What to Do When Layoffs Are on the Way

after_layoffs_0128Layoffs are imminent, even now that the economy is on the upswing.  This is part of the business process… refining operations and maximizing profitability isn’t meant to be personal. It is business right?

Well, it is. But when it is your job on the line, it becomes very personal.

The whispers and door closings become more frequent. Staff is on edge. They aren’t stupid.  The handwriting is on the wall.

Layoffs are coming.

If your “spider sense” is tingling and you have a feeling that layoffs are imminent, listen to your intuition. But don’t cave in to panic or fear.

Take these signals as an opportunity to take care of yourself. Remember, your employment is a business contract, not a personal one, and you and you alone are responsible for your career destiny.

Here’s what to do when layoffs are imminent:

Brush Up on Your Skills

Make sure your job-specific knowledge is as current as possible by targeting relevant classes, workshops, trainings, conferences, conventions, certifications, etc. to position yourself with job-specific skills and knowledge. Be a subject matter expert so when layoffs happen, you are tuned up!

Network Like a Fiend

Oftentimes, while we are in our regular line of work, we tend to neglect networking because we have so many tasks demanding our attention in the office. But in reality, the magic secret to successful job searches and life after layoffs is building a robust, engaged network, so when an opportunity comes up or if layoffs are imminent, you can immediately ping your trusted connections for potential job leads or garner referrals to decision makers.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Don’t spend your time panicking and stressing out about layoffs. Of course, some concern is appropriate, but when things are not within your control, you need to keep calm and carry on and focus on what you do best. Save your energies for productive activities that you can influence.

Identify Your Own Career Goals

Uncertainty in the current workplace and impending layoffs is the opportune time to evaluate your own career goals. Maybe you have been in a job for a long time and it wasn’t exactly what you envisioned for your overall career. This might be a “jumping off” point to help get yourself aligned to what you really want to be doing.

Get Involved

By identifying key industry memberships and joining them, then getting active / involved, you are creating a whole web of connections that are in the same arena as you. Building your profile through involvement can make you become a known quantity within those circles, and make you top-of-mind when opportunities come open after layoffs happen. People buy from who they know, and they hire who they like. Find ways for people to get to know you while you can demonstrate your on-the-job skill sets and work ethics.

Reinforce Your Value to Employers

Most people are loathe to do this, but initiating a low-key campaign that provides updates to supervisors about project progress and metrics help factor into who gets laid off and who gets to stay. The more you can show how invaluable to the organization, the less likely you might not get the axe when layoffs are imminent.

By taking these steps, you can be better prepared to navigate unplanned transitions. And by staying on top of these tactics on a regular basis no matter what your employment situation, you are in a much better position to navigate your career as a whole.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Pathfinder Writing and Career Services!




Dawn Rasmussen 3About the Author: Dawn Rasmussen, CMP is President of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services, a provider of results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services.

Dawn is also the official “Get the Job” columnist for One+ Magazine distributed to over 26,000 meeting professionals worldwide and Talentzoo.com, a job resource site for creative and marketing professionals. Dawn is also a recognized career expert on Careerealism.com – a top 10 world-ranked career advice blog – and a regular contributor to TalentCulture.com’s #TChat. Follow Dawn on Twitter!



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