What to do if you lost your job
Last month, South Africa shed close to 120,000 jobs, marking the biggest monthly loss in almost three years, according to the latest Adcorp Employment Index. All occupations were affected. But what should you do if you lost your job and are one of the statistics in February 2014?
“Retrenchment can be devastating, but it’s important to stay proactive and positive,” says Angelique Robbertse, Marketing and Product Manager for Job Mail. “It may be the end of that particular job, but not your career.”
Firstly, Angelique says that you should be very clear about the circumstances of your retrenchment when it comes to updating your CV. Not every new employer will accept ‘retrenched’ as a circumstance beyond your control. If only a select number of people within the company was retrenched, you can expect an employer to ask why you were chosen in particular – and you need to have a valid answer, even if it’s that the company had a ‘last in, first out’ policy.”
The fact that so many employees are re-entering the job market means that even highly qualified individuals will have to compete for positions. “Stay up to date with the latest trends and be pro-active in managing your personal brand. The online world can be a great place for job hunting – join relevant forums and make yourself heard. Introduce yourself to market leaders and show them that you can think outside of the box by starting discussions or showcasing your work. Do not sit back and wait for them to come to you – go and find them. They need to keep you front of mind.”
If you are close to retirement age and you lost your job, finding permanent work proves to be a more difficult challenge. “Temping or consultative work is ideal for those who are closer to retirement age. Consultative work will be best if you were once a ‘master’ in your field. Contact previous employers and see if they would be able to make use of your services on a part-time basis.”
Robbertse says that individuals in stable jobs should not let the bleak figures deter them from changing jobs, but that they should be more cautious. “You need to do your research of the ‘new’ company and especially their financial stability. The rule of thumb in retrenchment is ‘last in first out’. Find out why they are hiring, what their staff turnover has been, why the person whose job you are filling has left… If there is any reason to suspect that there will be retrenchments in the near future, avoid it.”
Robbertse says that the most important thing to do if you lost your job is to start job hunting as soon as possible, even if it means starting with a lower position or salary. “You can work your way up again, but the longer you stay unemployed, the worse it looks on your CV,” she advises. “Make use of your existing networks. Stay in touch with former colleagues, clients and suppliers. If you did your job well, one of these people might be able to either refer you to someone or even hire you themselves.”
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