Getting laid off can be stressful-But if you get ready you may turn it into an opportunity.
Everyday we read about layoffs, or we hear about a friend or someone in the neighborhood being laid off. If you spend any time looking over your shoulder regarding your job, now isn’t the time to panic, but it’s time to get prepared.
Here are seven key areas to prepare for a possible layoff.
1. Organize critical information: Copy critical personal information from your office computer. Take home your “atta boy or girl” file and any other personal documents that reflect on your performance.
Pull up and print out copies of performance appraisals and other personnel records. Do you have any newly acquired skills? Copies of certificates or records of attendance to additional training are important to add to your skill bank.
How about recently completed or even partially completed projects? Results and positive comments should be added to your record of accomplishments.
2. Research and write your resume and cover letter: If it’s been awhile since you’ve written a resume and cover letter, do some research. Read some books on the subject.
Be flexible and focus on accomplishments. Keep you job objective short-under 17 words. Anything beyond this is fluff and should be avoided. Tailor-make the resume to match the job opening. One size resume does not fit all.
3. Know what the company owes you: Can you take advantage of any benefits to which you are entitled? How about tuition refund on a course or seminar to upgrade or add to your job skills?
If you’ve got a flexible spending account make sure all claims are up to date. Are your expense accounts up to date? If not don’t let the balance get too high. After you’ve left the job you may have a problem documenting and getting reimbursed.
Do you have in your possession information about the amount of vacation or other benefits owed you? If not, secure the required information and keep you records up to date.
4. Networking strategy for success: Spend some every day networking. Talk to friends and former co-workers about job opportunities. If you are a member of a professional association become more active.
If you know employment recruiters now is the time to discuss possible opportunities with them. And above all if you can help others in their job search by all means do so-you never know when they might be in a position to help you.
5. Start the job search: Research possible employers. What requirements are listed in job postings? Do you have the necessary skills? If not, taking that course or seminar or even self-study could close the gap.
Don’t do any job hunting on company time. Don’t use the company copy machine to run off dozens of resumes. Doing so may accelerate the possible lay off. If and when the layoff comes you want to be totally prepared and if possible you have another job offer waiting at about the time the company decides to axe you job.
6. Negotiate your exit: If you’ve done your homework you’ll know what severance, vacation and other pay you may have coming. In one instance, the employee getting laid off negotiated staying on the payroll for another week which qualified him for a full match in the company 401k plan and was worth over $3000.
7. A positive opportunity: A looming layoff can be stressful, but with proper planning and a positive attitude you can place yourself in a better employment position. Change is happening all the time so accept this opportunity and prepare to take advantage of what is available.