It’s key to remember right from the start that hope is always on the horizon. You might feel devastated at the time, but it’s a truth universally acknowledged by everyone and anyone who has had the experience themselves that there is life after redundancy. Just like the many other people who have survived, and who have gone on to find stimulating and satisfying new careers, you’ll find a new lease of life too.
learn from your previous job.
Evaluate the good and bad sides of your old role: think about the kind of dynamics that you’d like to emulate in your new position, and the kind you’d like to cut loose. What did you like about the way your team worked together, and how could it be improved? Have you noticed a pattern relating to the sort of work that hasn’t suited you previously? Take this as a chance to avoid any old mistakes.
use the free time to give your career some TLC.
Spend a few concentrated sessions thinking hard about what you really want from your job. Write out lists of what you enjoy, what you don’t, which industries interest you, and make a note of professional spheres about which you know almost nothing – you might be surprised by what you uncover.
don’t rule out retraining – reach further afield.
The time you’ve spent examining your real interests and passions will provide a solid basis for you retraining research – learning a whole new set of skills can be a more sensible and invigorating option than you might think. Plunging headfirst into a change of career after absorbing a blow like redundancy might feel daunting, but it can be an invaluable investment, the like of which you might not have time or space for again.
Once you’ve decided on your professional direction, follow these key tips for applications and interviews post-redundancy.
Prepare yourself for acknowledging the fact that you were made redundant – it’s something you may well have to discuss with prospective employers at interview. Redundancy is nothing to be ashamed of, and you shouldn’t go anywhere near accepting responsibility for something that is beyond your control. You will need to explain why you left your last role, though, so practise an answer (perhaps that you write out and learn) that gives a clear justification for your absence from work without inviting further questions. Then steer the conversation in a more positive direction.
- Keep it short and sweet
- Introduce your explanation with a detail about how pleased you were to hold the position in the first place
- Give the practical reason for why your position there didn’t last, and what happened to necessitate your redundancy
- Round things off with a reference to what you learned there, and why you’re grateful for the experience
- Use this final positive as a conversational spring board – launch briefly into why your responsibilities at your old job make you an interesting candidate for this position.
- Don’t look embarrassed or lose eye contact with the interviewer. It’s not a bad idea to express the fact that you were disappointed when you couldn’t keep your old job, (it shows that you cared about the role, and that you’re not afraid to be honest), but don’t dwell on it for too long and move on swiftly to the positives that emerged.
- You can also talk about the value of being forced to examine your skills, think about new opportunities and find a new position that really suits you. Sometimes it’s completely fair to say that your redundancy turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
- All that being said, an explanation of why you’re not employed is not something you should have to address on your cover letter or CV – those submissions should focus on your achievements and the career developments of which you’re proud.
And finally, although it’s admittedly hard to hear, try not to ‘feel sorry for yourself’. Of course it’s important to give yourself a recovery period, but once the redundancy has happened, it’s happened. Remember that plenty of other people will be dealing with the same problem, so if you push at every door, hold onto your perseverance and explore every possible opportunity, eventually you’ll find yourself somewhere you want to be.