Layoff-Proof Your Life

Precautions to take now in case a pink slip comes your way.
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What To Do

Keep your resume current.

  1. Look for Signs
    There are many ways to figure out whether layoffs are imminent, according to Jordon Levin, Psy.D., a faculty member and coordinator of the Career Assessment and Guidance Program at the Adler School of Professional Psychology, in Chicago. "The preeminent sign is a steep drop in your company's profits," he says. Other signs to look for are organizational shifts, outside consultants brought in to evaluate staff performance or being asked to hand in a written job description.
  2. Update Your Resume
    Even if you're not anticipating a layoff, it pays to have your resume ready to go. Also, "Build a separate portfolio of your best work," recommends J. Damian Birkel, executive director and founder of Professionals In Transition, Inc., a support group based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "Be sure to document how this work improved sales or efficiency, increased profits, and so on -- results that are measurable and quantifiable."
  3. Network
    Attend job fairs and conferences, join professional associations and make a point of meeting regularly with former colleagues. Don't be afraid to think outside the box, either. "Make a list of everybody you know -- right down to your dentist," says Joyce Weiss, M.A., a corporate speaker based in West Bloomfield, Michigan. "Then let them know you're looking to change jobs."
  4. Assess Your Finances
    Experts advise having enough money put away to cover three to six months of living expenses. "If you don't," says Liz Claman, co-anchor of Today's Business on CNBC, "figure out what you can cut out of your budget so you can save now."
  5. Think of a New Field You'd Like to Explore
    Losing a job can be the perfect opportunity to go after a long-held dream. Start now by investigating careers that interest you and the skills they require.
  6. Look Into Other Sources of Income
    Having a part-time line of work -- be it at-home word processing, selling real estate, crafting or dog walking -- will give you a financial cushion in case of a layoff.

Continued on page 2:  When He's the One Laid Off


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