when redundancy becomes part of your career story.

22/04/2020

Whatever your age or career stage, being made redundant can be one of the most discouraging experiences you will face in your work life. It feels unfair and is often an unexpected change in your career projection – after all who chooses to be made redundant?

It may be difficult to accept, but the important thing to remember is that it’s not personal and probably involved some very difficult decision making by your employer.

Redundancy is a commercial reality that many businesses and employees will have to face at some stage.

Taking the appropriate time and steps to process the news

If redundancy comes completely out of the blue, it will be a shock. It's tough news to receive and you will need time to process it and recover, before taking your next step. When you are ready to look at your options, it’s important to maintain your professionalism throughout.  Particularly if you are considering options with respect to how you were made redundant.  Avoid any temptation to be drawn into discussions that could impact on your professional reputation. New Zealand is a relatively small employment market, so it’s wise to maintain your professionalism to avoid burning any bridges.

If you want to confirm that the redundancy is valid and that your employer has followed the appropriate steps, there are organisations that provide clear information and advice such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and Employment New Zealand. 

As with any major life experience, it’s normal to experience a series of emotions as you process what has happened to you. Mental wellbeing is extremely important.If you find yourself unable to regain a sense of emotional stability, you may want to consider seeking the advice of a counsellor to avoid it impacting your self-esteem, your relationships or your ability to search for, or succeed in, a new role. 

Dealing with downtime

When thinking about all this newfound time on your hands, it’s important not to try and do too much too soon. No one will expect you to get back on your feet straight away, it’s unrealistic and potentially unhealthy.

Take it as an opportunity to really re-focus on your career goals. Use the time to understand the type of role you want and what potential employers are looking for in a candidate. Identify gaps in your skills and, if possible, undertake the training you need to address these gaps.

If you have developed new career goals you will need to re-focus your CV towards these by highlighting the most relevant aspects of your experience. Remember too, experiencing redundancy firsthand often gives individuals lived examples of when they have had to work through change and demonstrate resilience.  Both are skills that are highly sought after in today’s work environment. 

This is also an ideal time to channel your energy towards personal achievements, such as volunteerism, learning a new language or training for a triathlon. While not specifically relevant to work, it is a great way to build a positive mindset and demonstrates to future employers that you used your downtime constructively.

Of course, if you didn’t receive a relevant redundancy package then it might be more difficult or even impossible to take the time out that you need. If you are in a difficult financial situation when your job finishes then you may need to be more creative when it comes to controlling the situation – try not to jump back into the same career space so quickly, consider finding an interim job to give yourself the time you need to recover.

Getting ready to find a role and workplace that’s the right fit for you

Once you are ready to start looking at new job opportunities, please reach out to the team at Randstad. Our specialist recruitment consultants are experts in their fields. They can help guide you through the job-hunting process and most importantly connect you to a role and company suited to you and your career aspirations.  

Aside from seeking professional recruitment advice, there are other positive steps you can be taking to help accelerate your job search.

How you craft your cover letter is important to ensure you stand out. When you write a cover letter and speak to a potential new employer, be open and honest about your redundancy experience and highlight how you turned this negative into a positive career experience.

Sell a potential employer on the benefits of hiring you – a key one may be that you are able to start immediately. Another may be loyalty – particularly if your redundancy came after a period of difficulty for your previous employer and yet you were prepared to stick it out. 

If you’re planning to stay involved in the same industry, then keep your finger on the pulse by staying in touch with people in your professional network. This can be a great way to hear about industry developments that may lead to new opportunities.  

Also consider enlisting the services of a career coach or mentor to help identify gaps in your skills or new ways to frame your experience and job motivations. 

Don’t sell yourself short

A few years back, research in New Zealand revealed that those who lose their jobs earn between 12 and 22 percent less than comparable workers, four to five years after the process has been completed. This unfortunate statistic may indicate that people are accepting roles at lower rates out of necessity or due to a loss of confidence.

While some degree of compromise may be necessary to get back on your feet, being made redundant does not negate your experience or qualifications so don’t let it undermine your confidence when it comes to negotiating your package.

Future proofing your skills

When it comes to the future of work, we know that the increased use of AI and automation will cause roles to change or become obsolete. Technology changes work but will never replace the need for human interaction and skills, rather it should empower more people to work smarter and deliver greater improvements in efficiency. 

The development of new skills in the workforce is an imperative and many businesses are addressing these needs as part of their strategic planning process, however it’s not just up to the employer. As an employee you can take a proactive role in understanding the changing landscape of your industry and identify how you can enhance and develop your skills so that you can face the future with confidence.