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Dealing with Redundancy? How to stay calm and in control whilst you look for what comes next...

Aug 7, 2018 by Lucy Singleton

A redundancy is a highly personal experience. Depending on where you are in your career and your life, you can find yourself anywhere on an emotional spectrum from excitement to utter devasation.

When you leave a job by choice you're in control and normally in a strong mental state to deal with the change. When your role is terminated it's a very different story. For many, the uncertainty and lack of control is a huge challenge.

Career Change Coach Jo Green says: "Even when your job loss has zero to do with your skills or abilities, it’s hard not to feel personally rejected. Counter any sinking feeling that there must be something intrinsically wrong with you by checking the evidence to the contrary. Focus on your biggest achievements, write a list of what you've done and how it's helped you grow."

Redundancy is often referred to as a financial win, a big fat cheque with tax concessions. But it's not always the case. Many people do come out on top, but loads of people don't. Whatever money you get has to last you through an unknown period of unemployment.

A report by economist Ann Vourc'h for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that each year around 2.3 per cent of Australian workers lose their jobs as a result of corporate downsizing or closure. Of those who lose their jobs, 70 per cent find a new one within a year and 80 per cent are re-employed within two years. Although for many, this came with reduced salary.

So what can you do to help yourself get back into the workforce?

It's tempting and often therapeutic to start applying for every role in town IMMEDIATELY but before you do. STOP! and take some time to get your head clear and your strategy in place.

Here's some tips:

1. Think about what you want (and don't want) to do next and in the future.

The same role in a different company can be the quickest way to a new role, but it can also be limiting in the future.

Often it's important to try for a lateral move before you get "stuck" down the line- so if you've been in telecommunications forever, maybe try your luck in a similar role in a new industry. Think about what will make your life more interesting and give you more leverage the next time you need a job. It might take longer to land, but will often pay back in spades in your future.

On top of this many people often seek personal goals like greater flexibility, shorter commutes or career development. Make sure you're clear on what's essential and what's not so you can assess opportunities rationally.

2. Spend time on your professional "selling materials"

Just like when you sell a house, you need to make sure you're market ready. Take time to polish your resume and refine your LinkedIn so you have a single professional image floating around in the market.

It's also important to work out what you bring to an organisation and be confident talking about it. Think about your performance reviews and career highlights. What are the consistent themes?

In many cases your LinkedIn profile will be the first point of contact for a potential role so your job is to have a great profile that makes people want to meet you. It's critical to ensure that your profile is searchable with strong content. Key parts to focus on include the headline, photo, summary, most recent job and recommendations. Tonally make yourself really approachable and authentic, and remember to only publish things that belong in the public domain.

Your resume is normally the central part of any job application but it's likely to be skimmed in seconds. If you want to maximise your chances of making the shortlist you need to help the reader find what they are looking for. I recommend it's generally best to start from scratch. Make sure it's curated to be clear, skim-able and achievement focused. And you need to know how to tweak it for each application.

Writing about yourself is hard, so if you're not confident, get help from someone in the know, like me!

3. Attend outplacement or other courses if you get the opportunity

It may take time to get a new role so make sure you also use this time as an opportunity to develop and grow. Outplacement services are sometimes provided by your former employer and these often include useful seminars and networking opportunities. It can also be a good time to upskill in areas relevant to your career; things like like formal project management qualifications, digital marketing, or new programming languages.This will also help you to connect with others and feel greater inspiration about what you want to do next.

It's important to make sure you have been busy doing some things that allow you to demonstrate in an interview that you're someone who's self-motivated. It's even better if the things you're doing add value to a potential employer.

4. Network and Put yourself out there

It's estimated that up to 80% of jobs are in the "hidden workforce" so you need to prepare to put yourself out there. That's why it's critical to get clear on what you bring and have your resume and LinkedIn ready in tip-top shape. Work your network, and make yourself available for short-term contracts. Be sure to look enthusiastic to add value vs desperate for work and money.

You'll also find that recruiters only have around half the available jobs so you need to be confident selling yourself directly. This isn't most people's ideal "thing" but it's critical. It means spending time on quality applications and followups; and even if you're not successful it's important to be brave enough to call and seek feedback so you can learn for the next application.

You can find jobs on a range of job-boards like Seek and LinkedIn. It’s also good to make a list of companies you're interested in and search their vacancies directly on websites or contact people who work there to introduce yourself.

If you’re interested in potentially changing industries arrange some coffee dates to ask intelligent questions and get more of a feel for what people do.

5. Look after yourself

It can be a really long and demotivating experience to go from being in a busy career to unemployed. Prepare yourself mentally that it might take some time. Make sure you have a support network, find others in the same boat and use counselling if you need to. Often there are free services available too.

If you have been made redundant and don't know what you want to do next, working with a Career Change Coach can really help. Coaches like Jo Green work with clients to figure out what is important for them in work going forwards and what fulfilling work looks like for them.

If you're not sure where to start with your resume and LinkedIn please give me a buzz. I'm always happy to review and give advice and there's no obligation to proceed.

Good Luck!

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