Layoffs: Ten Things to Do Before the Pink Slip Arrives

Oracle's CEO recently announced plans for approximately 1,000 layoffs at Sun Microsystems on top of the 7,600 jobs that they have already cut. Macy's plans to cut 1,500 store level jobs. And a similar layoff scene is playing out in companies across the nation. Yet many people wait until the other shoe drops before making any plans about future employment. Bad plan. Even if you think your job is not in jeopardy today, you should always be proactively managing your career because stuff happens...quickly. Here are some things I hope employees at Sun, Macy's and other companies think to do before the pink slip arrives.

  1. Audit Your Resume. Review your resume to see if your document reads like a laundry list of job tasks or an accomplishment-focused, metrics-driven self-marketing tool. If your document screams vanilla, consider rewriting your resume or hiring a professional resume writer to help you. Do it now, before you are in "I need a job yesterday" mode.

  2. Gather Testimonials. A great strategy for gaining the confidence of the hiring manager is to prove your value-add through supervisor, client, and vendor testimonials. These quotes may be added to your resume or showcased through the endorsements feature on networking and identity management sites such as LinkedIn or Naymz. But it looks odd to add ten new testimonials right after you loose your job and it smacks of desperation. Build your online credibility consistently over time so you don't have to scramble or beg for endorsements quickly once you loose your job.
  3. Reconnect. Map out all the relationships you have fostered throughout your life and think of authentic ways to reconnect with those you may have lost touch with over the years. Facebook and Classmates are great tools for reconnecting with people you went to school with and Bright Circles is an online site for reconnecting with former colleagues.

  4. Do a Favor for Someone. Maybe you have a friend that needs assistance with a home improvement project or some help watching their kids for a few hours while they run some important errands. Think of ways to help others. This makes you more top of mind with them should you need their help in the future.

  5. Join a Professional Association. So many people ignore the benefits of being part of a professional organization and only join once they are in a job search. Since relationships in these circles may take time to build, it is much better to join and give back to your professional community before you start asking for information or job leads.

  6. Volunteer. Become visible in communities that are important to you. Perhaps that is the PTA at your child's school, the co-op board in your apartment building, or the local animal shelter. Help others and they are more likely to reciprocate.

  7. Get a Flu Shot. Better yet, get a full check up and have your teeth cleaned as well. If you find yourself in a job search, you want to remain healthy and you also want to have these expenses covered while you can still take advantage of your company's health insurance benefits.

  8. Manage Your Finances. Do you know what you would do with your 401K or other investments if you lost your job tomorrow? Read up on your options or find a financial adviser to help you.
  9. Avoid Toxic People. Stay away from people who are chronic complainers, repeatedly report on how much money they have lost, or continuously quote unemployment statistics. Instead find a buddy who can offer support, advice and friendship and possibly make important introductions that can help you down the line.

  10. Spend Time With Your Family. Your family can provide tremendous comfort during stressful times. Eat meals together, read to your kids, and have some alone time with your spouse. Doing so can help relieve some of the tension you may be feeling if you are concerned about a possible job loss and remind you of all the ways you are blessed.

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