Archives for layoffs

How to Tell if You’re About to be Laid Off

CIMG6096 by Daniel of Flickr

CIMG6096 by Daniel of Flickr

 

It is always worse when a layoff comes out of left field, isn’t it? There is definitely something to be said about being mentally prepared to find a new job. Of course there is even more to be said when you are fully prepared with an updated résumé and a branded LinkedIn profile that will position you for what’s next.

I can relate to being in denial; I certainly should have seen the signs coming before my first layoff after 9-11. Even though I had been yearning for greater responsibility and wanting to either move up or move on, I took my layoff very hard. When it took ten months to find something new, and that something new was a step back, I regretted not being more prepared.

That was the first of three times, so I feel like I have learned a little something about how to tell when bad news is coming. The more warning you have, the higher the chances that you can turn the bad news into a positive next step.

 

1. News of future plans grows quiet

Any company doing well is going to want to generate excitement about the future. If projects are suddenly put on hold, or high-priority projects that your manager had previously told you were coming down the pike suddenly don’t seem as important, something is about to change.

This treatment could even seem like being given the cold shoulder. You may be starting to consider whether you should just confront your boss directly. If you do, be prepared to hear no news or to receive bad news. Ultimately and unfortunately, when bad news is impending there is a pecking order for who is told first.

 

2. Your employer no longer spends money on certain things

This could refer to perks, travel, technology, training, or even bonuses. Even if there are no immediate plans for the company’s leadership to sell or close, and you can see that the focus is more on cutting costs than growing, it is only a matter of time before they lose market share or become obsolete. If you want to be noble and go down with a sinking ship, that is your prerogative, but simultaneously prepare a life boat. Read over any non-competes, decide what company you want to target, update your LinkedIn profile and start reconnecting with people in your network, update your résumé, and decide how you are going to tell people about why you are looking for something new. (Do so in that order.)

 

3. Other people are being let go

This sounds pretty obvious, but I have seen some professionals insist that those who were let go were logical choices, whereas they were top performers. This is who gets hit by the news the hardest. You might have done everything right, you might have established that you are irreplaceable, and still be the victim of a workforce reduction. Does it have to do with your salary? Maybe. You will spend days and weeks trying to figure out what you could have done differently and the answer could be nothing. Instead, act immediately to position yourself as a rock star and a thought leader in high demand. Promote everything that you have done to add value to your employer and promote your résumé through social media. Consider publishing posts and responding to calls for speakers at industry conferences. Set up lunch meetings. Organize happy hours.

 

Being uncertain of the future and being in flux are very uncomfortable for most people. The best way to ease your worry is to make something happen. Start to build momentum. Even if you are wrong and your job is completely secure, you might open new doors to unexpected opportunities.

 

There’s GOLD in these pages

Pirate Treasure Map by Unskinny Boppy on Flickr

Pirate Treasure Map by Unskinny Boppy on Flickr

When wielded appropriately, the Philadelphia Business Journal can be your greatest competitive weapon an advantage.

 

There is intelligence to be mined in this weekly periodical. When you incorporate it into the best practices of careering, it will provide you with leads that directly correlate to your income potential.

I’ve seen many an article and even YouTube video dedicated to using the Philadelphia Business Journal  for increasing sales and growing businesses. Several years ago Bernie Dagenais, The former Chief Editor, helped me explain to my LinkedIn workshop attendees the power of the Philadelphia Business Journal for personal career growth. While I have shared this magical nugget of wisdom with many clients and audiences, I probably don’t emphasize it enough.

 

Let me put it this way – there’s gold in them there pages.

 

Does that excite you? The chance to find gold enticed people to subject themselves to pretty awful and degenerative conditions. They lived without laws, essentially, and risked their lives. You, however, have to assume no risk for such gold. Your chances of finding gold are certain, and this blog serves as a treasure map to the gold that resides abundantly within the pages of the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

In fact, because of an offer that I’m going to be sharing with you, receiving the gold could be as easy as filling out a form. AND you get the additional benefit of a free résumé and campaign evaluation by Epic Careering. I’ll give you some details about that towards the end of this article.

 

TREASURE MAP:

Here are the features that you need to identify in order to find the gold that leads to epic career fulfillment:

 

The Book of Lists

While you can purchase this book separately, it is included in your annual subscription, which you’ll find through the other subscription-only features highlighted within is the greater value. While you can find the book of lists in the reference section at your local library, there is nothing like having at your fingertips when you want to find out who to contact at an organization you’ve identified as a great employer. If you’ve never executed a proactive career campaign, you may not know how to use the Book of Lists. A best practice of careering is to develop a list of criteria from which you will build a list of target companies. There are 89 lists in the Book of Lists and companies are sorted by industry, size, location, and growth. Each item on the list includes phone numbers, websites, number of employees, revenues when unavailable, the name of the local executive or CEO and human resources contact, as well as the year they were founded. While conducting research on target companies, your list of criteria acts as a logical guideline for whether you should be investing your time pursuing any of these companies. Use the book of lists to identify if the company meets your criteria or not. Best practices would dictate that you would want to spend your time and companies that meet at least 80% of your criteria, however you can use your gut or your your heart to decide to pursue a company that doesn’t meet that percentage if one or two of those particular criteria are more important than the rest.

 

People On The Move

This section is valuable for two reasons. Some people who find themselves in new positions have to build a brand-new team, either immediately or eventually. Congratulating somebody on the new position, just like congratulation somebody that won an award, is a very nice gesture and is usually appreciated and remembered. The other way this section can be utilized is that when somebody moves up into a position or over to a new position, they usually leave a vacancy in their old position. Sometimes companies don’t jump right on posting that position right away and you can have an extreme competitive advantage by being the first to contact the company. Before doing so, use the Philadelphia Business Journal, as well as other online and print resources, to do some research on how you might make yourself the most valuable to this organization in this vacant position. Why wait until the position is posted and compete with hundreds to thousands of other candidates for a job? Vacancies are costly to companies, so you’re already proving how valuable you can be by preventing them from ever needing to pay money to fill a position. You can view People On The Move through the online portal without a subscription, however, as a subscriber you are given access to a database with the contact information of almost 8,000 People On The Move submissions, personally reviewed by the Philadelphia business Journal editorial team.

 

Articles touting the growth of a local company

If you see that a company is growing, restrain your inclination to contact them immediately. Search the journal for other articles related to that company to get a sense of the bigger picture and mission of that organization. You will be able to make a more powerful impression to a contact there if you can articulate that you understand where the company has been AND where they are going. Some articles are only accessible to subscribers. In fact, while abstracts of articles are sometimes public, you would potentially miss out on quotes directly from the people who would hire you. Quoting someone is a powerful form of flattery that may distinguish you among other ambitious candidates.

 

New business announcements

Not all companies that register their new businesses are going to be hiring, however registering a business is often the first thing a business will do. If you have done the exercise of deciding what kind of start-up company you want to be a part of, you should be able to sort through these new business listings, which are exclusively for subscribers, and contact the owner before they go through the often painstaking process of deciding where and how to find talent. Hey, if building a talent base of a company is your thing, this is when you want to get in. Also, if you’re not really quite sure where you eventually want to be in your career and want the opportunity to try out different functions (and you’re willing to assume some risk,) this is the time to contact these companies. Disclaimer: As you get further into the qualification process with any of these companies, you should offer to sign a nondisclosure agreement and ask for the opportunity to personally see their business plans. Let them know that this is the best way to understand if you can be a contribution to their business at this time.

 

Commercial real estate transactions

This section is also secured for subscribers and would give you a clue as to when a company relocates into an area that is desirable for you, or even that a company is increasing their square footage in preparation for an impending growth spurt. That is a great time to pursue a company proactively.

 

Articles quoting executives who cite challenges of their company or industry

Essentially, an article of this nature means that there is a problem that needs solving. Enter you. Many of the executives who are quoted are also included in a contact database that you only gain access to as a subscriber.

 

The award announcements

The Philadelphia Business Journal recognizes local business leaders for various reasons. The people and companies that receive these awards, such as the 40 Under 40 (which I aspire to make and have a few years to do so) and the Healthiest Employer, know how to get things done. Ingratiating yourself with them is a good idea. Receiving an award is a validation that efforts have produced results that are recognized. It’s the fact that they were able to produce results that makes them a valuable person to get to know. Congratulating someone is a great way to introduce yourself. In the spirit of network nurturing, you will want to ask for some of their time to get better acquainted and to learn how you can be valuable to them. Being valuable to them is how you can inspire them to help you.  Disclaimer: not everybody who wins an award is a nice guy. Trust your instincts or use your research.

 

Liens and bankruptcies, court records, and legal judgments

This section is exclusively for subscribers, and this isn’t as much a resource for finding a target company as much as it is a resource for making sure that the company you are considering pursuing doesn’t have a black mark on it financial or legal records. Unless you solve these problems, you probably don’t want to turn down a great offer at an ethical company to accept an opportunity at a sinking ship. Sections like this avoid such fates.

 

Articles on layoffs

Here’s an unexpected tip – some of the same companies that you read about having mass layoffs are actually also hiring. A Wall Street Journal article from 2009 reflects how many larger corporations make business decisions to shrink one area business while they grow another. Also, employees get very scared by mass layoffs and start looking around for more “secure” opportunity, even though their talents and skills are very valuable to the employer. Don’t rule out companies having mass layoffs as potential employers. Though morale can take some time to restore, sometimes you get to be part of rebuilding something pretty special.

Jobs

Not to be obvious, there is also a jobs section of the journal.

I think I’ve given you enough reason to want to subscribe to Philadelphia Business Journal, or any local business journal. Now that you were enticed, let me give you a chance to win a one-year subscription, including the treasured Book of Lists.

 

If you’re a job seeker, go to this page: epiccareering.com/personal/ OR enter your information below:

This page will give you access to a one-page needs assessment form. Complete and send it to me at info@epiccareering.com along with your most recent resume. With these documents I will enable me to offer you a free résumé and campaign evaluation as well as a chance to win one-year’s worth of GOLD through a subscription to the Philadelphia business Journal, which you can purchase for $105 currently.

 

I will be accepting contestants until I reach 50, so do not delay in filling out this one page needs assessment form.

 

The winner will be announced March 8, 2014.