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8 Signs You May Be Losing Your Job Soon

8 Signs You May Be Losing Your Job Soon

There comes a time in a person’s life when a job loss, whether through company layoffs or a self-induced firing, is imminent. When you’re able to recognize that job loss looms on the horizon, there are a few things you can do to try to prevent it, such as working harder, drawing attention to your results, and bringing in revenue through referrals for your company. But how does one know where or when the ax will fall? What are some signs your boss is considering letting you go? Look for these 8 indicators that you may be losing your job soon.

1. You’re Suddenly Being Micromanaged.

You thought you worked at a “cool” company that understood micromanaging was a waste of time and employees could be more productive if left to their own devices. But out of the blue, your boss asks you to keep records of how you spend your day or requests client documents or presentations you’ve prepared in the past. This is a major indicator you’re under close review, and although the reasons could be good (you’re up for a raise? Promotion?) be wary that they could also be bad. Be especially wary if you didn’t ask for a raise or promotion and there are no open positions above you to be filled.

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2. Your Work is Being Redistributed.

If your work is suddenly being redistributed to others, it’s probably not because your boss sympathizes with your schedule and feels you’re being overextended. It doesn’t look good if someone else or several other people can handle your book of business on top of their own, and it’s difficult to justify overworking other people so you can be freed up. This action could be the company’s way of planning ahead.  They don’t want to leave your clients in the dark in the weeks that follow a firing, so they’re preparing by assigning your tasks to someone else.

3. You Don’t Feel the Pressure.

Your boss doesn’t seem to care about the quality or quantity of your work anymore, and on the days of major deadlines, he or she is nowhere to be seen or heard. Normally, they’re breathing down your neck every step of the way and demanding perfection from every nook and cranny of your capability. While it might be a relief that they’ve finally let up and have trusted you with your responsibilities, that might not be the real reason why you’re not feeling the pressure anymore.  Your boss doesn’t just stop caring out of the blue, and unless you’ve previously discussed taking on more independent responsibility, this might be a sign that you’re treading dangerous waters.

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4. You’re Not Sure What You’re Doing Anymore.

You went from managing your own portfolio and book of business to performing menial tasks or doing things that don’t generate results. Instead of working the front lines, you’re asked to step aside and work behind the scenes, and you find yourself abandoning the projects you cared about to help other people get ahead. You’re no longer the idea person and you feel you’re not being heard when you express your opinion. It’s a slippery slope and it’s possible your boss thinks you’re under-performing and testing you out in other areas to see if it’s worth keeping you at the company.

5. You’ve Made a Huge Mistake (Or Several Small Mistakes).

In corporate eyes, mistakes equal money lost. No matter how good of a relationship you have with your co-workers and superiors, a company can’t manage to hold on to someone whose poor performance threatens the profit margin. In your head you secretly blame the company for overworking you until mistakes were unavoidable; you blame your subordinates for not double checking you and your colleagues for distracting you. But in the end, all that matters is what’s on paper: your name, your mistake.

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6. Your Co-workers Treat You Differently.

With a boss holed up in an office down the hall and not always an integral part of the action, your co-workers are often the first indicator you’re not pulling your weight. They certainly wouldn’t know about a firing before you would, but they’re reactions to your work exemplifies the reaction of the company as a whole. With so much emphasis on team building in corporate culture, colleagues tend to keep mental track of who is doing well and who isn’t. They want to know who to go to for advice or assistance and who to avoid. If you’re the one they tend to avoid, it could be because they don’t trust your advice, they don’t consider you a team player, or they’re disappointed with the quality of your work.

7. Everything Has Drastically Changed.

Pulling 180s often signifies something is amiss. If a company is doing tip-top and profits are high, there would be no reason to completely change the way it’s run. But if suddenly every process is altered and the business strategy shifts, it could be a sign your company is in danger and layoffs are imminent. If you consider yourself a valuable employee and you’re hoping to make the cut, start gathering your portfolio of your best work and building a case for them to keep you. Focus on results: what have you done for the company and how can you back it up? If they’re really going under, they’re going to want to keep only the best that can possibly pull them back to the surface.

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8. You Hate Your Job.

And it shows. You don’t get along with anyone in the office, you don’t like your superiors, and you constantly complain about your duties. In this case, getting fired may be the right thing for you. Use it as an opportunity to seek out something you’d enjoy. And in the meantime, develop a sense of what it is you’d like to be doing. Take up hobbies, read, research, search the web for careers that sound interesting, volunteer, and network as much as you can.

Count Your Chickens

The best thing you can do when getting fired or laid off is to be prepared. Instead of crying and screaming in your boss’ office, ask questions. What led to this? What could you have done differently? You also want to leave a professional and positive opinion of your work in case they’re contacted by future prospective employers. Outline what you’ve done for the company that generated positive feedback from your superiors. List any projects you worked on that tracked numerical success. And lastly, thank them for the opportunity.

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Last Updated on June 2, 2020

How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter (With Examples)

How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter (With Examples)

Think of your cover letter for a job application as an in-person introduction. Your resume outlines the facts—where you worked and for how long, along with your major accomplishments. But your cover letter also shows off your personality.

Your cover letter should outline the case for why you deserve the job without being “salesy.” How do you do that? Follow these 12 important guidelines.

1. There Is No Cookie-Cutter Cover Letter for a Job

Targeting your resume to a particular job may mean changing up your “Objective” section a bit or adding to your “Executive Summary” section. Cover letters, though, really need to focus on the particular person you’re writing to, the particular job, and the particular company. It needs to prove, with an economy of words, that your job experience fits the requirements of the position for which you’re applying.

Your letter should show that you have amassed the skills you need to succeed in that workplace. And, your cover letter should clinch your prospects by making the case that you are very excited about working at that particular company.

2. Always Opt-in to the Optional Cover Letter

Some job postings will give applicants the option of opting out of providing a cover letter for a job[1]. Don’t take the bait! Use the opportunity to further sell yourself in a personalized, well-crafted cover letter that creatively shares who you are and why your skills and personality align with the position and the company. Think of your cover letter for a job as an opportunity to describe your value proposition.

3. A Reference Goes a Long Way

Did someone recommend you for the job? Put that in the subject line of your cover letter if possible. If an online listing dictates what your subject line must be, cite the personal recommendation in the first sentence of your letter:

Dear Ms. Sanders,

Steve Smith recommended me for your Assistant Planner position. I worked with Steve at the XYZ company for four years as his assistant until he moved on, and I feel as though I learned from the best.  His high praise for you is the primary reason I am applying for this position, as I consider him an excellent judge of character. 

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You may want to bolster Steve’s recommendation with a short anecdote about working with Steve. Don’t be shy. Steve’s high opinion of you will likely mean that your resume gets a serious look.

4. Outline the Key Points You Want to Make

Company by company, your cover letter for a job application needs to be specific and bulletproof. Unless you have a great deal of practice in writing cover letters, it’s hard to just bang them out. So don’t even try. Instead, start with a list of points you intend to make. Generally, these would be a “grabby” introduction, a story or two about a particular accomplishment that is relevant to the job to which you are applying, a reason why you are the ideal candidate for the position, and a conclusion with a suggested next step.

  1. Intro – Have been familiar with the company since my father worked there in the 1980s.
  2. College Major – Majored in industrial engineering so I could get a job at CYY Building, Inc.
  3. Captain of Soccer Team – Prepared me to solve problems, promote morale, and coach a team.
  4. Ask for Informational Interview – 15 minutes to meet in person and learn more about opportunities.
  5. Compelling Close – Ask Hiring Manager to call me. Say I will call her in a week if I don’t hear from her first.

5. Moderating the Tone of Your Cover Letter

Some companies are buttoned-up. The workers wear three-piece suits to the office each day plus loafers. Other companies are more casual. The employees wear shorts in the summertime and skateboard through the hallways. In an in-person interview, you would never wear shorts to a company whose employees are sporting three-piece suits.

Similarly, your cover letter needs to strike the right note. The letter you write to a start-up should sound markedly different than the letter you would write to a white-shoe law firm.

For example, even using something as informal as “Greetings” for the salutation may not be appropriate at a more formal firm. And definitely don’t use the default “To Whom It May Concern.” Instead, try to find the name of the hiring manager with an online search. If that’s not possible, you will want to begin with “Dear XYZ Hiring Manager.” The tone of your cover letter for a job starts at the very beginning.

6. Create an Attention-Grabbing Opening Line

Think of going to hear a presentation by a motivational speaker, only to have her open with, “I’m here today to present (fill in with title of the presentation).” What a let down! What if instead, she started with, “I just ran a half marathon. Now doesn’t that sound better than if I told you, ‘I tried to run a marathon but quit half-way through?’” See the difference? You want to hear more.

Craft the first line of your cover letter with the utmost care. It doesn’t need to be clever, but it needs to show your personality and your fit for the position.

Dear Mr. Stevens,

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I am committed to making the customer service experience better for people like my grandmother. At 87 years old, my Gram is lost in the digital world and reliant on customer service representatives she can reach by telephone to answer her questions and solve her problems. She regularly shares stories of frustrating dead-ends she experiences with people wanting her to “go online and make your selection.”  Yet, whenever she reaches someone willing to take the extra time to resolve her issue, she sings the company’s praises to everyone she knows. Based on Gram’s frustrations, I want to be that person who won’t give up or pass the buck with bewildered customers.  

With a strong, anecdotal opening such as this, you show purpose and passion behind your application to be a customer service representative.

7. Recognize the Value of Cover Letter Real Estate

Spare writing is key in the cover letter for a job. It is always best if your letter doesn’t exceed a page. Those reviewing applications appreciate a letter that is terse, yet provides useful information to evaluate an applicant. This means you have five to six paragraphs in which to work.

Repeating anything from your resume is a waste of real estate. Think in terms of describing why you are applying for the position and why you are the best candidate.

To best show your personality, avoid stale phrases such as, “I believe my experience would be a good fit in your organization.” Add punch to your statements that show off your accomplishments and your attitude.

I thrive in start-up environments where I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and to make changes on the fly. In one such instance, I uncovered better results from a pilot project and in under 30 minutes had updated the CEO’s presentation in time for his meeting with a venture capitalist.

8. Getting Creative

On the surface, a requirement is a requirement. Many online ads specify the number of years, and you might think they are ironclad. But if you count the number of years you amassed a particular skill at the job and add any volunteer work where you also used that skill, you might surpass the requirement.

Say that you are applying for a position in fund development. If your career experience in putting on charity fundraisers falls a little short, it’s certainly appropriate to add in time spent organizing fundraising events as a volunteer—as long as you indicate it as such in your cover letter for the job.

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I recently passed my two and a half year mark of employment as a fund development associate with Notable Events. Concurrently, I oversaw all aspects of two annual fundraising galas as a volunteer board member of Reach for the Stars Foundation, offering scholarships to first-generation college-bound students. These involved finding sponsors for more than 70 silent auction items, renting event space, working with caterers, recruiting volunteers and MC-ing both events, which each drew more than 200 attendees and, together, raised more than $250,000. I believe this intensive hands-on experience helps supplement my years of employment.

Showcasing your community ethos through volunteering could make up for the deficit in actual on-the-job experience.

9. Making the Case that You Fit

How will you fit in at the company? With some research, you can easily figure out the corporate culture of an organization. Many companies share their core values in job recruitment ads. But even if you can’t discern a company’s mission or beliefs from its advertising, you can learn it from articles you read about the company.

Is it employer-centric or employee-centric? Is the culture more traditional or more fun? And what are you looking for? When you find a company where your needs align with theirs, that’s an indication that you would fit in well. Take care to make sure that your cover letter reflects how you fit.

If you are a recent military veteran[2], consider which civilian positions lend themselves to the regimented culture of which you’ve become accustomed. For example, your occupational specialty while in the military could dovetail well with a company’s job requirements—and you have the added benefit of discipline, following instructions, and teamwork that you can apply to any future position.

10. Always Ask for What You’re Worth

If the employer asks applicants to share their salary requirements in the cover letter for a job, disregard what you made in your former position and look into the salary ranges[3] of the advertised position. You will want to adjust up or down within the salary range depending on your prior experience in the industry or in a similar role.

The key is to not undercut yourself by asking below the minimum amount, or to overinflate your worth by asking for an amount higher than the maximum pay in the salary range.

11. Show Your Cover Letter to Three People Whose Opinion You Trust

Once your letter is out in the world, it’s too late to tweak it for that particular job. You will dramatically improve your chances of having your cover letter “land” correctly if you’re proactive. Find a few people in the field, and ask them if you can show them your cover letter before you send it out.

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If you are starting out and don’t know anyone in the field, you may want to consider paying for a professional career consultant or coach to review your cover letter and resume. Remember that the care you demonstrate in your cover letter is that employer’s first impression of you.

12. End With Enthusiasm

You want to stay upbeat all the way to the end of the letter. Let the reviewer know that you appreciate the opportunity to apply and that you look forward to hearing from (or having a chance to meet with) them in person.

It would be an honor to be part of your team, and I hope to have an opportunity to discuss this role and how I could contribute to it in person.

This acknowledges that the organization gets to make the next move, but that you anticipate it will be in your favor.

Sign off formally (“Sincerely” or “Best regards”) or informally (“Best” or “Thank you”) depending on the tone of the letter. Also, be sure to include your email address and phone number under your name. This ensures that, should the reviewer wish to contact you, the contact information is easily accessible.

Final Thoughts

The best cover letters for a job are lively, authentic, and provide a memorable result, anecdote or example of your approach to work. By tying your approach to the requirements of the job description and revealing your personality as a fit for the organization, you will give yourself a winning chance for making the cut and landing that coveted job interview.

More Tips on Writing a Great Cover Letter

Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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