Major shocks to the economy – most recently the coronavirus pandemic and the current cost of living crisis – inevitably cause it to contract, leading to an increase in unemployment and redundancies.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics in January 2021 showed that the rate of redundancies recorded since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020 exceeded the highest rate during the 2008 to 2009 financial crisis.
Redundancies can happen due to several reasons – when employers need to cut costs or shut down completely, when a role in a company no longer exists, or when the service a role provides is no longer needed.
It may be of little comfort - and those who are made redundant often feel ashamed or embarrassed – but it is important to remember that it is more often about an unfortunate set of circumstances rather than a reflection of the individual, their skills, or their past contribution to their employer.
As part of the process of settling a redundancy, the employer should provide the employee with a written explanation of why they are being let go and, if it’s appropriate, this can form the basis for a sentence or two on an updated CV to reflect the individual’s current situation.
Among the points to remember if you’ve been made redundant and looking for work are:
This could be a time for reflection and resetting, particularly if you have a lump sum as part of your agreement. Be wise about how you spend your redundancy money or any savings you have, but don’t be afraid to give yourself a little time to get used to your situation and gather your thoughts about what you would like to do next.
Put the word out – don’t go into hiding. Let people within your business circle know your circumstances – you never know what opportunities might be available and who might know about them.
You don’t have to make a big deal of the fact that you have been made redundant but at the same time it’s probably worse to have an unexplained gap in your CV. Update your personal statement and make it clear what’s happened but turn a negative into a positive by focusing on your plans to move forward.
Keep your options open – it might be that now turns out to be the time for a complete change of direction. Think about how happy you were doing what you were doing before, and if there’s anything else that interests you – either related to your previous work or not. It could be the start of a whole new chapter.
If things don’t happen quickly, or if you decide to take a few months out to reset, try to stay active. You could volunteer or work part-time in a relevant area that adds to your existing skill set, or which shows that you are interested in building on your range of experience.
Be positive – in applications and job interviews, focus on the skills and experience you gained in your previous employment and from anything you’ve done since then, or in your spare time, that shows you’re keen to learn and develop.
Redundancy can happen to anyone and it’s never an easy thing to deal with, but it’s not something to be ashamed of and approaching the search for a new job with positivity and confidence is key to success.
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