12 essential tips for when you've been made redundant
What have I learned since being made redundant? Well, quite frankly, an awful lot.
Seven months ago, I was made redundant. It was a complete surprise and knocked the wind right out of my sails. Two months previously I’d been paid a small bonus, so it wasn’t expected.
I wasn’t arrogant enough to think I’d walk straight into another job, certainly not as I’m hurtling toward 50, but I didn’t think that six months later I’d have applied for 80+ roles, had seven interviews, and not been successful at any. Two of those were certainly down to being 'too experienced' - don’t even get me started on that as feedback!
So, what has this all taught me? What can I share that might help you if you are in a similar situation? Twelve points immediately spring to mind.
12 tips to help you deal with redundancy
1. Give yourself some time to mourn. Redundancy is about the role you do not being needed, not that you personally aren’t wanted. That, of course, is easy to say; it does however feel very personal when it happens. Allow yourself to grieve for the loss of friends at work. Allow yourself to feel angry about it all. After all, it feels very unfair. It’s ok to be angry.
2. Get support. If you have people in your friends and family who you can talk to candidly, and who’ll help support you throughout the process, make sure you do. If you don’t have this, consider investing some of your precious finances into getting a coach or advisor to help keep up your mental health. If, like me, being made redundant also makes you re-evaluate what you do want to do with yourself, having this kind of support can also be invaluable.
3. Keep a routine. Get up at a similar time as you used to, within reason. It’s very easy to fall into sleeping late and then wallowing about the house. That can lead to depressive thoughts and more.
4. Have a purpose. After all, when you were working you had a purpose; you had a role. Book actions in. I spent the first four weeks decorating inside and outside the house, keeping busy and doing all those things that never seemed to get done when I was working. It can also be useful to keep busy by doing voluntary or part-time work. This then gives you great examples for when interviewers ask what you’ve been doing since being made redundant.
5. Get your CV in order and get it out there. Upload a good CV to relevant job sites and of course for most areas of work get your LinkedIn profile up to date.
6. Tap into your network. Let people who you trust know that you are in the market for a new job, and the kind of things you are looking out for. That’s lots more eyes and ears looking out for you.
7. Get on top of your finances. Plan ahead and look for areas you can save on.
8. Consider what salary you are looking for. Don’t necessarily automatically look for the same you were on. Think about a range; how low can you go and still live how you want to; and of course, think of an upper range too (don’t sell yourself short).
9. Research and contact recruitment agencies who specialise in the areas you are looking for. If they like the look of you, they’ll work hard on your behalf. You will though have to chase them constantly so you stay in their thoughts.
10. Keep a list of jobs you’ve applied for, and when you applied. Keep copies of adverts, and of course dates of any rejections. Without this, I found it hard to keep track of which jobs I was potentially talking to people about. Keeping original copies of adverts and job descriptions is key. I didn’t initially, and then when I got an interview, I had no JD to refer to and prepare with.
11. If you are considering applying for job seekers' allowance, bear in mind it could easily be a month between applying and getting a first assessment meeting, so again - plan ahead. There also seems to be a very varied amount of support depending on where you live. A friend of mine in a different county, through his local job centre, was able to tap into a job club for training and support, and evidence 7.5 hours of job hunting a week. I, on the other hand, had to evidence 35 hours of job hunting a week, and there’s no club or support.
12. Don’t give up.
All of these points are from the heart and have helped me through my seven months without a job.
Where am I now?
I’m waiting for a start date for a new role. It’s a third of my pre-redundant salary, but local, meaning no London commute, and a completely new industry, so I’m excited to start learning all the new skills needed.
To top up the salary I am then doing more of my art, supporting people through life and executive coaching, and selling my artwork prints and commissions on Instagram and Etsy.
Redundancy is tough but there is an end to it. You may need to start again at the bottom of the ladder and work up. You may need to change what you do with your life. You may find your dream job or start your own business. There are tons of 'you may's' out there.
In the beginning, it can feel like you have no options; but there are. Go and find them.
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