Get copies of any recent reviews you’ve had and ask colleagues for references to help you draw up a list of what you’re good at. Business psychologist Clare Mulligan-Foster (cmcbp.co.uk) advises, ‘You could even do your own mini 360-degree review – email a few colleagues or contacts and ask them to feed back on the three things you’re best at. What we’re good at comes so easily to us, we often forget it’s even a skill!’ It’s a welcome confidence boost, and will help you see what skills match against jobs that come up.
‘If Covid has taught us anything, it’s that we’re all reflecting on our work-life balance and reassessing our priorities,’ notes Carly Attridge founder of The Loss Project (which connects people who’ve experienced loss). ‘It doesn’t have to be a drastic change – it might just be that you want to work more flexibly,’ she says. Redundancy can also nudge you into exploring new things: ‘It allows people to look beyond what they’ve always done,’ says psychotherapist Simon Coombs, founder of Working Minds (workingminds.org.uk), which offers a redundancy support service.
If you’ve been made redundant and someone asks what kind of job you’re looking for, you might be tempted to shriek, ‘I’ll take ANYTHING.’ But that’s not a helpful approach, Clare warns. ‘Think of it like buying a house,’ she explains. ‘If you just say “I want to live in a house”, people will be like, “OK, good luck.” Even if they were selling a house, they wouldn’t want to make assumptions about your budget or how many rooms you want. But the minute you say, “I want a two-bedroom house, in this area, near a good school,” people will start to say, “Oh, check out this road” or “My friend is selling a house there.” It’s just the same with jobs – people can only help you if they know what you want, and if you’ve made it clear you’re looking.’
‘If you’re unsure about what you want to do next, embrace your curious side,’ says Clare. ‘Start to ask people: “What’s your job like? What hours do you work? How did you get there?”‘ It can help you build a picture of what sort of jobs are out there and how they measure up against your skills.
Being made redundant in the time of a global crisis means there’s a shared spirit of support out there. ‘You’ll see a lot of people on LinkedIn saying, “Can I help anyone? Is there anyone in my network I can connect you to?,”’ notes Clare. This is a rare and golden opportunity to reach out to people. Who knows where those conversations might lead…
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