Whether you have received the dreaded proverbial pink slip or there are simply rumors floating around the office water cooler, you must prepare to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to preparing for a layoff. Even with the billions of dollars in bailout and incentives being pumped into the economy by the White House, thousands of businesses across the country are feeling the pinch in these economically challenging times.
Moderate to larger sized organizations will generally be very methodical and transparent regarding layoffs to avoid any resulting legal issues and most will hire an HR consulting firm to facilitate the layoffs and documentation. However, smaller companies tend to remain with the “keep it all in the family” sort of mentality and do not share important information regarding possible layoffs with the staff. Regardless of the size of your organization, there are several key strategies that you can implement to prepare yourself for a layoff.
Acquire factual and documented information regarding the layoff. Don’t be afraid to ask. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you will always receive a truthful answer (lying by omission is applicable here), but many times employers will be honest when confronted about the status of the business. They understand that you are someone with responsibilities as well and most employers will assist their employees in any way that they can during this difficult transition.
Have your resume and cover letter professionally done or have at least (2) two separate trusted and educated friends or family members edit the documents. Your resume and cover letter could possibly be some of the most important documents you will ever create in your professional career. There are so many different types and styles of resumes as well as templates available on-line and in word processing programs, that it is difficult to determine which one is right for you. Having an expert review, edit, and advise you on your materials can ensure that you do not make any important faux pas that could be the difference of whether or not you are offered a position.
Brush up on your technical and professional skills. Many times someone is at one position for so long that they miss changes in the business climate or minor things such as the latest jargon. So doing some minor research on-line regarding your specific industry, field, or the most up to date business news can sometimes give you that extra confidence and exposure with a potential employer. So when your new company tells you that you need to log on to participate in their onboarding software program, you will understand what they are talking about.
Always leave with a smile and a handshake. This may be very difficult for some especially when they are one of the few selected during the layoff process. However, the old saying of “Never burn your bridges” is very true in business and is a must if you want to be a success.