It is a sad fact and the records show that over the years, the greatest number of redundancy notifications appear immediately after the August holiday break and likewise after Christmas. It’s a very emotive if not the most inconvenient time of the year to get news of this kind.
Like it or not, it happens and very recently I received an e-mail from a lady which was similar in content to a few others insofar as it described a very upsetting situation where she and a number of other employees were advised on a Wednesday that the company was folding and would close on the Friday. Her e-mail didn’t conceal her sense of panic. In essence, she said she was devastated and had no idea what to do, where to go to start to get a new job and how to do up a good CV. She had worked with this company for a long time and was completely out of touch with the jobs market.
Answering an inquiry such as this is usually best served by having an initial meeting to understand all the issues involved, as one thing is for sure: everyone’s needs are quite different and there is no ‘one size fits all’. In this case an initial meeting was not possible so I outlined the essential steps that should be adopted when confronted with this kind of a very unpleasant situation.
I noted that her comment only made reference to doing a CV but I would suggest that starting with a CV is to jump into the middle of the problem and that’s not the right starting point for dealing with a problem that has so many loose ends.
First: Take stock of your situation.
Facing redundancy it is essential to take stock of your situation. Firstly, think carefully about the job or jobs you have had, the level you are at, your past experience and how long you have been doing it. I mention this as often people in a hurry will target a job at a lower level than their current one in the belief that they will easily qualify. Frequently this is not the case.
I stand by the statement that you are best suited to the level to which you are best suited. In other words, if you have been a junior accountant in a firm for the last five years, then why should you not present yourself for a job as a more senior accountant? That’s just a very simple example.
Thinking about your next step you need to consider why you shouldn’t apply for a more senior role. Lacking confidence? Not up to it? Not interested? Passing time for some personal reason? Goodness knows? But just plodding along is not your best option.
Review your situation, examine your next step on the ladder and don’t undersell yourself. An unexpected redundancy can knock the stuffing out of most, but it’s important you remember you are the very same person, with the same skills that enabled you to carry out your last job successfully. So recall your skills and experience and target the job type and level at which you will be seen to be a match. That’s your shortest route to a new job, now you must set about getting there.
Second: Your preparation.
Now prepare your CV. While your CV has to recount your career history, it also has to be ‘flavoured’ with where you’re going. So strong statements on relevant skills and experience that reflects competence in the job and job level to which you aspire should be made in bullet points, short, concise and easy to read. This all can be preceded by a profile of two paragraphs or three at the most giving a brief overview of your career and ending with your career objective.
No matter what you write or how you write it, must be 100% truthful. Every word and every line you write, you may be asked about at interview. Unless you have total recall and can respond to any question without hesitation and with an example will make you look foolish at the very least.
In short you must carefully script a focused, informative CV. One you can stand over with informative and concise comment supported by examples from the past.
Third: Practice your Interview presentation.
Practice your interview. Remember every single word you write in your CV you can be asked about, so read it carefully. Recall every situation you make comments about, how it came to be, who you worked with and the results of your efforts. By doing this, the situation you were in and how you dealt with the issues at the time will be fresh in your mind. You will then be confident that your answer to most questions will describe real and relevant example from the past.
Most importantly, it will be something you managed and delivered and it will be credible. Call this your P.A.R.s, that is; Problem, Action and Result. Think every situation under these headings; rehearse them carefully in your mind and you will be surprisingly well armed for interview. You will be confident.
You have your Career Direction figured out, you have a good CV and your interview presentation is good, now what?
Fourth: Your Job Search.
This is the job search part, the part where you have to tear yourself from the PC and stop sending a blizzard of applications to everything you can find on the web. You must take a careful and targeted approach to the media.
The largest and now becoming the most effective source of securing a job is through IrishJobs.ie. By far they manage the greatest amount of new job notifications than anyone else in the market. Log on and register with them. Then fill out your job alerts, using the key words that are relevant to you. Make sure they are sharp, relevant with no ambiguity. There is also LinkedIn, which is a must as it is used as a search tool by a great many employers and recruiters in their search for good candidates. There are other job sites that work well, so select a couple of the better ones and add your name.
I referred to you putting a profile on your CV. Make sure that same profile is on the various social media websites and use a statement similar to the profile on the main page. Your career history should follow, but only a line or two per job. The purpose is to arouse interest with the reader and prompt them to want to know more and make contact. Tell too much and you could get yourself ruled out in your absence. You have to get your toe in the door and use the opportunity to sell yourself to the employer.
Fifth: Talk to who you know.
Make contact with your personal contacts. Make a list of people who you could talk to. You are not going to these people to ask for a job, you will be asking for their advice. They will be complimented by the fact that you went to them for advice, they will remember you, and will make comment about you, in subsequent conversation with friends or others regarding job opportunities. When talking to your contacts, be sure to give them a 30/40 second overview of the work you do. You will be surprised how little your family and friends know about the work you do, so it’s important they know or are reminded.
Contact the main recruiters, or one you worked with before. When arranging and/or at meetings go with a clear job or career direction in mind. It helps them to help you.
Sixth: All the other Job Search avenues.
Newspapers and trade magazines carry adverts so keep an eye on them.
Try a speculative letter to companies where you are unsure of the right contact. Remember speculative means exactly that and often these letters/mails are binned. If however you keep the message very short, get straight to the point stating your skills and experience and all on half a page, it just might get consideration. Begging letters will not work, ever.
All the above is just a very brief shot across the bows in terms of the process to be adopted. It’s as much as can be fitted into an e-mail. There is however lots and lots more details that need to be addressed and talking with someone in the trade will steer you right in respect of this.
The important thing is to remember you’re as good now as you were last week/month, and your skills and experience are still ‘saleable’ to the right buyer. So persevere, be ready for a few knocks on the way, spread yourself around as much as possible and make sure as many people as possible know your back in the job market. The more people that know the better the chance it will come up in conversation, somewhere. With luck, when you least expect it, you will get that phone call.
Further information about the author, Colm Cavey can be seen below and also at: www.jobdoctor.ie
Top Tips are provided by PCC, who provides professionally delivered, supportive and most importantly, successful career change and redeployment assistance to private clients from all sectors of Industry. While based in Ireland our on-line service extends to those overseas throughout the world. Inquiries are welcome and treated in the strictest confidence. Tel: +353-86-3017207 & +353-1-2819056.