As One Door Closes...

I was speaking to a candidate last week and he said something I wasn’t expecting. Explaining his recent redundancy, he stated that “it was probably a blessing in disguise.” Was he disgruntled with his previous employer? No. Had he disliked his previous role? No. In fact, I could tell just how disappointed he was to find himself in the position he is by the catch in his voice as he spoke.

Probing a little further, this candidate went on to explain that after a number of years with his employer, in roles that had seen him promoted more than once, this redundancy would give him “the push I needed” to make a significant step in his career. He’d reached a natural ceiling and had been so comfortable in his last role that he hadn’t even been looking at alternative opportunities.

The candidate, who’d started as a general operative and through sheer hard work, had risen to managing large teams, hadn’t internalised the fact that there was no way for him to continue progressing unless he changed employer. Now, as he reflected on his years of experience and the qualifications he’d achieved on the way, he realised that there were a lot more roles and industries open to him now than there had been, even just a few years ago.

Yes, redundancy for him is tough and the uncertainty of the situation is very real, but on the flip side, the candidate is still confident that he will be able to secure a role that offers a positive future.

2020 has been tough for all of us, even without potential redundancy to add to that pressure. As the crisis continues, the outlook for some sectors is looking increasingly difficult and redundancies are a very real threat.

Here are 6 key pieces of advice for people who find themselves facing, or have already gone through redundancy .

Remember that it’s not your fault

This is a big one. When companies go through the process of redundancy, they’re not looking at making staff redundant, rather the positions filled by those staff members are made redundant. This may seem like an anally retentive distinction to make (the outcome is the same regardless) but it is an important one. Ultimately, it’s not you as a person who has been rejected, rather your employer, faced with an incredibly tough decision, has been forced to trim the size of the business so that it can survive or may have even ceased trading altogether. Remember that you were hired in the first place for the unique mix of skills and qualities you possess as an individual, you haven’t lost those skills overnight and that means you still have value as an employee and you will be hired again.

In a year like 2020 this advice is even more important. Employers can see just what’s happening around them and they know that businesses are struggling: the grim reality of the situation is no reflection on you or your worth as an individual.

So, if we can agree that it’s not your fault, what can you do to move forward, especially if you’ve worked in a sector that is badly affected, meaning that vacancies will be very few and far between for the foreseeable future?

Don’t rush

When you’re out of work, the pressure is on. Most of us have one thing in common which is that we work to be able to afford the lives we live; not working has a serious impact on our ability to maintain the lifestyle we want. Finding yourself in a job you hate though can sometimes be worse than not working. Take some time to make sure that your next career step is the right one. How?

1 – Take stock of the experience and training you’ve gained while in your previous role. Could this be the time to go for that more senior role that you’ve dreamed about?

2 – Self analyse. What do you like doing? What do you not like doing? What are your strengths? Do you have to stay in the same industry niche or could you look at another related industry?

3 – Could this be the time to access a course that will give you better skills in the future?

Take time to upskill and train

When you’re out of work, you have more time available to learn. The UK does provide some funding for people to access training and courses when they’re out of work. This could be a time to gain the knowledge that will open up a new career. We’re not experts on training options but if you think training might be an option, you can definitely access information on the government gateway site.

As an example: I know that there are a lot of Health & Safety Managers from certain sectors who are currently looking for new roles because I’ve personally spoken to a number of them in the last two weeks. One sector that is booming currently, is Fire Safety. The sector is crying out for Fire Safety Assessors and Inspectors. For a Health & Safety Manager who is already NEBOSH qualified, a course to become a Fire Safety Assessor can take as little as five days and this could open up great opportunities. By the way, if you’re reading this, are a qualified Fire Safety Assessor and are looking for your next role, talk to us. We’re working with clients right across the UK who are looking for people like you right now.

Use your network

Reach out to everyone you know. Those friends, acquaintances, industry contacts and ex-colleagues could be a goldmine of information, could refer you to someone hiring or could even have a vacancy for someone like you now. Don’t be shy because this is what LinkedIn was made for. As a side note: you’ll want to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and accurately reflects your skills. It’s your shop window (employers and recruiters like me are looking every day) so let it work for you.

Put the work in

It can be easy to get into a slower pace of life when you’re not working. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the motivation to sit down and focus on finding that next role but it’s important.

1 - Take the time to research the organisations you’re applying to and then write engaging cover letters that show you’ve done just that.

2 - Make sure your CV is accurate (we can help with CV writing advice), up to date and relevant. As an example: if you’re a professional with years of industry experience, does your CV need to mention that shelf-stacking job you did while at college or university? Is it relevant in any way to who you are now?

3 – Practice your interview technique. Prepare and memorise the answers to key questions and most importantly, prepare an elevator pitch that perfectly sums up your skills, qualities and value to the organisations you approach.

Remain Focused

As I said at the beginning of this piece, the pressure is on when you’re looking for work and the desire to secure a job will be at the forefront of your mind, which can lead to compromises being made. The downside of that can be settling for a job when what you really want is the next step in your career. Stay focused on your ambitions and the skills you’ve developed and then pursue the right career move for you. Obviously I’m not saying that you should hold out for that dream job at the expense of your house but keep the eye on the prize. Taking a role in the shorter term, doesn’t stop you continuing your search for the right role.

I hope these ideas can help you open the next door in your career.

Ruth who leads the Construction & Property team entered the recruitment world with extensive industry experience gained while owning and operating her own business within the property sector.  With fantastic industry knowledge and a great network, Ruth is perfectly placed to introduce employers and candidates who are a great fit for each other.  Our sector clients are based across the whole of the UK and beyond and we're currently helping a lot of candidates to secure roles in the Middle East and Asia.    Ruth understands how important it is to create longstanding relationships and she works hard to ensure that both clients and candidates receive a standard of service that far exceeds their expectations. 

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