As the number of new redundancies increases, it’s natural for a person to feel under enormous pressure to find work as fast as possible. While this sense of urgency is perfectly natural, it’s also counter productive. In particular, it doesn’t allow a person to comes to terms with their redundancy.
For some people, the added stress gets in the way of finding new work. It’s simply not possible to network effectively, think creatively, or be positive while coping with the emotional turmoil of redundancy.
That’s why the very first thing a person must do is give themselves permission to wallow in whatever emotional state they find themselves in. Rather than resist it, let it work its way through your system naturally. Most of us tend to get over the worst of it in a matter of days.
If you find it more difficult to get past, be honest with yourself and seek professional help. A fully qualified Occupational Psychologist is of enormous value here. They’re trained to help in exactly this sort of situation. And your former employer, union, unemployment insurance, religious organisation, social club or welfare system may be willing to help pay for it.
Tip #1: Think Positive – Even if you don’t feel positive
It may be difficult to be positive, especially at first. When faced with the reality of redundancy, most of us won’t immediately think of it as a wonderful opportunity.
Despite that, we can deliberately set out to think of it that way. Every time a negative thought creeps in, override it with a positive one. Take some time out, and think up ways this experience will be positive for you. For example…
- It’s a chance to address your work/life balance
- Retrain in something more exciting
- Find a better paying position (e.g. by applying for more senior roles)
- Go to university (or add a second major to your existing degree)
- Start a charity, or help an existing one
- Pursue a hobby
- Investigate starting a new business
- See if you can offer your skills as a consultant (a friend of mine consulted one day a week for 18 months to the company that made him redundant – and got paid 4 times his old salary)
I’m sure you can come up with better ideas than I can. What matters is that you force yourself to think positively about redundancy until such time as it starts happening naturally (usually 10-20 days). The key to doing this successfully is to have already thought of several ways this is positive for you, so they’re immediately to hand when negative thoughts creep in.
Tip #2: Get to Work on your CV
Potential employers will want to see your CV. The sooner you get it ready, the faster you can get yourself into the job market.
These days, most advertised jobs are found online. It’s essential that your CV is available in either MS Word or PDF format (preferably both). You should have it with you at all times, in both physical and digital form. Burn it on CD-ROM, have it on a USB thumb drive, and carry printed copies with you. That way, you’ll always be ready to start selling yourself should an opportunity arise.
If you don’t have a word processor, type openoffice into Google and click on the openoffice.org website. Download their free Office suite. The Word processor in this suite can produce MS Word and PDF documents. And of course, it’s free.
Tip #3: Start Networking – Yes you can when you use this simple strategy…
Many jobs aren’t advertised in the press, online or via agencies. Employing people is a risky business, and employers can reduce that risk by using their connections and find people that way.
Most of us know at least 100 people well enough to phone. Each of those 100 people knows another 100 people well enough to phone. That’s a total of 10,000 people. Within that group, there’s likely to be around 100 people (1%) who could either employ you directly or recommend you to an employer.
Your challenge is to find out who those 100 people are, and meet them. It may not sound simple, but it’s a lot easier than waiting for a miracle (i.e. doing nothing). And I have a great system to help you achieve your goal.
The process starts by writing down the name and phone number of everybody you know well enough to phone.
There’s no point calling them up and asking if they know any employers who just happen to be looking for employees. This is about networking, and that works best when you have something to offer. I suggest you do the following…
- Call up someone on your list
- Tell them you’ve been made redundant, and that you want to keep busy. Tell them you’re not interested in charity, but you would like to make yourself useful. See if they need their car washed, or have some other simple chore you can do
- Offer to do it free of charge. Don’t accept money. Make it clear you’re interested in keeping busy, not looking for hand outs. But also joke that you’ll accept a drink or a snack as payment (which will help your plan)
- Arrange to do the chore at a time when that person will be home. This is essential to the success of the plan
- Do the chore as well as you possibly can (it’s essential this person realise you have a good work ethic). Then seek out that drink or snack. The person you’ve helped is now socially obliged to chat with you. Keep the conversation light, and wait until it naturally turns to what you’re going to do now
- Tell the person you’re doing all the normal things, as well as networking
- Let them know you’re hoping to meet people who own their own business, or who employ others. Be clear about the type of work you do, and what you’re looking for. Be as specific as possible.
The key to making this strategy work is to keep it low key. What you want to do is make an impression, and educate the person as to what kind of work you’re looking for, and who is likely to employ someone who does what you do.
Let the person know that you’d appreciate a recommendation if they meet somebody like that. If they already know somebody like that, you can be pretty sure they’ll bring it up immediately (especially if they’re happy with the work you just did for them).
If they don’t, they’ll remember when they do meet somebody like that. And there’s a good chance several of the people on your list will.
This is why you have to be very specific. It creates triggers in their mind that associate you with that type of person. This brings you to the top of their mind at exactly the right time (i.e. when they meet the person you’re looking to be introduced to).
If the person agrees to do this for you, make sure s/he knows how to get in touch with you.
Tip #4: Online Networking
LinkedIn was created to help people find work via introductions. I suggest you get yourself a LinkedIn account (it’s free), and then use Google to find articles that explain how to use it. You can upload your CV, join industry groups, and get to know the right people through LinkedIn. It’s well worth investing your time in this activity.
There are other online networking sites too (e.g. ecademy). It’s also possible your industry has it’s own dedicated online networking site. Find out what these are (Google is your friend), and become an expert at using them. There are literally thousands of articles that explain how to take advantage of such sites.
It’s worth noting that your mastery of online business networking makes you more valuable to a potential employer. If you keep it up, even after you find work, you can continue to use your skills to secure better paying and/or more senior positions.
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