This article is all about facing redundancy. If you’re in that position at the moment then first of all you have our sympathies because we know exactly what it feels like. You feel like you’ve been rejected and that you’re not wanted anymore. It’s a horrible situation but the most important thing is to remain positive. It’s very easy to let negativity creep in and to stand still. We’re not going to let that happen because we’re going to help you to get through this. The quicker you take action, the quicker you will have another job and this can all be a distant memory.
Before we get going, there are loads of free resources on CareerPropeller.com to help you to get another job. As well as articles like this, there is a complete course with 32 modules which takes you from preparation through to attending and following up all types of interview. We’ve put this together based on years of recruitment experience and thousands of interview briefings. Head over to our registration page now to take advantage of this treasure trove of interview and career advice. Right let’s get into this!
Update your CV
The first thing you need to do if you’ve been made redundant is to update your CV. This is a vital step anyway, but it will also kick you into action and make you feel better about things immediately. Make no mistake, taking action leads to taking further action. The very worst thing you can do is to let inaction take hold of you. We’re not saying that you have to work all the hours without taking a break, your mental health is also very important, but not taking action is a mistake because it becomes a habit after a few days and the first few days are critical to your job search. Your mindset should be that this is a temporary setback and you are merely looking for your next opportunity. This is not a permanent situation for you and it will pass, we pinky promise you on thatx, and we all know that pinky promises are unbreakable agreements…
Normally you should have your CV updated regularly because you never know what might happen and it’s always good to have your latest role on there and what you’ve been up to. If you haven’t, don’t worry because today is the day! Remember, we want you to take a really positive attitude to this as well. Don’t think, ‘oh I’m losing my job, I’m getting made redundant and I need to update my CV,’ it’s more like, ‘right I’ve done some amazing things in my career, I’ve got some brilliant achievements and I’m going to start talking about them because my next job is out there now.’ One place to do that is on your CV. Incidentally we will have a short course available on CV writing soon, so look out for that. In the meantime, there are loads of other free resources online where you can find out how to write a CV.
The best CVs I saw when I was in recruitment were from the most senior people, board level executives of big corporate firms, and their CVs were two pages long. Anything other than two pages looks like you’re trying to justify why you should be doing the job you’re applying for, and that you really don’t have the right experience. With two pages maximum you can get everything necessary on there. But what if you’ve been in the market a long time and you have a lot of roles to put down? Earlier roles can be put just as one line and you don’t need to put much detail as they’re probably not directly relevant to your current role. Your ski season in Val D’Isere 15 years ago might have been great, but it won’t do much to get you a job now. Don’t sacrifice space on your CV for these early roles, unless they are directly relevant.
Concentrate on the most relevant and most recent experience and focus on communicating your achievements in those roles. So instead of just describing the role, you have to put some key achievements in there such as, ‘I increased sales in my region by 20% in the first 12 months,’ or, ‘I won the company 15 new accounts in two years.’ If you can also reference what your targets were and your performance against those targets then that’s better still. If you work in purchasing you may say something like, ‘As purchasing manager I saved the company 5 million pounds a year, double my target of 2.5 million pounds. Achievements on your CV are critical when you know it’s going to land in front of a recruiter either internal or external. The average time that a recruiter will look at a CV for is about 20 to 30 seconds and if they don’t see something that catches their eye then they’ll move onto the next CV. The other thing you’re dealing with now is applicant tracking systems that parse your CV into the employer’s system and make matches based on keywords. The end result of this is that you have very little time to grab the attention of a recruiter, even if your CV gets in front of them.
A lot of the advice we give on CareerPropeller.com is aimed at helping you to get in front of a recruiter and then to impress them and to get the job. So the advice we give is tried and tested and we’re coming from the point of view of seasoned recruiters, hiring managers and perhaps most importantly experienced candidates.
The other thing you need to have at the top of your CV is what we call a ‘living paragraph’. This is one paragraph that changes depending on which job you’re going for. Another thing we insist upon is that you must tailor your CV for each opportunity to give yourself the best chance of success. You can write a CV in lots of different ways as there are lots of different facets to what you do in your job. As a purchasing manager, for example, one day you’re doing a supplier review and the next you’re looking at an overall strategy for purchasing, the next you might be hiring new members into your team. The reality is that you do lots of different things and so you need to look at the job spec and tailor your CV to show that you have done the things the employer is looking for. One employer might place more importance on experience building teams rather than formulating strategy, so clearly, you’d play more on your hiring than strategy experience and put more examples in. If it’s the other way round, you’d concentrate more on your strategy achievements. So get your CV updated today and you’re already a long way along the road to a new job.
Update your LinkedIn profile
Number two on our list is to update your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn profiles are like an online CV and are a vital tool in your search for a new role. There are hundreds of millions of users on there and recruitment companies and internal recruiters pay hundreds of pounds a year to use the service to find candidates for themselves and their clients. Updating your LinkedIn profile is another thing you must do as soon as possible. You can specify on there that you’re looking for work, as recruiters will do searches on that basis, and they’ll look for people who have either put keywords in their profile to that effect, or they’ve added a specific field that says they are ‘open to being contacted about jobs.’
The most obvious way is to change your biography at the top where it might say at the moment, ‘I am a learning and development manager’, to then say, ‘I’m looking for a new role in learning and development.’ The main point here is that you need to be visible to recruiters and to appear in their searches. Your profile should include achievements in your jobs as you would put on your CV. These things attract recruiters and encourage them to click that message button.
If you haven’t updated your profile picture in a while then have a look to make sure that it looks professional. Please don’t have pictures of you skiing, working out at the gym or posing with your chinchilla. LinkedIn is a professional networking site and you must put forward a professional image at all times.
Once you have updated your profile, don’t forget to click save and also to look at it from the point of view of a recruiter. Ask yourself the questions, ‘Would I contact this person? What would attract me and what would put me off?’ These are all excellent questions because they’ll help you to get your profile into the best possible shape. As well as being found on LinkedIn, any potential employer you apply to will check you out on social media before offering an interview and the most obvious place they’ll look is LinkedIn. Sort out your LinkedIn profile today.
Sign up with job boards
Number three on our list is to sign up with job boards and upload your latest CV. There are major job boards that we all know, but there may also be more niche job boards for your industry, and these might give you a better hit rate because they are specialised. If you’re already on some job boards it’s important to go and review your profile as it might be that you signed up six years ago and you haven’t looked at it since. Recruiters won’t find you if your profile is out of date so you need to go on there, upload your latest CV and update your profile. You can also tell recruiters what you’re looking for by changing your preferences which again is all about visibility; if you’re not showing up in searches then you won’t be contacted. Remember that we have a job board right here on CareerPropeller.com so please check that out when you’ve finished this article.
One thing you might not realise is that recruiters can access and search the databases of job boards. The job boards charge recruitment companies and internal recruiters to search for candidates so that’s another reason why your CV and profile both need to be up to date. Recruiters will filter searches so they are only looking at the most active and up to date candidates also, so if your profile has not been looked at for a year you may not appear in their search results at all. Your number three priority then is to sign up to job boards and to make sure your profile is accurate and up to date.
Create a list of target companies
Creating a list of target companies that you’d like to work for is a great way to take decisive action in your job search. Let’s just say for example you’re an engineer and you’re in a position at the moment where redundancy is looming on the horizon. Having a list of target companies will help you to put your energy into the right places and will stop you waiting for opportunities to come to you. You’re unlikely to be the only person in this position so there are likely to be others applying for the same jobs. If you have a list of companies then, first of all, you can keep an eye on the careers sites of those companies and sign up for alerts. You also have the opportunity to network with some key people and be first in the queue when opportunities do come up.
To compile your list, look at other companies in your industry that you could most easily move to. These would be companies where your skills will be a good match and you can do the same or a similar job to the one you are doing now. After you’ve listed the companies down, look for the recruitment manager, head of recruitment and the recruitment director so that you can start to create a list of who you’re going to network with. The reason for this is so you’re minimising the times you’re sending out faceless CVs to companies. As we’ve already mentioned, you’re far better off being a known candidate rather than just another unknown candidate. It’s your quickest route to a new job.
Hiring managers and recruiters are looking for reasons to filter people out and to filter people in, so if your CV doesn’t give them enough reasons, then unfortunately, it will just go in the no pile. However, if you’re a known candidate then you’re more likely to be given more of a review. If you’re known and liked then the recruiters will look for reasons to put you in their shortlist.
As well as looking at your own industry, make a list of companies that you would like to work for outside your industry. In these uncertain times, it might be that you need to think a bit more laterally and look at a different industry where you can take your skills. It’s not the easiest route but if your particular sector of the market is very depressed at the moment then this might be another option.
For example the airline sector is on its knees at moment which is awful, but people in that industry have excellent customer service skills, organisational skills and other very attractive experience. It doesn’t mean they can’t come back into that industry because we will come through this and things will pick up again, but just at the moment it might be that people have to look elsewhere.
Start-ups are also a good place to look, particularly in growing sectors. Start-ups need good, experienced people that can roll their sleeves up and get things done, so if you can show that on your CV then a start-up could be an excellent option. Think about yourself as a product trying to find a buyer. It’s the buyers with the money that will pay for your services, so look for companies that have secured funding recently or are known to be on a recruitment drive, find the contacts and start networking. Which brings us on to our next point.
Network with recruiters
Our last action point in this article is, surprise surprise, to start calling recruiters, both internal and external, and to make yourself known to them. Once you’ve got your list of companies you need to start making contact with the relevant people so you’re no longer a faceless CV, you’re a real person who is known to them. Start emailing them, phoning them and connecting with them on LinkedIn. You must make sure that they know who you are and what you’re looking for. This is especially critical with agency recruiters who will see potentially hundreds of CVs every day.
Make contact, introduce yourself and explain that you’re looking for a role. No decent recruiter is going to turn down a conversation with you and it’s the best way to make sure they’ll come to you with relevant opportunities. The reason that recruiters want to talk to good candidates is that internal recruiters are targeted on the number of people they get into jobs and external recruiters are targeted on that but also paid on it. It’s exciting for a recruiter when a good candidate lands on their desk and they think they can place that person. That’s their job and that’s what they get paid for. When you have a good candidate you’re actively looking for opportunities to place them. You can even open doors to a new client with a good candidate.
Let’s recap on this article. First of all, it’s important not to take things personally where redundancy is concerned. Recognise that this is a horrible situation that you’re in but it’s a business decision that your company has taken. Ultimately the company has to survive by reducing headcount due to the virus and the market conditions. They’re simply not making as much money as they were and can’t have the same amount of people on the payroll. We know this sounds brutal and cold, but it’s the reality. Once you realise that, you can stop thinking about it in a personal way, come to terms with it and take action to find something else. That’s the most important thing. What’s done is done and you can’t change that. What you can control is what you do now.
We’re going to get you through this situation so let’s recap on what we’ve covered. Number one, update your CV today. This should have a living paragraph at the top, examples of work you’ve done and what you’ve achieved, and be no more than two pages. CVs that go on for pages and pages won’t be read and you’ll destroy your credibility by producing and sending out such a document. Two pages!
Number two, update your LinkedIn profile. It’s similar to a CV but it’s more like an online or living CV, and it will help you be found by recruiters on LinkedIn. If you’ve updated your profile, and you’re making it clear that you’re available for work then you will be found and offered opportunities.
Number three, sign up with job boards and update your profile on job boards where you already have an account. Upload your latest CV so when recruiters search the job board databases for candidates they’ll find you as an active candidate. If you’re not on the job boards get signed up today. You have got to put yourself out there as much as possible. Remember that you only need one recruiter to find you in order to get a job.
Number four is to create a list of target companies and the key contacts within those companies. These can be either companies in your industry or if your industry is particularly hit by what’s going on at the moment you may need to look to another industry where you can transfer your skills. Some sectors have been very busy over the past few months, such as big retail, so there are opportunities out there.
Number five is to start calling recruiters both internal and external. Find companies that are hiring and go to their internal recruiters to introduce yourself and make sure that you are known to them. If you have the right skills and experience they’ll be pleased to hear from you as it saves them having to go out and find you. This is the same for external or agency recruiters.
So there you have our five points for facing redundancy and taking action to find another job. As we’ve mentioned this is a horrible situation but things will improve and get better. Take action, stay positive and you’ll find that very soon you’re feeling better about things and the opportunities will start to come in. Don’t lose this opportunity to get ahead of the game as once it’s gone, it’s going to be an uphill struggle to recover.
We’re here to help you, so please drop a comment below and remember to sign up for our free content. If you follow our advice you’ll not only find opportunities but you’ll have everything you need to be brilliant in the interviews you will be attending. Good luck, stay strong and never give up!