There’s no doubt about it, being made redundant is an unpleasant experience.  In fact unpleasant is  a  bit of an understatement. I know, I’ve been there!  For many it can be gut wrenching, heart-breaking and confidence shattering but sometimes it can also be the kick in the pants that you need to take your career in a new direction.

Last year I was made redundant from a company I’d worked at for seven and a half years.  I’ll be honest – it hurt.  Having coached people through redundancies before I knew exactly what to expect – a rollercoaster of emotions that included shock, disappointment, anger, frustration and a touch of bitterness.  Phew – that’s a lot to deal with and even though you know it’s technically not your fault it doesn’t necessarily make the situation any easier to manage when you’re feeling like you’ve been put on the scrap heap.

So, how do you lose the redundancy blues and begin to move ahead with your career?  Here are our top tips for moving on career-wise.

 1. Don’t burn your bridges
It’s a small world and people you work with now will move on to other organisations, so you certainly don’t want to do anything that could jeopardise any opportunities that you might have to work with these people again.  You want to ensure that you keep performing at your best while you’re still employed and manage any handover well so that you can leave on a good note.  Remember you will need a reference so don’t do anything that might impact on your ability to get it.

2. Be positive
OK, so I know that might sound a bit clichéd but really it’s true.  Don’t dwell on those negative feelings – it uses up valuable energy and can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of your job search. Moping around and telling anyone who will listen how unfair it is isn’t going to help.  You need to embrace the change and start searching for the next challenge.

3. Take stock and don’t panic
When the desperation sets in it can be tempting to start applying for anything and everything.  But that can backfire as there is every chance you might end up in a job you hate.  Take some time to think about what it is that you really want to do.  Be strategic and think long term.  What challenges, new experiences or unfilled dreams would you like to incorporate into your next career stage? Once you’ve got the big picture clear – think through what you might need to do now to enable that to happen.

4. Be flexible
It might be that your last job was a 10 minute drive from home and that’s great.  But that’s in the past now and you need to be comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone.  The more flexible you can be, the more exposed you will be to new opportunities.  Could you consider a new location, or even a new industry? Don’t dismiss temporary or contract opportunities either – they can often lead to something more permanent and at the very least expose you to something new. 

5. Be honest
It can be easy to feel embarrassed when you’ve been made redundant but really it’s so common now that you really have nothing to be embarrassed about.  Recruiters and potential employers all know someone who has been made redundant or may have even been through it themselves.  They’d rather employ someone who was made redundant than someone who has been dismissed for any other reason.  So don’t be tempted to cover it up – be upfront.

It might not seem like it at the time but often a redundancy can be a blessing in disguise - I went from a job I really enjoyed to running my own business which I absolutely love.  It can be the perfect time to figure out what you really want to do, so embrace the change and view it as an opportunity to take stock of your career and work out where you want to go next

Have you been through a redundancy? How did you cope and how did you move on?  Leave us a comment below.