
-Identify probable risks.
-Give advice on safety matter to senior managers.
-Ensure that all safety activities are appropriately documented.
-Promote and developing a positive and proactive safety culture.
-Provide training, assistance and mentoring to team members.
-Keep abreast of Health & Safety legislation.
-Respond quickly to any emergencies.
-Write up accident, injury and property damage reports.

This isn’t a profile. It’s a job description. The person with this profile or resume could be replaced tomorrow. It's pretty much everyone’s safety job description isn’t it? Or some variation of it? But it doesn’t stand out. It doesn't differentiate you from any other safety person.

Imagine sitting in a waiting room with ten other people with the exact same resume. One of them will have one more year’s experience and they will get the job because you didn’t stand out.

There are two things that every company requires from their new hires. This especially applies to new or established safety personnel.

Here are the two things that make you indispensable in safety:

1Skill - Skill does not refer to experience or years on the job. And it does not refer to safety certifications and courses passed. That’s not skill. Those are basic requirements to even apply for the job. If you were fired tomorrow, your new replacement would have the same responsibilities and resume.

Skill refers to those unique things that only you do exceptionally well. Think about past jobs and the skills developed. What have you learned in other jobs or industries that can transfer into usable skills? What other things do you bring to the table that no one else possesses? Have you coached a minor sports team to a championship? Can you transfer coaching skills to your job? How about sales? Spent any time in sales that could aid in selling the safety program to front-line employees?

Think about what unique skills and accomplishments that you have had in the past. Can any of it be transferred to your current position? Would that make you stand out from others?

2Value - There’s a difference between enforcing rules and adding value. Anyone can enforce rules. There is little talent needed for that. Value, though, is how the company benefits from your contribution. How do you make the company a better workplace because you’re in it? And don’t say because you administrate the safety program. So can the person who is gunning for your job.

You have to make your workplace better than others could. Your job function, to a degree, makes the workplace better. But can you make the company more money? Can you articulate that in a way that senior management says, “we’ve got to keep him.” If you can make the argument that you provide a large degree of value, you will always have work. And you will have the “ear” of senior management.

If you can add value, then you can become more valuable. Combine value with unique skill, and you become indispensable.

Your Turn Now

Now, do this exercise and discover your own unique skill and value. Develop your own Mission Statement. Post it to your LinkedIn profile immediately. Then, everything that follows in your profile must support your Mission Statement. It will make you stand out from everyone else.

Note - July 21, 2015: I connected today with Jake Mathies and I was so impressed with his LinkedIn profile, I had to share it. I hope he doesn't mind. Click here to see it. You will want to connect with him.

10 Crucial Questions for Safety Managers

Kevin Burns is a management consultant, safety speaker and author of "The Perfect Safety Meeting" and his newest #1 Amazon Health & Safety Bestseller, "Running With Scissors - 10 Reasons To Invest in Safety In Slow Times." He is an expert in how to get through to people - how to talk with them so they hear and understand. Kevin's presentation "Trust The Process - Instill A Safety Attitude To Build An Engaged Culture Of Safety" will help your organization reach the following goals: better engagement and buy-in to safety, increased teamwork, better communication, lower turnover resulting in increased profits from production. Click here for more information and to discuss your needs with Kevin.

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Topics: safety leadership, safety, safety manager