Q: I have been in work for 24 years. I had a stable job, and no desire to change. Due to COVID-19 and other issues, the company has offered me a redundancy next month. It’s hard not to take this personally and it is affecting my confidence. I am not sure where to start or what to do next. Any advice? (BC, email).
A: Being laid off is always difficult, BC. Your world and your routine are taken from you and that’s hard to deal with. In addition, the pandemic tends to exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety. For these reasons, it is good to have a clear head and a set of steps to follow, writes Ines Gonzalez, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.
Losing a job can have many different effects on you, including embarrassment, low self-esteem and feeling overwhelmed with the task of looking for a new job. The practical you may think “I need to get my CV ready as soon as possible”.
But that may not be the best first step. This short guide may help you:
- Look after yourself. Acknowledge all those mixed feelings. Give yourself some time. You’re experiencing a loss, and that needs to be processed and, perhaps, mourned. Looking after your body and mind is crucial here.
- Look at the current global situation, your company and industry. The fact that jobs are gone from your company is probably nothing to do with you. If none of this helps and you continue to suffer, please seek professional help.
- Get ready. You mentioned redundancy so that means some back-up income. Assess your finances to see how much time you have for your search. Analyse your expenses and prune accordingly.
- Now the hard bit. You need to get back into the market. Assess your options and answer these questions. Are there still roles in my sector? Do I need to change career? What is my real value and how can I sell it? Who can help? How can I expand my network?
- Now, and only now, start your ‘to do’ list. When you have a bit more clarity you will have to re-design your CV cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Define your objective so that you can stand out from other candidates. Create a networking plan to help you reach opportunities.
- Fine-tune your interview skills if it’s a long time since you did an interview. The first step is to work on believing your real worth and how can you add value to a company. Practice out loud and repeat as many times as needed. The first person you need to convince is yourself. This can be difficult but it is a vital hurdle to jump before trying to persuade any hiring manager to take you on.
- Be patient. Take your time and do other things. Do not spend every day applying for jobs or thinking about them.
- This last point goes back to the first one: be kind to yourself, and expect ups and downs along the way. It may take time. We live in uncertain times, but consistency and keeping a good life balance will get you there.
Ines Gonzalez is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers.
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