Your company is in upheaval. Rumors are flying. The big merger is just a few weeks away and the word of the day is “restructuring.” While it’s always best to keep your head in uncertain situations, even if you think your job is safe, it never hurts to be prepared.
Here are three things you can do now to keep yourself from being blindsided when lay-off time comes around.
1. Reach out to your network
Accept the worst in advance and do something about it. Get in touch with former bosses and colleagues. Put the phone tree into action. Explain what’s happening and what you might be looking for, and ask for help. Chances are, someone you’ve impressed in the past will be willing to put your name forward in the right situation. Or, if you’re uncomfortable asking for help, ask for advice. People will be happy to give it, and will still be made aware of your situation; should anything come up, you’d come to mind. Friends and family are also a valuable support system, and can often come through in a pinch.
2. Plan how you’ll present your situation
At this point, a lay-off could be part of your career narrative, whether you’d like it to or not. Start figuring out how to work it into your elevator pitch. Come out swinging. Explain the situation clearly and with confidence, and then find a way to make lemonade. Demonstrate that you know your value, in spite of the difficult situation, and that you’re already working constructively to overcome it. That kind of pluck can go a long way with a hiring manager.
3. Give yourself a makeover
Make sure your cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and portfolio are all fully updated and in perfect order. Make sure these valuable networking tools are doing exactly what you want them to, and telling the story you want them to tell. Consider making yourself a new set of business cards if you think you’ll soon be on the market.
The point is to prepare for the worst, but remain optimistic that it will all turn out for the best.