Redundancy: with all its associations of uncertainty and anxiety, it’s a word that employees dread and, in the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak, a reality that many are facing.
While you may think your chances of finding new employment immediately are slim, there are steps you can take now to help you move forward. Our experts share their advice on getting your career back on track.
Being made redundant can trigger intense emotions which can lead to hasty actions that you may later regret. Being calm, methodical and logical will help you to focus on proactively moving forward. “Redundancies are business decisions that may be out of your control. Even if you have always performed well at your job, you might find yourself in the situation where you’ve been made redundant,” notes Phuc Pham, senior manager, Sales & Marketing of Industrial, Healthcare & FMCG at Robert Walters’ Ho Chi Minh office. In these increasingly uncertain times, company restructuring may be essential to a business’s survival and this can inevitably lead to redundancies, especially at more senior levels.
“While it’s tough, I believe that when one door closes, another opens. Make good use of your time and efforts to look ahead for your next opportunity,” Phuc says. “Preparing well to increase your chances of finding a new suitable role is the best way to clear your mind and move on.
“As soon as you become aware that redundancy is imminent, start organising yourself as quickly as possible,” suggests Alex Martin, manager at Robert Walters’ Singapore office. You should contact your line manager and request written references that you can share with potential future employers, he says.
You also need to make sure you sort out your payslips and other employment documentation. “That paperwork can be a lot more difficult to acquire once you’ve left a company, so try and get as much sorted as possible before you leave.”
“Avoid making hasty decisions. The choices you make now will be critical for your next career step so take time to reflect carefully,” Phuc urges.
“You need time and space to step back and think about your career history and identify your strengths and skills. Look out for available roles where you can best leverage your strengths. Remember to also account for market conditions and demand. It might be a good idea to take some time to discuss with a professional recruitment consultant on your career plans and options – they can advise you and help target better companies in your industry,” Phuc says.
“Redundancy is difficult, but it can also be an opportunity to make positive changes,” says Alex. Taking the time to reassess your career and work-life balance can help you to identify what you want from your next role and employer. For example, you may want more flexibility than you were previously offered or a shorter commute.
Additionally, the time and money afforded by redundancy can provide the impetus you need to make the bold changes you’ve been dreaming of, such as a career change or returning to full-time education.
“Despite the stress and anxiety that being made redundant ultimately brings, it’s essential you take the positives and look at ways to make your new circumstances work for you,” advises Alex.
“Being made redundant doesn’t have to mean losing contact with your colleagues and professional network. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook have made building and staying connected with your professional network even easier – and who knows, someone in your network might actually inform you of a suitable role,” Phuc says.
“The key is to update and highlight your social profiles so that it’s better marketed to future employers – remember to be as specific as possible when highlighting your experience, achievements and skillsets,” he notes.
“Once you’ve decided on the right move for you, invest energy in bringing your CV and social media profiles up-to-date, highlighting all relevant skills and experience,” says Alex.
Many people who have been in the same senior role for some time are unlikely to have updated their CV, yet their most recent experience and expertise may be their most valuable. Don’t be evasive about your situation either: “In terms of your redundancy, it’s always better to be up-front and honest with hiring managers.”
“Being back on the job market can be a daunting prospect, especially when dealing with the uncertainty that redundancy brings, but connecting with a recruiter can make this process a lot more manageable,” suggests Alex.
Not only will a recruiter provide much-needed advice when it comes to your CV and interview technique, they’ll also give you invaluable market insight and introductions. “Recruiters can provide access to jobs that aren’t being advertised, such as commercially sensitive roles – access you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get.”
“When it comes to your job search, be realistic and mentally prepared to undergo a number of interviews before you are able to successfully land your desired job. If economic conditions are challenging, you will need to put in even more effort than usual,” says Phuc.
On the other hand, the search might well introduce you to roles you hadn’t previously considered, so prepare to be open-minded and assess every role on its merits.
“During interviews, always be honest about your situation and why you left your previous company,” Phuc advises. “However, do look to the future and focus on how you can help your new company.”
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