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ImageIf you have lost your job through redundancy, don’t despair!

Here are 10 steps to help you cope and to find that next great job!

As the effects of the global credit crunch and slowing economic growth hits us all, a number of companies are cutting jobs in a bid to save on costs and salvage their stakeholders’ investments. Yet, however logical redundancies may appear to an organisation, when you are the one at the receiving end, it’s often hard to handle.

Here are some suggestions to help you cope with this (temporary!) crisis in your life.

1. Take a Minute

Resist the urge to panic.  However unexpected and unwelcome the news of impending redundancy, it is NOT the end of the world.  When you have had some time to reflect, it might even turn out to be the best thing to have happened to you.  Don’t go straight from your office to the nearest recruitment consultant after hearing the news; you need to assess what you have and what you will need.   You need to take stock, plan and develop a strategy.

2. It’s Not About You

Although it might seem hard to believe, try to remember that it is the job you were doing that is now redundant, not you. While you may be the person at the receiving end, cutting back on jobs is the company’s response to its business situation or to its need to reorganise and is not a reflection on your skills and abilities. It is completely natural and understandable to be angry, frustrated and bitter (particularly if you have put in long hours and worked hard at your job!). However, if you can keep in mind that this is not your fault, you will be able to move on in a more positive frame of mind.

Although redundancy is usually not a voluntary decision, it has given many people the chance they may otherwise not have had to choose what works better for them.
3. List your Achievements

Look back over your achievements in this last job and the others before and appreciate what you have already accomplished.  Take pride in what you have done and practice talking about your achievements.  In addition to boosting your flagging confidence, this will be good practice for marketing yourself to prospective employers who have not yet had the benefit of knowing how you work and what you have achieved.

4. Check your Skills

Use this opportunity to think about what you have enjoyed - or hated - about your last job.  This will help you focus on where you might now want to take your career.  Although redundancy is usually not a voluntary decision, it has given many people the chance they may otherwise not have had to choose what works better for them.  List your skills and rate how competent you are.  Do you need to brush up on particular IT programs?  Is this the time to take that training course you have been thinking about or to improve your language skills?  There are a number of training programmes out there and opportunities for re-training into new professions, so…

5. Research the Market

Invest in the time needed to really research what’s out there and which jobs match your skills and experience. However, just because you have been doing one kind of job for a few years is no reason to continue doing so, if it doesn’t match your strongest skills or real interests. The internet offers invaluable research material and you can also pick up information about other career opportunities from libraries, professional associations and government funded organisations.

6. Value your Values

Use your recent experience to think about the kind of organisation that you want to work with.  Are you better off in a large organisation or a small one?  Do you work best in a team or by yourself?   Are you more comfortable in a caring organisation than a profit-driven company?  Is a good work/life balance more important to you than salary? Do you need an environment that offers flexibility due to family or caring responsibilities?  For a working environment that brings out the best in you, make sure that your values are in line with those of your employer.

Use your network of friends, family and contacts to help you identify potential opportunities….Go out and talk to people and don’t be reticent about letting people know what you are looking for.
7. Use all the Routes

There are various routes back into employment and you should make sure that you use them all. Find out which newspapers and magazines publish jobs in your sector or profession and either buy them or visit a local library to access a copy. Choose a few recruitment agencies or head hunters that specialise in your sector and register your CV with them. You should also keep an eye on the vacancies they advertise and contact them about any that are relevant to you – busy agencies may not necessarily have the time to contact everyone registered with them. There are a host of online job sites advertising job vacancies so sign up and check regularly with those that have the kind of vacancies that you are interested in. Research other companies in your sector and don’t shy away from direct approaches – although such applications need to be well researched and specifically targeted. One approach that is always highly recommended is to....

8. Network, Network, Network!

Use your network of friends, family and contacts to help you identify potential opportunities. Remember, the redundancy is not about you and hiding away is just reducing your chances of finding another job. Go out and talk to people and don’t be reticent about letting people know what you are looking for. Knowing the right person can get your foot through the door of many organisations. Contact past colleagues; some may know about a vacancy. Even social gatherings can give you the chance to market your experience. Remember to always follow up any referrals promptly and professionally. Get involved in industry associations for your sector; offer your help and attend any relevant events to boost your networking reach.

9. Get your CV Right

Don’t miss out on the right job because of a poor or misleading CV. Use this time to take a fresh look at your CV and to make sure that it is marketing you in the best and most appropriate way. Keep the look and feel of your CV professional; check your spelling and, most of all, make sure that you are using it to state your (relevant!) achievements rather than just reproducing your last job description. Keep it brief and make sure your contact details are up to date. Include information about the skills and qualities needed for the job you are targeting. Bland, generalized CVs without a focus will not make an impact or make it through rigorous and often automated scanners. Grab the attention of recruiters and prospective employers by doing your research and producing a winning CV.

10. Plan your Finances

Scale back on your expenses while you anticipate having less income. It’s also a good time to plan your finances for now and for the future. Have you put insurance policies in place for you and/or your dependents? Have you contacted creditors to ask about the possibility of a repayments holiday until you find new employment? Have you written your will? Use this time to look ahead at your life plan. While there’s no point trying to make absolute plans, you can start preparing for some of the inevitable changes that will be coming along.

Need some help with dealing with redundancy and getting your career back on track? Want to freshen up your CV? Contact us at ReConnect Africa Careers to see how we can help.
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