Redundant? Time to get yourself moving

Being laid off isn't the end of the world. Be positive, focus on your skills and get your career back on track, writes Wilf Altman

You're 49, used to a good salary, an executive car and plenty of suits and suddenly you are redundant, the pain eased only by a useful, but dwindling, cheque.

In today's business climate very few jobs can be considered safe. Restructuring or streamlining are warning signals pointing to the risk of redundancy. When it hits, for whatever reason, how do you begin looking for another job?

For many people it's a familiar scenario. But whether it's a current reality or remote possibility, it makes sense to develop a career-recovery plan.

t Draw up a target list of employers you could contact to enquire about permanent or temporary employment.

t Define your network of contacts who can be helpful - firms of headhunters, recruitment consultants, previous employers, former colleagues, well-placed friends etc.

t Revise your CV so that your added value skills and powerful contributions shine through on each page.

t Practice your interview techniques and upgrade your personal appearance.

t Focus your energies positively.

If you lose your job, the short-term aim must be income-continuation as soon as possible. Go for a temporary or part-time assignment, if necessary, so that you can preserve any capital sum received on termination, especially as it can take three to six months or longer to find another job.

Don't yield to distraction or despondency if most of your applications for a new job result in rejection or even total lack of response. The three key success criteria are effort, initiative and persistence. So your search for the right new job will not be helped by indulging in a kind of mid-life crisis as well! Always aim to exploit your most commercial skills and your most valuable experience by asking yourself which employers would benefit from your work contribution. Make sure you contact these employers either directly or via a trusted intermediary.

What potential employers want to know, says Graham Campbell, a director of TMP, MSL International, "is not only that you are qualified, but that you have been involved in key projects and can show tangible business experience - and results".

The initiative is in the hands of the individual, Mr Campbell asserts: "It's known as self-marketing and it goes beyond belting out a lot of letters and contacting headhunters and recruitment consultants. In 1999 you can't be a shrinking violet."

Write to companies you would like to work for. The key to the job search is to offer added value and communicate clearly. It's one thing to say you've had experience, but employers want to know what aspects you've been involved in, what you can do to improve their operation and how much you want for it. It reflects a bare-knuckle relationship today between employers and employees.

Networking, another vital element in the search for a new job, is often not properly understood. The outplacement specialist DBM advises that, with at least half of all executive jobs found through personal contacts, you ensure that you spend time developing your network.

Each week, set objectives - how many telephone calls and meetings - and diarise your time each day.

Develop more personal contacts; get involved in trade and professional associations, clubs, anywhere you can make new contacts; re-send your CV to recruitment firms. Their requirements change from day to day.

Networking can also lead to the decision to opt for self-employment. A national survey by DBM of 700 individual executives who were made redundant showed that 60 per cent were finding positions but 40 per cent considered self-employment as an option. More people are choosing self-employment after redundancy.

Many qualified and/or highly experienced people in IT, finance, production or marketing can obviously set themselves up as independent consultants or part-time temporary executives, even if only to get a foot in the door to ensure some income.

Some outplacement specialists offer programmes on starting your own business, which will help you decide whether it's a viable option.

If you go freelance, the key is to keep in regular contact with existing clients while also developing new business. And if jobs or assignments are most likely to come through agencies, cherish them.

And get advice - professionals will be able to help you make a business plan and a financial plan and set up an efficient book-keeping system.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links