The most recent unemployment statistics suggest an unemployment rate of 11%. This rate suggests that slightly more than one in 10 people will lose their jobs. It is likely you will know someone who gets laid off or is made redundant. It is a startling enough figure that it makes you realize that you could be vulnerable.
Redundancy. Being laid off or let go. Being terminated. These are not words anyone wants to hear; however, it is a potential reality we should prepare for. This article will not address strategies for remaining in your current position, nor address the emotions associated with being made redundant. Instead, this article will be invaluable to the subsequent conversations and job interviews that await you.
IT’S NOT YOU; IT’S THE JOB
It is hard not to take redundancy personally, but unless performance is your issue, then it is the role itself that is being eliminated, not you. Given this perspective, you should recalibrate your impression of redundancy in order to move on. If you think about the brightest leaders of the most innovative companies in the world, you may be surprised to learn that over 40% of them were made redundant at some point in their careers: Abraham Lincoln, Anna Wintour, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Belichick, Mark Cuban, Michael Bloomberg, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, and many more.
It does not feel good to be made redundant, but your outlook will influence how the world sees you. You need the world to see you in the best possible light. Start reframing your personal bias about redundancy. Understand that it is about the company not being able to support the role. Not surprising, the current global pandemic is driving companies to make difficult decisions about employment. Take time to grieve and arrive at acceptance soon thereafter. Acceptance is where you’ll find your next role. Redundancy is a business decision. Your position is being eliminated, not you.
Let’s talk about how you can introduce yourself, whether you are interviewing or networking. First, keep it brief. The more you say, the more diluted your story sounds.
Acknowledge the redundancy. If you were let go because of a well-publicized downsizing, mention it. Then, take stock in your accomplishments. Document them with financial metrics that easily illustrate your value to another company. Focus on how you can solve another company’s problems or contribute meaningfully to their ambitions. Document what you have done with numbers—percent increase or decrease, improved processes leading to better cash forecasting, optimizing cash and/or generating greater yield. Whatever it is, try to affix a metric to it. Quantifying your contribution takes the subjectivity out of the equation and makes it easier for prospective employers to understand your value. This also removes any doubt about the circumstances of your redundancy.
When introducing yourself and telling your story, agree with your previous employer on what the story is, how this will be communicated by them, and by you. Don’t badmouth anyone, ever. Be proactive. Network daily. It is helpful to have a few references in writing that you can share. A reference from your previous employer is an excellent idea.
Show the world you are resilient. Show potential employers the value you can deliver. Tell everyone your journey continues.