Q: I was told last week that my job would be eliminated later this quarter. This is a shock to me. I am not sure what I should be doing to prepare.
A: I have plenty of recommendations. Let me list them!
- Dust off your resume. Update it immediately.
- Network and then network some more. Get active on LinkedIn and begin reaching out to those in your network. Your network may include friends, colleagues, former colleagues, alums, neighbors and others in your industry.
- Practice your pitch, which should include who you are and where you want to be in your next role. Your first pitch won’t be perfect. Don’t worry. Refine it. Practice in front of your dog first and then work up to your family and finally your professional network.
- Continue to put in a strong effort into your current role. Ask, in a professional way, if your company plans to offer you severance. One approach might be: “Jill, I understand my role is eliminated as of March 31st. What kind of severance package can I expect?” You want to set the expectation that a severance package is reasonable. Be prepared to negotiate.
- Even if difficult (and it will be) do your best to be positive, responsive and professional in your day to day role. Keep up with emails. Return phone calls. Attend meetings. Continue to be engaged.
- Offer to develop a transition plan. Think about your role and what you do on a daily basis. Who else could do that? Who are your most important internal and external contacts?
- Ask if you can use your current manager as a professional reference. If not, think about others at your company who might be able to speak about your role and contributions.
- Take care of yourself. Even though you have some time, ensure that you take care of yourself. Exercise, sleep and eat in a healthy way. Avoid unhealthy choices.
Finally, the current employment market in eastern Massachusetts is brisk, especially in growing sectors like technology and health care. Be reasonable in your search and consider options that you may have never considered in the past (e.g., contract work or long-term interim assignments).