Practical Insights for Project Managers Facing Redundancy

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


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  1. I have been working over 9 years with a leading law firm managing corporate immigration for customers across a wide range of industrial sectors with over 5,000 to 70,000 employees. Historically law firms did not consider on-boarding and managing corporate clients and their immigration programmes across the globe as projects and programmes, more recently they have started looking at these as projects. The resources supporting these services are mainly legally qualified (solicitors) personnel. Unfortunately, the legal industry has not yet included project management and lean training as part of their in-house training programmes. Previously I have attended the Essential to Project Management training for CPD 24. Now I would like to attend the Prince 2 Foundation and Practitioners training. That said, our services are modelled around government regulations hence our service model is very agile and it involves continuous incorporation of new processes and refining existing processes. In light of this, I find that the Lean Sigma Six training may also be relevant. I would like your guidance as to what trainings would be suitable and relevant in terms of our work.

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