Tips To Prepare Before It is Too Late: The Laidoff Dilemma

Updated ResumeLet me precursor why I chose to write this post. I work for a big organization that is in the due diligence part of a merger. While this may be scary for some, being prepared is the best way to protect yourself.

In today’s society it happens all too often we hear about a manufacturing plant closing or a company downsizing. Layoffs are becoming the norm rather than the exception. Do you know anyone who has been laidoff? Regardless the reason, you need to make sure that you are in the best shape possible to weather a layoff. First ensure that you have an emergency fund, this will alleviate some of the stress of not having a steady income while you are out of work.

First you want to make sure that you know what the states guidelines are for unemployment compensation, most have some policy which grants temporary reduced compensation to “hold you over” until you find a more permanent solution.

That’s the reason it would be best to start taking action NOW to help you find a new job and put yourself in the best position, the earlier the better. Knowing the steps now can alleviate frustration in the future.

Step 1: The Resume

The easiest time to update your resume is when you are actually working in the job. I keep my resume up to date at all times and as I do more in my job I update it! Sometimes when you leave a job, it is difficult to remember all the tasks that you performed, this system alleviates that!

Step 2: The Hunt

Resume in hand, it is best to begin with Google and search for job boards in your area. In my area, there are sites like: Monster, Careerbuilder, Indeed, SimplyHired and Craigslist. While many focus just on the internet, make sure you do not forget about your local paper to make sure that you have all your bases covered. This is where you strategize, it will take a good amount of work to get a new job so be prepared to put in the time. There are head hunter firms out there as well that will help you.

Step 3: The Meet N Greet

Put your best foot forward; make sure you know the attire that you should be wearing to the interview. If you are applying for an executive level job you better make sure that you have the necessary skills and look the part. There will be a degree of nervousness, but practice with friends and family to fine tune your interview skills.

Step 4: The Offer

Do not sell yourself short, just because you were laid off does not mean that you have to take a low ball offer. You know your skill set and what you were making in your previous job. Make sure you do not just jump at the first offer that you get because you may be doing yourself a disservice and undermining future opportunities. So the offer was not perfect or was not what you were looking for, no problem go back to the drawing board.

Step 5: The Roundabout

Not every job is a perfect fit for you, so if your new job requires a certain skill or degree. Go out there and get it. Talk to others in the industry “Network” to find out where they got their skills or what you could be doing to make yourself more marketable. The career game is never-ending and once you settle on a job, make sure that you always have an exit strategy and to be prepared. You never know when you might be the next one out the door!


Written by Christopher at This That and the MBA. While I have never been through a layoff but I know people who were very surprised and unprepared when they got the notice. Now working in the finance field, I usually know ahead of time when layoffs are going to happen and preparation is the best key to weathering the storm. Check him out at: This That and the MBA where he talks money management and other ramblings.

Photo by: Michael Paul Escanuelas

What would you do if you were laidoff?


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30 thoughts on “Tips To Prepare Before It is Too Late: The Laidoff Dilemma

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  2. I also work for a health care system that's in due diligence for a merger. Maybe the same (or at least one of the two hospitals involved in the merger *lol*)

    1. I work in health care and we are not merging we are outsourcing (subcontracting to lower paid workers with less training).

      The bosses are preaching that it will give us lots of extra time to focus on client care. I think it will give us lots of extra time at home when all of our hours are cut.

      My budget was already cut to the bone but I am trying to throw a bit more money in to the miniscule emergency fund.

  3. I've met folks who were laid off - and it really sucked. They had no chance to gather contact info, performance reviews, etc -nothing. It's good to keep a record of your accomplishments at home so you always have a copy.

  4. I definitely made the mistake of not keeping my resume up-to-date. Even after deciding it was time to look for a new job, I put this task off until I found a job I wanted to apply to. It then, of course, took me HOURS to add my current job into the resume, and resulted in me not spending as much time as I'd have liked/should have on the cover letter.

    Lesson learned!

    1. So much easier to update a resume on your terms, not when you see the perfect job you want and you have to hurry to get it out to ensure you apply. A few minutes here and there can make the world of a difference. Mine is up to date, I update it once a month or so, or if I have gotten a special recognition. I also have a folder on my computer of all my accomplishments set up by year. It is also important to keep your list of references up to date as well.

  5. Kurt @ Money Counselor

    Having a decent emergency fund is really helpful when income drops temporarily. If you've got a lot of credit card debt, depending on how long you expect to be out of work, might be a good idea to phone the card issuers, explain your situation, and ask for a "hardship plan." Some creditors will temporarily lower minimum payments and APRs, which is better (credit score-wise) than missing payments entirely.

  6. The more and more I read and hear about layoffs, the more I am becoming prepared.

    In the next month, I wan to back up all my work files on my own drive, gather all my business cards and keep them in one concise place, I can just grab, and keep saving.

    I talked to my coworker about recent layoffs, and she says she has no savings right now. She is 50, her husband is 50, they have been working managerial jobs for a while, and still have no savings. She says if she got laid off today, it would be difficult to pay the bills. I imagine she and her husband make a combined $150K plus in salary. It's astounding!

  7. Great tips! I think also spreading the word that you are looking for a job to friends and family is good to. That's how my BF has found many of his jobs, through word of mouth.

  8. jodi

    omg. so true. i find myself out of work after about 8 years of steady work. i am prepared- i have just started looking though. have another interview tomorrow. great advice about not taking a low ball offer just because it is the first offer.

  9. I agree that it's good to stay well stocked with interview level clothes while you're working. It's tough when money is tight and you're looking for a job, to go out and buy a brand new suit

  10. I think it's important in all aspects of life to have a "plan b". Sometimes what we would like to see happen is not what actually happens. This could be a layoff, an injury, a house fire, death etc and it's important to be prepared for the worst. I also think that continuing to educate in our career choice or a sub-choice is important. The kids coming out of school are up to date with knowledge and technology and so should we be. Don't keep blinders on, take them off and join in on the fun. I don't think it's a bad omen to think something might happen but I certainly don't want to be left out in the cold if it does. Great post, shared on FB to see what my fans have to say!

    1. Very true. Preparation is key. I think today we live in such a fast paced life, everyone trying to keep up with the Jones', it is so easy to slip into debt and live paycheck to paycheck. I like the mention of staying up to date with technology and knowledge, all too often we get a job and get comfortable. I see older workers falling behind in technology and unfortunately there is age discrimination not admittingly but it does happen.

  11. I made the mistake of having my resume on my work computer without a copy at home. It all turned out fine and I got a different job but I wish I had a copy of my resume. This only worked because I quit but if I would have gotten laid off, I would've had to reproduce the entire thing. Oops!

  12. Interestingly, I just got an e-mail from a recruiter. I haven't applied for a job in months, so I was surprised about how she got my e-mail (linked in). Proof to me that Linked In actually does matter and I should keep up up to date, even when I'm not looking.

  13. The best time to search for a job is when you already have one! searching for one after a layoff is much more stressful. Not only that, but your at the mercy of a prospective employer salary wise!

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  15. Sadly, you never know it these days. You can be really good at your job and bam, they side blind you with that bad news. Yes, having a backup plan, you have enough savings in the bank, accept it, and move on. Your guidelines here in finding a new job are really a confidence booster.

  16. This is so true. My company's industry has been in a bit of a down turn lately and while I haven't been laid off, I'm definitely keeping my skills up to date/adding more to make myself more marketable. If I do get laid off, I'll go into full blown networking mode.

  17. As what we always hear, the only constant thing in this world is change. We never know what lies ahead of us in the future, but we can always prepare for what may come along.

  18. I am horrible at this. I haven't updated my resume in 2 years, don't have a linked-in profile, and my EF isn't quite large enough. I think everyone should have a plan B, even if their job is not in danger. You should always avail yourself to opportunities, otherwise you'll never know they're out there.

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  20. If I ever went back to full time, the one thing I'd never do again is STOP looking for other work, and making sure I kept everything updated. I wish I had been more prepared when I was laid off four years ago. Good advice.

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