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Ask The HR Expert: What to do When Your Own Layoff is Imminent

Hurrah, hurrah: We’re launching a new weekly column in this space from HR and media expert Sharon Jautz. Sharon, thanks to her years of HR experience, has loads of fantastic advice for people on both sides of the hiring equation: both job-seekers and employers. This first column looks at preparing for that layoff you know is coming; future columns will cover life from an HR point of view and much, much more.

Hopefully, you have never been there. Hopefully, you never will. But in this environment, you have got to be prepared for anything. If you work for someone else, you have to remember that a lot of the time the only thing you can control about your employment is what time you get there.

Being prepared in the event of a layoff is critical. You’ll be happy to “hit the ground running” instead of having to redesign the wheel and lose momentum in your new job search.

So, here are some tips and measures to take so a layoff doesn’t take you by surprise!

  • The first day in a new job — update your resume to include the new job! Make a commitment to evaluate and update your resume at least annually.
  • If your “spidey sense” is telling you that you might be laid off, trust your instincts. You’re probably right.
  • Do everything that propels you forward to your next job. Don’t dwell in the past evaluating things already said or done. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Enough already — move on.
  • Network, network, network. Tell everyone that you have ever met, and their brother, that you are looking for a job. That’s how it works, kids! And never stop networking. Even when you land that next gig, never stop networking. Remember, too, you can also be a “giver” in a networking situation. You get back what you put out there.
  • Say “yes” to everything. Meet with anyone who wants to meet with you. Worry about getting the job even if you’re sure you’ll turn it down! And take the opportunity to meet more people for your network!
  • Always take the high road and be gracious when exiting. No matter how you feel about their decision to lay you off, do not burn bridges on your way out the door. It serves no purpose. In a layoff situation, the only thing you can control is your own behavior.
  • Get on the job boards and see what’s happening. Meet with recruiters. Find someone in your circle that can help you do this.
  • Keep doing your job to the best of your ability up to the minute the decision is communicated to you!

Sharon Jautz has over 20 years of HR experience at major media companies like Forbes, Conde Nast, and Playboy. She’s been tapped as an HR expert on Washingtonpost.com, giving advice to job seekers everywhere. Her super-power? Scanning a resume in 15 seconds. Find out more about her at her LinkedIn page.

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