Worried About Layoffs? 5 Steps to Help Reduce Anxiety and Prepare for Your Next Career Move


By Jamy J. Sullivan, JD, Robert Half


Recent layoffs at well-known law firms have made me anxious about my job security. While I haven’t seen any signs of possible downsizing at my firm, how can I be prepared? 



Even if your firm is in a strong position, it’s always good practice to be ready for your next move. Whether you are looking to switch employers or just want to be prepared, here are five tips to help you stay on top of your career game. 

 1. Keep your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile updated 

This means more than just updating information like work experience and education. Make sure these documents reflect the skills you have acquired over the years, as well as any awards or accolades you have received. Your LinkedIn profile can be somewhat warmer and more informal than your resume and cover letter, but make sure it’s updated with the same information so potential employers can easily access in one place all the data they need to make a decision. 

 2. Nurture your network

If you haven’t maintained contact with former colleagues and other professionals, now’s the time to reinforce that network. Never stop growing relationships, especially with people who’ve helped you before. And offer to help them out as well, whether in a job search or in other areas where they may need assistance.  

3. Set aside emergency savings

Even exemplary employees can be laid off without warning, so having an emergency fund can give you peace of mind. Setting aside even small amounts every month will add up over time. Having money saved up will help pay bills while you search for another job and establish a new income stream after landing a new position.

4. Think strategically

Consider where you’d like to be in one, two or maybe even five years from now and start planning how to get there. Research the skills or qualifications you will need to succeed in a related role or new line of work and prepare yourself by taking courses or doing pro bono work that could give you an edge when applying for these positions down the line. 

5. Grow your skill set

Laws are ever-changing, so a great legal professional never stops learning. Continuing legal education courses, such as those offered by professional associations and law schools, allows you to expand your knowledge about niche areas of law. Additionally, job shadowing or joining more experienced attorneys for an apprenticeship can give an inside track on how to succeed in different practice areas. 

Preparing for a potential layoff doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With thoughtful reflection and strategic planning, you can reduce your stress level and always be ready for your next career move. 

Jamy J. Sullivan is executive director of the legal practice at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions firm. Robert Half offers contract, temporary and permanent placement solutions, and is the parent company of Protiviti®, a global consulting firm. Visit RobertHalf.com.