It seems that every week there’s another rumor. Some big corporation is going to lay off its employees. A company’s going to relocate to another city. A department is going to be restructured.
Whatever rumor you’re hearing, it can make you nervous. It can even keep you up at night. You may wonder how long it will take to find another job – or worse, if you’ll find one at all. What if you have to move? What if you can’t sell your house? Most of all, you may worry about how the situation could impact your family’s future.
If you find yourself in this boat, you’re not alone. Whether or not a layoff ever occurs, the thought can be daunting. The best thing you can do is be prepared. In fact, this even goes for when there are no rumors at all. It’s better to start early than late.
First, ensure that you have a personal household budget established. If worst ever came to worst, you’d want to know just how much you could scale back. Separate fixed expenses, like your mortgage, from variable expenses, like fancy dinners out. Consider cutting back now, in order to build up a cushion in the event that something did happen.
Next, start cleaning up your resume. Be sure that it contains all the pertinent facts about your job, and your special accomplishments. A good place to look for these is in your annual performance evaluation. Many employees are given measurable goals each year. These are great to show on your resume.
Update your LinkedIn profile and ensure that social media sites like Facebook are locked down. The last thing you want to do right now is send a negative or inappropriate message about who you are.
Begin networking. Go to social events. Spend time with friends. Seek out professional organizations. Whatever you enjoy most, put time into building your network. And keep backup copies of your contacts’ phone and email addresses handy in case you need them. Many jobs are found through networking rather than through Internet job sites.
Start applying for jobs. It can take months to find a new job, especially if you’re in a unique field or if you’re highly compensated. It’s better to start now when you don’t need a job than when you have no choice.
Finally, check to ensure you have at least one interview-ready look. If you were called tomorrow for the perfect job, would you have something to wear to the interview? You don’t need a wardrobe overall; one simple black suit and polished black shoes will do.
Layoff rumors can make anyone nervous, but the worst thing you can do is not be prepared. Whether or not you’re hearing rumors at your work, it’s always a good idea to be ready for anything. Today’s economy is tough, and the job market is more competitive than ever. Following these steps will keep you covered and will help you to conquer any rumors you’re hearing.
Angela Copeland is CEO/founder of Copeland Coaching, www.CopelandCoaching.com, and author of “Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job.” You can follow Copeland Coaching on Twitter (@CopelandCoach) and Facebook (Facebook.com/CopelandCoaching).