The economy’s rapid descent took many by surprise. Now that we’re in the midst of one of the most severe economic downturns, here’s something that is not a surprise: layoffs. As consumers continue holding their money close, demand for products and services has fallen. Between sluggish demand and the inability to obtain credit, businesses have no choice but to cut back on production. Layoffs are inevitable across just about all industries. Because layoffs are not a surprise, it’s smart to brace yourself and prepare now.
First, head to your state’s unemployment Web site and learn about unemployment benefits. Would you be eligible to collect unemployment if your company were to lay you off? How much money can you expect to receive? For how long? This information will help you understand your financial options in the event of a layoff. When calculating your monthly unemployment benefits, don’t forget to account for federal and state income taxes as these benefits are taxable as regular income.
Next, dust off your resume and start updating it now. After a layoff, you will be back in the job market. The better prepared you are now, the sooner you can jump in later. Since you haven’t yet been laid off, you have time to learn how to write an effective resume. Check out books at the library and carefully craft your resume.
Start exploring the job market on your own time. What types of jobs are available in your field? Are your skills transferrable to other fields? What type of training might you take now to improve your chances of landing a good job after you’re laid off? Consider taking a career assessment as you explore your options.
Invest in interview attire so that once you’re in the job market, you’ll have the appropriate clothing ready to go. Buying your interview clothes now while you’re employed takes the stress out of doing so after you’ve been laid off. Plus, you’ll be ready to hit the streets soon thereafter because you have already polished your resume and purchased your interview clothes.
As you prepare for layoffs, don’t assume that you are sure to receive a pink slip and don’t give up on the company. Instead, make yourself valuable! Show up early, stay late, take on additional assignments, make your boss look good, and strive to excel at everything you do. In short, you must shine! When you have free time, avoid the temptation to look at job listings online and instead ask your boss for additional work or brainstorm ideas for improving productivity. The more valuable you become, the less likely a pink slip will have your name on it.
Despite your best efforts, you may still be laid off. If so, you’ve prepared for a layoff. You already know if you’re eligible for unemployment; you have polished your resume; you have explored the job market; and you are ready to begin the next phase of your career.