The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis has hit workers, especially those in service industries, hard. As the effects trickle down, more businesses are implementing hiring freezes, furloughs, and layoffs to stay afloat. So, how can you tell if you’re in danger of being laid off? And what can you do now to prepare?

Below, you’ll find 8 common precursors to a layoff plus some tips on how to prepare your resume and network in the case that you lose your job.

8 Signs that a Layoff May be Coming

Without being explicitly told, it’s impossible to know for certain if you will be laid off. These are strange times, and many businesses are shifting resources and shaking up normal meeting schedules to ensure the company stays alive. The best thing you can do is request transparency and frequent updates from leadership. If you’re not receiving honest status reports from above, you might look for the signs below to help prepare yourself.

1. You work in a hard-hit industry

Many of the hardest hit industries have already laid off their employees. However, some businesses have been able to transition to a work-from-home environment temporarily. This may not be a viable longterm solution for brick-and-mortar businesses or for companies who serve these types of businesses.

2. Similar companies have begun laying off employees

If competitors are implementing layoffs, there’s a good chance your company may be forced to do the same. Of course there are exceptions. Competitors don’t necessarily share the same business models or financial status. There are many variables involved. But if competitors are laying off employees, you might request a transparent status report from leadership.

3. Sales are down

When a company’s sales tank, layoffs may follow. Some businesses have enough padding to get through a drought but others rely on steady sales to operate.

4. Nonessential spending has been cut

If your company is dropping vendors and cutting off resources, that could be a sign that personnel is next to go. However, it could also mean that leadership is doing what they can to avoid layoffs.

5. You’ve been left out of company meetings or other communications

If you’re not receiving company-wide or department-wide communications, it could mean the company is working out ways to operate without you. In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s more likely others will be in the same boat. Keep an eye out for cancelled meetings and inconsistent communication.

6. Communication has all but shut down

Leaders know that their team members are anxious right now and many are making efforts to keep their employees informed about where the business stands. But it can be hard to be the bearer of constant bad news, and no leaders want their team members to feel anxious. If you’re not hearing anything about the health of the company, that may be a sign that layoffs are coming soon.

7. Managers are holding more closed-door meetings

Management-only meetings are commonplace and usually have a regular cadence. If you begin noticing increased manager meetings that don’t seem to follow a schedule, it could be because leaders are trying to decipher who’s essential and who can be let go—among other things. Not necessarily, but maybe.

8. Responsibilities are being taken away from you

Seeing your tasks assigned to someone else is perhaps the most ominous indication that a layoff is coming. If you find you suddenly have lots of time on your hands while co-workers are overloaded, it could be because the company is testing out how things would run without your position.

How to Prepare for a Potential Layoff

The nature of our current situation may have you worried about losing your job. It’s certainly within your rights to request transparency from upper management about the company’s status. But even if you’re left in the dark, it won’t hurt to prepare. In fact, preparation can ease anxiety in these uncertain times.

Here are some things you can do now that will help you land a job faster in the event of a layoff:

Upgrade your resume. Whether you last updated your resume a week ago or a decade ago, there’s probably something you can improve. Check out these resources:

Optimize your LinkedIn profile. You may have neglected your LinkedIn game, but there’s no time like now to log back in and update your profile.

These articles can help:

Engage online and begin networking. Many people will be monitoring job boards and submitting applications right now. That’s why networking is now more important that ever. Reach out to old colleagues and share helpful content online.

Some helpful resources:

Follow the experts and learn from the experiences of others. Job search experts, journalists, leaders, and previously laid off workers are sharing wonderful advice online.

Check out these articles:

The fear of being laid off is difficult. We hope this these resources can give you a little peace of mind in these uncertain times.

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