For a few people redundancy may be a welcome opportunity, for most however, whether referred to as redundancy or downsizing the shock of losing one’s job takes an emotional toll, particularly where there was no prior warning that job losses were likely. Apart from the financial implications, job loss may invoke feelings of loss of identity and an erosion of self-confidence.
The truth is that it’s the job and not the person that’s been made redundant. Once the initial shock is dealt with it’s important to be positive and concentrate on the job search process. Looking for a new job can be hard work so it’s important to dedicate the same level of energy and commitment to the job search that was previously devoted to work. Take control and make job search a priority, review your CV elevator pitch and consider the options and opportunities available.
1. Concentrate on networking
Networking is a key component of an effective job search campaign and extending your network is something you should concentrate on whatever your employment status. Aim to build your network, it’s about the long-term relationships and adding value; nobody advances their career by knowing fewer people. Research suggests that senior executives are relaxed about taking the time to network, precisely because they know it can lead to interesting career opportunities.
Spending time and effort on networking effectively is a more efficient approach than sending out speculative application letters or cold calling. A personal recommendation from a contact could be invaluable in securing an introduction or an interview. Apart from anything else you are more likely to be hired when you learn about a job through someone who knows you and the employer. It’s obvious really, when selecting a potential employee, a hiring manager will tend to give preferential treatment to those applicants recommended by people they know and trust.
Think about all who are potential sources of advice and information including professional associations. Be creative about where and how to make contact with those who might help.
2. Think around the problem
Apply some lateral thinking to how and where your skills and experienced can be used and be proactive about following up opportunities. Ensure your CV is up to date and your elevator pitch fluent; ensure your contacts know what you are looking for and will keep you informed if they hear of anything likely to be of interest.
There are some things that will add a gloss to a CV and which will make it easier to explain gaps in one’s work record, these include:
- Undertaking a period of voluntary work to improve experience and learn new skills
- Helping a small business get off the ground, senior executives may find mentoring a small business is an excellent way to open up a whole new network
- Study – a course either online, via a local college or other provider, or pursuing a course of personal study to achieve a specific learning goal.
Looking for a job is hard work, it can be frustrating and dispiriting at times so as part of an effective search you need to reflect on both process and progress while maintaining an effective routine and as positive a frame of mind as you can.
3. Plan and prepare
When you start getting interviews make sure you are well prepared:
- Do your research, read about the company, check their social accounts and familiarise yourself with their website and report and accounts
- Try to get a feel for their organisational culture, talk to people working for them
- Make it clear in your application that you understand the company and the role and demonstrate your enthusiasm for and knowledge about both
- Target applications carefully – don’t send generic covering letters, tailor each application to reflect the job specification
Think about how you are going to present yourself, if you haven’t been interviewed for a while try to practice with a friend.
4. Be professional
Treat job search as though it is a job in itself. Maintaining momentum is important, tailor your CV to each application and be creative about targeting employers and researching potential employers. Set a schedule for checking online job sites and social media sites of your target organisations, be methodical about keeping track of applications and spread your net – apply for jobs above and below the level you were formerly working at, but be realistic about the level of opportunity that may be open to you.
5. Keep it stress free
Easy to say but providing you apply an attitude of pro-activeness rather than reactiveness you can lose the additional weight that you carry on your shoulders otherwise known as stress. It’s a sensitive time which requires you to be organised, emotionally strong and open minded. Anything that doesn’t drive you forward and open you up to opportunities can be parked. Stay focused and calm and you may end up being thankful for being forced to look for your next challenge.
Keep busy, call on all the help you can, believe in yourself and new career options will open up.
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