Blue Eskimo

Taking redundancy positively

One day you’re in work, cheerfully doing your job, the next day you get an unexpected note in with your pay slip. It’s hard to take redundancy positively, but it should be viewed as a beginning and not an end.

Most people's feelings when being made redundant are a mixture of rejection, depression, fear and trepidation. Well, that's understandable: you've just been given the boot. But redundancy can be approached in a completely different light - the start of something new; an opportunity (albeit a forced one).

A new direction?

Perhaps the first decision to make is whether you're going to look for a new job doing pretty much what you did before or whether you want to strike out in a new direction. Your circumstances may dictate much of this - if you need to work now, then it's almost certainly going to be easier to get a job in a role where you have a proven track record. But, with a little lateral thinking, moving into a different role isn't necessarily that hard. As an example, ex-practitioners (such as trainers and instructional designers) typically make great consultants or sales people - and often with little, or no, retraining. This kind of role can be something you've been considering - or perhaps a steppingstone to something else.

In either case, a good place to start is listing your core skills. Not just the kinds of projects you've worked on, but how you interact with people, your attention to detail (or not), ability to learn - and more. Try to build up a picture about yourself that isn't just focused around your last role, but more around you as a person. This should help you to decide whether you have the aptitude - and desire - to do something slightly different, wildly different or whether you're better sticking with what you know.

In terms of embracing an opportunity, it's possible that redundancy could give you the time and motivation to pursue that dream job. But, if it's something that's new and different, you'll have to rebuild your CV with that goal in mind - and try to emphasise how your experience and skills to date can help you take on a new role.

Make finding a job your new job

Time: you never have enough of the stuff. When you're out of a job, you'd think that you'd be kicking your heels looking for something to do. But, all of a sudden, your day is filled with other things. It gets progressively harder to look for work.

There's a different approach: make finding a job your new job. Nine in the morning until five-thirty in the afternoon. Approach the task as you would a paid job. Your single goal is to find a new job - devote your every hour to every aspect of this task.

It's not uncommon to hear out-of-work people saying that they've applied for 'several jobs this week'. Sorry to be harsh, but applying for 'several jobs' is barely a day's work. Don't let the 'stuff to do' around you absorb your time.

Be systematic

Great sales people will often tell you that their success is based on numbers. But don't mistake the hidden truth in this statement - great sales people usually have a system. They know which type of people to call or write to, when to do it, often having researched what that person or company might be involved in right now - and therefore what they are likely to be interested in buying. As someone 'selling you' you need to work out who's going to buy. Don't assume that the knowledge you have in your head is enough - get out on the Web and do some research. Which brings us to…

Don't be reactive, be proactive

The only jobs filled aren't just those advertised. Yes, you'll want to apply for those, but don't let that be the limit of your activities. Research what potential employers do, what they're involved in - and then create some tailored communications to advertise yourself to them. It's tempting to think that all recruitment is the remit of the HR department, but this department is typically acting out the instructions of others. Getting yourself in front of a training manager, director or whatever could be a smart way in - putting yourself forward, hopefully, at the right time. Of course, you really have to shine to win that meeting - a letter or e-mail which says 'I've recently been made redundant and am looking for work' will hit the bin. A better tack might be 'I've been looking at your website and I think I have the skills to help you sell more/make more profit/find new customers/deliver better courses…' and so on. Bookmark the jobs pages of all potential employers - that's where most will advertise first.

Adapt yourself

One CV is not enough. Repeat: one CV is not enough. When you apply for a job, or send a CV proactively, tailor it as much as you can towards the needs of the company. It's well, well worth that extra effort. Companies want to hire someone who is as near a perfect match as possible: a standard CV will not cut it. Average effort usually results in average rewards - go the extra mile.

Support and networking

Don't fall into the trap of cutting yourself off from the network you have (hopefully) made. Keep connected to people on websites such as LinkedIn - and connect to as many people that you know as you can, including colleagues and clients. Ask them if they know of any upcoming vacant roles. Also, become a member of relevant groups on LinkedIn, to both extend your network and keep your ear to the ground. Make this a strong part of the job of finding a job.

Don't let rejection get you down

When you're looking for work, rejection will come again and again. While each one might feel like a slap in the face, it's important to keep positive and take the view that this role wasn't for you and that the right one will come along.