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Redundancy Advice

 

ROAD TO RECOVERY


Posted 17 Oct 2013

Of course, redundancy is distressing and traumatic, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Using what psychologists have tagged ‘constructive recovery’, there’s no reason why you can’t not only survive getting the chop, but in the long run perhaps even benefit from it.

Experts agree. They confirm that people who survive redundancy are invariably those who work out a constructive recovery strategy that provides a positive outlook and includes these aims:

Don’t take it personally

“It’s important not to get too depressed and disheartened by news of redundancy,” Dr Catherine Armstrong of Manchester Metropolitan University says. “The decision is likely to have been taken by a group of people who don’t even know you, but who simply have to save money. Now you know the situation, you can start moving on with the rest of your life.”

Know your rights

If you’ve been in the job for at least two years, you’ll be entitled to a redundancy payment of up to £430 a week and the first £30,000 is tax free. With any luck, your firm will be more generous.

Negotiate a good package

The financial terms you’re offered depend on your status and length of service, but that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate. You need to sell your importance to the company and stress how valuable you’ve been in the past.
If you aren’t happy with the package, you can complain first to your employer, then your union - if you have one - or via the internal grievance system. If this fails, there’s the Acas arbitration service, which offers free advice.

If less than 20 jobs are being made redundant, your boss must negotiate directly with you and reimbursement must include unused holiday, outstanding expenses and employee benefits. Take advantage of everything you are offered, including in-house support and career counselling and advice.

Review your spending

Look carefully at all your outgoings and cut down where you can. Write a list of all sources of family income and then details of outgoings.

Experts advise against investing redundancy payouts or using them to pay off part of your mortgage. Instead, keep the money somewhere easily accessible until you see what the immediate future holds. 

Start networking

As soon as your job loss is confirmed, contact influential people in your field and let them know you are in the market. Use email as a networking tool, but conferences and face-to-face meetings are often more effective. Remember, only a small proportion of jobs are actually advertised. The vast majority are found through word of mouth and personal connections.

Get in touch with your local chambers of commerce and arrange to attend its networking events. Make sure you have a business card handy and a friendly face. You never know what a chance meeting might lead to.

Choose carefully

You may be desperate for a job, but it pays to be selective. Focus on the companies you would like to work for. Says Simon Conington, boss of a staffing services agency: “Proactively approach organisations if you believe they could be the right fit. They will appreciate the initiative.”

Give yourself time to come to terms with the loss of your job or you won’t be ready to face today’s fiercely competitive labour market.

Take a long-term view

Before making any major decisions about a new job after redundancy, picture where you want to be in 10 years’ time. Work out how your values, personality and skills could get you there. Are you sure you want to be in the same industry or profession, or is it time to try something completely new?

Give yourself structure

Create a routine for yourself, just as you would for a typical working day. Divide the day into chunks and allocate it to aspects of job hunting. Include breaks and set a finishing time. If you find it hard to work at home, try using your local library.

Explore alternatives

Redundancy provides the chance to explore new career avenues. Even if you don’t want to drastically change your career, it could be worth looking at openings in other sectors. After all, nowadays employers are said to hire for attitude and train for skill.

You also might consider short-term voluntary work. It can offer new experiences, get you noticed by employers and add to your skills. It will also enhance your CV.

Rebuild your CV

Most potential employers take within 20-30 seconds to ask an applicant to come for an interview. The contents and presentation of a CV is invariably the deciding factor.

Try to tailor your experience to the advertiser’s job specifications. When writing a CV, experts recommend you take into account these five factors:

  • Be clear about the results you’ve achieved.
  • Demonstrate what makes you different from other candidates.
  • Less is more - gain their interest, but don’t reveal everything.
  • Use keywords and terminology, but not jargon.
  • Remember, you must be able to back up everything you write.

Send your CV as a pdf file. Not only will it look more professional, but it will show off your technical expertise.

One major company gets at least 15,000 CVs a month and keeps about 150 on file. They are usually the ones where the applicant has followed up with a phone call.

Employers can spot serial applicants a mile off, says Simon Conington: “They won’t take you seriously unless you put some effort into your job search.”

Stand out in the crowd

Don’t let redundancy define you. Put time into extra training and work experience, particularly if you are changing career direction.

Think carefully about what you can offer a potential employer. Have you thought about making a short video to promote your skills and expertise and what you can offer your next boss?

Be honest

Attempting to cover up the reason you are on the job market is not a wise move - you will soon be found out when references are checked.

As Simon Conington says: “Saying you have been made redundant and giving the reasons shows integrity and good character. Ironically, for many people redundancy is the push they need to escape their comfort zone and leave the job they no longer enjoy.

“Always talk positively about your previous employer and how what you learned could be made applicable to your next job. Emphasise the job was made redundant, not you.”

Be positive

Okay, you’re not as young as you were, but that doesn’t mean you can’t survive redundancy. In fact, older people can often adapt more readily to change. A study by the Medical Research Council found that older brains are often stronger and more active than their younger counterparts.

Keep smiling

You’ve been made redundant. Now you need to crack on, sort out your life and get back in control. Remember, the vast majority of redundancy victims are back in work within six months.

 
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