How to deal with redundancy


Over 145,000 people were made redundant in the UK in the last quarter of 2012, a figure that shows no sign of abating as more companies succumb to financial difficulty this year.

So how should you deal with redundancy and get yourself back in the workforce?

Stay positive
Redundancy undoubtedly gives your confidence a knock, but use it as a chance to take stock of your career and the direction you are heading, advises Simon Swan, co-founder of, who recently hired a new employee who was made redundant.

"It was clear from the candidate's cover letter that he had an incredibly positive attitude and was using the redundancy as an opportunity to do try something new," said Swan. "This really appealed to me and I had to get him in for an interview."

Choose carefully
You may be desperate for a job, but it pays to be selective and avoid applying for every available position. "It is easy to read between the lines of a CV and cover letter to see if a candidate truly wants the position and to work for a particular company, or whether they just want any job to pay the bills," explains Swan.

While there is likely to be additional pressure in finding a job, focus on the companies you truly want to work for. "Select the right opportunities for your skills and expertise which provide you with the breath to grow," says Simon Conington, managing director of BPS, a staffing service for the energy, engineering, marketing and technology sectors. "Proactively approach organisations if you believe they could be the right fit, they will appreciate the initiative."

Stand out
Don't let redundancy define you and aim to make yourself stand out from the competition in a positive way. Put time into extra training and work experience, particularly if you are changing career direction, and reach out to professional and personal contacts to explain that you are looking for a new position.

"Think carefully about your skills and experiences, understand your value proposition and what you can offer a potential employer," advises Conington. "Consider making a short video to outline your skills and expertise and what you can offer in your next role, this could be an invaluable tool in helping you stand out from the crowd."

Be honest
Attempting to cover up redundancy by lying about the reason you left your last job is not a wise move as you can easily get found out when references are checked. "It is a bold, brave step to stand in an interview and say you have been made redundant and give the reasons why," says Swan. "But being open and honest shows integrity and good character."

For many people, redundancy is the push they need to break out of their comfort zone and finally escape a job they have grown unhappy in. If this is the case, be genuine and explain your situation and career goals in the cover letter and in interview.

"Always talk positively about your previous employer, highlight what you learnt and how this could be applicable to your next role," adds Conington. "Emphasise that the role was made redundant, not you."

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