How to Be Prepared for a RIF or Layoff

If you are concerned that your company might be planning a RIF or layoff, your best course of action is to be prepared.  That’s the recommendation Quest Outplacement, a nationwide provider of outplacement services.

According to Quest Outplacement, employees often see warning signs that their jobs may be at risk.

Warning signs of a RIF or layoff

Such signs could include poor company performance, earlier rounds of layoffs, conflicts with their manager, increased manager intervention and involvement, and poor performance reviews. Employees see the signs, but aren’t as proactive as they should be in looking out for their future. 

Here are tips for being prepared for a RIF or layoff.

Create your resume 

Start complying a list of your accomplishments in your present job.  In particular, focus on quantifiable achievements. 

Bring home a copy of the position description your human resources department has developed for your job.  Use this position description to check the content of your resume. 

If you need help, get it from the internet, resume writing books, or a professional resume writer.

Compile a portfolio 

Make copies of positive letters you have received from customers and letters of recognition you have received from your employer. 

If you have a job where you create materials that are not company confidential such as brochures or operating manuals, make copies of your work to show to potential employers during future job interviews.

Develop your reference list

Contact the people you would like to use as references to ask their permission to be used as a reference.  Obtain their current contact information and type up your reference list.

Check job postings

See what the market need is for someone with your background and experience. 

Consider applying for jobs now if the market is weak and you feel the probability of being laid off in the near future is high. 

Also use job postings as a means of checking the content of your resume to see if you omitted key points or focused on items that aren’t being emphasized by employers.

Sign up for a personal e-mail account

Include this personal e-mail address on your resume rather than your business e-mail address. 

If you lose your job, your business e-mail account will no longer be valid. 

If you decide to pursue a new job while still employed, use your personal e-mail account to transmit your resume to employers.  

Research outplacement services

Outplacement services are career transition services that employers pay for to help you with your job search. 

To be prepared in case of a layoff, research the services provided by various outplacement firms to determine what would be of most value to you. 

Would you want an outplacement firm that would write your resume and cover letter for you?  Do you value one-on-one time with a career transition consultant?  Or are you interested in attending group workshops to learn how to prepare your own marketing materials? 

If you are laid off, be prepared to negotiate for the outplacement services that you feel will benefit you.  The best time to negotiate is when you have the most leverage, prior to signing your separation letter.

Ask for a letter of recommendation

If you are laid off, ask for a letter of recommendation from your former employer.  Reach agreement with your employer on this request prior to signing your separation letter. 

Negotiate your severance package  

If you are downsized, negotiate the terms of the severance package you are offered. 

Again, the best time to negotiate is when you have the most leverage, prior to signing your separation letter. 

By following these tips, you can prepare yourself to recover as quickly as possible should you be laid off.

For more information about outplacement services, visit Quest Outplacement, send an email to, or call toll free at 888-430-2637.

About Quest Outplacement:

For over 20 years, Quest Outplacement has helped job seekers successfully manage career transitions.  Quest provides one-on-one outplacement services at a price point below many group seminar outplacement options, enabling employers to make the benefits of personalized career transition services available to all displaced employees within their organization rather than limiting availability to the executive level. 

To receive via e-mail a brochure summarizing the outplacement programs Quest Outplacement provides including pricing information, send an e-mail to:



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