What you don’t know about your employer (or a potential employer) can hurt you badly! Being uninformed today is a dangerous habit. Companies go out of business or have layoffs.
If you are employed, stay informed about what is being published on the web about your employer. Use that information for career management and for financial self defense. If your employer seems to be having a tough time, start thinking about moving on to another employer. Read Job-Hunt’s Layoff Self-Defense ebook for suggestions about how to prepare to move on.
If you are unemployed, stay informed about potential employers so you can avoid pursuing employment with an employer who may stop hiring or may offer short-term employment.
Below, find 50 search queries in 5 categories of information that can be strong indicators of pending layoffs.
Using Google Search
Millions of business opportunities and threats happen all the time. Fortunately, it is easy to be well-informed today than ever, with technology (aka, Google).
Discover the bad news, or just speculation, about your employer so you can help address the problems, avoid moving into a group that is failing, or move out of a bad situation (the employer as a whole or a vulnerable part of it).
Most Google searches are automatically “Everything” searches, but you will find the “News” searches to be more helpful for these searches. news.google.com is a great starting point!
Read the Google-izing Your Job Search article for useful tips on using Google search syntax, and learn the trick about using dots (periods) between elements of a phrase rather than quotation marks, as in some of the examples below.
Finding the Bad News
Try these Google searches. Some will work better for you than others, and some may not be appropriate for your situation. Use the search results you get to refine your search until most of what you get is best for your situation.
Note: Copy the search strings below for your searches. Replace the brackes and the words enclosed inside the brackets with the term described inside the brackets.
1. Restructuring or closure of a plant or office
Try these searches to find information about part of a company shutting down, which usually means that jobs will be lost -
- restructuring [company.name]
- “reduction in force” [company.name]
- “down-sizing” OR downsizing [company.name]
- “right-sizing” OR rightsizing [company.name]
- “head count reduction” OR “headcount reduction” [company.name]
- “layoff pending” [company.name]
- “layoff planned” [company.name]
- “reduction in head count” OR “reduction in headcount” [company.name]
- “moving production” [company.name]
- “halting production” [company.name]
- “ending production” [company.name]
- “stopping production” [company.name]
- “plant closing” [company.name]
- “office closing” [company.name]
- “branch closing” [company.name]
- “shutting down” [company.name]
- “consolidating operations” [company.name]
- ending [company.name]
- closing [company name]
2. Drop in sales or revenue
Try these searches to find information about sales or revenue going down, which may lead to layoffs to reduce expenses -
- “sales drop” [company.name]
- “reduction in sales” [company.name]
- “earnings drop” [company.name]
- “revenue dropping” [company.name]
- “negative revenue” forecast [company.name]
- “negative outlook” [company.name]
- “negative sales forecast” [company.name]
- “negative revenue forecast” [company.name]
3. Product or service discontinued
Try these searches to find information about products or services being discontinued because the people responsible for producing those products or providing those services may no longer be needed -
- “production discontinued” [company.name]
- “production ending” [company.name]
- “ending production” [company.name]
- “will cease production” [product.name] [company.name]
- “production ends” [product.name] [company.name]
- “line closing” [product.name] [company.name]
- discontinued [product.name] [company.name]
- “no longer available” [product.name] [company.name]
4. Employer being sold
When a business is purchased by another business, the company doing the purchasing may eliminate jobs in the acquired company that are already being handled by their current employees. For example, two complete financial staffs may not be needed, so some employees of the acquired company may be laid off. Occasionally, employees in the acquiring company lose their jobs.
Try these searches for news about the employer being sold -
- “on the market” [company.name]
- “looking to be acquired” [company.name]
- “hoping to be acquired” [company.name]
- “purchase pending” [company.name]
- “pending purchase” [company.name]
- “pending sale” [company.name]
- “sale pending” [company.name]
5. Executive or senior manager leaving
When senior executives quit unexpectedly, it may be a sign of turmoil in senior management, and that turmoil may signal the beginning of a decline. Or it may just be the change of one individual’s career. Pay attention if more than one executive seems to leave unexpectedly.
Try these searches to find news about executives leaving. Replace [executive.name] with the names of the members of top management, and also your manager and the managers up the chain from your manager to the top -
- resigned [executive.name] [company.name]
- “resigned unexpectedly” [executive.name] [company.name]
- departed [executive.name] [company.name]
- “departure announced” [executive.name] [company.name]
- “departure announced” [company.name]
- resigned [company.name]
- “resigned unexpectedly” [company.name]
- fired [executive.name] [company.name]
Once you have refined the searches and figured out which work the best for you, set up Google Alerts for the searches that seem the most productive for you. Google will email the results to you or send them to your RSS feed reader.
Read the Setting Up Google Alerts article for details on how to use Google Alerts.
Often a strong or smart employer can overcome bad luck or a change in the economy and survive successfully for many more years. Both Google and Microsoft have had layoffs in the past few years, for example. But, sometimes bad luck or a bad strategy becomes a death spiral, so smart employees pay attention.
© Copyright, 2011, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased Job-Hunt.org, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.