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4 positive steps to take after a redundancy

By Fi Darby | 26 February 2018

However you label it, coping with redundancy isn’t easy for anyone but the good news is that the many people who talk in positive terms about life after redundancy are right, once you have worked out what to do next, redundancy really can be as much an opportunity as a disappointment. For many people the first reaction to dismissal or redundancy news is shock, most of us work hard and do our jobs to the best of our ability, so to be told that we have been dismissed can come as a nasty surprise and even have physical effects. Other emotions and reactions commonly surrounding redundancy include disbelief, anger, withdrawal and denial. 

These reactions are all perfectly understandable, but it is how you deal with them that can really make the difference to your experience of life after redundancy. You won’t immediately find the answers to the redundancy issues that face you but as time goes on you will gain the strength to start thinking positively about the future and even making plans for life after redundancy. Time to ‘grieve’ for your lost job is important but, when you are ready to take a few steps towards moving on, we have some suggestions about what to do if you’ve been made redundant.

What to do after being made redundant 

  1. Manage your time and plan.
  2. Work on your resume and personal branding.
  3. Focus on your skill set – not a job title.
  4. Get qualified for your next role – upskilling. 

1. Manage your time and plan.

woman looking at watch

A lucky few people step straight into a new job immediately following news of a redundancy but for most of us there will inevitably a time when we are at home either thinking about or looking for new opportunities. It is important to use this time wisely and in a structured manner, not just looking for a new job but talking things over with friends and family, rethinking your household management and taking care of your mental health. For many people, who have been made redundant, this time at home can be one of the best things about life after redundancy, suddenly there is time to do things and talk to people that you didn’t have before. Your lifestyle can improve, you may spend more time with your loved ones, enjoy doing some home cooking or discover how great a new exercise regime makes you feel. 

Time management is important during this interim period. It is fine to take the opportunity to rest and recover from what has been a stressful time but remaining strict with yourself about waking, eating and sleeping times will ensure that your body’s natural rhythms aren’t interrupted, and you have enough energy to seek out your life after redundancy opportunities. It can also be very helpful to map out how you want to distribute your time to various tasks that might help you to decide what to do next. Setting and sticking to at least a loose schedule will help you to focus on one thing at a time and will mean that you can look back on each day with a positive mind-set. There are any number of useful tasks that can lead to you coping with redundancy, you will know which ones are best for you, but we have some ideas below: 

  • Make sure you get regular exercise. Not only will your body benefit but it will boost your self-esteem and increase mental alertness.
  • Research possible post redundancy retraining opportunities. These don’t have to be exclusive or take a long time, consider the flexibility that a short online course might give you.
  • Spend some time studying the employment availability in your area, or in another area if you fancy a change of scene.
  • Formalise your thoughts about yourself; your skills and what you think you might like to do next. You can write these down as notes, record your spoken word or be as creative as you like with mind maps or even cartoons.

2. Work on your resume and personal branding.

flatlay of resume

One important practical step that you will need to take on your route to a fulfilling life after redundancy is to update your resume. This can sometimes be one of the elements of coping with redundancy that people find most difficult, particularly if they have been working in the same job for a long period of time. It is essential to remember that, although you may feel upset about your new redundant status, redundancy no longer carries a stigma and it is an experience that many people have been through themselves. On your resume you should always be upfront about your redundancy but don’t say that you were dismissed, give the date and use a phrase like, ‘Position made redundant due to relocation/management restructure/merger’ or whatever fits your situation. 

These days creating a standout resume is all about branding, which can be a confusing concept if you are not used to it. Personal branding is exactly the same as the Nike tick or Coca Cola’s shade of red, but relates to you instead of a business and isn’t just about your resume. Your personal brand can be influenced by a number of factors and shared in different ways, for more information take a look at our advice on How to Create a Personal Brand, but before you do so, consider the following factors: 

  • Which of your attributes do people value most? Positivity? Diligence? Work ethic?
  • Do you currently do anything to showcase these attributes?
  • Do you use social media?
  • If you are a social media user, do you use this to showcase your attributes?
  • Do you understand that new, prospective employers will look for your online presence?
  • Do you feel that your IT skills are up to establishing an online presence and brand? 

If the answer to that last question above is ‘no’ you might want to consider one of our Certificate II in Information Digital Media and Technology (ICT20115) courses, which give a range of basic IT and social media tools.

3. Focus on your skill set – not a job title.

older african american man learning IT skills

If it has been a while since your career changed direction you may want to spend time combing through the job market and investigating new and interesting career opportunities. There are different ways to do this, see our suggestions below: 

  • Use Upskilled’s extensive bank of industry insights to find out more about different careers
  • If you are interested in jobs statistics look at the Australian Jobs Report
  • Look through job advertisement pages such as Seek
  • Explore different careers via the government’s Job Outlook website

The Australian jobs market is changing rapidly, and you have just found out that there is no longer such as thing as ‘a job for life’. This means that, in your new life after redundancy, it is as important to focus on your skill set as your career choices. Your skills, new and old, will be what takes you through the process of coping with redundancy and helps you to decide what to do next. Take some time to record your current skills, then consider those you would like to add to your ‘I can do this’ list. You will be surprised how many opportunities there will be out there to gain new skills, learn from other people and grow in confidence. 

4. Get qualified for your next role – upskilling.

open book in library

The Job Outlook website does a very good job of demonstrating the skill level required for a wide variety of Australian careers. It is an important coping with redundancy strategy, when you look through these, not to be put off by qualification or skill levels that are higher than those you currently hold. The abundance of excellent quality, online courses has made studying online as part of your life after redundancy a great prospect for many people. At Upskilled we have a range of flexible and affordable courses to suit any level of qualification. Whether you want to break into a new career zone with a Certificate level course, consolidate your experience with a Bachelor Degree or dip your toe into learning after a long break, we have a course to suit you. Look through our course menu now or get in touch with one of our advisors to find out more. 

Maintaining positivity is an essential part of getting back on track sooner rather than later. According to a study reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that bad experiences may foster resilience, and that these experiences may mean that there are advantages for mental health and well-being, including lower stress, fewer posttraumatic stress symptoms, and higher life satisfaction over time. Furthermore, people with some prior lifetime adversity were the least affected by more recent adverse events. So viewing your redundancy as a possible blessing in disguise and taking the first steps to get back on track is not only good for your current situation, but for any future set backs as well.

Looking for a quick way to enhance your resume? Why not try one of Upskilled's short courses?

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