For the past several years, workers have enjoyed a healthy job market and the stability that comes along with it. But like many other good things in life, that might soon come to an end. In its list of 2019 predictions, LinkedIn warns that the upcoming year might bring about an economic slowdown and that companies will prepare for it by pre-emptively laying off workers.
In fact, some might say the trend has already begun. In November, GM (NYSE:GM) announced plans to cut 14,000 jobs. Verizon (NYSE:VZ) recently made a similar move, encouraging 10,400 employees to accept a voluntary severance package in an effort to trim its workforce.
All of this points to one thing: the need for today's workers to prepare for the possibility of a layoff. Here's how.
1. Have a resume ready to go
You never know when your company might be forced to downsize its staff. Even if you're a seasoned employee with a great reputation, that may not be enough to prevent you from losing your job when financial concerns warrant major cuts. That's why it's crucial to have an up-to-date resume ready to go at all times. If you do lose your job and a contact or associate knows of an opening elsewhere, you won't want to delay the application process, which means you'll need to be prepared to produce a resume right away. At the same time, you probably won't be in the best frame of mind to tackle that document if the shock of a layoff is occupying much of your brain space, so you're better off working on it at a time when you're able to focus.
2. Raise your networking game
It's often said that the best way to find a job is through someone you know. But calling up an associate you haven't spoken to in years to ask for a favor can get a little awkward, especially when you're in the desperate position of having been let go. A better idea, therefore, is to network proactively. Reach out to your contacts to check in, get together with those who are most likely to help you out in a career crisis, and attend a few extra industry events to add names to your list. If you make an effort to network with the right people at a time when your company is doing well and your job isn't on the line, calling in favors later on won't be nearly as uncomfortable.
3. Boost your emergency savings
We're told we're supposed to save for life's unknown expenses, and not having an income is one of them. One final thing you can do to prepare for a layoff is to boost your cash reserves so that you have at least three to six months' worth of living expenses in the bank. This way, if you end up losing your job and it takes several months to find another one, you won't be forced to resort to debt to keep up with your bills. Rather, you'll have an emergency fund to tide yourself over until the right job offer is presented to you.
Sometimes, layoffs happen to dedicated, hardworking people, so it never hurts to be ready for one just in case. If you update your resume, do some serious networking, and increase your cash reserves, you'll buy yourself the peace of mind a host of workers might need in the coming year.