With the UK economy shrinking by a record-breaking 20% during the April lockdown, and more than one in four workers on furlough as well as hundreds of businesses, big and small, fighting for survival, wide-scale job losses across most sectors now look almost inevitable.

If you’re anxious about, or facing redundancy, then below are five tips, which I hope will help cushion you against some of the challenges that may lie ahead and put you in the strongest possible position to find a new role and keep your career on track.

  1. Stay positive and get some perspective

Losing your job can be earth-shattering, especially if you’re a high achieving individual who will have spent many years of study and sat multiple exams to break into your chosen profession. It’s hardly surprising therefore why so many of the people who get referred to my outplacement programmes feel angry, resentful, or worse still, are so embarrassed they can’t even bring themselves round to talking about their situation with family and close friends.

But given the Covid19 pandemic is a once in a generation event, with many experts no longer predicting a quick economic rebound, if you do face the chop you certainly won’t be alone. Remember, against this unprecedented backdrop, it’s most likely your role that’s been made redundant NOT you, and this is simply the result of your employer’s decision to slash headcount or shift its focus and therefore probably unrelated to your own failure.

Try not to bury you head in the sand or do anything knee-jerk. Adopting a positive mindset goes a long way to help you quickly get back on your feet. However, I fully acknowledge we’re all different and for some of you getting over the initial shock my take longer.

But I promise you, time is a great healer and further down the line some of you may even look back and think losing your job was one of the best things to ever happen to you as it spurred you on to follow your true passion!

  1. Know your rights

I’m not an employment lawyer so don’t intend to discuss your legal rights in this blog. But needless to say, it’s worth reviewing your employment contract and staff handbook. Also, make polite but firm enquiries about being furloughed, working reduced hours, a potential client secondment or being deployed to other departments.

And don’t be afraid to negotiate your settlement package because even if there’s no scope for increasing your severance payment it may be possible to receive outplacement support.

  1. Budget and shore up your finances

The financial cost of losing your job is a huge worry for most of us. It’s also natural for many of us to catastrophise our financial situations by making generalised statements such as “I can’t afford to lose my job” or “I’m going to get evicted from my flat” without doing the maths first. Instead, I strongly recommend doing some budgeting, even it’s a simple list of ALL your regular outgoings.

Then, if after taking into account your redundancy payment you’re left with a short fall have a serious think about where you can start making immediate savings. With regard to big ticket items such your mortgage or rent it’s important that you contact your lender or landlord without delay. I’m not a personal finance expert but the Government has in recent months announced a string of measures to help reduce the financial worries associated with the current crisis.

Incidentally, if you’re troubled about job security, and you haven’t already done so, I’d advise you to take precautionary steps and to tighten your purse strings without delay. Being in lockdown offers plenty of opportunities to cut your monthly spend, including travel costs, holidays, nights out, clothes shopping, personal grooming and so on. So, why not put any savings into an emergency rainy day fund?

  1. Avoid burning bridges

As I’ve already mentioned, some of you will feel anger and resentment towards your employer. But ignoring calls from HR or throwing tantrums won’t win you any favours either in the short or long term. Exiting a job on good terms is by far the best way of leaving the door wide open or at least ajar for you to possibly be re-hired at some point in the future. Alternatively, if your line manager changes jobs then staying in contact with them may increase your chances of joining their new organisation. After all, as they say it’s often who you know that helps you get your foot in the door.

With this in mind, as your last day approaches ensure you say a proper farewell to colleagues and add them to your LinkedIn contacts. Also, if appropriate, ask a couple of your senior colleagues about offering personal job references because the official version provided by your employer is likely to be quite bland and simply confirm the dates you were employed.

  1. Do some self-reflection and get ready to start again

As the saying goes, the quicker you get back on the horse the better. After giving yourself sufficient time to process what has happened and some self-reflection, start putting together a job-hunting plan, with some built in flexibility to take into account that in light the challenging market conditions the results may not be instant.

CheekyLittleCareers is committed to offering any of our users who are worried about job security or facing redundancy as much support as possible and will be posting regular content offering more tops tips over the forthcoming weeks.

Additionally, I’ll also be hosting a number of FREE virtual Q&A sessions via Zoom over the next few weeks, which we hope will also be of assistance.

Husnara Begum, Associate Editor and Career Coach