Global Technical & Engineering Recruitment Specialists
Global Technical & Engineering Recruitment Specialists

What to do when you find yourself unexpectedly unemployed / out of work / redundant?

What to do when you find yourself unexpectedly unemployed / out of work / redundant?


You can be taking it for granted that your career is going along nicely and then suddenly, out of the blue, you can find yourself unemployed! This can shake your world and leave you shell-shocked. It might be because your market has changed, your company has folded, your company was acquired, your role was scrapped, your department was 'streamlined', automation, a recession, something out of your control or many other possibilities unique to your situation. It can be a difficult time. However, here are some thoughts that might help someone get their next role. Therefore, you were employed and comfortable, but now you have to adapt to your new reality. So firstly...


1 - Adjust your MINDSET - Stay Positive and Don’t Panic!


DONT PANIC - YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS - but you will need to make changes and make finding a new job your full time job.


Adopt a POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE and be realistic that you will go through the 7 stages of shock over becoming unemployed. So you now need to take off your "comfortably employed hat" and put on your new "getting a job is my new full time job hat".


TOUGHEN UP YOUR MIND - you are not the first person to find yourself unemployed and you won’t be the last, but you will get through this and you will hopefully look back upon this period of time in a few years as a minor blip and a chance to learn.


Adopt a "Growth Mind set" - In a booming economy with 95%+ employment there are often more skilled/technical jobs than applicants. Therefore as an example, could someone who finds themselves made redundant from driving a truck for 30 years, start learning to code and become a first line IT Support professional. The answer is - it depends - but on what? Mindset - do you believe that just because you have mainly been done one thing, you can't, with training and support, learn to do something new? See the end of this chapter as a chance to start a new one, potentially better than the last.


Prepare for the down days - none of this will feel good and you will miss the comfortable paycheck and lifestyle you had. Turn this negative energy into to a positive drive to make more job applications per day so you can get back your old life! 



2 - Time to get FINANCIALLY LEAN - as your don’t know how long this search is going to take...


Plan for the worst - You could be unemployed for hours, days, months or years, so in parallel to job hunting, adjust your finances...


Future Mortgage / Rent payments / Rent. Your largest outgoing is normally your Mortgage or Rent. How are you going to pay the Mortgage/Rent until your next paycheck comes in? Consider adjusting the term of your mortgage to a longer term to reduce the monthly payment or getting a tenant or house share. Sometimes radical events need radical corrections. Also consider Restructuring/Consolidating your credit cards/debts/loans now whilst your last three months’ payslips are respectable and then consider restructuring your debts whilst you can.


Prioritise and reduce your monthly outgoings now. Cut back early on wasteful, low priority, monthly outgoings immediately - trim the fat and make difficult choices early to stretch your financial resources out as long as possible because you dont know how long your current funds need to stretch too. Your search might be Weeks, Months or (hopefully not) years. The money used for buying Smoked Salmon / going on an eBay binge / buying alloy wheel scratch insurance in Month 1 because you are feeling down about being made redundant, could have been the Gasoline to get you to a job interview in Month 7 that would have got you that dream job. Use this new reality as a chance to trim the financial fat now and prepare for a potentially long battle. Spend less at the supermarket. Buy sacks of rice rather than expensive ready meal - whatever you need to do


Sell your non-essential high value assets to generate cash flow to stretch your finances for longer. Make selling them on eBay/Gumtree/Craigslist your hobby and a form of escape whilst you job hunt.


A Useful link is this site -



3 - Take Stock and Set your compass before you set your gas


Time to get the strategy right. Before you start trying to replace the same job you have just lost consider taking a moment to do some bigger picture thinking. Where is your next job? What sector will it be in? Have you been in your old career too long anyway? Is this now a chance to follow your dream? Maybe it is time to start your own business? Alternatively, maybe a chance to downsize and go travelling? Maybe the reason things didn't work out in your last job was because your heart wasn’t really in it anyway? So your career has gone A to B to C to D until now but maybe you can now try N. Do you want to spend the rest of your life doing the same thing?


Start Planning a roadmap to that new job - Once you have really deeply thought about what you want to do next then in it time to start making a 'roadmap' to finding your next job. If you have 30 years’ experience in one sector it makes sense to use that experience but what about the sectors around that industry that service it - could they buy in to your industry knowledge? What sectors are you going to target. What geographic areas are you going to consider? Would you relocate areas? Relocate countries? Try and think outside of the box. For example - When you put something you were almost going to throw out onto ebay and someone who is just looking for that thing you thought was worthless bids lots for it - you realise that at any time, there is an employer out there right now who is wishing that someone with YOUR attitude / experience / knowledge and skills would apply to them. They just need to hear from you.


4 - Your CV/RESUME is one of your main tools to get your next job - so SHARPEN IT UP and get it battle ready!


See our CV/Resume Advice page...


5 - START NETWORKING - Get out there - the Squeaky wheel gets the grease!

The power of the network is amazing - Have you heard of the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon"? Basically you are a maximum of 6 people away from your potential next employer. So time to get networking. Start with friends and family, ex colleagues, ex bosses, allies and neutral acquaintances. This is not the time to be shy.


This article says that 85% of all jobs are filled via networking -


This article says that 70% of jobs are never even advertised - Did you know there 450 million people on Linkedin? - Did you know Indeed is the world’s number 1 job site?



6 - GET APPLYING! Ramp up the Quality AND Quantity of your Job applications and Follow Up!


You have to manage THREE things at this stage - How many SHOTS ON TARGET and ACTUAL GOALS (Interviews) and FOLLOW UP


SHOTS ON TARGET - You need to play the number game. You need to be applying for at least 10+ applications per day. You need to call 10+ people per day to ask for their advice and following up on previous application - anything less than this and you are not taking enough shots at the goal. Play the numbers game and be realistic - lots of your applications are not going to result in anything.


QUALITY OF YOUR APPLICATIONS - The second thing you need to manage is the quality and accuracy of your applications. Are you tailoring your Cover letter and CV/Resume for each job. You need to be applying to as many relevant jobs that you can to your skillset.


FOLLOW UP - Follow up is very important - Applying for a job is a contact sport - and just sending an email and then complaining that know one came back to you isn’t enough - you need to do at least one follow up call or email - During the call other jobs that haven’t been advertised can be mentioned and you can reaffirm that you want to join their company. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Limply firing and forgetting an email isn’t enough.


Constant, sustained pressure in the right direction is what you need right now. A three day burst of job seeking activity and then giving up because no employer has got back to you in week 1 of your search is not going to cut it.


6 - Finding a job is the Game and Number of Interviews is the Score!


You do technically only need one interview to land a job but realistically it doesn’t work like that - sometimes only 1 in multiple interviews can result in a job offer. So aim to be attending a few Interviews a week.



6 - Getting an offer from an interview - People buy people.


The three unspoken things an interviewer is measuring when interviewing you are...


"Can this person do this job?" (Often the fact you have an interview means they mostly believe you can) 

"Are we going to enjoy them working in our team?"

"Am I going to look foolish if I hire them?"


See our Interview Advice page...


7 - Land that new JOB!




8 - But don't stop there - Learn from your experience and build in FUTURE CAREER RESILIENCE...


Next time don’t let unemployment come as a shock... 


When you next secure a job should you be saving 10% of your income to retrain or invest in a "back up career"


Recessions happen - how prepared will you be?


Start Saving for a rainy day.


Everyday is a school day and with the pace of modern technological change consider Adult Education / Night School / Open University to constantly improve your employability. Growth Mind set / Always Be learning / Everyday is a school day.











Useful Links


Guide to Writing a Career Development Plan





* - A word of caution about Bridging Jobs and low paid quick fix options. As an example, say an Accountant who has been earning $100k / £70k for the last 30 years suddenly finds themselves redundant. They may need to earn money to pay the bills so that take a job helping out part time for a year in a coffee shop on a minimal wage whilst job hunting  -makes sense right? The problem here is that some employers may have a snobbery about employing this accountant who they now consider a barista. There is no easy answer here, so a balance needs to be struck between paying the bills and settling the bar too low. 




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