As the pandemic rumbles on, many of us are now facing up to the reality of redundancy. Earlier this month, the Office for National Statistics reported that redundancies are rising at the fastest rate since records began, with 227,000 people losing their jobs between June and August, and it’s youngest people aged between 16-24 being hit the hardest in that group.

If you’ve been made redundant, then one thing you can take from these stats is the fact that you’re certainly not alone. While the situation might feel overwhelming at first, there are many things that you can do to take control and prepare yourself in the quest for a new job or career. With the help of careers expert Eleanor Tweddell, we give you some redundancy next steps and share a story of someone that turned redundancy into a positive. 

Make a career plan

One thing that you’ll have more of now is time – so use it to think about what you really want from a new position. Careers expert Eleanor Tweddell is the author of Why Losing Your Job Could Be The Best Thing That Ever Happened To You. When she lost her corporate job back in 2018, she realised that she was ‘drained’ in job interviews and wanted a complete career change. After setting up a blog and community for those affected by redundancy, she ended up with a book deal on the subject.

Eleanor emphasises that most important first step in your new job search is to hash out a career plan. “Sit down with a pen and paper, and write down all your skills. Think of yourself not as a job title, but as a person with many things to offer – what can you do with those qualities?” she advises. “You should also think about what you need as well as what you want. If what you need immediately is money to pay the bills, there’s no shame in applying for temporary jobs, or roles that will tide you over until something more long-term comes along. You will learn something in every job you do, no matter what that is.”

Stay calm and focused

It might sound easier said than done, but keeping a cool head will be of massive benefit right now. Remember, this is just one step of many in your working life. “Try not to obsess about finding the perfect role at the moment,” Eleanor says. “Try and switch your mindset to more of a curious, explorational one, and you’ll notice many more job opportunities out there. This is a great moment in your career to try new things, without having to worry that you’re going to get stuck in one role for the rest of your life.”

Harness your network

If you’ve only just managed to get a foot on the career ladder so far, then you might not feel like you have many connections to reach out to when it comes to job hunting – but you probably have more out there than you imagine.

As well as getting in touch with past employers and colleagues, try posting on your social media channels that you’re looking for work, explaining what you’re looking for and your skills. You never know who in your extended social circle will see it and mention it to a friend or boss, or what a message now could spark later on down the line.

Get your finances in order

Money worries can be overwhelming when redundancy hits, but you can help yourself to tackle them by writing down all of your expenses each month, before going through and working out which thing you can cut down and save on on, such as monthly subscriptions or expensive gym contracts, as well as switching energy providers to get a better deal. You can find more money tips here.

You should also get acquainted with your rights when it comes to redundancy. Log on to to Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) to check if you’re entitled to a redundancy payout from your employer. You may also be entitled to Universal Credit when you’re out of work, if you’re over the age of 18 and have less than £16,000 of savings between you and your partner. 

Take care of your mental health 

“When you lose a job, it is a shock, and you are actually grieving as it’s a form of loss,” Eleanor explains. “You need time to process those feelings. In the time between losing a job and finding a new one, negative chatter in your mind can take over and you may start being very hard on yourself.” It’s therefore extremely important that you take care of your head after redundancy, whether that be through mindfulness and meditation, exercise, or a trip to the GP if you’ve noticed that you’re feeling down or anxious.

Success Story

“I’ve been there too – here’s how redundancy made me stronger”

Ruth, 32

“I graduated in 2009 into the previous recession, but managed to secure a job working at a magazine, which I loved. But I was left devastated when, after four months there, I was let go with no notice or severance pay. To add insult to injury, I was made redundant by my boss in public, at a train station. In the short term, it broke my heart, but long term I learned a lot.

I couldn’t find another job in journalism, so instead, I took two jobs at once to pay the bills, working Monday to Friday at a bank and a Saturday job at Topman. I got very savvy about saving in that time and even paid off my student overdraft. The lessons that I learned along the way regarding job security, saving money, self-worth and life outlook are still ones I use to this day. Redundancy really did make me stronger.”