At the start of the year, no-one could have predicted the utter chaos that the world economy has fallen into. Businesses large and small are making redundancies in a Britain where the economy has slumped by 22.2% in the first half of the year. Despite all of this, other businesses are still hiring and there are options out there. If you’ve been made redundant, it can be a huge knock to your confidence, it can feel frightening and the idea of trying to find a new job can feel overwhelming. The way to give yourself the best chance of coming through it, and possibly even finding an even better job or career than you had before, is to take control and take action. Being made redundant could be an opportunity. So how do you bounce back from redundancy?
My main focus in this blog post will be on helping you prepare and plan to find a new job rather than the legalities of redundancy.
Having said that, if you are out at risk or made redundant, make sure you know your rights and that you seek professional advice if you are not sure. A good starting point for this is ACAS. They have online resources that provide advice on a range of employment related topics. In particular, they have a great resource that sets out your legal rights during redundancy.
Also make sure you are clear on the state of your finances. How much redundancy pay will you get? Will you get pay in lieu of notice? Do you have any savings? Then make a budget to make your money last as long as possible. Financial fear is usually at its worst when you don’t know what you are dealing with.
My Tips For Bouncing Back From Redundancy
Invest Time In Self-Reflection
Take some time to do an audit of your skills, strengths, values, what motivates you and what boxes any future job or career should tick – a career wish-list. It is worth spending quite a bit of time on this and there are loads of tools and exercises you can use to help you with this. It is a very important step for three reasons:
Redundancy can knock your confidence and this audit will build your confidence by reminding you of your value and what you bring to the table.
It will lay the foundations for some of the practical stuff you will need to do later such as updating your CV, building your LinkedIn profile and preparing for interviews.
And it will help you establish clearly in your mind what you want to get out of your career.
Do The Groundwork
Before you start using up valuable time and energy by firing off your CV to every random vacancy that you come across, take a step back and do some groundwork first.
Think about who you have in your network and how you can help and support and seek help and support from each person. Write a list or use a mind-map to document it. It will be useful for you later on.
Then start to explore your options. Take an open-minded approach. Ask yourself questions such as ‘if I were just leaving school or university, what would I want to do?’ Or ‘If all jobs paid the same, what would I do’. Tell yourself that at this stage there are no bad or silly ideas.
Make your long-list of all options. Then you can start to narrow them down by doing a bit of research and cross-referencing them against your self-reflection and your career-wish-list. You could even use tools and techniques such as creating a matrix to evaluate your options.
Do Your Research
Once you have your short-list of ideas of one or more options, spend some time doing some deeper research.
This is important because (a) you want to make sure that you are making an informed decision and (b) it will help you later with your action planning and with crafting your CV and LinkedIn profile.
If you are considering a career change what you research will look a bit different to those who are researching industry sectors and employers.
Googling is an obvious place to start, but there are loads of ways to find out more about your options, including people in your network and people in their network. Think about where else you can gather information from to help you develop a deeper understanding of the career field, industry sector or organisations you are targeting.
Make Your Action Plan
You have insight into yourself, you have done the groundwork and research, now you need to establish your destination and how you are going to get there.
The first step in your action plan is to clarify your goal. You have already narrowed down your options to the one you wish to pursue. In order to make a plan, you need to articulate exactly what it is that you want to achieve and your goal should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. And it should also be written in a positive way.
Next, brainstorm and capture all the steps you need to take and work out what order you need to do them in. This is effectively your ‘to-do’ list. It is a list of all the things you need to do to achieve your goal.
It is inevitable that you will come up against obstacles in working towards your goal. You can help yourself by identifying as many obstacles as possible upfront and working through how you can overcome them. The obstacles may be general, or they may be linked to specific tasks in your plan. There will of course be unforeseen obstacles that you come up against further down the line, but you will already have experience of an approach to take to overcome them so you can apply the same principles as and when you need to.
Then create a list of the resources and support you have available to you to help you achieve your goal and to help you overcome obstacles.The resources you list could be external such as books, support from others in your network, financial grants, savings or they could be internal such as your strengths, skills, habits, knowledge, values or emotional techniques.
Prepare For Your Job Search
You want to give yourself the best chance possible, so there are a few important tasks to complete before you start to apply for jobs.
Write your ‘elevator pitch’ An elevator pitch is a brief synopsis about you – who you are, what value you have to offer and what you are looking for. It is called an elevator pitch because it should be delivered in the time it take to take an elevator ride – up to 30 seconds. It should be succinct and to the point. You can use different versions of it on your CV, on LinkedIn, for interviews and generally for speaking to people about you and your career.
Update your CV – make it clear, concise and ensure that your value stands out.
6 Tips For Refreshing Your CV
And very importantly, ensure you have an up to date LinkedIn profile. Lots of potential employers are on LinkedIn and if you manage your profile well, you could even find out about opportunities that haven’t been advertised.
Prepare For Interviews
This is your time to shine! You are likely to have 60-90 minutes to demonstrate to your potential employer that you are the best person for the job (and for you to decide if the job is the best one for you).
Take some time to research the organisation and prepare some questions to ask. Interviews can take various different formats and sometimes you could be asked to take written tests. Always ask your recruitment contact what to format to expect.
Make sure you review all your self reflection work and be clear on what value you offer. Make a list of your strengths, skills and achievements and prepare examples for each of them so you are ready and confident to talk about them.
If you can, practice a few interview questions with a trusted friend and practice your elevator pitch so you can dive right in with confidence when you are asked to ‘tell me a little bit about yourself’.
Depending on your specific circumstances, you may spend more or less time on different parts of the process. It may seem like a daunting prospect, but you don’t have to do this alone. If you want more support with each step of this journey, check out my Career Bounce Back Programme. Each step of the way is supported by practical advice and tips, tools and exercises. There are two affordable options. Find out more.