Being made redundant is one of the most stressful life events you can face. At Arras People we often speak to people who are currently looking for a new position following redundancy and for some it can be a tough time and for others they relish the change.
Here’s one account from a project practitioner who has been through that change – and some of the practical steps they took.
“Having worked for the same organisation for five years I was informed I was at risk of redundancy and subsequently received scheduled “counseling” meetings leading up to eventual redundancy.
At the time I was both shocked (what had I done wrong) and anxious (what will I do now) – after the initial feelings had subsided I was left with an outplacement consultant provided by my organisation and a cheque in my hand.
I found the outplacement consultant didn’t tell me more than I already knew – bring your CV up to date, polish your interview shoes and remember it’s a “difficult” market out there (yeah, thanks for that!).
After taking a holiday to recharge the batteries I took to refreshing my CV and created a plan with a list of activities I felt were appropriate to secure my next position.
My list included contacting local recruitment agencies and also national specialist agencies, I created a target list of suppliers and related organisations and began sending my CV with a tailored covering letter to contacts I had already made and began creating relationships with HR people etc through information I pulled off the internet.
I soon found myself in a contract position which tided me over for a few months and gave me the much required experience outside of my previous employer – after five years it can be beneficial to take a short-term assignment to demonstrate you can transfer quickly into other companies and products.
Once that contract was completed I was back looking for new opportunities – at this point the market was particularly poor with regard to relevant roles becoming available and after a number of interviews which found me questioning recruiters’ understanding of project management I started reading more of the careers advice pages on Arras People’s website. I also undertook a Project Management Careers Clinic too.
I was pleasantly surprised by the service I received – having gained a thorough review of my CV and an audit of where and what I had been applying for I was provided with tools and techniques on how to tap into the hidden job market (unadvertised roles). It quickly became clear that I had been pro-active at my approach to finding new roles and these skills could be put to effective use in obtaining a role through a more speculative approach. By taking this approach I found I was soon being invited into interviews by prospective employers and found I was also gaining much-needed commercial awareness.
The key areas I found to be effective when looking for a new role were:
- Write an effective CV covering your understanding of the projects you were working on, your competency levels and key achievements. Seek feedback – from ex-colleagues, recruiters and specialist recruiters
- Create a plan for activities such as timelines for chasing up agencies, applications, researching etc. Ensure each day is structured and varied – stay motivated!
- Research all the available help out there and don’t assume any one person’s advice is necessarily right (including your own).
- Make sure you distribute your CV to agencies and upload on the job boards (Monster, Total Jobs etc) and refresh it at least once a month.
On reflection I find myself actually happy I was made redundant – it gave me the push I needed to move on from an employer I had already given so much of my time and skills to, but could not provide a fast track to further my career at that point. I am now in a permanent position which has a better salary, continuous professional development (CPD) programme and location.
Written by; The author wanted to remain anonymous