Fast-forward to 2014 and the latest figures somehow peg the unemployment rate at a relatively comfortable 5.8 percent.
But anyone who’s paying attention understands that the economy isn’t anywhere near as good as that figure suggests. Even though the underemployment rate—the number which includes folks who have part-time jobs but would like more work—has fallen in recent months, it still remains relatively high at 11.5 percent. (It’s important to keep in mind that neither of these numbers include the fact that the labor participation rate is the lowest it’s been since the late 1970s.)
So the economy is shaky, at best, and as a result, it’s likely many businesses will be forced to consider whether reducing head count makes sense in terms of ensuring long-term financial vitality.
While you can’t know for sure whether your company is considering layoffs, there are scores of warning signs—like the ones described here—that might indicate staff reductions are on the horizon.
If you think your company might downsize sometime soon, here’s what you’ve got to do:
1. Sharpen your résumé and portfolio
When’s the last time you looked at your résumé? If it’s been awhile, chances are you’ll be embarrassed by what you see.
It’s in your best interest to keep your résumé current—as well as your creative portfolio—regardless of whether you think your company might be considering layoffs. After all, you never know when you might meet the right person who could connect you with the job of your dreams.
In other words, the opportunity of a lifetime might present itself to you at any moment, so since that’s the case, you’ve always got to be ready for whatever might come your way.
Believe it or not, there are over 332 million professionals on LinkedIn.
Many people use the world’s largest business-oriented social networking site to stay in touch with former colleagues and promote their brands. Others use it to look for jobs.
Recruiters use it to find candidates to fill vacancies.
LinkedIn is a platform you can leverage to further your personal brand. So you should strongly consider regularly updating your profile. Who knows? You very well might pique the interest of prospective employers.
3. Start scanning job boards
There are more than 30 million businesses in the United States alone: Are you working for your dream company?
Whatever your employment situation may be, it’s never a bad time to start doing things like setting up Google Alerts for other jobs you’re interested in. You should also consider looking for desirable positions on sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Career Builder and Craigslist often.
Even if things are going well at your job, you never know when the right opportunity might open up—even one that’s better than you can imagine. But you won’t find it if you’re not looking.
4. Look for other ways to make some money on the side
Everybody wants to earn an extra buck.
If you think your steady paycheck might become a thing of the past sooner than you’d like, it’s time you start figuring out ways to earn some more cash.
If you’re the creative type, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find some freelance opportunities if you look hard enough. Looking for manual labor? Why not offer to split firewood for your neighbors or mow their lawns? If neither of those options are appealing, you could always try to pick up some bartending shifts at the local pub.
Once you get your first taste of what it’s like to have a supplemental stream of revenue, you’ll never look back. In addition to being awesome, extra sources of income also put you in a better position to weather the proverbial storm that would result if you’re laid off from your full-time gig. At the very least, it’ll serve as a cushion that’ll help soften the blow.
Let’s hope none of us get laid off. But unfortunately, these things happen to good people—and more often than we’d like to think.
While you can’t prevent your company from laying anyone off, you can put yourself in a position to be prepared in the event it occurs.
The world is unpredictable, so be ready for anything: That’s how you’ll be sure to land on your feet—no matter what happens.