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How to reshape your career after redundancy

Being made redundant can be a humiliating and challenging experience, but there are ways to not only get through it but flourish, writes Simon Rountree. 

Redundancy can happen at any time and at any age. It’s often an upsetting and challenging experience brought about by something beyond your control. The experience can have ongoing psychological impacts that dent your confidence, be demoralising and create self-doubt.

Losing your job can feel like losing your identity, purpose and value, and it takes resilience, grit, time, support and planning to help you get through the challenge and to bounce back.

Here are some tips to help you reshape your career and prepare yourself for life after a redundancy:

Manage your finances

• Get guidance before committing to any financial decision.
• Plan to use your finances wisely. Work out a best and worst-case scenario to understand the ramifications each option has for you.
• For those facing financial hardship, seek information and support through your relevant government agency.

Understand the value of your skills

• Spend time outlining your skills and capabilities.
• Look at the job market or speak to recruitment agencies to see what industries and roles are compatible to your skills.

Create a plan

• Write down a plan of action to act as a guide, i.e. write up your resume, contact your networks, join online recruitment platforms, etc.

Maintain your wellbeing

• Look after yourself by maintaining your social circle, eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising.
• Look for opportunities that stimulate you such as learning new things or doing the things you’re passionate about.
• Be realistic and acknowledge that some days will feel good and others not so good and that’s a normal experience.

Be open to new challenges and opportunities

• Your next job may not be like the one you’ve just left. Be open to the possibility that your skills can be transferable across many industry sectors.
• Look to upskill your current skills or develop new ones.

Maintain a routine

• Given that your old routine of going to work is no longer an option for you, it’s important to develop a new routine and be open to new possibilities. You may want to have a break for a while but ensure that you plan out a new routine that you can easily stick to. Your new routine should have a clear purpose and that purpose is to create a new job – by building networks, talking to recruitment agencies, upskilling yourself, polishing up your resume or working on your interview skills.

Seek professional help

• If you are offered outplacement or career counselling as part of your redundancy, then take it. Seek the independent advice of those with the knowledge and information on current job markets. They can also assist and advise you with the transition process and how to position yourself when looking for new roles.

Deal with the disappointment

• Acknowledge how you feel. Feelings of anger, loss, frustration, sadness, etc. are all normal feelings that people experience, and although they may initially help you to deal with the situation, at some point you will need to move on. Accept that this was out of your control and is not a reflection on you personally. If need be, seek support to assist you to move from a pessimistic approach to one that is more optimistic.

Understand what you are entitled to

• Be across what you’re entitled to and the length of time for the notice period.
• If need be, seek professional advice to what you are being asked to sign so you are clear that there are no hidden surprises.

Update your CV and promote yourself

• This is your number one marketing tool that will grab the attention of recruiters. It needs to be succinct, punchy and highlight your skills and achievements. Spend time polishing it up or seek help from a professional CV writer.
• Promote yourself through social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. 
• Upload your CV to recruitment agencies websites and keep following them up to get an update on any developments.
• Meet with recruitment agencies whenever possible.

The time during, and directly after, a redundancy is never easy and can be a very stressful situation. By following these tips, you can prepare yourself to start taking back some control of your life and look forward to the future.

Simon Rountree is a pioneer of workplace engagement, resilience and wellbeing. His company, Change Ready, supports organisations, teams and individuals deal with the uncertainty of change through unique, proven and measurable programs based on the latest organisational change, cognitive science and positive psychology research.

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