LET'S face it - this is not the time to take your job for granted. The economic downturn has mean that jobs that were aplenty in Singapore are now dwindling as more companies downsize or merge.

It is important to know how you can not only hold on to your job in uncertain times, but also thrive.

First and foremost, start looking at crafting a brand that will set you apart from your competitors and peers. You need to stand out so your boss notices you.

No more just "doing what my boss tells me to do" or working long hours hoping somebody up there will notice. You have to take your future and your career into your own hands!

Here are some suggestions on how you can get noticed:

Passion sells

Passion for your job gets you noticed and takes you places. Look at Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Barack Obama and countless others whose caught the world's attention. People who love what they are doing never take their foot off the accelerator.

Barbara Walters once asked Oprah how she had survived discrimination while growing up in the American South.

Oprah not only stunned Ms Walters but won the respect and admiration of many when she replied: "Barbara, I discovered very early in life that there is no discrimination against excellence."

Identify what it is about your work that gets your adrenaline pumping. Then, work to excel at it, and make sure others know you are the best in that area.

Craft your USP

USP or unique selling proposition is what makes you special, or to put it simply, what makes your "customers" (boss, clients, colleagues) "buy" from you and not someone else.

You can find your USP by looking at your passion, strengths, skills or values. Once you have done that, then start selling yourself.

For those of you who baulk at the idea of having to "sell yourself", shed your inhibitions. You have to be a super salesperson for yourself if you want to get noticed.

As one executive who wanted to make a career change said in the book, Free Agents, by Susan Gould: "What I am doing is selling myself. Intellectually I think I understood that, but emotionally I didn't until I experienced the pain of constantly putting myself on the line and facing rejection.

"It makes sense to look at yourself as a work in progress and to define your core assets and then sell them to the marketplace.

The question ultimately is: 'Are you willing to do what it takes to get the opportunity you want?'"

Look good

Quit looking sloppy simply because you believe your job doesn't require you to dress well.

Start paying attention to how you look and the image you present to others. You need not splurge on expensive clothes, or take drastic measures to look like a model.

Just do simple things like wearing colours that suit you, updating your hairstyle to flatter your face shape and learning to dress for your body shape.

When you look good, you will project yourself well; when you project well, people respond positively to you; when that happens, you feel great. This is called the circle of success.

Be an intrapreneur

The best way to stand out is to treat your job like your own business. Take full ownership of business results that are expected of you. Be fully committed to your targets and work goals. Live for your clients.

The company I used to work for had a credo: "Customers make my payday possible." Think of ways to cut expenses for your company - your boss will love you for that.

Make it a project

Forget job. Forget tasks. Think "project". Strive to turn every job assignment into a project and add more value into the project than your boss expected.

If you prove yourself valuable to your boss and your company, your job will most likely be safe, even in a downturn.