Redundancy can be a massive blow to your confidence, not to mention your career. It's often hard to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and know how to start again.
But being made redundant can happen to the best of us, and it happens all the time. Never feel embarrassed about redundancy - it's now more common than ever before. Nowadays, hardly anyone has a traditional 'job for life' and when you add Brexit and a volatile economy into the mix, unsurprisingly redundancy is rampant.
Remember, even though it can be devastating, as one door closes, another opens. Keep your chin up and act as the valuable new asset on the recruitment market that you are. So before the ink dries on your settlement package, get cracking with these tips...
1. Don't take it personally
Don't burn bridges. Try and control feelings of resentment, anger or betrayal. Your redundancy is unlikely to have been about you personally and when it comes to talking to future employers about it, call it a tough business decision and refrain from criticising individuals. Always try and maintain good relationships, even if you are upset over how things ended. You will still probably need a reference. Plus, you never know, your former boss or colleagues might end up giving you another job in the future.
2. Write a 'to do' list
People can react to what is clearly a traumatic event with extremes of activity or inactivity. But it's not in your best interests to disappear under the duvet for weeks or run around in circles like a headless chicken. Instead, keep calm and plot a to do list for your next few weeks. The first job of which is...
3. Rewrite your CV
This is vital. Keep it on just two pages and include plenty of keywords relevant to your target role - your CV must get past the Applicant Tracking Systems software 90% of recruiters use or it won't even be seen by a human. For each role you've had, bullet point the achievements that are relevant to your audience. Pack these bullets with keywords and the commercial outcomes you are most proud of. Stories of clients won, projects, ideas, initiatives, efficiencies, savings and/or profit get employers excited.
Write a great cover letter too - condense motivations, ambition and 'fit' into three or four tight paragraphs with a call to action.
4. Spin your LinkedIn
LinkedIn is brilliant for alerting recruiters of your availability so go public that you're looking for work. Ensure your LinkedIn is 100% complete and polish your profile until it sparkles. You need a professional-looking headshot against a neutral background - get a friend with a decent camera to take one rather than lift one from your Facebook.
Use all 120 characters of your headline - under your name - and include your target role with a 'currently seeking' reference. Recruiters frequently search for candidates with those key words in their headline.
Try to sound professional, likeable and engaging. An easy to read, absorbing profile will attract recruiters' attention! Inject some personality into your achievements and motivations. And don't forget to double check your profile for typos - or the recruiter will lose interest immediately. You can also search LinkedIn for jobs and network with employers directly.
5. Get in front of as many recruiters as possible
Approach recruitment agencies that look like the best fit for your target job. But bear in mind agencies make your CV more expensive for an employer to say 'yes' to, because they come with a large fee attached. You should join recruitment groups on LinkedIn too to get noticed.
6. Register with the best job sites
Recruiters search job boards 24/7 to find the best candidates so make sure you register with all the most relevant ones with your new, slick CV.
7. Be positive at interview
If you're asked about your redundancy, try to avoid the classic mistake of sounding like a victim, or worse, angry or bitter. Spin your redundancy story in advance. After honing it for a while, you'll have a tale that's true and puts you in a professional, positive light. There's a fine line between looking desperate and looking like an available candidate who can add real value - so play it cool and confident.
Prepare answers to the obvious interview questions. Set your own agenda, know your key selling points, strengths, motivations and weaknesses, and have tangible, relevant achievements at the ready.
As one chapter ends, another begins. You never know... this redundancy could well be your springboard to an even better job!