Last Sunday The San Francisco Chronicle ran a piece, Preparing for the Pink Slip, by Richard Berman. Richard quoted me in the article "...it's always better to update your resume when you're working rather than after you've been laid off because you will be writing from a position of strength."
If you think a layoff is headed your way, update your resume now for the following reasons:
- Your mindset will be more positive, enabling you to see and write about your experience at the company in terms of achievements. Once you get the pink slip, your attitude toward the company and your time there might sour, making it hard for you to write strong statements about your good work. Often a person feels they were chosen for a layoff because of their individual performance, when usually it's due to things beyond the person's control, such as a slowed economy, poor executive decisions, or outsourcing.
- You'll have access to records that can help you quantify the achievements you put on your resume. For example, what percent increase in revenue you generated; exactly how many people you managed on that national project; or how many widgets you processed each day. I've worked with many job seekers who, after leaving their companies, couldn't remember details of accomplishments, which would have strengthened their resumes tremendously.
Before your last day on the job, be sure to ask for a letter of recommendation from your supervisor. Also ask if he or she would serve as a reference for you in the future. If the answer is "Yes," ask if you may have his personal contact information in case his employment situation also changes.