Q: I always thought my job was relatively safe. I had the opportunity to move on a few years ago but chose to stay in the same role. Now I’m facing redundancy after twelve and a half years in my current job role. My skills are out of date and I lack confidence to compete in the jobs market. What should I do?
A: Sometimes it’s hard to recognise when you need to move on in your career particularly when you’ve been in a job role for a number of years. If you’ve dodged the redundancy or departmental change ‘silver bullet’ it’s easy to become complacent and think that your job is safe. Unfortunately there are few companies that are immune to economic change and this means that the concept of a ‘job for life’ is fast being relegated to history.
However, there is life after redundancy and in many cases redundancy can prove to be the catalyst for change that you need to reassess your career direction and move in a different direct and upgrade your skills.
Getting another job means that you will need to compete with other candidates however, the positive thing about your situation is that after twelve years within one organisation you are likely to have built a considerable network. So, why not start by letting your contacts and suppliers know that you are looking for other opportunities?
Assess your skills with a skills audit
One of the first things you will need to do is conduct a skills audit. A skills audit will help you to market yourself to new employers as well as help you to understand what skills you have to offer a new employer. For example you may enjoy research, or be a great negotiator or have a talent for influencing others. All of these skills once identified can be woven into your CV and cover letter and online profiles.
Since you’ve been in your job role a long time it’s likely that you have acquired a considerable amount of expertise in specialist area. Begin a list of all the things you do as part of your job along with the skills you use to achieve them. This exercise will not only make you more aware of what you actually do but more importantly, it’ll help you to recognise the skill-sets you use for delivering on the job.
New employers regard past achievements as a guide as to how well you’ll perform in the new job for them. If you have access to your old appraisals you should examine your past achievements and make notes on how you met your objectives and ensure that these are clearly highlighted within your CV or cover letter.
LinkedIn your essential job search tool
LinkedIn is an essential part of today’s job search tool kit. Create a profile on LinkedIn if you don’t have one, it’s free. You can find hiring managers by name and approach them directly about opportunities and the recruitment process.
If you already have a LinkedIn account make it a priory to invest time in updating your profile with key words from your industry sector to ensure that it highlights your skills to recruiter and employers. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at other people in your peer group and read what they say about themselves. It will give you a few initial ideas on what looks appealing.
LinkedIn is also the ideal research tool for you to look up competitor organisations and find contacts that you can approach directly for job opportunities.
You can also send targeted messages to your own personal LinkedIn network and ask for help in sourcing opportunities. The opportunities may not always be suitable but it can be worth having a conversation with an organisation that is recruiting in general. Companies that recruit are generally those that are growing or expanding so speaking to a contact there may prove useful as they may have a position aligned with your skills within a few months.
If you’re concerned that you’re technical skills are out of date try to enrol in a course pertinent to your industry as soon as possible. Redundancy often affects confidence which is perfectly natural but you shouldn’t let this hold you back from a successful job search. Investigate some short courses in areas that will give you tools and tips to help you more confident.