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What to do if you have been made redundant

Recently been made redundant? Your next steps in getting a new job

Getting made redundant can be a huge shock. For most people, it’s one of the scariest challenges they face in their professional lives. However, as difficult as it may seem, real positives can be taken from the situation if you look at it as a chance to re-evaluate your career goals, put an effective plan in place and look for a suitable new challenge.

Your actions following a redundancy have the potential to significantly influence your post-dismissal career. Regardless of whether you put your hand up for a voluntary redundancy or have experienced a forced redundancy, you have two choices: you can either focus on what has happened, which could stop you moving forward as it’s out of your control, or you can let go of the negative emotions you feel and focus instead on planning for your future – which you can control.

Put your fears to rest

First and foremost, don’t doubt yourself during this time. Remember that you were not made redundant because of your performance and it is never an easy decision for an organisation to let an employee go. The decision was made on commercial grounds at this point in time and is not a personal reflection of you, your skills or the value you’ve added to the organisation during your tenure.

It's sometimes natural to worry that employers may be sceptical about hiring someone who has experienced a redundancy. But there is very little stigma attached to a redundancy these days and many people have been through this experience themselves. Ultimately, it’s far better to have one redundancy on your CV than two short-term jobs that you left of your own accord.

So, remain positive and be sure of your ability to make a difference. In this way, you’ll approach your job search and an interview with a positive and confident attitude.

What’s next?

After being made redundant, it’s important to put a survival plan in place. Here are 12 tips to help you though your transition and back into a new job:

1. Act now.

Following your dismissal, you may be tempted to sit back and relax, but it is important to set a precedent for how you’ll spend this time between jobs. While you’ll understandably want to take a few days to get yourself into a good headspace, you should then begin looking for your next job. Don’t let days of idleness stretch into weeks. You don’t know what opportunities are available unless you start looking, so take action as soon as possible.

2. Set a routine.

It can be challenging for those made recently redundant or long-term unemployed to find the motivation to maintain their job search. It’s often said that job seeking is a fulltime job, and this is certainly the case. Maintaining your motivation can be helped by approaching your job search as you would a job. In other words, get up, get dressed and start your job search at the same time each day, set daily objectives to work towards (such as researching and proactively contacting a certain number of organisations each day), have breaks at set times and reflect positively on what you have achieved at the end of each day.

3. Put a plan in place.

It can be tempting to rush into your job search and apply for any and every job you see available. However, take some time to think about your longer-term career goals and ambitions, then devise a career plan to ensure your next job moves you closer to realising those goals.

After reflecting on your career and planning your path towards your ultimate career goal, you may realise you need to pivot into a slightly different role that allows you to develop new skills and do more of the work you enjoy. Or perhaps you need to gain experience in a different industry. You may even decide you want to take your career into an entirely new direction. Regardless of your decision, by considering the bigger picture you’ll have a clear understanding of what your next job should be and will be able to focus your job search accordingly. To help your planning, download our free Job Search Planner

4. Get the basics right.

Start by updating your CV. If it’s been some time since you last reviewed your CV, this CV template may help.

Some people worry about how to word their redundancy on their CV. Your best approach is to state openly and succinctly the facts about why your employment ended. Frame your redundancy in the context of the wider organisational or economic changes. For instance, “Position made redundant due to an organisational restructure.”

You don’t need to give any further details. Instead, add quantifiable evidence to your CV. This will allow you to prove your strengths and accomplishments to a potential employer. If you’re unsure how to do this, here’s one simple CV trick that can help.

Make sure you update your references, too. Employers usually ensure they provide an excellent reference to employees they make redundant to help you in your search for a new role. If not, ask your manager for one.

5. Be aware of your personal brand.

Your personal brand is vital in helping to make a good impression with a prospective employer. So, update your LinkedIn profile and any other professional social media. Join an industry association or professional group to meet new people and regularly add new, relevant LinkedIn connections. Ask your former colleagues for a LinkedIn recommendation and add examples of your work to your profile.

6. Do your research.

Before applying for a role, take the time to research each organisation and fully understand the job description. Then use your research to tailor your CV by highlighting the skills and experience that are most relevant to the job. You should also use this research to write a strong cover letter to bring your resume to the attention of the employer. After all, crafting a concise document that reflects the relevancy of your experience, competencies and enthusiasm can elevate you to the top of the desired applicants list.

7. Use your networks.

When job searching, use all the resources you have at your disposal. This includes reaching out to your professional and social contacts. Let your network know that you are looking for a new job and ask them to spread the word to any relevant contacts of their own. Remember, jobs really can be found this way.

8. Meet with a recruiter.

By partnering with a recruiting expert you will have an advocate who will promote your strengths and expertise to potential employers. Recruitment is a people business, so we’re passionate about creating valuable relationships with everyone we work with. We want to make sure you find a job that fits your career plans and ticks as many boxes for you as possible.

9. Consider temporary assignments.

You could also consider taking on casual or temporary work. This can give you the breathing space required to find the right permanent opportunity that moves you one step closer to your ultimate career goal. A short-term assignment also allows you to build your skills and experience, while keeping your motivation and positivity high.

10. Upskill

One of your best selling points is your skills base, so make sure your skills continue to develop throughout your period of unemployment. Money may be tight during this period, but there are ways you can keep yourself at the growing edge of your career without breaking the bank. These include following industry leaders and thinkers on LinkedIn, TED Talks, YouTube feeds, Twitter and other social media, completing free online courses, attending webinars or working with a mentor. You could also consider joining an industry or professional association or voluntary work, both of which can tick a lot of the boxes for skills and career building.

Provided the skills you gain are relevant to your profession, your upskilling efforts will show hiring managers that you are a hard worker who is serious about your career and improving your skills to benefit your future employer. Get more advice on upskilling here

11. Practice your interview skills.

You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. If it’s been a while since your last job interview, it’s advisable to brush up on your interview skills so you can effectively demonstrate why you are the most suitable candidate. This includes demonstrating good non-verbal communication, such as by making eye contact and sitting up tall, listening and answering the question asked, understanding how to answer behavioural and situational interview questions, and preparing your own answers to ask at the end. Don’t forget to also dress appropriately – even if your interview is being conducted virtually. You can read more interview preparation tips here.

12. Openly discuss your redundancy in job interviews.

You should feel comfortable openly discussing your redundancy during a job interview with a recruiter or potential employer. Recruiting experts are aware of how common redundancies can be and understand that it is no reflection on your abilities.

If you are feeling nervous about being asked why you were made redundant, you can prepare and practice your answer in advance. State the reason why the redundancy occurred, then make a more positive comment on the opportunity it created for you and how you believe you could add value to the employer.

For example, “Unfortunately my last job was made redundant in an organisational restructure that impacted several people in my team. While I was disappointed to be leaving, I used the time immediately following my redundancy to refocus on my career goals and identify the right next role for me. I believe this opportunity would allow me to add value by drawing on my experience in the areas of A, B and C to achieve X, Y and Z.”

To conclude, it’s a fact of life that redundancies do occur. While they bring shock and a range of emotions with them, they don’t signal the end of your career – far from it. By following sensible redundancy advice, reevaluating your career goals, putting a plan in place and applying for relevant jobs, you might look back on this experience as the reset you needed to move forward and work towards achieving your ultimate career objectives.

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