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Redundancy - starting over

Posted on from Chiumento

It's hard to have to start thinking about job hunting, interviews, writing a CV, selling yourself. The whole saga can turn into a life-changing event. So it is not surprising that many find it hard to cope with. But, of course, it isn’t all bad, not at all, in fact.

Redundancy - testing experience

It's clear that 2011 will see an increase in redundancies particularly in the public sector where many organisations plan to reduce staffing levels by as much as 20 to 30% over the next three years. Both private companies and public sector organisations, keen to keep talented employees for the long term, have taken initial steps to reduce costs by imposing salary cuts, job shares or shorter working weeks rather than let people go. But the next step has to be redundancies.

For most people, being let go is a testing experience. For some it can be as stressful as divorce. It is difficult to deal with the sensation that you are not in control of your destiny.

Build your confidence

It's really important not to rush into the next job, not to resign yourself to a cobbled-together make-do solution that may not do at all. Going slow may take a bit of courage and a bit of trust in yourself and your prospects, so take advantage of all offers of advice and support from your company as well as your friends and family.

Accept that you probably need support both emotionally and practically to take stock of your options and come to a positive decision about your future. Your job right now is to become confident about what you want to achieve in the short, medium and long term and then plan for each.

Career wishlist

So, where to begin? Think about what is important to you, where your skills lie, what you enjoy doing. Think about your aspirations. Maybe now is the time to explore ideas you thought were pipe dreams, and take this chance to turn them into reality.

Give proper thought to what matters to you most in a job. Is it having autonomy or being set stretching objectives? Working in a place that is an easy commute or flexible hours of work? Having a lot of responsibility or a manageable workload? The chance to make a difference or working with like-minded people? Make a list of all the things that matter to you and then try to rank them.

Preparing for jobsearching

Next get in training for job hunting. The recruitment market changes all the time, so you need to get to know the landscape. Over half of the candidates who come to Chiumento find new roles through networking and referrals rather than through advertised vacancies. It's no longer enough to hand your CV to the headhunters and wait for a call.

Even if you feel confident, know how to compile a CV and how to manage an interview, there is always something new to learn. So do your research, get some advice and practise through role play. Meet colleagues past and present and join all the key online sites like LinkedIn – you may well jump the queue for a role that is yet to be advertised. And be flexible: the traditional career ladder has been knocked down. In our experience people often have to make sideways moves to gain new experience, or even take a step or two back to start down a new career route.

Adopt a winning mentality

Expect to win through in the end and make a fresh start that makes all the pain worthwhile. Only a very small percentage of people whose role has been made redundant don’t resettle and with proper support your chances will be very good.

About 45% of Chiumento candidates resettle within three months and 75% do so within six. If that sounds like a long time, then perhaps it’s time to manage your expectations and to repeat the mantra, ‘don’t rush’. This is not something to tackle in a hurry, it’s much too important for that.

Take responsibility for your career

And once you have found your perfect new role, don’t think your career management is done. Be clear in your mind about how long this new role will suit your long term plans. Continue to think about your priorities and continue to listen to your heart.

You will almost certainly need to keep updating your skills, learn new skills, gain experience in a different department if not a different organisation to keep on track. It’s your career to manage now, not your employer’s.

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