Thursday, July 17, 2008

What to Do If You Think You're About to Be Laid Off

In this uncertain economy and topsy-turvy industry, people are being laid off every day. Sometimes they don't see it coming. Other times they get a heads up or just have a gut feeling that the axe is about to fall. By that point it's often too late to do anything substantial to save your job.

From some all-too-close personal experience, here's my best advice:
  • Update your resume--pronto. I can actually recommend a great book for that: 30-Minute Resume Makeover by Louise Kursmark.
  • Reach out to your network. You've probably built a good one but maybe you haven't kept in touch with people well enough. Get on LinkedIn and start setting your network in stone. Of course, I can recommend a good book about that, too: Seven Days to Online Networking.
  • Make a pact to help your coworkers. Promise to be on the lookout for leads for each other. Offer to critique one another's resumes.
  • Get your affairs in order. Throw out any junk you don't want to take with you. Gather up important e-mail addresses. Delete personal e-mail messages. Thin out your personal items so that if you have to leave on short notice, it won't be a huge hassle to put it all in a copier-paper box and do the walk of shame.
  • Start blogging. I started this blog the day after our company was sold last year because I wanted to be able to put it on my resume (and because I had wanted to do it for a long time, anyway). I have made so many amazing friends and contacts through it and have learned so much.
  • Be sure the managers know your value. Find a subtle way to remind your boss (and his or her boss) of your impact on the bottom line. If you think you might be spared if you can adapt to a different job or department, show your willingness and ability to be flexible.
  • Now, get on with your life. You can't let fear and worry cut into your productivity. If you do, you'll become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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