What to do after being made redundant

Being made redundant can be one of the toughest challenges of your working life. But by transforming a negative experience into a positive, a redundancy can also be a key turning point in your career.

Being made redundant – voluntary or forced

Technically speaking, a redundancy occurs when your employer no longer has a role for you due to a business restructure or closure.

On a personal level, being made redundant can occur in one of two main ways. Your redundancy can be either ‘voluntary’, where you put your hand up to be made redundant. Or you may experience a ‘forced’ redundancy, losing your job due to restructures or changes by the business.

While it may not feel this way at the time, both types of redundancies can offer opportunities. The key is to manage the transition to your next job by developing a redundancy plan.

Don’t take it personally

Redundancy can deliver a serious blow to your confidence, and bring plenty of uncertainty about the future. But dwelling on the negatives can delay your return to the workforce. Remember, it is jobs that are made redundant, not people - and it is something that can happen to anyone through no fault of their own.

As hard as it may be, taking a proactive approach is critical to making redundancy the start of a sea change in your life.

Draft a redundancy budget

Being made redundant can have a tremendous impact on your financial well-being. Even if you receive a large redundancy payout, you don’t know how long it will be before a regular wage or salary starts coming in, so it’s critical to manage your money wisely until you have a clearer idea of what the future holds.

Developing a household budget that reflects your new circumstances can relieve some of the financial concerns you may have.

Write a redundancy plan

Drawing up a plan of action will not only help bolster your spirits, it can also provide a road map to get your career back on track.

Don’t limit your career options to a role similar to the one you just left. If you believe your skillset is outdated or your skills lie in an area of work with poor long-term prospects, consider undertaking retraining. This doesn’t have to mean your existing skills are wasted – far from it. Many employers look for breadth as well as depth of skills. However, it is essential to have the skills needed to find work in a growth industry.

If you’re confident you have the skills to rebuild your career, be sure your redundancy plan lists all the ways you will look for a new job. Don’t overlook your professional and social contacts. Many jobs are not advertised but are filled by word of mouth. Explain the situation to people you know, and spread the word that you are available for work. When you think about how many people you know, whether it’s through your professional network or friends and family, there could be literally hundreds of opportunities to secure a new job.

If your employer offers an outplacement service, make the most of what’s available. Surviving redundancy is all about tapping into every possible resource.

Draw up a resume

A hiring manager will want to see your resume so invest time writing your CV. Bear in mind, your resume can be fine-tuned for different roles, but it pays to have a basic resume ready to go when an opportunity arises.

Ask professional contacts and your former employer for a reference to attach to your resume, and take copies of your professional qualifications as a hiring manager may want to see evidence of these.

Stay flexible

Flexibility is critical when it comes to coping with change.

Being prepared to look outside your current industry, or to take on interim or project work while looking for a permanent role can help you seize opportunities you may not have previously considered. Staying open to every possibility will help to get your career back on track.

Partner with recruitment experts

If you’ve been in your old job for some time it can be daunting to make a return to job hunting. Even more challenging can be knowing where the job opportunities lie and where your skillset could be upgraded. That’s where expert career advice can pay off. A recruitment specialist can explain which skills are in highest demand and identify the industries or sectors with a healthy level of job opportunities.

Stay positive

Experiencing redundancy can be challenging but combined with not hearing back from job applications, it can be hard to remain positive. However, staying upbeat about your job prospects is essential – in particular don’t take a negative outlook into job interviews. A ‘can-do’ attitude is welcomed by any employer.

Make a commitment to treating the search for work as if it is a job. It makes sense that you’ll have a better strike rate if you make job hunting a full-time project.

With a clear redundancy plan, determination and flexibility, your career will soon be back on track though perhaps in ways you never expected. It could be the turning point that reignites your career in a whole new direction.