Prioritize, Plan, Pack
When the 2007-2008 recession hit, many professionals told me the same story over and over – no matter their position or tenure. It was an overwhelming outbreak of over-confidence and complacency. At that time, many did not keep their recruiter, colleague, and other professional contacts up to date. Many ignored any attempted recruiter contact as if they had found a guaranteed recipe for never being unemployed.
You may be noticing decreasing business or lower levels of customer activity for your current employer; this may be causing you concern. Make sure you understand the economics of the possible results and your employer’s options. If the answer is more than likely layoffs, then immediately prioritize. If you did not get caught in the first round of layoffs, do not settle into a back-to-work as usual routine.
- Speak to a trusted supervisor or other management team member that can provide you with guidance related to other opportunities within the company.
- Speak to trusted contacts at vendors who may have outside information that could be helpful in your decision-making. Vendors can also be a good source for finding a new position.
- Glean information from other trusted sources such as sales and finance contacts or external websites that detail the economics of your industry.
- Activate and enhance your professional and recruiter networks and communicate with a positive outreach. No one wants to hear you complain about all of the things that went wrong with your current employer.
- Identify your core skills and develop a position and skills list for jobs that interest you and that you may target as your next potential opportunity internally or with a new employer.
- Review your resume and make updates. Conduct an online search of similar job titles, and acquaint yourself with the key words, skills, and knowledge that is most in demand. Plan your resume around the high demand skills. Ensure that your resume contains key words you identified during your research. Look for resources to add to your knowledge if the high demand skills are not a current part of your experience.
- Have a diverse approach to getting your resume out to potential employers by using many online outlets as well as in person resume submissions. Include employers outside your current geographical area in case local options do not provide results. Connecting outside your geographical area does not necessarily mean you are indicating that you can relocate at this point but that you are able to travel and/or work a negotiated remote schedule. Can things get to the point that you have to relocate to find a job? If your economic status gets into a danger zone and requires you to move, then you have already developed potential leads.
- Even if your current employment situation is a “take this job and shove it” situation, make a personal commitment and preparation to leave with character and integrity. A track record of character and integrity will go with you and will most likely arrive at your new job before you do.
- Ensure that all of your personal property has been copied and/or removed if appropriate. Understand your rights and responsibilities as well as the responsibilities of your employer regarding final paycheck and benefits available. Ask your employer for resources; don’t just assume they will offer you a routine package that has been used with other co-workers. Know what to expect regarding severance pay and other benefits.
- Plan out your last day to include emails, handwritten notes, and face-to-face conversations. This should include thanking those who would go out of their way to do the little things that made your day better. Remember to share your kind words with all levels at your work place, which may include the person who emptied your trash can and the security guard who stood out in the cold or heat to provide safety. Thoughtfulness and integrity will not be forgotten after you leave.
- If a layoff involves many of your colleagues, that is an opportunity to share and receive job related information with other co-workers. During the 2008 recession there were many job search groups all over the USA that evolved and provided information on new positions. You may also want to consider developing a group meeting (in person or online) to share information with your former co-workers and/or others in a group setting.