"The door of opportunity is wide open if you are prepared." Anonymous 

What would you do if you were laid off today? That's not the kind of question you probably want to contemplate, is it? The reality, however, is that in today's job market you need to prepare for the unexpected. The good news is that developing a game plan for making a career transition will very likely help you in your current job, as well.  In addition, knowing that you are ready for whatever comes your way will give you a sense of confidence and peace of mind, which are invaluable assets in turbulent times.

Here are five steps for being prepared in case of job loss:

1.  Determine your next job target. If you were to be laid off, what would you want to do next? While you are still employed, spend time going through a career planning process. Take a fresh look at your skills, interests, values, etc.  Take time exploring job options that fit your design. Develop an action plan for getting from where you are to where you want to go. (For more information, see "Career Master Planning: How to Find Work You Love to Do.")

2.  Update your resume.  Develop a resume for the job position you have targeted. Decide whether a chronological or functional format will best represent your skills and experience for this position. Have others review your new resume; ask them to give you feedback as to how you can best "showcase" your abilities and background for this type of work.  Use our resume quiz to evaluate the effectiveness of your resume.   Many people benefit greatly from getting professional assistance in writing a resume.

3. Get your financial affairs in order. While this is important at any time, getting control of your finances is an especially important part of being prepared for an unexpected job loss. Cut back on your spending; create an emergency savings fund of 3-6 months (or longer) of expenses; develop a "bare bones" budget that you could live on if you were to be out of work for a period of time. For more help in this area, see books and courses by Dave Ramsey or Crown Financial Ministries.

4. Create your "personal brand" and contact channels. Set up a personal email account (not connected with your employer) for private business communication; get your own cell phone, if you don't already have one; and, create a personal business card with your personal contact information on it. Increase your external networking in person and online. Attend professional association or business organization meetings. Set up profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn. Register your name as a domain name (about $10/year) even if you don't plan to use it immediately. In the future, it will likely be the key asset in establishing your personal brand for job hunting and career development.  

5. Engage in spiritual disciplines. God is sovereign over the past, present and future. Stay connected with the Source of truth, power and guidance through prayer, Bible study, worship and fellowship. God loves you and has created you for a purpose. Nothing that happens to you is a surprise to Him; He is fully prepared, capable and willing to sustain you through whatever comes your way. If you focus on Him (instead of your circumstances) you not only will survive, but thrive!

November 11. 2009


Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck are the authors of Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in LifeAs National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling Coaches, they are recognized experts in helping people identify their giftedness and find their purpose in life. If you are interested in career coaching and testing to discover work that fits your God-given design; or would like assistance with writing a powerful resume, interviewing effectively, finding job openings, or other aspects of a successful job search, you can schedule a free consultation session at www.ChristianCareerCenter.com.