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Losing your job

How to plan your next steps

If you’ve been made redundant, had to take early retirement or your contract hasn’t been renewed, we’ve got some tips to help you.

1. Take care of yourself

Losing your job can be very stressful. As well as affecting your finances, it can have an impact on your mental and physical health. It could make you feel sad, angry, confused or anxious, at intervals or at the same time. So it’s a good idea to make sure you have someone to talk to, whether it’s a close friend, family member or a professional. Your GP could refer you to a counsellor or if you don’t want to join a waiting list, you could go private – you can search the Counselling Directory for a list of counsellors in your area.

When you’re stressed, looking after yourself can seem a chore, but eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising can all help improve your mood. Mental Health UK has other ways to help keep your mental health in check and you’ll find support and information on our mental health pages.

2. Get more information

If you’ve been made redundant, you may be feeling overwhelmed, especially if you haven’t been given enough information. If your company has a trade union or employee representative, they could give you some advice. You can also read about your rights on the government’s site.

3. Take a look at your finances

When your income changes, it’s a good idea to assess your finances so you have a clear understanding of how much money you’ll need and whether your savings or redundancy package will cover this. 

Then look at creating a budget – you’ll find easy-to-follow guides on our money management pages. Taking control of your finances and putting a spending plan in place could help you feel less anxious and give you a clear idea of what you might need to do next. If you’re concerned about your finances, our money worries pages could help.

If you’re planning to look for a job straight away, you might be eligible for Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA). You can get it while you're out of work, or if you're working less than 16 hours a week. Visit the government’s site to find out how it works. 

If you lost your job because of the coronavirus situation, take a look at our dedicated coronavirus pages – you’ll find ways to help you manage your money during this difficult time.

4. Find a new job

Update your CV

If you want to find a new job, refreshing your CV is the first place to start. Your CV is your personal advert so it’s important to showcase your talents in the best way possible. This LifeSkills article has some handy tips to make yours shine. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and you’ve connected to people you’ve worked with in the past – the people you know can often lead you to your next role.

Start your job search

When it comes to job hunting, it can be difficult to know where to start. Before you begin, create a plan. Have a think about the industries that interest you. It could be an area you’re familiar with or one you’ve always wanted to work in but never had the chance to.

Once you’ve got a list of industries, think about roles that suit your skillset and the hours you’d like to work – the clearer your goals, the easier it will be to find the right job.

Next, make a list of the places to search. Here are some to get you started but it’s important to find ones which are specific to your industry.

Job sites

Job sites let you narrow your search by filling in your exact requirements. You can upload your CV so recruiters can find you and set up bespoke alerts that let you know when a suitable job is added.

Recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies are a great way to find a job, especially if you find it hard to sell yourself. Search the web for agencies that specialise in your field and once you’ve compiled a list, check out their job boards. Agency fees are usually covered by the employer but it’s a good idea to check beforehand so you don’t have an unexpected bill to pay.

Social media

Online networking can be a useful way to find a job. LinkedIn or The Dots both let you make connections, build relationships, join discussions and search for jobs.

Newspapers and magazines

Check the vacancy section of your local newspaper and industry trade magazines.

Company websites

Think about companies you’d like to work for. You can either check their website for vacancies or contact them directly and ask if they have any suitable vacancies.

Once you’ve got your job goals and places to search written down, you’ll need to plan how you’ll search. Treat your search like a full-time job and structure your time with daily goals. It’s a good idea to save your jobs in one place, noting down the deadline for applications.

Apply for jobs

Once you’ve got a list of jobs you think you’re suitable for, start applying. Make sure you write a personalised cover letter that clearly outlines why you’re the right person for the job, giving examples of how your skills match the job description. Once it’s finished, ask someone to check it for tone, spelling and grammar errors.

Prepare for your interview

If you’ve got an interview, the employer already thinks you have the right skills for the job. An interview is an opportunity for you to talk about your skills in more detail and find out more about the job and the company. If you find interviews daunting, here are some tips that could help

  • Do your research. Learn as much as you can about the company. Find out when it was set up, who its customers and competitors are, and a bit about its business strategy.
  • Be on time. Plan your route and try to do a practice run. Aim to be there 15 minutes early.
  • Be prepared. Prepare answers to questions, particularly tricky ones such as ‘What are your weaknesses?’ and practice saying them out loud.
  • Wear the right clothes. It’s important to make a good impression and feel comfortable. There’s no point wearing a suit if it makes you feel self-conscious – something smart but less formal is a better bet.
  • Be yourself. The interviewee wants to know if you’re the right fit for the role and team so be honest. 
  • Relax. Try not to rush through the questions. Listen carefully to what you’re being asked, think about your answers and ask your interviewer to repeat any if you need to.
  • Ask questions. Think of some questions beforehand. It’ll show you’re interested and it lets you find out if it’s the right job for you.
  • Follow up. Send a thank you email to the person who interviewed you. If there was more than one, make sure your emails are different.

Good luck! Remember, if you need more information on work and wellness, there are lots of articles and videos on our LifeSkills pages.

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