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You're scared of getting the axe. What to do if you think you're next

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One thing the coronavirus outbreak has made super clear: We are all connected.

So while you might think your job is safe, consider how your field is tied to other industries, says Amanda Augustine, a certified professional resume writer and career coach at TopResume.

Right in the firing line are jobs in hospitality, the airline industry, and bars and restaurants. But writers who cover those beats and public relations firms that service those clients are also vulnerable to the financial impact when those companies suffer.

"Everyone should be on high alert, regardless of profession," Augustine said.

These five projects can give you a mental as well as professional boost, instead of worrying about something that may or may not happen.

1. Learn something

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Continuing education can be expensive for many professional designations and fields, says Claire Bissot, managing director of CBIZ Human Resources Services in Roanoke, Virginia.

Right now, many organizations are offering free training, especially welcome if you don't have a salary.

If you don't belong to a professional group, many other sites have no-cost webinars on subjects ranging from crisis communication and HR topics to cybersecurity, job-hunting and remote work.

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2. Career change-up

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Networking could lead to new goals.

Have some informal chats with people in a desired field and tell them you want the good, the bad and the ugly, Augustine says. If you want to follow that new career path, see how you can fill in any skill gaps.

"Everyone is looking for a human connection," Augustine said. "Take this as an opportunity to reach out and connect, whether you're exploring a different path or a different company."

3. Detective work

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To figure out how your company is doing, try some sleuthing based on metrics, customers and site visits — if your company is transparent about numbers. See if it is advertising less or furloughing employees.

 "How capable is your business at operating remotely?" Augustine said. "Hope for the best but prepare for the worst." 

4. Raise your profile

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"If you're looking to make a major change, re-evaluate your personal marketing materials," Augustine said. That's your LinkedIn profile, cover letter and resume: the many ways you advertise your skills and candidacy on paper, online and in person.

Weigh everything against the position you want, then highlight the skills and experience most valuable to prospective employers. Ruthlessly edit past jobs and expertise so you can tell the right career narrative, Augustine says. Since it's often free, you may as well request a resume review from an online service.

Google your name to see what pops up about you to manage your online presence. In fact, Augustine says, set up a Google News Alert for your name to help keep an eye on your professional brand.

5. Think long-term

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Now could be an ideal time to come up with a five- or 10-year plan.

"You need a new direction," Bissot said. "Develop new goals and start researching the best way to take the MCAT or the LSAT, for example."

Bissot recommends reading up on topics as if you're back in college. "Nothing bad is going to come from getting new and creative ideas," she said.

Once you've got a direction in mind, create weekly and monthly goals to help you stay on track. "If you stay focused on the future, you will survive this," Bissot said.

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