How the redundant find work

Are you an IT executive who's recently been made redundant? Want to know how best to get back on the horse? We asked those who have been through it.

Are you an IT executive who’s recently been made redundant? Want to know how best to get back on the horse? We asked those who have been through it.

Luigi Cappel was made redundant before Christmas from his position as business development manager at Rocom Wireless. He’s just been appointed to a senior part-time position at the Wireless Data Forum, until an appealing full-time position comes along.

John Burns was placed by recruiters IT@Work into an IS manager role at an Auckland-based financial institution, after he was made redundant from a large quasi-government organisation.

Elizabeth Hall is market development manager for the imaging and printing solutions division of Hewlett-Packard. She joined HP some five months after being made redundant as senior product manager at CourierPost.

Cappel says the newly redundant should not take their layoff personally, particularly given the current downturn. Most jobs at present are lost for financial reasons, not because of the ability or commitment of the employee.

He advises those made redundant to prepare a list of what they liked and disliked about their old job, document their skills and abilities, identify where they would like to work and prepare a CV. They should look at job websites for tools and advice to help ensure they understand what potential employers and agencies need to know.

Use your industry contacts. “Mine your network for possibilities; customers, associates, suppliers. What competitors did you take business from, who might want to have you on their side?” Cappel says.

Hall took an even more direct approach. She updated her CV and sent it to 10 recruiters, phoning six of them every week, and eventually found work through Morgan & Banks (now TMP Worldwide). She also contacted IT companies, discovered the names of marketing and HR managers and rang them a week later. She even visited some, which she says impressed them for her proactivity.

Burns spent several months between jobs, receiving many demoralising rejections. But, says Burns, speaking through the recruiters at IT@Work, people should not panic and be so desperate that they apply for every IT role. If redundant, he suggests IT professionals spend the time taking stock of the situation and perhaps talk to an outplacement counsellor to help them reaffirm their direction. He advises they should then make a list of the organisations they would like to work for and build up a rapport with several recruitment agencies.

The redundant should, says Hall, of course read the job sections of the major newspapers every day, as well as look at recruitment agency and employment websites.

While this is going on, both Cappel and Hall advise the redundant person to keep focused and motivated, sticking to a regime of getting up, doing exercise or similar — “doing whatever you like to burn off the adrenalin”, says Cappel.

Neither should they be demoralised or become too negative, cutting themselves off from friends. They should view the redundancy as an opportunity, believing “as one door closes, another opens”.

Hall advises people to live frugally, as they don’t know how long they will be out of work. This is also a good time to look at life and career options, she says, attending new courses at college or university if necessary. Hall did $35 toastmaster and accounting courses, some voluntary work at St Heliers Community Centre and a few contract marketing jobs.

Those who think their job might be at risk, Hall and Cappel say, need to update their CV, start networking and look for job opportunities. Get testimonials and references from past employers, clients and associates. “Do a visibly awesome job in your current position. Make sure that people see what you are doing for them. Be honourable and ethical in your dealings and don’t burn your bridges. This is a small country and a small industry,” says Cappel.

Cappel also has advice for employers. Employing an outplacement counsellor for a few hours will help the redundant cope with their position both emotionally and financially. This will also help the reputation of the employer when the departed talk about their situation to their peers.

Greenwood is Computerworld’s HR reporter.

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