Layoffs Coming? Prepare Now!

If the possibility of getting laid off is keeping you up at night, here are some ways to get ready and ease your mind.

Be prepared

Dust off your resume. Even if layoffs are not an issue, we recommend keeping your resume up to date!

  • Take your home address off, that’s passe.
  • Incorporate new experiences, responsibilities, and skills.
  • Reread what is already in your resume and see what you can delete.
  • Consider having multiple versions of your resume for different types of roles. Ask yourself: “Does my resume tell my story effectively?”


  • Which experiences are you choosing to highlight?
  • Would it help to re-order transactions to highlight the most relevant ones?
  • How much space do you give each experience on the page?
    • Dedicate more space to recent work. Consider cutting education bullets or minimizing early work experience.
    • If you have several different transactions to highlight, think about having a one page resume and a separate transaction list.
  • Include volunteer experiences in your Interests section and not in your professional experience section. Employers want to know that they will be your top priority.

Pro Tip: Treat your resume like a living document. Each time you close a deal or add new responsibility, update your resume. When you’re ready to make a move, your resume will be too.

So, you were laid off…What’s next?

Take a breath – remember that this is structural, not personal. You still have a promising career ahead.

Ask your employer about references and find out what reason the company will provide for your departure to anyone who asks. Some employers have a “no references” policy. In that case, find a few people who would be willing to speak off the record.

  • Other tips: Find out about severance and outplacement services. Some companies only provide this to more senior staff but ask!

If you were laid off because you were at the bottom of your class:

  • Ask yourself if the work was right for you. Did you focus on activities that were not your team’s top priority? Maybe a different type of job or different kind of company will be a better fit.
  • Use this time for self-improvement: Do some honest self-reflection on where you underperformed your peers: Modeling skills? Presentation skills? Managing time and expectations? Do you need to develop your soft skills? Then speak to what you’ve learned and how you’ve improved.

Pro Tip: Practice telling your story, including your layoff circumstances, for future interviews. Many talented people have been laid off more than once, and there is no reason to hide it. The more comfortable you are with your professional story so far – all of it – the better you will interview.

Finding your next role

Let everyone know that you are recruiting – post it on LinkedIn, share with your former colleagues, friends, and other people in your network.

Think about your “must-haves” for your next job, as well as your “never-agains.” What is most important to you and how you do your best work?

Schedule coffees with contacts who can help you. Find out when you can check back with them. Send a thank you note afterwards. Going forward, share articles or other useful tips. Make it a two-way street so that they will continue to want to help you with your search!

Keep your efforts organized. Figure out what systems work for you to track meetings, prep work, and your communication with contacts (including follow ups). Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Make the most of calendar tools
    • Color code appointments for different types of meetings and interviews (coffee chats vs. screener calls vs. 1st, 2nd round interviews vs. case studies)
    • Set reminders to send thank you notes after interviews and coffees
  • Maintain an Excel sheet with your contacts to track conversations and follow up including thank you notes to recruiters and interviewers. Note which version of your resume you shared with each job and contact.
  • Consider keeping starter templates for correspondence, so outreach is less daunting and more efficient

Be well prepared for interviews – you can start here:

These are best practices for a job search in any environment: Keep your resume up to date, practice self-reflection, nurture your network, and pay it forward. Lay-off environments come and go. Careers and reputations span decades.

Questions or feedback about this post? Suggestions for future articles? Connect with us on LinkedIn!