How to Prepare for a Possible Layoff

J.T. O’Donnell, a career coach, noted that you can set up your LinkedIn profile to ensure recruiters are able to get in touch with opportunities. That means turning on the feature in privacy settings that indicates you’re open to being contacted, updating your headline on LinkedIn with top skills, updating your work history to quantify accomplishments in various positions (with data when possible) and posting your perspective on industry news so LinkedIn followers get a sense of your voice.

Developing personal relationships with colleagues in a remote-work environment requires more effort, especially when you’ve never met in person. If you’ve collaborated with someone consistently, and you trust the person, ask for his or her personal email address and phone number. That way, if layoffs arrive abruptly or unexpectedly, you can reach out, whether you need a reference or just want to talk.

Many companies offer professional development budgets. Take advantage of those to build skills that will make it easier to land your next role. According to Handshake, a job search platform for students and early-career workers, notable skills that employers are searching for include Microsoft Excel, Python, Java, Adobe Illustrator, Canva, machine learning and Adobe InDesign. There has also been a nearly 17-times increase in Handshake job openings mentioning TikTok since 2019.

Save emails that you’ve received praising your work and testifying to your abilities. When applying for jobs in the future, you might want to reread those as a reminder of some of the strongest work you’ve done, or even to quote from. Those notes will also be useful as a reminder that losing a job often has nothing to do with your skills and abilities.

The shift to remote work during the pandemic forced many workers to blend together their professional and personal lives. This inevitably led workers to use their work devices at home for personal tasks.

Though convenient and cost effective, using an office computer for personal use poses serious risks to your private data in the event of a layoff, said Brian Fitzpatrick, the founder of Google’s Data Liberation Front, a team that developed products for people to manage their Google data.

Anything that you do on company equipment can be monitored and obtained by your employer. If you became involved in a legal issue, all of your data — including photos, browser history and personal messages — could become exposed in the discovery process.