Redundancy: with all its associations of uncertainty and anxiety, it’s a word that employees dread and, in the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak, a reality that many are facing.
While you may think your chances of finding new employment immediately are slim, there are steps you can take now to help you move forward. Our experts share their advice on getting your career back on track.
Being made redundant can trigger intense emotions which can lead to hasty actions that you may later regret. Being calm, methodical and logical will help you to focus on proactively moving forward.
“Redundancies may happen when challenging situations occur in the corporate world. Firms are taking actions based on what would be best for their business; it is not targeted at you but it’s something they have decided they need to do to move forward,” shares Vorubsorn Pongsiribanyat, Associate Director, Commerce at Robert Walters’ Bangkok office.
In these increasingly uncertain times, company restructuring may be essential to a business’s survival and this can inevitably lead to redundancies, especially at more senior levels.
While it may be tough to accept, Vorubsorn advises candidates to not take it personally as it will help them move on. “The faster you recalibrate your frame of mind, the quicker you are able to take steps towards landing your next opportunity.”
“As soon as you become aware that redundancy is imminent, start organising yourself as quickly as possible,” suggests Alex Martin, manager at Robert Walters’ Singapore office. You should contact your line manager and request written references that you can share with potential future employers, he says.
You also need to make sure you sort out your payslips and other employment documentation. “That paperwork can be a lot more difficult to acquire once you’ve left a company, so try and get as much sorted as possible before you leave.”
Before hopping straight into your next role, consider taking time to recharge and reflect on future career paths. “While finding a replacement job right after you got made redundant can be good for you financially, it may be better for your long-term career journey and profile to take your time to plan your next move carefully,” Vorubsorn advises. “Making a bad career move now can call your employment history into question.”
Vorubsorn adds, “Being made redundant can actually provide us with a chance to really take a break from a long period of hard work, to reflect and pursue what you are really passionate about. It is also an opportunity for you to rediscover and upskill yourself. Having said that, do have a solid plan and timeline as well, so you know when to end your break and get started on your next job search.”
In a similar vein, Alex says, “Redundancy is difficult, but it can also be an opportunity to make positive changes.” Taking the time to reassess your career and work-life balance can help you to identify what you want from your next role and employer. For example, you may want more flexibility than you were previously offered or a shorter commute.
Additionally, the time and money afforded by redundancy can provide the impetus you need to make the bold changes you’ve been dreaming of, such as a career change or returning to full-time education.
“Despite the stress and anxiety that being made redundant ultimately brings, it’s essential you take the positives and look at ways to make your new circumstances work for you,” advises Alex.
To avoid being cut off from the corporate world after being made redundant, try to keep yourself connected to your professional network. “Keep in contact with your peers, bosses, and subordinates – they will help keep you updated on the happenings in the company and the wider market,” says Vorubsorn.
Vorubsorn also urges candidates to not forget about keeping in contact with professional recruiters that they trust. “It’s one key way to keep your profile visible in the market, and recruiters can help bring up interesting and suitable opportunities when they come along,” Vorubsorn says.
“Once you’ve decided on the right move for you, invest energy in bringing your CV and social media profiles up-to-date, highlighting all relevant skills and experience,” says Alex.
Many people who have been in the same senior role for some time are unlikely to have updated their CV, yet their most recent experience and expertise may be their most valuable. Don’t be evasive about your situation either: “In terms of your redundancy, it’s always better to be up-front and honest with hiring managers.”
“Being back on the job market can be a daunting prospect, especially when dealing with the uncertainty that redundancy brings, but connecting with a recruiter can make this process a lot more manageable,” suggests Alex.
According to both Alex and Vorubsorn, not only will a recruiter provide much-needed advice when it comes to your CV and interview technique, they’ll also give you invaluable market insight and introductions. “Recruiters can provide access to jobs that aren’t being advertised, such as commercially sensitive roles – access you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get,” Alex says.
While knowing what you want in a job is a good thing, it is also important to have some back-up choices. “Having flexibility and being realistic about your choices will give you a higher chance of getting a job that you can succeed in and help contribute to the company,” says Vorubsorn.
The search might well introduce you to roles you hadn’t previously considered, so prepare to be open-minded and assess every role on its merits.
During interviews, Vorbusorn stresses that you should always be open and honest in sharing facts about your employment history. “A clear explanation of the situation would be helpful for companies to better understand you and your career path.”
“Before an interview, strategise and be familiar on the interesting and positive aspects of the company, the role, and what the opportunity means to you. Be sincere in your answers. Be open in conveying what you can really bring to the table and what you expect in return from the firm. While you should be upfront about the fact that you were made redundant, do focus your energy and answers towards how you are able to learn from the experience to help the company in the future.”
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