How being made redundant can open doors
6 Steps for a successful transition
We live in dynamic times, the world of work is no exception and for many of us, living with change has become one of the few reliable constants which is why it’s very likely that you will be faced with a redundancy conversation at least once in your career lifetime. And, as life expectancy increases (if you’re 20 today, you can expect to live until 105), so do working lives, with careers expected to last some 20 years longer than those of our parents and grandparents, there’s a good chance you’ll experience it more than once.
So, you will face being made redundant during your career life-time; the question is – will you see it as an opportunity?
As I write this, I’m conscious not to downplay the emotional shock and trauma often associated with ‘being made redundant’ and this phraseology doesn’t help! You are not redundant – your role is redundant; this is an important differentiator; businesses objectives change, impacting both the structure of the organisation and the skills required to deliver future vision; quite simply the role you undertake no longer fits the bill. It isn’t personal – your knowledge, skills and experience are still valid, but somewhere else.
I’m not saying it’s a walk in the park. You’ll probably experience many of the emotions associated with the change curve such as shock, denial, blame and uncertainty. You won’t always be able to control how you feel, that’s just being human.
But you do have a choice. You can choose to see ‘redundancy’ as a fabulous opportunity to take control of your career.
Here’s 6 steps you can take towards a more joyful transition;
1. Appreciate the change curve, understand where you are on the curve, acknowledge your feelings and that they’re normal; be prepared to move backwards and forwards as you make the adjustment. At times, you may feel like you’re living in chaos and not sure which route to take, in times like this, don’t limit yourself to one option – explore all potential avenues available to you and give yourself time to reach a place of clarity. The following steps will help you achieve this:
2. Take time for self-reflection; this is an opportunity to think about your career, leave behind the things you don’t like and to do more of the things you enjoy. Think about the role that’s ending, what were your key strengths and what did you enjoy doing and are they one and the same? Were you doing lots of tasks you had the skill for but drained your energy? What are you passionate about at work? Which aspects of your previous role made you feel excited, highly motivated and engaged? Wouldn’t it be great if your future role made you feel like that more often? It’s in your gift; by taking time for self- reflection you will develop a greater awareness of what makes you ‘tick’ and gain clarity, momentum and focus on what you offer a future employer and moreover what you want and need from your next role.
3. Review essential self-marketing tools; namely your CV and LinkedIn profile. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), used by most medium to large employers will still require either an upload of your CV or all the information from your CV in one format or another, so it’s an important document, it shows a potential employer what experience you’ve had, how your career has progressed and what results you’ve delivered.
The recruitment market is evolving; whilst CVs are still important (for now) many employers and recruitment consultants look for other ways to assess candidate suitability including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. The most important social platform for recruitment is LinkedIn, it’s worth investing time in making sure you have a complete profile on LinkedIn – need convincing? Here’s why:
- There were 45-billion-member page views in Q1 alone in 2016.
- 40% of users check LinkedIn daily.
- LinkedIn is used in over 200 countries and territories, with 70% of users outside the USA, 20+ million of which are in the UK.
- Adding a professional photo to your profile makes you 14 times more likely to be found and 37 times more likely to receive a message.
Source; check out the full report here. Your LinkedIn profile provides you with an opportunity to show more of your personality, it’s your ‘sales collateral’ – treat it as an expansion of your CV instead of a carbon copy.
4. Ask yourself; What have I achieved? This is one of the most powerful, confidence boosting tips for anyone looking for their next role – it’s critical to be able to talk about your achievements. It help you deal emotionally with being redundant. Review the ‘achievement’ headlines in your CV and for each example construct a ‘story’; these are often referred to as STAR stories (Situation, Task, Action, Result); what was the business situation? What needed doing? What did you do? What was the outcome? Choose at least half a dozen examples and make them as rich as possible. This activity will make you feel confident about the examples you share with potential future employers and give you a confidence boost when you realise just how much you achieved in your previous role. It might also help you become clearer on the things you enjoyed over those that felt like a chore – make as many examples as possible the ones you enjoyed as this is what you want to do more of in the future.
5. Use your time wisely; there’s something frightfully reassuring about spending hours on job boards, it’s the best way to find your next job, right? Wrong! 85% of people find their next role through networking (source: http://bit.ly/2eVKUrB), so it stands to reason that 85% of your time would be better spent on networking activity than trawling job boards. Your network is already powerful (friends, family, former colleagues, clients, suppliers, etc.); by this stage you know what you want and what you offer and you can not only articulate it clearly but you can also be ‘excited’ about what the future holds and talk about it positively with your connections. Now you’ve practiced on your existing network you can focus on expanding it by;
- Identifying companies you’d like to work for based on area of expertise, sector, cultural fit, etc. How are you already connected?
- Looking for internal recruiters or ‘talent attraction managers’; connect with them on LinkedIn, let them know you’re interested in their company and why – ask for a conversation.
- Finding potential ‘Line Managers’ – for example, if you’re a business developer looking for a new role, seek out the Sales Director and make a direct approach – ask for a networking meeting to learn more about the company and explore opportunities.
- Using your new-found LinkedIn expertise to grow connections with employers and recruiters and increase your chances of getting noticed.
6. Fail to prepare – prepare to fail; an old but important adage. You’ve worked hard on understanding your transferable skills, creating effective self-marketing tools, building your connections and opening new career opportunities, now all you must do is perform at interview.
I read somewhere recently that on average people only spend about 15 minutes preparing for an interview, don’t let this be you. Hopefully by now you’re in a position to secure the job you want, it’s worth a considerable time investment to ensure you are the best prepared, most confident candidate for the job. As a minimum, take time to match the job requirements to your skills and STAR stories, review company information online, consider the company vision, values and culture and how you measure up. What questions would you like to ask? This is your opportunity to ‘interview’ the company too – are they right for you?
Finally, if this is your dream job opportunity and you’ve reached final interview stage, invest in writing a draft 90-day plan and take it with you to discuss at the interview; this proves you’ve thought about the role and the critical success factors, the quick wins you can deliver and how you can align your personal objectives to those of the company.
Taking a structured approach to treating being made redundant as an opportunity to create a new ‘future vision’ for yourself will help you to not only make a positive and rewarding career move, but you’ll enjoy the experience a lot more too!