IT WAS recently reported in The Straits Times that 87 per cent of companies believe mergers and acquisitions are likely to increase over the coming years.

This is due to the consolidation of various industries in response to the global economic climate. While a merger is beneficial to the business, personal fears about job security or departmental reorganisations often stop us from seeing the career potential.

A merger can have a positive impact on your career, providing you act in the right way.

Specialist recruitment firm Hays offers the following tips to keep your career on track during a merger:

* Research: Research the new company and speak to as many people as possible both internally and externally to better understand the organisation you work for now.

* Network: Get to know the new managers. Seek out appropriate opportunities to talk about your responsibilities and what you can do to help make the company succeed.

* Understand the new culture: The new owners bring their own unique way of working. Accept and adjust to this new company culture.

* Be flexible: If it is known that you are flexible, your potential job security increases. For example, you might be able to take on additional duties, learn a new skill, gain a new qualification or move to a different office.

* Be seen: Be visible in the workplace. Often, people duck for cover at the mention of a merger, but this is an opportunity to step up, put in extra hours and make your presence known. Do a good job and new managers will appreciate the vital role you play.

* Be prepared: It is not uncommon for interviews to take place between the new management and existing staff. Arm yourself with facts and figures to support your contribution to the company. Collect examples of work or client testimonials. Prepare just as you would for a job interview.

* Accept change: Your workplace is not the same any more. Accept this fact and use every opportunity to get to know the new company and the way they want things done. Act as you would when you first start a new job — dress, act and communicate professionally. Aim to impress.

* Know what is expected: Meet with your boss to understand his expectations of your performance and responsibilities. He might assume your job function includes elements it had not previously, so be prepared to accept new responsibilities.

* Consider a mentor: Perhaps a mentor from the acquiring company will help you assimilate more quickly. Sometimes, it is the little pieces of information that is most helpful, such as what to wear or who to talk to in human resources.

* Learn: From a new computer package to the management style of your new boss, learn the new methods of operation. They will help you integrate quickly into the new company, and your efforts will be noted and appreciated.

* Stay positive: Avoid listening to the rumour mill and remain positive. As well as ensuring you act professionally, a positive attitude will help you cope with any resultant pressure from the merger on staff.

* Opportunities: A merger can create new opportunities that would not have otherwise been available to you. Perhaps you can learn a new skill, take on new responsibilities or train staff in an area of your proficiency. Be open-minded and volunteer where appropriate.

* Update your resumé: Even if your job is secure, update your resumé. Call a recruiter and understand your market worth and potential, just in case.