Unemployment has shrunk to a level of 6.3% (2017) - in 2011 it touched 15% and at that time, the omens were not good that it was going to get any better.
The US unemployment figure is currently 4.4% but at any figure, it is unacceptable as it affects the very heart and soul of a human being.
With Christmas now past, there will be many employees taking or being forced to take redundancy packages. Here are 10 tips to bounce back from John Lowe the Money Doctor if you find yourself in that position:
1. Act now, seek advice and don’t panic
If you know you are going to be made redundant, seek financial advice immediately to ensure you don't miss out on any financial planning opportunities.
Talk to a financial adviser before you receive your termination payment - this will allow you to minimise tax, maximise your entitlement to other benefits and ensure you avoid making any costly mistakes.
You should also start seeking new employment and organise your referees straight away.
2. Be prepared and be flexible
If you wish to maintain employment, update your CV, improve your cover letter writing and develop your interview skills.
Many job websites have sample cover letters and CV templates you can view to get your job documents looking and sounding professional. These websites are a good resource for job hunting and practical interview tips.
3. Know what you're entitled to AND your rights
It's important to understand what you are entitled to when you are made redundant. Check your HR representative and financial adviser about what termination payments you should be receiving and what to do with them.
Find out what outplacements services you can access - these services are generally free and run by specialists who can provide emotional and professional support to redundant employees and can help prepare you for the job market.
Claim everything you are entitled to e.g government benefits and for the moment, get rid of income-eaters e.g. gym membership, digital TV etc.
4. Plan and get your finances in order - prioritising them
When you have been made redundant, there are many important factors to take into account including tax implications of your termination payments, social security benefits, and insurance arrangements.
Your financial adviser can assist you with these issues, help manage your debt and maintain cash flow until you are re-employed plus be able to recommend effective strategies to put you in the best financial position.
5. Review your skills and take the time to upskill
Evaluate your skills set and see if some of these are transferable into other roles. Do some short courses to upskill yourself in the variety of software programs that many industries use to help sell yourself better in the job market.
For example: Solas - the Training and Employment Authority - have a brilliant EDCL course if you are not up to speed on computers.
6. Target the right employers for you
Think about what you really want to do next. Try not to rush into any job as it could be the wrong job for you. Look at all possibilities carefully and whether there is scope for growth and development.
Think about which industry sector and what employers you want to work for and research their company profiles.
7. Think Positive – your job is redundant, not you!
This is a great opportunity to move your career forward in line with your own personal agenda. Although it can be traumatic at the time, many people find that in the long run redundancy is actually the catalyst they need to take their career in the direction they actually want to go.
So use this time to think about "what you really really want" (thank you Spice Girls for those of you who remember them), and go for it.
8. Network and utilise resources
Start networking as job leads can come from anywhere. Even your last employer is a lead – don’t burn your bridges with your former colleagues and don’t take it personally. Talk to people in your chosen industry, family, friends and former colleagues to build up your contacts.
See career counsellors for guidance and visit recruitment agencies to see what jobs are on offer. Explore the hidden job market by cold calling or emailing letters of interest to specific companies. Relook at all those stored away business cards.
9. Begin a new job with enthusiasm
Remember that the first three to six months in a new role are the most challenging, but it is also a good opportunity for you to showcase your skills and experience to your new employer, so put in your best effort and do it with a smile on your face.
It's a good time to also have a career plan in mind so you can aim towards any opportunities for career progression within the company.
10. Two maxims for the quick return to employment
- If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well
- Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today
For more information click on John Lowe's profile above or on his website.