IN A tough economy, it can be difficult to hang on to your job. Many people have been affected by corporate restructuring and downsizing.

Don’t let the economic downturn dampen your spirits. Instead, stay upbeat with strategies that keep you resilient. It is essential to remain positive and optimistic, and remember that this is a temporary crisis.

Here are some suggestions — what I call the PENCIL approach — on how to boost your employability in these turbulent times:

Plan

Do research job opportunities thoroughly and make sure your resum� is updated and customised for each job application.

Think out of the box and translate your strengths into skills that your prospective employer could use. Be open to working in a new industry or on an overseas posting.

Exercise

To face new challenges in life, you must be in excellent form. There are many exercises that will rejuvenate and build up your physical and mental stamina. You will feel more positive, confident, creative and genial with other people when you are fit and healthy.

Network

Many jobs are acquired through word-of-mouth recommendations, so networking plays a key role in opening up opportunities for you in the job market.

It may take time to network, but the effort could prove invaluable as it may provide job leads.

Communication

The ability to communicate clearly, correctly and confidently is critical in today’s workforce. The employees who usually do well in the organisation are those who communicate effectively with people from all levels.

It is important to hone your communication skills to enhance your working relationships with business associates and colleagues.

Get some tips from the Internet, read books on the subject or invest some time and money in a course or workshop to help you communicate better.

Initiative

Be proactive and do not be afraid to embark on new challenges. It is better to try and learn from the experience than not try at all. New experiences can be rewarding in many ways.

For instance, anchoring a project team or chairing a fund-raising event can equip you with job-hunting skills and will link you to prospective employers. Don’t be shy to showcase your hidden talents — they could be your marketable assets.

Learn

Learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge is a lifelong process. Your efforts need not always be work-related; you can learn a sports skill or pick up a craft.

The more rounded your development, the more interesting a person you will become — and that can do wonders for you confidence.

Keep up with what is happening in your industry and profession. Continue to sharpen your skills to enhance your employability. Tap on the relevant courses to be more competent in your job.

As you become more knowledgeable and competent, you can aspire to a more challenging position.

Take charge of your life by applying the PENCIL approach. It could be the turning point in your career, and you will come through the tough times happier and wiser.