The COVID-19 pandemic has created some truly difficult times for people around the world, but those who have lost their jobs due to the resulting economic downturn, are among those who have been most seriously impacted. If this relates to you, these developments can feel devastating — but there are steps that you can take to accelerate your journey back into employment.
In most cases, those who have been made redundant as a result of COVID-19 will not have lost their jobs due to any problems with their job performance or capabilities. As such, even though the current jobs market may seem demanding, it is important to remember that your credentials are just as impressive as they ever were.
Those in this position should take a moment to consider a few simple pieces of advice that could potentially help them to get their career back on track as soon as possible.
Make the right preparations when leaving your current role
If you have only recently received the news that you will be made redundant from your role, you are likely to still be experiencing some shock. However, it may be helpful to realise that there are steps you can take to ease your transition into the next phase of your career, even before you leave your current post.
For many, a key priority will be to ensure that their immediate financial future is as secure as possible, which means making sure that your current employer is paying you all the money that you are entitled to.
This may include:
- Redundancy pay
- Your final salary payment
- Any pay in lieu if you are not working your full notice period
- Any remaining holiday pay you are due to receive
- Outstanding bonuses, commissions or expenses
If you have worked for your employer for at least two years at the end of your notice period, you may also be entitled to ask for some paid time off to apply for jobs or go on training, so it is worth investigating these options to see if they are available to you.
Take some time to consider your career direction
Once you have left your previous role, the temptation may well be to launch yourself back into an identical or similar role as quickly as possible. However, it could be worth your while to take some time and consider whether there are any alternative career directions that may suit you better.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Were you truly happy in your previous role? Would you want your next role to be similar?
- Are there any alternative roles that you could pursue in a related field, using transferable skills from your previous job?
- Would you be interested in changing your career path completely? What kind of new skills and qualifications would you need to accomplish this, and how long would these take to acquire?
- Are you willing to explore a new type of working? For example, would you be keen to go from a full-time role to freelancing, or to start your own business?
When you are involved in the day-to-day responsibilities of a full-time job, it can be hard to find the time and mental space to consider these questions, so, in this respect, you may be able to use the current situation as a rare opportunity to change your direction.
Update your CV and LinkedIn profile
These are obvious steps to take whenever you are looking for a new role, but should nevertheless be considered top priorities, especially if you have not updated these profiles for a number of years.
Both your CV and LinkedIn profile should be expanded to include all of your most recent roles and work experience. Your CV in particular should focus on creating a concise, easily scannable profile of your professional credentials, and needs to be tailored specifically to the requirements and focal areas of the job for which you are applying.
If you have made the decision to change your career pathway, this may require you to revise your current CV and professional profiles more extensively, making sure to highlight the transferable skills from your previous role that qualify you for your new choice of career.
Review and reach out to your business contacts
The purpose of building up a network of business contacts over the course of a career is to generate new opportunities and chances to collaborate when the time is right. Now that you are looking for new opportunities, it may be a good time to reach out and see if any of these prospects are worth cultivating.
Reviewing your list of contacts may be a good way of discovering career opportunities that are not being actively advertised, or give you an advantage in an application process due to an existing relationship with the right people. In the current circumstances, a friendly contact is likely to be sympathetic to the reasons for your redundancy, and may be able to find ways of assisting your job search.
Look into skills training and coaching
Being out of the workforce could give you a perfect opportunity to take some time to upskill yourself, whether this is to enhance your application for a position in your current industry, or to earn the qualifications you need to pursue a brand new role.
This may involve enrolling on a college-based vocational training course, taking up a personalised career coaching programme, or exploring one of the many free and paid training courses available to home-based learners online. The latter option may be particularly suitable in the current circumstances, allowing you to expand your skills in your own time without the need for face-to-face interactions.
By completing a vocational course, you will be able to earn formal qualifications that can enhance your CV and make your application that much stronger.
Sign up with a recruitment agency
Knowing where to look for career opportunities is a challenge at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a pandemic and economic downturn. As such, many candidates will be looking to sign up with a professional recruitment agency to make the job hunting process easier and less complex.
Partnering with a recruitment specialist can help to get you back into work quicker by giving you a centralised database of potential vacancies to browse online, as well as allowing you to sign up for alerts based on your specific skills, credentials and preferences.
These agencies have direct connections with leading employers on the lookout for promising applicants, potentially giving you access to roles that are not advertised elsewhere. Recruitment Consultants will also work to get to know you and your capabilities in depth, helping them to identify different opportunities that will suit you perfectly. Not only will this save you time, but it will also give you a significant advantage in finding the right role.
By following all of these pieces of advice, you should be able to greatly increase your chances of securing a new role after your redundancy, ensuring that you will quickly be back on a positive career trajectory as the UK begins its own recovery from the COVID-19 disruptions.