How to Prepare for the Layoff You Hope Never Occurs

by Brian Skory

Nobody likes to think that they will unexpectedly lose their job, but unfortunately, this is a very real possibility for many people, particularly in today’s economy. So what can a person do to prepare for a potential layoff? 

Stout Systems regularly delivers a Webinar entitled “Leverage Your LinkedIn" or "Would a Hiring Manager Swipe Right on You?” In this Webinar, we introduce the concept of Evergreen Job Searching. Similar to a practice known as Evergreen Recruiting--whereby a company will perpetually run job adds for certain positions that experience a high rate of turnover--we encourage a practice we call Evergreen Job Searching where a person will be engaging in certain activities that nicely prepare them for a job change, even if they aren’t necessarily looking for a new position. Some of the key points we focus on are as follows.

  1. Build out your LinkedIn profile in such a way that it makes it very visible and inviting for recruiters and hiring managers to reach out to you with the types of jobs you are interested in and qualified for. In this Webinar, we go into detail on fun topics such as how to ensure you have enough of the right keywords in your profile, how to build out your intro paragraph so that it tells a compelling story, what an effective profile picture looks like and various other tidbits.
  2. We talk about how to engage with recruiters and hiring managers so that you can determine exactly what types of roles you are qualified for, where you fall short on jobs you are interested in but for which you are not yet a skills or experience match, and what your actual worth is in the marketplace.
  3. By engaging in this Evergreen Job Searching, you begin to establish a network of recruiters and hiring managers who will potentially be interested in you should the inevitable occur and you find yourself looking for a new position–whether by choice or by forces outside of your control.

When properly cared for, your LinkedIn profile will serve you well, but so will a properly cared-for resume. Not surprisingly, Stout Systems also delivers Webinars regarding the proper care and feeding of your “curriculum vitae.” Most people probably haven’t even looked at their resume since their last job search, and that’s a habit we would like to break you of as you prepare for the possibility of a layoff. If that unfortunate (even if remote) event comes to pass, your mental faculties should be fully available for engaging in the job hunt, not scavenging the nooks and crannies of your memory trying to remember the details of that project that should have been added to your resume, or the date of that job title change a few years back. 

We encourage you to put a process in place to keep your resume up-to-date while things are still fresh in your mind. A recurring calendar event for the 1st of each quarter is a great place to start. This way, you won’t inadvertently forget to include valuable experiences that highlight your skills and accomplishments, or struggle to remember the details of other important experiences that deserve their place in your work history.

In our Resume Webinar, we also talk about such things as how to properly organize your skills and experience in a variety of skills-matrix formats, what does and does not belong on a resume, when to cut off your aging work history, and much, much more.

So, although you may not have any control over whether you get laid off or not, what you do have control over are some simple actions you can take ahead of time that will make the transition to a new position as painless as possible. In closing, I’ve gathered a few quotes on preparedness.

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” - Benjamin Franklin

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” - Seneca The Younger

"Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation, there is sure to be failure." - Confucius

“The more prepared you are, the less likely that disaster knocks on your door.” - Old maritime saying

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that last quote, but I think we will agree that the more prepared you are for the disaster of a layoff, the smoother the waters will be as you sail into your new position.

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Stout Systems is the software consulting and staffing company Fueled by the Most Powerful Technology Available: Human Intelligence®. We were founded in 1993 and are based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We have clients across the U.S. in domains including engineering, scientific, manufacturing, education, marketing, entertainment, small business and robotics. We provide expert level software, Web and embedded systems development consulting and staffing services along with direct-hire technical recruiting and placements.
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