Redundancy: with all its associations of uncertainty and anxiety, it’s a word that employees dread and, in the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak, a reality that many are facing.
While you may think your chances of finding new employment immediately are slim, there are steps you can take now to help you move forward. We have asked our Senior Manager of the Sales & Marketing division at Robert Walters in Manila, to share her advice on getting your career back on track.
Being made redundant can trigger intense emotions which can lead to hasty actions that you may later regret. Being calm, methodical and logical will help you to focus on proactively moving forward.
“When redundancies happen, it is undeniable that employees would first be afraid, especially since professionals in the Philippines value job security very highly,” says our senior manager, sales & marketing, at Robert Walters’ Manila office. “However, breathe and reassess yourself and your career. Redundancies can happen to anyone so the best way to overcome such fear is to start putting together your Plan B.”
In these increasingly uncertain times, company restructuring may be essential to a business’s survival and this can inevitably lead to redundancies, especially at more senior levels.
“Know that being made redundant does not determine your capabilities as a professional. It will not have a huge impact on your next career move, so focus your attention instead on realistically planning your next steps,” she advises.
“As soon as you become aware that redundancy is imminent, start organising yourself as quickly as possible,” she suggests. You should contact your line manager and request written references that you can share with potential future employers, she says.
You also need to make sure you sort out your payslips and other employment documentation. “That paperwork can be a lot more difficult to acquire once you’ve left a company, so try and get as much sorted as possible before you leave.”
“While finding a replacement job right after being made redundant depends very much on each person’s circumstances and priorities, try taking out some time before you make any big decisions,” she urges. “Redundancies can provide you an opportunity to rest and recover by doing things you love. It can also be a chance to pivot your career and start afresh. But before you do, you need to spend some time carefully thinking and planning.”
It is at this point where seeking the help of professional recruiters can be useful. “Especially for employees whose companies do not offer outplacement services for redundant employees, recruitment consultants can play an even bigger role by advising and laying out possible career paths,” she notes.
"Redundancy is difficult, but it can also be an opportunity to make positive changes," she says. Taking the time to reassess your career and work-life balance can help you to identify what you want from your next role and employer. For example, you may want more flexibility than you were previously offered or a shorter commute.
Additionally, the time and money afforded by redundancy can provide the impetus you need to make the bold changes you’ve been dreaming of, such as a career change or returning to full-time education.
"Despite the stress and anxiety that being made redundant ultimately brings, it’s essential you take the positives and look at ways to make your new circumstances work for you," she advises.
"Some people fear that redundancies would lead to them losing touch with their colleagues and professional network,” she says. “But the truth is, it is an opportunity to deepen your connection with them and even reconnect with ex-colleagues.”
Referrals are a powerful tool that job seekers should utilise during their search, she shares. “If you’re made redundant, a helpful way forward is to list down all your contacts in your preferred companies, and seek their help in looking out for suitable roles. Other platforms such as connecting via social media can also be useful,” she says.
"Once you’ve decided on the right move for you, invest energy in bringing your CV and social media profiles up-to-date, highlighting all relevant skills and experience," she recommends.
Many people who have been in the same senior role for some time are unlikely to have updated their CV, yet their most recent experience and expertise may be their most valuable. Don’t be evasive about your situation either: "In terms of your redundancy, it’s always better to be up-front and honest with hiring managers."
"Being back on the job market can be a daunting prospect, especially when dealing with the uncertainty that redundancy brings, but connecting with a recruiter can make this process a lot more manageable," she suggests.
Not only will a recruiter provide much-needed advice when it comes to your CV and interview technique, they’ll also give you invaluable market insight and introductions. "Recruiters can provide access to jobs that aren’t being advertised, such as commercially sensitive roles – access you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get."
“While it’s definitely tough, being made redundant presents opportunities for us to search for something even more rewarding than before,” she says.
On the other hand, the search might well introduce you to roles you hadn’t previously considered, so prepare to be open-minded and assess every role on its merits.
“It’s not guaranteed that you’ll land a new dream job. While it’s good to maintain your standards, it’s equally important to be realistic when it comes to setting your expectations. Adjustments might have to be made, especially in the current economic climate – so be mentally prepared for that,” she advises.
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