If layoffs are on the horizon, take the necessary steps to operate at your best and prepare for the worst.
Operate at Your Best
1. Kick it up a notch. When layoffs are on the horizon, it can be difficult to feel positive or motivated in the workplace. However, this is exactly when you need to shine! Take a deep breath each morning and mentally prepare for the day. I don’t believe in “face time,” but I think it’s important to not cut corners. Show up on time and stay until you’ve handled the work that needs to be done. Consider postponing your vacation, if you had one planned. If you’ve been putting off certain tasks or projects, revisit them and add the important ones back on to your to-do list. Don’t give management a reason to put you on the pink slip list.
2. Get noticed for the right reasons. Now is the time to ramp up your personal brand strategy. Take initiative and find opportunities to market your value. Volunteer to present to other groups in the company and actively participate in department or companywide meetings when you can add value. Also, take credit for your achievements. While it’s important to be a team player, don’t be afraid to let others know how you played a role in the company’s success.
3. Continue developing your expertise. Seek out professional development opportunities in the form of webinars, networking events, online group discussions and so forth that are focused on your line of work and specialty. You want to remain on the cutting edge of your field. Not only will this elevate your brand, should you need to find another job, but you’ll also be able to bring this knowledge back to your organization, which makes you even more valuable. It’s hard to lay off someone who’s considered the “go-to” person in your industry or line of work.
Prepare for the Worst
If you’re concerned that layoffs may be in your company’s future, it’s in your best interest to prepare for the job search ahead of time – not after you’ve received the pink slip and you’re suddenly in a panic mode. Here are four tips to get you started:
1. Update your resume so it includes your most recent work and accomplishments, and is positioned to support your current career goals. You probably shouldn’t post it on websites yet, but you want to have it ready to go at a moment’s notice. Consider a professional resume rewrite to bolster your efforts.
2. Clean up your online presence. Make sure your personal profiles (like Facebook) are secure so recruiters (and frankly your current manager) can’t see them. I recommend changing your name to “FirstName MiddleName” or something to that effect to keep your personal profiles private.
Identify which social media channels you want to use for your job search and make sure they are current and in alignment with your resume and career goals. If you’re planning to update your profile on LinkedIn, first change your account settings so the changes you make won’t show up in your activity feed (this will prevent any red flags getting raised at your current employment).
3. Build (or reconnect) with your network. If you haven’t been in touch with your contacts lately, now’s the time to reach out and catch up over coffee. This helps you from feeling like you’re asking for a job – you’re not, you’re just reconnecting with those who were once a bigger part of your social or professional life. That way, should you want to conduct an informational interview with them in the future, your request will not be coming out of left field.
4. Check out the prospects. Go to websites such as TheLadders, LinkedIn or Indeed to see what opportunities are currently available. If you’ve worked with recruiters in the past that have been helpful, this is be a good time to reach out to them to see if they have any open positions that would be a good fit.
As a rule of thumb, don’t do any of your job-search activities in the office or on company equipment. Don’t post your company phone number or email address for your contact information on your resume or public profiles. It’s essential to prepare for a potential job search without jeopardizing your current position—especially during a time when your employer may be looking for a reason to let people go!
Follow the steps mentioned above to help you take control of your destiny and prepare for whatever may come your way. If you want to know more, learn about searching while employed or preparing for layoffs.
Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders, the online job-matching service for career-driven professionals. She is a Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC) and Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) who provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and "Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.
Want to ask me your job-search questions face-to-face? Come join me at Job Central, Presented by TheLadders, on January 10th from 9am-3pm EST. See you there!