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Handling Redundancy

During any period of unrest, and political/economic uncertainty, things can (if you choose to let them) start to look a bit bleak.

From well-known high-street retailers and global automotive manufacturers, to smaller scale SME’s and creative agencies, companies of all shapes and sizes can, at times, be vulnerable to periods of general economic downturn.

As Recruitment Consultants, we spend a lot of quality time talking to, and getting to know, our candidates; very specifically their reasons and motivations behind looking for a new role. Over the last 12 months or so, there has certainly been an increase in those contacting us due to a confirmed redundancy or concerns over job security.

The first thing I say to candidates is, “Don’t panic!”. For the vast majority of candidates their redundancy is in absolutely no way reflective of them or their work. The fact of the matter is their company has been tasked with cost cutting and, more often than not, reducing headcount and leaning-up is the most effective way of doing that.

I get it - in the moment it feels bleak and clearly there are financial concerns that come with redundancy. For example, you may have a mortgage and dependants, and you just weren’t prepared for this

But, this could be the ‘nudge’ you’ve been waiting for; it’s pretty cliché, but it’s true what they say, every cloud has a silver lining. So, how can you handle redundancy? Here are my 5 top tips:

  1. Heed the warning signs; if there have been company wide communications indicating a drop in sales, or perhaps if you’re in an agency and the biggest client has decided to put the account out to tender, don’t be hasty…but don’t stick your head in the sand either. Perhaps just start asking yourself "if I wasn’t here, what would I do/where would I like to go?". Maybe consider putting a CV together and just keeping it on file (there’s no harm in this and, if you do ever need one, you’ll be surprised at just how long it can take to outline all of your skills, responsibilities and experience).
  2. Don’t panic! I touched on this earlier, but the very best advice I can give is to avoid panicking and accepting the first role/offer to come along. We all spend a huge amount of time at work, and your happiness there is key to your mental health. For each opportunity that comes along, do your research, weight up the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’, seek advice, ask around; really do your homework and ensure that the company and the role is right for you.
  3. Have a strategy. Wherever you are in your career, you may not have been on the ‘job market’ for some time. Knowing how to represent yourself, to the best of your ability, both on paper and in person is a skill in itself. If in any doubt, get in touch with a specialist and local recruiter who understands you and your areas of expertise. A good recruiter worth their salt should want to help and advise you on how to put a strong CV together and how to prep for interviews. Take each role as it comes; a generic approach is unlikely to result in success, so prepare carefully for each opportunity and ensure that you feel genuinely ‘bought in’ to the company and the role before agreeing to an interview.
  4. Upskill. Depending on your redundancy package, you may find yourself with some time on your hands and it can be tempting to see this as a free ‘holiday’, or to just sit clicking ‘apply’ on everything and anything that seems semi relevant (please don’t do this!). A better strategy would be to take some time to upskill. As a specialist Digital Recruiter, I often encourage people to gain (or renew) their Google qualifications, or, if email/inbound is your thing, why not look at HubSpot certifications, or maybe even learn some basic HTML/CSS skills. Anything that may add value for future employers is worth looking at.
  5. This is more of a life lesson, than a redundancy specific one - but it’s a good one. See this as an obstacle to overcome, and something to learn from. I’m currently reading a great book entitled ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – and It’s All Small Stuff’ by Richard Carlson. In it, he suggests approaching life by way of trying to determine what each person or situation is trying to teach you. Perhaps its patience, perhaps it’s persistence; whatever it is, try to really take something away from what has happened.

So, in summary; don’t panic, have a strategy and ask for help. There are specialists out there who are happy to consult and advise (as an example, here at Beyond the Book we can absolutely do that for anyone in the Creative, Marketing and Digital sector). This is your opportunity to take control of your destiny. Good Luck!

By Emma Simkiss