Guest blogger Lisa Rangel is an Executive Resume Writer and Official LinkedIn Moderator at ChameleonResumes.com, a Forbes Top 100 Career Website. She has been featured on BBC, Investor’s Business Daily, Forbes.com, Fox News, Yahoo Finance, US News, and so many more reputable media outlets. She is the creator of ResumeCheatSheet.com.
What if you walked into work tomorrow morning and your boss told you that you were fired? Your position was eliminated. The company was downsizing and unfortunately, that meant you must go. Or even worse, the entire company was closing down, which is happening more and more these days. What would your plan be?
Today, being fired often comes as a complete surprise, especially for those who continue to share in the management’s philosophy leadership and plans the company is implementing to grow. Reasons for getting let go can take many forms, and most feel as long as they are doing a good job for the company, making them money, meeting deadlines, etc., they are safe. However, that is simply not the case today.
This recently happened to a colleague of mine. She had been released from a position unexpectedly. She was a top producer, with the company 11 years, and mentored other producing employees, yet she was let go. She never saw it coming.
She told me, ”The best thing you can do is pretend you were fired today. You would start to make a list of all the activities you would do to land your next job. Take that list, and while you are working, do one item a week to ensure your bases are always covered.”
She formulated this golden nugget of advice in hindsight. She thought she was secure with her firm since she was growing revenue. So she never went to lunch with people in her network. She did not have a resume ready or even loosely constructed. She did not make calls to former colleagues or school mates in business to stay abreast of their progress. I mean she was too busy working hard in her job.
She did not see that the direction of management was changing and, essentially, that she did not share in the philosophy of this new direction. And one day, she was let go. She was totally blind-sided.
She shared this piece of advice with me to ensure that it did not happen to me, and I have shared it with countless people over the years to pay it forward.
So let’s pretend you’re let go when you walk into work tomorrow. What would you do? These 8 steps should help.
8 Tips to Secure Your Financial Future in Case of Loss of a Job
1. Update your resume and LinkedIn. Pull out the resume and LinkedIn Profile and ensure each are updated and reflective of your achievements. Watch that they aren’t just a list of tasks. Be sure to have a cover letter that can support your resume and profile.
2. Connect and network online. Make sure everyone you’ve worked with at any level is connected to you on LinkedIn.
3. Get the props you deserve. Get recommendations on LinkedIn where it makes sense.
4. Connect with clients. Put your vendors, clients, prospects and other external corporate connections into LinkedIn to connect with you.
5. Pick alternate workplaces just in case. Devise a target list of companies where you have worked based on industry, geography, discipline, or benefits needed.
6. Meet for coffee. Update your connections on LinkedIn strategically and start setting up lunch/coffee appointments.
7. Practice interviewing with pals. Brush up on interviewing skills through a course and/or with friends you trust to help you.
8. Help others. Help someone with their professional goals: maybe introduce two people that can help each other; get your former colleague into a company he has been looking to gain as a client; mentor a student that is looking to obtain their first job.
Now take this list–and start doing it now while you are working. Don’t get overwhelmed. Just put in your schedule one item per week to start. It’s so easy!
- Call a former colleague and meet them for breakfast.
- Arrange to meet someone from another department you have not seen in months for your 3 pm Starbucks run.
- Contact a local college for an interviewing tactic class. Is there a college grad in your extended family or neighborhood that needs help finding a job? Call them and ask what you can do to help. Helping people makes you feel good and allows the person you are helping get what they need and they will remember you when/if you need help in the future.
We must give to get. You do not need to practice this concept perfectly. And you certainly do not want to be so on top of networking for your next job (unless you are not working) that you lose your current job.
The key is to build your network in a genuine manner by helping and giving at a time when you do not need it, so if this happens to you, it will already be in place – or at least started – to help you when you do need it.