When it comes to upsetting and stressful scenarios, being made redundant is up there with divorce, bereavement and moving house. So what can you do to help cushion the blow and move on?
1. Ensure you have got the best possible settlement
Minal Backhouse, managing director and employment lawyer at Backhouse Solicitors, says it’s vital to know how much you are owed by your employer as it will help you budget whilst you’re looking for a new job. “If you were worked there for more than two years, you are entitled to statutory redundancy pay. This is calculated based on age, weekly pay and length of employment, capped at 20 years,” she explains. “This increases to a full week’s pay for every complete year of employment when you’re between the ages of 22 and 40, and a week and a half’s pay for every complete year of employment when you’re 41+. Despite this criteria, the weekly amount is currently capped at £475.
2. Keep calm and try and stay positive
Helen Sachdev, co-founder of WOMBA, which provides workplace coaching for new parents going back into work, says that it’s important to take a moment to reflect on your situation and try to be subjective. “Just because your company no longer needs you, it’s not a reflection of you or your potential. Be kind to yourself and don’t take it personally. It’s the role that is being made redundant, not you,” she advises.
3. Update your CV
Presuming that you will be looking for another job straight away, you should spend some time updating your CV, advises Denise Taylor, career psychologist and coach with Amazing People. Make sure it’s fresh and contemporary, says Taylor. “It may be five or more years since you last needed a CV and styles have changed. You no longer want a 100 word opening statement about what you are looking for. You need to focus much more on what you can offer. A CV just gets a nine second glance for a first review so think about the key details you want the reader to notice. Less really is more and don’t forget to use spell check.”
4. Say yes to social media
Do you have a LinkedIn profile? It’s now essential for almost everyone, says Taylor. “Start with your summary – is it clear about what you can offer and your key skills and expertise? Do you have key details on every job? Have you got some endorsements and recommendations? Have you changed the default title under your current, usually your last job title, to something more relevant?” Taylor advises building your connections by sending out personal requests, getting involved in various online groups and connecting with people who work for organisations you’d like to work for.
5. Think about your next role very carefully
Are you looking for a similar job to the one you previously had or something new? If you are looking for something slightly different, it’s essential to do your research. Be completely clear about what skills and experience are required and make sure you have it. “Think hard about why you should be shortlisted and then get the job offer. The best way to do this is to look at a job ad and make sure you have a great example of all their key requirements,” Taylor advises.
6. Remember there is no shame in signing on
If you have never been out of work before, it can seem humiliating signing on for the first time but don’t forget you are entitled to a Jobseeker’s Allowance whilst you’re looking. Backhouse explains: “Signing on for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) means you may be able to receive national insurance contributions, preventing a gap appearing on your records.” A large gap could, for example, affect your rights to a pension or benefits in the future. “There are two types of JSA: Contribution-based and Income-based. You are entitled to contribution-based JSA if you have been paying NI for two years or more, for up to six months. Income-based JSA is based on your household’s income including insurance, savings and your redundancy pay. This can be claimed up until you find a new job and can top up or replace contribution-based JSA,” says Backhouse. You may also be entitled to other benefits such as free school meals, prescriptions, dental treatment and discount vouchers for glasses, hospital fees and mortgage repayments.
7. Plan your time effectively
“Think about how you will manage your time and divide it into finding jobs to apply for, researching jobs and meeting with people.” Taylor advises. You may, for example, like to create a spreadsheet so you know which version of your CV was sent and when to follow up. “Most people will spend most of their time looking on job search sites, but this is the least effective way to find a job, much more time should be spent on talking with people and making direct approaches to organisations. So divide your time between tasks.”
Georgina Fuller is an award winning freelance journalist and editor.