Prepping for the Layoff that May or May Not Come

No one wants to live life constantly thinking about worst-case scenarios, but these days it makes good sense to guard your career trajectory with increased vigilance. Dan Cobb of NetworkWorld has put together a list of steps you should be taking all the time no matter how secure you feel in your current job. Here are his top suggestions.

Stay in the game. Always have a passive job search in progress. Keep your résumé updated, and your eyes and ears open for new job openings. Periodically hit the online job boards to see what’s out there.

Meet recruiters. Good recruiters like to meet passive job candidates. They want to get to know candidates who are good at their jobs, perform well and have desirable skills but aren’t seriously looking for a new position.

Build your skill set. Versatility is a crucial trait to have if you get laid off. A broader skill set can give you the ability to pursue a wider variety of jobs — something you might have to do if openings in your specialty are scarce. In your free time, work on skills outside your core competency. 

Have an emergency fund. Most financial planners recommend that you have enough money in a savings account or emergency fund to cover your expenses for three to six months. Maybe you won’t be able to go out to dinner every weekend, but you’ll have enough that you won’t need to sell your car or house, or take other drastic actions.

Maintain important documents. There are a few documents you should always have in your possession as an employee. They are your employment contract, latest 401(k) or other retirement account statement, offer letter showing starting salary and terms, and any subsequent recommendations or promotions that show changes to pay or benefits.

Tie up loose ends. If you’re laid off, have a clear and accurate understanding of why. Were you underperforming? Is your position being eliminated? Is the company downsizing, merging or being acquired? This information is important to know when you’re interviewing for a new job.

–Don Willmott

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