7 Ways to Layoff-Proof Your Career

As layoffs are increasingly top of mind and in our news feeds, you might be thinking about what you can do to mitigate risks to the budding career and financial security you’ve been building. For those that are still employed but worried about upcoming layoffs, or the circulating rumors of staffing changes, it’s never too soon to start proactively preparing your “plan B.”

Here are 7 action items you can do today to prepare for an uncertain tomorrow.

1. The Success Journal

If you haven’t already, start a ‘success journal.’ This is something all professionals should be doing consistently throughout their careers. This could be as simple as a notepad on your phone or a google document. Make sure not to save this on a work account to ensure that you will have access in the future.

We are often so focused on selling our clients’ and company’s successes that we lose sight of our own accomplishments and growth along the way.

The idea is to have an easy way to jot down your own professional successes during the workweek. It could be a stellar review from a client, a campaign that led to a 50% increase in sales, praise from your manager, or a business win. Write down all work-related accomplishments, be they large or small.

We are often so focused on selling our clients’ and company’s successes that we lose sight of our own accomplishments and growth along the way. A success journal serves as your own ‘cheat sheet’ to get you inspired when it’s time to update your resume and when you’re preparing for job interviews. As a bonus, this is a great source for negotiating a raise as well!

2. Staying Present and Showing Up

It may feel like the end is neigh, but now is not the time to embrace a c’est la vie mentality at work. Keep your head in the game. Stay active, engaged, and proactive at work. It might take an extra effort to stay present on those now-ubiquitous Zoom calls, but continue giving your best.

Layoffs are not the fault of the people affected and are often unavoidable. However, there is one thing you can control, and it’s bringing your best self to the office every day (virtually or otherwise). Good working relationships will result in positive references, recommendations, and networking opportunities in the future.

3. Nurture Your Relationships

Experts say that at least 70% of hires are made as a result of networking. Invest your time into keeping up good relationships with your coworkers and supervisors — they could be the lifeline for your next great career move, or at the very least, provide a glowing reference to your future employer.

It doesn’t hurt to send a friendly note to your manager from your last job as well. Keep your industry connections alive, and you’ll be top of mind when decisions are being made.

Next, start connecting with recruiters that specialize in your field. Niche recruiters will have their finger on your industry's pulse and are often aware of positions that have not been advertised. So say hello, send over your updated resume, and stay on their radar. A good recruiter will be used to working with the currently employed and will keep your outreach in upmost confidentiality so your job search will never get back to your manager.

4. Polish the ol’ Resume

Summarizing your life’s work and accomplishments in a page or two is no easy undertaking.

This is an obvious step, but nonetheless important. While it might not be the time to start applying for new positions, it’s never too soon to polish up that resume!

Summarizing your life’s work and accomplishments in a page or two is no easy undertaking. It takes time and requires a thoughtful approach to showcase your expertise, so the sooner you start, the better the final version will be. Try not to wait until you need your resume to have it ready.

5. Be Your Best Virtual Self

The only thing better than finding your dream job is having your dream job find you. Do not miss out on updating your online presence, which could be via Linkedin, your portfolio, website, social media — or all of the above.

Keeping your LinkedIn/portfolio/website updated will put you ahead of the game and potentially open up possibilities you didn’t even know existed.

Having an updated online presence will not only open you up to being found organically, but it might also even save you the trouble of searching and applying for jobs on your own. If you’ve ever done it in the past, you know that job searching, applying online, and going through interview rounds also takes a lot of time. Keeping your LinkedIn/portfolio/website updated will put you ahead of the game and potentially open up possibilities you didn’t even know existed.

LinkedIn is the ultimate search engine for recruiters and hiring managers, so make sure you’ve updated your recent work and have the right keywords in your bio so that job opportunities will find you.

Even when you love your job and times are good, you never know when an unexpected life-changing career opportunity might come your way.

6. Make an (ethical) Backup

Depending on your company and how the HR department manages its layoff process, you might not be given much notice. While hopefully, this will never happen to you, consider what would happen to your data if you were asked to leave your post immediately. It’s not unheard of for email and online access to be revoked shortly after a redundancy notice has been given.

Make a backup copy of your professional and reference contact information, as well as of any important documents that you’d like to keep regardless of your employment situation. Do you have any personal photos or documents you have on your work computer that you would not want to lose?

To be clear, this should only be done within legal limits. Take care to respect sensitive company information as well as NDAs or non-compete agreements you might have signed. Be sure only to save data that you personally own and not your company’s data.

7. Don’t Underestimate The Side Hustle

Side-hustles can not only provide an opportunity to diversify with multiple income streams but also give you the chance to explore hobbies, learn new skills, and grow your network.

The gig economy is growing now more than ever. Side-hustles can not only provide an opportunity to diversify with multiple income streams but also give you the chance to explore hobbies, learn new skills, and grow your network.

Many have found that a side hustle can expand into new opportunities and even full-time work in the event of experiencing a layoff. At any rate, having multiple forms of income is a great way to recession-proof your finances.

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I help storytellers write their next chapter… Founder of Janeiro Talent, career consultant, and creative / communications recruiter. Lifelong digital nomad.

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Christina Van Buskirk

Christina Van Buskirk

I help storytellers write their next chapter… Founder of Janeiro Talent, career consultant, and creative / communications recruiter. Lifelong digital nomad.

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