Ask James Caan – Issue 88
Last week’s post sparked some great interest with many of you sharing your thoughts on recruitment agencies and their lack of communication with job seekers. Thank you for providing your comments; it is certainly clear that changes need to be made.
This week, I’d like to focus on a topic that is all too pertinent at present: redundancy. The Office of National Statistics revealed this month that 2.67 million people in the UK are unemployed. Whilst these figures illustrate that the market is stabilising, redundancy has become all too common and can be one of the most character testing times in one’s working life.
Take Tessa as an example, recently redundant, she has re-joined the job market and is unsure of how her redundancy should be portrayed in her CV when applying for vacancies.
“Does this have to be mentioned in any job applications forms under employment history and is this a barrier to being re-employed? How can I explain that I was made redundant not because I could not do the job, but because the firm wanted to cut costs?”
Tessa, your situation reflects that of many others across the country. I’m pleased to see you’re using your time proactively and putting yourself straight back on the job market – there is no time to waste; competition is tough.
Employers, hiring managers and recruiters, are all too aware of the cut backs many businesses are facing at present, and in these particularly turbulent times, there is no stigma attached to redundancy.
Redundancy can be a traumatic time, but it certainly won’t be a barrier to your next job. Instead, use it as an opportunity to reinvigorate your career and achieve greater job satisfaction. Think about your goals, what do you hope to get out of your career?
Whilst these desperate times may call for desperate measures, it’s better to be truthful about your redundancy. Many companies will check the facts and even if they don’t, it’s likely you’ll get caught out at the interview stage.
Be honest, put the end date of your last job and add a brief sentence in your CV or covering letter stating you were made redundant following a cut back on costs. Be clear about the circumstances and be prepared to answer any questions that come up at interview. But don’t panic – you can be sure that the people who are going to read your CV may well have faced redundancy themselves or know someone who has.
Many people find redundancy to be an important, positive point in their lives – a chance to reassess their goals and consequently achieve them. With this in mind, think about your interests, the types of companies you would like to work for and the roles you would like to fulfil.
The job market is fierce, and in order to be successful, Tessa, you must differentiate yourself from your competition; showcase your talents and prove your commercial worth by demonstrating your value.
Tailor your CV for each application and illustrate the key skills the hiring manager has signposted in the job ad. Include compelling facts that stand you out from the competition. Back up your achievements with numbers to keep ahead of the game. For example, instead of telling the hiring manager you saved money by implementing a time efficient filing resource; tell them you saved X amount of money over 6 months by implementing your own filing system.
A final note: remember that being made redundant is no reflection on one’s personal ability to perform a job. Every cloud has a silver lining so manage this one to your advantage and start your quest to land the job you really want.
If you need any more information, I suggest looking at the Directgov website.