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Five Signs You May Get Laid Off

Anyone who thought the job market was getting back to normal received a nasty shock on Monday when Goldman Sachs laid off approximately 50 people, many of them managing directors. These and other layoffs may have caused some people to wonder if they might be the next ones on the chopping block.

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CNBC.com spoke with human resource experts to find out the five tell-tale signs that you may need to update your resume.

1. Mergers. According to career coach Cheryl Palmer, mergers that result in duplicated job functions can spell trouble. “If you have a position that has a counterpart in the acquiring company, your job could be very much in danger,” she told CNBC.com in an e-mail. “Generally speaking, the acquiring company will eliminate duplicate positions.”

2. Passed Over for Promotion. Fred Cooper of Compass HR Consulting told CNBC.com that if “you are passed over for an internal promotion where your qualifications (not just seniority and longevity) are in fact greater than those of the one selected,” then the powers that be may have already decided that you’re on the way out.

3. Sharing Your Files. “A tell-tale sign you are going to be laid off is being asked to share your files, and update another team member on all of your projects," Debby Carreau of Inspired HR told CNBC.com. “If you are asked for passwords, client lists and contact information, this is further evidence the organization is preparing to have someone backfill your position.”

4. “Special” Projects. Fred Cooper told CNBC.com that if you’re assigned to a short-term project that has little — or nothing — to do with your regular job, then you have good reason to be wary. “When completed, you may not have a job waiting for you,” he said. “Even long-term special projects have similar risks associated with being assigned that ‘honor’.”

5. There’s a Computer That Can Do That. Palmer said that any job that can be automated is a dicey proposition for the human being that’s currently performing it. “If the type of work that you do can be done by a machine instead of a person, you may need to look for another type of job,” she said bluntly. “It's usually just a matter of time before your company decides that a machine can do your job for less money.”

Luckily, there are some things you can do that can help you survive a human resources bloodbath. According to Morgan Norman, co-founder and CEO of the WorkSimple social performance application, “requesting real-time feedback, documenting and tracking your goals, sharing your work socially, and building a visual portfolio of your accomplishments are all ways you can prove that you're an asset to the company and not someone who should be handed a pink slip.”

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