Preparation Before Job Loss Is Key To Continued Employment

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Career Services Professional Offers Steps Employees Can Take Before the Axe Falls.

As mass layoffs continue to plague the economy, many employees are fearful their positions could be in jeopardy. While this may be a sign of the times, there are several measures that individuals can take to be prepared before a job loss hits their household.

"Preparation is the key to lowering stress and being ready in case of a layoff," stated Richard McDonald, CPRW, CEIP, and president of A Advanced Resume Service. "There are several things that individuals can do now to be prepared before the pink slip arrives that will help them transition to the next position."

McDonald offers these suggestions to individuals threatened with potential layoffs:

  •     Take care of the "Career Basics" right away. Career Basics include having an updated resume, cover letter, and references ready for immediate use in case of a layoff. Resumes should clearly state the individual's value proposition and track record of achievements to the potential employer. If unsure about the current style of resumes or how to properly market qualifications, job seekers might benefit by investing in assistance from a professional resume writer.
  •     Keep your eyes and ears open at your place of employment to determine if layoffs are imminent. Watch for clues of impending layoffs. Take the time to read quarterly reports if employed by a publicly-held company. Notice whether budgets have been finalized and / or slashed. Google the current employer and read what is being written by various industry sources.
  •     Be Proactive instead of Reactive. Individuals should start searching for positions inside and outside their current industry now. Visit major or niche job boards to ascertain what types of positions are available and determine if qualifications meet the requirements of those positions. If any of the positions look promising, apply for them now, as the typical hiring process can take several weeks to several months.
  •     Network before the job loss. Developing a network of professionals who can help with the job search is best done while an individual is still employed. When connecting with former colleagues or potential contacts in the targeted industry, don't immediately ask for a position. Rather, inquire about the state of that individual's company / industry and begin to develop a picture of whether that contact could be of assistance in your job search.
  •     Invest in Interview / Career Coaching. Many job seekers have been with companies for several years and have not had to interview outside their current employer's walls. The method employers use to evaluate external candidates has changed dramatically over the years.

Further, if job seekers are in an industry where the jobs will not return for a long time, they might need career coaching to determine a new career path. Interview and career coaching are invaluable in each of these situations, as job seekers can determine their strengths, be clear on what they can contribute to the next employer, or identify transferable skills for their next career.

  •     Do Research On Where The Jobs Are Being Created. With the new Obama administration about to take office, job seekers need to watch the news or read publications such as The Wall Street Journal or The Business Journal to ascertain where the jobs will be created. Then, job search candidates need to determine the skills necessary to work in those industries and get the appropriate education or credentials to meet the position / industry requirements.

McDonald also offers some practical advice to individuals preparing for a potential layoff. He suggests cutting out non-essential luxuries, visiting physicians, dentists, and optometrists while health insurance is still in effect, putting together an emergency budget, and saving a portion of each check now to ensure financial stability of the household. He also suggests that individuals stock up on non-perishable food items on sale at local grocery stores.

Further, McDonald recommends to those receiving a severance package to not wait until the money is running out to search for a position. He suggests starting an employment search before the actual layoffs occur, as the average time to find a new position can take anywhere from two to six months, depending upon job title and compensation.

"If job seekers plan now for an impending layoff, they will be in a much better position than their counterparts to land a great job," said McDonald.

Richard McDonald, CPRW, CEIP, is president of A Advanced Resume Service, Inc., a resume writing and interview / career coaching firm. For more information on the services offered, visit the website at or contact him at 877-737-7384.


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