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By Helen Hawkes
Helen writes on business, career and wellness issues for leading global magazines and digital sites. She is also a UNIFAM-qualified counsellor.
Being made redundant from your job can come as a shock. But there are ways to bounce back from the surprise of sudden unemployment and restart your career. In some cases, a sudden job loss may even force you to re-examine your values and establish a happier, more balanced, work life than before.
Remember, being made redundant does not mean that your skills aren’t valuable. Cost-cutting can be one of the simple reasons that your job was selected as expendable.
“As hard as it seems at the time, it was your role that was made redundant, not you as a person,” says career architect Edwin Trevor-Roberts, of career specialists Trevor-Roberts Brisbane.
While some people may be ready to plunge straight back into job hunting and the workforce, many will not be. Losing your job can have both an emotional and financial impact. You may experience shock or surprise, denial, worry and other emotional highs and lows before you make it through to acceptance and moving on.
A strategy is to stop, take in where you are in your career, where your industry is at, and where you might go next.
“Take time to make major decisions, especially around your finances and career future,” says Trevor-Roberts. “If you can, seek professional advice.”
If your employer has given you a payout, this may provide a nice cushion for you to regain your confidence and even retrain before you relaunch yourself onto the job market.
It’s essential to remain positive, even if you have moments of disappointment or self-doubt.
“Attitude is everything,” says Trevor-Roberts. “Remember that you have a personal brand to uphold and it is on display even in these trying times. Don't do or say anything in anger that you might regret later. Ensure that you remain respectful when discussing your (ex)employer with others, regardless of the way in which you were terminated.”
How you talk to yourself about what has happened and where you go to next is also crucial. You need to stay positive and that means not associating with acquaintances who want to focus on the negative.
Taking the time each day to do something for yourself that you enjoy, whether that is a walk outside, talking to friends and family on the phone or even journaling, can shore up your mental health.
When you are ready to start applying for jobs, take the time to first update your CV.
“Start immediately by gathering personal information, such as position descriptions, performance reviews, employment history and training records, and write a list of everything you did and achieved in your role before you forget,” advises Trevor-Roberts. “These tasks and role responsibilities will make writing a resume and cover letter much easier.
There are lots of resources online to help you craft or update a CV.
All professionals need to have a presence on the business networking site LinkedIn. You’ll need to create a dynamic profile or update the one you have. For hints on how, visit sites such as this one.
Many recruiters and employers now use LinkedIn to source applicants and new employees, so make sure your profile is updated and complete.
We live in a fast-changing, global workplace. Depending on your industry, you may need to update your skills.
A good place to check whether you need to do this is by looking at the selection criteria for advertised positions. By doing this, you can see they types of skills employers are seeking, and those they view as desirable.
If you feel you need to update your skills, there are plenty of short intensive training course - including online, many of which are free. Try HubSpot.com, edX.org and Open Colleges for a taste of what’s on offer for no cost.
If you need to pay to learn, consider it an investment in your future.
A redundancy gives you an opportunity to ask yourself some important questions about your life and career. What do you want from your next job? How many hours would you like to work? What company values are important to you? Do you want the flexibility to be able to work from home or a remote location? What are your salary expectations? These are all important questions that should guide your search. Do not contact potential employers until you have a clear career direction, says Trevor-Roberts.
Remember that ex-colleagues as well as friends and acquaintances can be a valuable source of information about jobs that are not advertised, so stay in touch and ask for help in your job search if you need it.
Register for online job searches at websites, such as Seek. Searching LinkedIn jobs may also turn up a great opportunity, as may attending networking events in your preferred industry.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Entrepreneurs such as Sir Richard Branson know that failure is just a step on the road to success. “Never give up,” he said in an interview. “Even if it sounds slightly corny, fight, fight, fight to survive.”
QSuper members have access to professional financial advisers1 who can offer tailored advice specific to your circumstances.
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Personal view disclaimer
The views of the author are not necessarily the views of the QSuper Board and QInvest Limited Board. We’ve put this information together as general information only.
1. QInvest Limited (ABN 35 063 511 580, AFSL 238274) is a separate legal entity responsible for the financial services it provides. For Income and Accumulation account members who receive personal financial advice from QInvest, the QSuper Board may pay for some or all the advice fee for advice related to your QSuper benefit. Eligibility conditions apply. Refer to the Financial Services Guide for more information.
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