Worried about being laid off? Here are six strategies to help you avoid that scenario.

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Sometimes, coming to work each day and doing your job isn’t enough to protect you from being let go due to downsizing. The key to job survival is to find ways to make yourself a more valuable employee, so you stand out from the crowd.

Q: I’ve worked in the same job for several years, but there are rumors that our company will be laying off employees later this year to cut expenses. Is there anything I can start doing, right now, to help make sure I won’t be one of the employees laid off?

A: Employment in Washington state is “at-will,” which means that under most circumstances, an employer (or the employee) can end the employment relationship at any time, with or without notice and with or without cause. That means the best way to decrease the odds of your employment being terminated is to create a strong relationship with your manager and to clearly demonstrate your value to the organization (so your boss won’t want to lose you). Here’s how.

Increase your visibility. Document your goals and objectives, key projects and tasks. Then track and provide regular progress updates to your manager, so he or she sees your high level of productivity.

Help solve your manager’s problems. What keeps your boss up at night? Figure out ways you can help solve the most urgent issues.

Lisa Quast, columnist for The Seattle Times Jobs
Lisa Quast, columnist for The Seattle Times Jobs

Think of yourself as an internal consultant. Be more than just an employee. Consultants are hired to assess a current situation and then create action plans for improvement. They are paid for their expertise and their calm, professional demeanor, especially in times of difficulty. Act like a consultant and figure out ways you can add even more value to the company.

Demonstrate your expertise. People turn to the experts when there are challenges and to solve problems. Look for areas in your business where you can put your expertise to use. Then, volunteer for projects that will allow you to show off your skills and further increase your visibility.

Offer to help co-workers. Don’t wait for someone to approach you. Offer your help to others when it appears they might need it. Help others because you want to, not because you expect something in return.

Improve your skills. Become a more valuable asset by treating yourself like a product. Work on improving yourself on an ongoing basis. Define your career aspirations, create a career-development plan, and then share your plan with your boss.

Lisa Quast is a certified executive coach, and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at lquast@careerwomaninc.com.