Do You Have a Career Emergency Plan? (Hint: You Should)
What would be going through your mind if you are in danger of being laid off?
Or, you have got the vibe that your organization is about to do massive downsizing?
Termination from the job is petrifying and disorienting.
No matter what the reason is, it disrupts your habitual patterns and puts your life in a spiral.
Getting fired is definitely intimidating and embarrassing, but being laid off is even more demoralizing.
Both can land a severe blow to your self-esteem and self-worth, making you feel you are losing control of your life.
However, you need not to worry because there are many things you can do to find your next opportunity before the impending termination.
As a matter of fact, they are the part of a larger “career emergency plan” which every person, including you, must prepare before he is called for that fateful meeting with the boss.
It will help you start searching for the new job in a more streamlined and organized manner.
The career action plan incorporates some practical steps and it can become a blessing and a lifesaver when you need it the most.
No one wants to think about being laid off from his job, but it can happen to anybody at any time.
Unemployment can drive you to craziness, especially if you are an industrious person.
Therefore, developing a viable plan is absolutely necessary if you want to easily deal with such a crisis.
A ready-to-implement action plan can come to your rescue if you ever lose your job due to any reason.
At least, it is better than roaming in the streets like a mad person and begging everyone to hire you.
If you do not want to suffer from the same horrible fate, start creating your career emergency plan when you still have time.
SIGNS OF A LOOMING LAY OFF
The signs of a looming termination are right before your eyes, especially if you analyze the events of the recent past.
For instance, your boss is regularly holding performance discussion meetings with you, he is not satisfied with your performance and he says he is giving you a chance to improve.
If you still fail to meet his expectations, he will have no other option but to lay you off.
Most often, companies lay off their employees due to financial problems.
The signs of impending lay off are also very obvious.
Most organizations will predict dire financial circumstances in the coming months, also indicating that they will terminate some members of their staff.
On the other hand, there are also some companies which fire their employees without giving any reason at all.
ADDITIONAL SIGNS YOU MAY LOSE YOUR JOB
The following are some of the signs which suggest you are on the verge of losing your job.
- The organization is taking cost-cutting measures in all of its departments.
- The organization is not hiring replacements for employees who are leaving.
- Sales are currently very low and the sales projection is also gloomy.
- Your workplace remains on the edge due to an increasing number of closed-door meetings.
- Your workload has decreased considerably. Your boss is also assigning some of your tasks to others.
- Your work is recurring but you are being given a lot of free time of late.
- Your department no longer considers you as a revenue generator.
- You are no longer invited to the meetings you have been part of for years.
Your immediate manager has started to take a keen interest in the projects you are completing.
He also wants you, more than ever, to follow set procedures for completing those projects.
You will be able to establish what is going to happen by carefully observing these signs.
However, never jump to the wrong conclusion because things might be different than you perceive of them.
They can also indicate your company is fully capable and prepared to survive any economic recession.
COMPONENTS OF A CAREER EMERGENCY PLAN
You will have to include a lot of things in your career emergency plan and some of them are as follows.
An Updated Resume
Creating and updating a resume is the most boring thing to do in this world.
You do not find it interesting and something you must do even if you are actively looking for a job.
Therefore, it is understandable that you totally forget your resume when you do have a job.
However, there are many good reasons why you should keep updating your resume regularly.
The least of these reasons is that you can start sending it to prospective employees the moment you are fired.
Updating your resume is not very demanding either.
All you have to do is set aside only 30 minutes every three months to add your achievements and duties to your resume. It is equally important to remove superfluous or flashy details.
Similarly, create an Achievements Folder on your desktop or inbox, which may contain five start feedbacks you received from your clients, details of the awesome projects you have completed, or a big goal you have attained.
You can easily return to this folder whenever you have to update your resume.
Your resume should also contain your employment history as well as your current contact details. Furthermore, never use common names such as resume.com to save your file.
A simple trick like saving your resume as yournameresume.com considerably increases your chances of getting an interview call.
Also, prepare a basic cover letter you can customize according to the requirements of every job you apply to. Your cover letter must accompany all of your job applications unless stated otherwise.
An Updated Linkedin Profile
LinkedIn is the largest database of job openings in the world. It has become the best personal branding tool over the last decade.
LinkedIn has become a go-to source for people looking to hire the most talented professionals and the vice versa.
It is becoming more and more important to create and regularly update your LinkedIn profile.
Similarly, if you are in danger of being laid off, you can count on LinkedIn to save your skin every single time.
What separates LinkedIn from other major online job boards in the likes of Monster, Dice, and CareerBuilder is its more than 225 million followers.
Nowadays, hiring managers expect you to have a LinkedIn profile.
On the other hand, people do not take you as a career-oriented professional if you do not have one.
After all, brand-conscious executives cannot ignore 225 million prospects.
Another great thing about LinkedIn is that it offers crucial expertise and connections, enhancing your chances of success.
The connections you make on LinkedIn are mostly professional, people who are looking for similar minded people with the same expertise and skills.
More importantly, LinkedIn allows you to update your status regularly, instantly conveying a message to your connections, and millions of other people what you are up to.
It is especially helpful when you are about to be terminated and are desperately looking for a new position.
You can reach a wider audience on this amazing social network by joining groups, which provides you with added opportunities to land a job.
Hiring managers will also take more interest in your profile if it is complete and updated. An updated profile also means you will remain visible to hundreds of thousands of recruiters who are looking to hire talented people like you.
You must also use keywords relevant to your experience in your profile for them to easily find you.
Keep in mind that hiring managers prefer social networking platforms such as LinkedIn over traditional job boards to discover potential candidates for their organizations.
If you are looking for new resources to find a new job, LinkedIn is the portal to search.
It is full of umpteen helpful resources you can use to find a job before you receive your termination letter.
LinkedIn will let you find new companies in your own field, contact their hiring managers and leaders directly and opening doors to a lot of other opportunities.
A Professionally Written and Ready to Send Email
Asking your network of friends and colleagues for assistance is one of the best job hunting techniques you can think of.
Clearly explain to them what you want out of your job hunt so they can inform you of the right opportunities.
Most importantly, make it convenient for them to contact you and distribute your resume to different companies and hiring managers.
It can be said with certainty that your friends will leave no stone unturned to help you, especially when you are trying to find a job.
Therefore, have a professionally written email which you can readily send to your connections in case of an emergency.
There are many brilliant resources available on internet from where you can take ideas about how to write a killer email.
Hiring experts recommend preparing a basic email template just like your cover letter. You can quickly update the email, according to different job requirements, before clicking the “Send” button.
Apart from the email’s body, you also need to put special emphasis on its subject line. It is, in fact, the most important part of any email.
A well-written and juicy subject line will entice the readers to open your email.
They should be able to glean who you are by reading your subject line.
Furthermore, it should clearly mention which job you are applying to.
Another vital component of your email cover letter is the email signature, containing your contact details.
The email signature will make it easier for prospective employers and companies to contact you.
Include everything from your full name to your telephone number and physical and email address in your signature.
Manage Your Network Regularly
The strategy of sending emails to find a job will only work if you have a large network of friends, colleagues, and well-wishers.
You also live in a fool’s paradise if you think your connections will help you even if you have not talked to them in ages.
Well, you definitely can but believe it or not, you are not going to get the desired results.
Put your network on top of your priority list and start interacting with most of them if you haven’t already.
As mentioned above, LinkedIn is an incredible place to make new connections.
Try to keep up with everyone you know professionally on LinkedIn.
Similarly, make a spreadsheet or a list of your top contacts with their phone numbers on your desktop.
However, there is no point of having connections if you do not stay in touch with them.
Remember that you are trying to find a job and these people can do a lot more for you than you can even imagine.
Therefore, you need to contact your connections or even meet them in person periodically.
Even small things such as liking their Facebook posts or retweeting their tweets can go a long way in securing you a job.
Invite them to coffee or lunch every now and then.
Congratulate them on their promotions, compliment them on their achievements and provide them with necessary support whenever they need any.
You can also find out some other ideas here for keeping your network from growing cold.
There should be at least 20 people in your list that can be most helpful when you are searching for a job, especially when you are about to be laid off.
Subsequently, prioritize your relationships with them and try to keep up with them. They will not only help you find a new job but will also give a much-needed boost to your career as well.
Collect Your Work Samples, Documents and Important Contacts
Once you have realized that things are going to take a turn for the worse, you should do everything in your hands to strengthen your resume.
The best course of action is to start collecting your work samples, important details, contacts, performance reviews, and all the other supporting documents.
Never wait for the final call by the human resource department. This is necessary because your boss can ask you to leave the office premises immediately.
This usually happens when you have not been in good terms with higher authorities.
So, do not take the risk and gather everything which can help you in your job search in time.
Moreover, remove any sensitive information from your desk, computer, files, and the locker, etc.
For example, you should never keep your family pictures, educational certificates, details of any project you are taking on in the personal capacity, copies of your driving license and other such documents in your office computer or desk in the first place.
But, if they have found their way to your office computer or desk somehow, remove them as soon as you get the news.
Make a List of Companies You Want to Join
You tend to send job applications to a large number of companies whenever your job is in danger. It is a natural reaction and there is nothing wrong with it.
You are actually taking a sort of precautionary measures to avoid facing grave circumstances in the future.
However, it is better to go for quality rather than quantity when it comes to job hunting.
Making a list of fewer companies where you can work happily is much better than applying for every possible position even if it is not at all related to your skill set.
It is recommended that you start compiling a list of your dream companies even if you are currently employed.
The list should incorporate every possible detail about these companies such as their websites, their address and phone numbers, and links to their career pages if there is any.
When the time comes to start applying for the job, you will not have to search the entire internet to find your favorite company, helping you to save a lot of precious time.
To make things even easier, here is the list of the top companies in the world you should try hard to join.
Keep Searching for Jobs Online
Various job engines such as LinkUp are garnering immense popularity among job searchers.
Against common perception, they are totally different from Job boards such as LinkedIn which show jobs posted by employers.
You can actually save your precious time by using a job search engine.
These engines enable you to easily search for jobs posted on companies’ websites and across different job boards.
Take the example of LinkUp. By using LInkUp, you can only search jobs posted on the websites of various companies. Indeed, which is arguably the most popular job search engine in the world, shows jobs from the companies’ websites as well as job boards, different associations, and even newspapers.
It enables you to search jobs on almost all of the Fortune 500 companies as well.
To maximize the advantages of using job search engines, you must also create a list of keywords related to your desired job or position.
These keywords will get a list of the companies you may be interested in within a fraction of a second.
You will also get all the instructions you should comply with while applying when you click on any of these jobs.
On some occasions, the job board may also direct you to the company’s website as well.
The bottom line is that you should be fully prepared, come the termination. Ideally, you must already have secured a job before your company finally lets you go.
And the job search engines in the likes of Indeed and LinkUp can greatly assist you in accomplishing this task.
Create Your Own Professional Website
It is often said that you are invisible to the world if you do not have a personal website. It is the best method to brand yourself and promote your services.
You need to have a website displaying all your skills, credentials and experiences, even if you are currently employed.
Your website can come in handy in different situations such as in the case of a looming termination.
It can augment your resume in addition to portraying you as a complete professional to the hiring manager.
Even if no one visits your website, it can be a decisive factor when it comes to job search.
Creating a website does not cost a fortune these days either, unless you want to have really advanced and customized design and functionalities.
In fact, a simple portfolio website will do equally well for you.
You can take a lot of inspiration for creating your own website from these simple yet elegant personal portfolio websites.
A personal website plays a pivotal role in showcasing what you are capable of. It provides you with an opportunity to tell your story to the rest of the world.
It is worth mentioning that your resume alone can no longer impress the hiring managers.
As a matter of fact, most of the recruiters cannot establish the competitiveness of a candidate only from his resume.
Therefore, you have to have a website to put yourself ahead of your competitors.
Apply to Jobs on Companies’ Websites
One of the best sources of job listings is the websites of different companies.
You should keep on applying directly on these websites, even if your job seems to be safe.
This technique works better if you have a good idea of what kind of company you want to join in the future.
Just go to Google, search companies you are interested in, and apply for the jobs on their websites.
Even if you find a job on job boards and search engines, you will give your candidature a massive boost by applying directly on the company’s website.
First of all, your application goes directly to the hiring manager.
Secondly, you will be able to track it on the company’s online application tracking system.
Keep Applying to Jobs through Emails
In addition to applying to jobs through job boards, job search engines, and dedicated online hiring portals, you must not forget to apply via email.
Some organizations, especially the startups and smaller companies cannot afford to develop or hire online job handling systems.
They mostly hire through a word of mouth or prefer to receive job applications by email.
Setting up a professional email address at the beginning can put your job search on the right track. It is time to discard unprofessional email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org.
A professional email address normally only includes your name and in a few cases, some numbers. If you have a website, you can use your business email address to apply to jobs as well.
Always Have a Plan B
Whenever you plan for something, always prepare a plan B for it and same is true for finding a job when a termination looms large.
Have you ever considered selling your spare stuff, doing freelancing or providing consultancy services to earn some extra money?
You usually do not have time to even think about it when you have a nice job.
But, formulating an overall outline of a plan containing things like what service you would offer, the rough pricing model, and the marketing techniques you would employ is really worth your time.
It is particularly a great alternative for people occupying higher level positions or specialized roles in their organizations.
While you are looking for your next full-time gig, you can earn handsome money by selling your services.
Alternatively, you can bid farewell to a 9-5 job forever and choose entrepreneurship as a career path from now on. In either case, having a viable plan B will help you survive the job termination.
Your Career Non-Negotiables
Some people get so panic by the termination that they accept the first offer letter that comes their way.
Unfortunately, the result of making a decision in haste is always disappointing.
You will not like your job at best and you will start your job search once again within six months at worst.
Therefore, it is worth spending some time on identifying things you would never compromise in your career.
What you absolutely want to have in every job you do?
What are some of the things which make you cringe at your workplace?
Determining your career non-negotiables will prevent you from accepting the wrong job offer or settling for less in your career.
It is a sad reality that no one wants to think or plan about the worse.
People turn a blind eye to the fact that circumstances never remain the same.
Tragedy can strike at any time and the wise people always have a plan of action to keep their spirits high and minimize the damage.
Spend some time on getting your stuff together every two to three months and you will feel ready to face any kind of situation no matter how many hurdles are thrown in your way.
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