Career Path - What To Do If Redundancy Hits You

While the insurance sector has been less affected than the banking world, it is likely that there will be further redundancies this year. So what can you do to prepare for the worst?

The first thing to do is make sure your CV is up to date. Most people find that by writing down their achievements, their confidence rises and they feel better prepared for anything that might happen; this may also give you a better idea about the types of job you would consider applying for.

Your next step is to work out the salary you would be looking for and how long you can afford to hold out for the ideal opportunity. Although this can be hard to think about beforehand - because you will be unaware of the precise terms of your settlement - it's worth mulling over. Remember, salaries aren't exactly increasing at the moment, so it's important to be realistic about your minimum.

Then, if you feel comfortable, you should sound out your current employer for any reassurance they can give you. Poking your head above the parapet can be scary, but it won't make you any more likely to be a candidate for cutbacks.

It's doubtful you will find out anything concrete but the conversation may help you make informed decisions about whether to stay or go. You must decide whether you like your job enough to sit tight and hope for the best. You may even think it's worth waiting for the redundancy payoff.

Once you know the answer, check out job boards, start networking and contact recruitment consultancies. Listen to any advice you're given; these are unusual times. Ask yourself whether you would be happier taking a sideways or sitting at home. Would you consider interim or temporary work, or even a move abroad? These are all important things to get straight in your mind, and discuss with your family, so you're ready to act should the need arise.

If you are made redundant, don't be surprised if it hits you hard. Whether you see it coming or not, redundancy is always a huge shock. We would always advise anyone who finds themselves in this situation to take at least a few days to gather themselves before starting their job search. Don't underestimate how much it can affect you, no matter how well you've prepared. The last thing you want to do is feel emotional or depressed when you're attending an interview; you need to sell yourself. If you're not in that frame of mind, you won't convince anyone else either.

Finally, while having a plan of action in place is undoubtedly a good thing, sustaining that plan is equally as important. Most job seekers find self-motivation easy in the first few weeks, but as time passes, it's hard not to flag. Try to structure your days. For example, set the alarm for the same time, search job boards in the morning, get out the house, meet people in your network for a sandwich at lunch and keep in touch with your recruiters.

- Tara Ricks is managing director at Joslin Rowe recruitment consultants.

- Article published in Post Magazine 19th February 2009


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