Trick question, you can’t avoid being laid off. That’s not entirely true, unless you’re the CEO or owner, there is not much you can do, if anything, to avoid being laid off from your job.
The right question should be, if you get laid off from your job, how can you be prepared to land a new one shortly thereafter? That’s the question we’ll address in this article.
Today we’ll cover some amazing tips from myself and many others that offered their advice on a post I created on LinkedIn about this topic. (I hope I didn’t forget to tag anyone).
Here are some tips to ensure that you land a new job shortly after a layoff:
1) Always Be Looking (ABL).
All SalaryMatters clients know what ABL means. If you one of those old-school folks that have yet to give up the notion that loyalty to a job or company is dead, then you’re going to have a hard time with this piece of advice. Thankfully, I think most of the modern working world has caught onto the fact that having multiple corporations listed on your resume, is no longer a bad thing and instead, may actually give you a leg up over someone who’s only been with one company in their career. I can go on for days about loyalty but the point of this article is that, as a corporate worker, it’s in your best interest to always keep an eye out for different and better career opportunities. In order to keep one foot in the job market, you’re going to need to A) keep your resume and Linkedin profile updated, B) keep an eye out for new opportunities on career sites, and C) interview with prospective employers from time-to-time.
It’s easy to get comfortable and think that you’re “secure” but trust me when I say this, NOBODY is safe! I’ve been in countless planning meetings with senior executives that were not hesitant to lay off their entire department (minus themselves), including senior leaders, to meet Wall Street expectations and/or strategic objectives. By keeping the right mindset of never getting too comfortable in “job security,” you will avoid being caught “asleep at the wheel” of your career if you were laid off from your job.
2) Take Advantage of Free Education and Resources.
If there’s one thing that laid -ff workers miss more than their paycheck it’s this, the opportunity to get more education in the form of degrees and certifications for FREE! Many of the largest firms offer some form of reimbursement for career-relevant courses and yet, most go unused. Why not take advantage of absolutely free money to get degrees and certifications that make you more attractive in the job market? I once got reimbursed for a $900 exam prep course and the $250 exam fee to get a popular certification in my field. I took the 11-week exam prep course, crushed my exam, got certified and reimbursed $1,150 from my former company. If there’s a certification or degree in your field of work that would be beneficial to your career growth, find out if your company would reimburse you for the exam and/or the exam prep course.
3) Turn “Work” Connections Into “Personal” Connections.
You’ll be amazed at how many professionals you encounter on a daily basis but yet, you don’t think to remain connected with them outside of work. You do realize that, once you’re no longer employed at that company, it can be very difficult to reconnect with the folks that are now former colleagues. My rule of thumb is, anytime I meet someone who I consider to be “cool” at work, I immediately ask if they wouldn’t mind connecting via LinkedIn to remain in touch.
Quick story: One of my coworkers that I connected with on LinkedIn, took a more senior role at another company. A few months later, I eventually left that company to take on a more senior role at another company. He heard through the grapevine that I had left and sent me a message via LinkedIn to grab lunch with him. To make a long story short, he ended up being one of my biggest clients due to that connection. The moral of the story is, it’s a small world and you never know when you’ll need the power of your network to work for you.
4) Keep Your Resume Updated.
We all know that we should do this but rarely find time to do it. I’m even guilty of not keeping it as updated as I should but similar a life insurance policy, just because it’s an after-thought, doesn’t make it any less important. I’ve gotten into the habit of setting a google calendar event to update my resume every 4-months to ensure that I stay on top of it.
5) Get Multiple Income Streams (freelance or start your own business).
This tip is near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons but it makes sense for many professionals to consider. For one, an additional stream of income can help buffer the financial blow of a layoff because all of your income is not limited to a single source—your day job. However, a not-so-obvious reason for starting your own business or freelancing is that you also get the opportunity to flex your intellectual muscles in areas that your day job doesn’t allow you to operate. Let’s face it, even people in their “dream job” do not get to practice all of their talents on a day-to-day basis. So why not take-up work outside of your main career that allows you to do operate those talents? Who knows, maybe one day your “side hustle” will become more lucrative than your day job. 😉
6) Pad Your Savings Account.
Careers aside, I’m a huge proponent of saving a big chunk of your income for a rainy day. “$hit happens” on multiple levels in our lives from an untimely flat tire, a surprise doctor bill, a broken appliance and of course, an unexpected layoff. Therefore, the best advice I can give you is, if possible, have enough in your savings account to cover your living expenses for at least a few months (I recommend 3 to 6 months) so that you can take life’s financial challenges in stride.
Although I’ve never been laid off in my career, due to my day job as an employee engagement consultant, my clients often hire me into situations where a layoff already occurred (and they underestimated the blow the layoff did to employee morale) or a big layoff is in the works (and they ask me to put “lipstick on a pig” of which I politely tell them that honesty in difficult times is the best approach). In either case, the point I’m trying to make is that I’m VERY familiar with big layoffs and the havoc it often creates for workers.
Again, it takes a village to raise a child and apparently a village to write one of these articles so I’d like to send a special thank you to everyone that helped contribute to this with their comments on my post. Writing this was so much fun and I believe it’ll help a lot of folks out—now that’s what I call a win/win!