The thought of losing your job might be the furthest thing from your mind. That is normal! We tend to spend more time thinking about what we need to do to get ahead in our careers than what we need to do after getting knocked down. And that is a good thing! You shouldn’t worry about something that might never come to pass. That being said, if that day does come, you want to be prepared for a job loss.
A job loss can be devastating if you don’t have certain safety nets in place. How long could you survive without a paycheck? How long do you think it would take you to find a new job? Or maybe you think you are immune to the possibility because you are invincible! Preparing for a possible job loss is not anything anyone wants to think about. However, it is a practical event worth think about. Have you heard that saying, “Plan for the worst. But expect the best.”? In this article I am going to layout a preparation plan that hopefully you will never have to use. I promise, it will make you feel a whole lot better.
We couldn’t cover every possible angle on dealing with a job loss in just one post! This article is part of a 6 part Fashionable Career Reboot blog series. If you want to learn more about how to make the most out of a job loss, you can read the entire series by going to the bottom of this page and clicking on the article you are interested in. If you know someone else who would be interested in this article or blog series please feel free to share! You can also join the conversation on our Facebook group called PickGlass Fashionable Careers. See you there!
Have An Emergency Fund In Place
The most obvious concern when dealing with a termination of employment is the loss of income. Did you know that most American’s don’t have enough in savings to last them longer than one pay period loss? That is a scary thought!
It is a good idea to have between 3-6 months of expenses saved in an emergency fund. This can be a tall order, especially if you are just starting out in your career.
In order to accomplish this first goal I recommend setting aside a certain amount of money each pay period in a separate account that you can not easily access. Setting up automatic transfers from accounts is a great idea. The sooner the money is out of your checking account the better because you won’t be tempted to spend what you don’t have.
Having an emergency fund will do more than give you peace of mind during a time of crisis. It also allows you to make better decisions about your next steps. With money in the bank you will be less tempted to accept a low ball offer from an ok job prospect rather than hold out for a job you really feel passionate about. People make rash decisions when they feel like they don’t have options.
Keep Your Portfolio Up To Date
Even if you love the company you work for, and have no plans to look elsewhere, it is always a good idea to keep your portfolio up to date. For one thing, it is a lot easier to update your body of work as you go along when it is fresh in your mind rather than trying to piece it together at the last minute.
Keeping your portfolio fresh has another good reason. You never know when a new opportunity might present itself and you want to be able to pounce! Don’t lose out on an opportunity just because you don’t have time to put together examples of your work in a timely manner.
If you are a designer, you probably work on two to four seasons a year. When you finish a collection, set aside a week or a weekend to pull your work together and upload it to your online portfolio website. Doing this twice a year is the bare minimum for proper refreshing. By regularly keeping your portfolio fresh makes it easy for people to see your abilities and come to you with new opportunities.
Please note that you should never upload examples of your work if it is not yet public knowledge. Meaning, if you design for a company you cannot show that work until it is within the public domain or produced and on the sales floor. However, if you designed something that never got produced it is fair game!
Keep Your Profile Refreshed
LinkedIn is by far the most important tool you can use to advance your career and market your skills. That’s because first impressions have gone digital! People are learning about you online before they ever meet you in person. If you apply for a job, the first place the hiring manager is going to go is look up your LinkedIn profile. Even if they begin their online search about you on Google, they’ll likely end up at your LinkedIn profile because it shows up at the top of your results – usually in one of the top three spots.
What is even crazier is that now days LinkedIn is like your secret weapon. It helps recruiters, and potential employers find YOU without you even having to lift a finger. You don’t even have to apply for a job! They will seek you out if you have the right keywords in your profile.
Spending one hour a couple times a year updating your profile with any relevant information about projects you have worked on or accomplishment worth highlighting is all you need to do.
These three simple steps will keep your stress level down and give you peace of mind. You should only have to spend a few hours a couple times a year to be prepared for anything that comes your way. You will be able to quickly react when things go sideways or when new opportunities arise.
Fashionable Career Reboot Series
If you found this article helpful, or know someone who would, I encourage you to read and share the entire Fashionable Career Reboot Series. It covers everything you need to know about making the most out of a job loss. You can read and share the entire series here:
- How To Respond When A Coworker Is Laid Off
- 3 Simple Steps To Prepare For A Job Loss
- What You Can Expect From A Severance Package
- Five Reasons To Keep In Contact With Ex-Coworkers