Resilience tips for those who have lost their job (and those left behind)

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Restructuring and downsizing in mining and resources isn't letting up. 

It’s an unfortunate reality that most of us will experience a redundancy during our career, perhaps even more than one.

If you find yourself searching for a new role, there will be light at the end of the tunnel and you will find a new role. Here are some tips for easing the process:

  • Understand that it is a process. You will have good days where you seem like you’re really getting somewhere and bad days where you’re struggling for motivation and positivity. Focus on the goals you’ve set yourself and what you’ve already achieved. Ensure that you track all your job search activity so you can see what you’ve done right there in front of you. It’s harder to feel down when you can see what you’ve done and that you really are trying your best.
  • Be clear on what you want. Being open minded is great, but if your target is too broad it will be difficult for other people to help you. If you tell a recruiter that you’ll do anything, chances are they won’t be able to find anything that will suit you; your target is just too broad.
  • Work on your resume. Then work on it some more. Make sure that your resume accurately describes what you can do, and what you’ve achieved. Customise your resume and cover letter for each application to make sure you’re covering the key elements in the job ad. See my previous article on how to write a winning resumé.
  • Talk to people. Share your job search story with everyone. Networking is a great way to collect information and find out about job leads. One of the best questions you can ask is "Is there anyone else you think I should be talking to?" See my previous article on learning the subtle science of networking.
  • Don’t just rely on electronic job boards. These have their place, but actually represent a very small percentage of roles that are available. Make sure you supplement your online applications with lots of networking (talking to people), connecting with recruiters and making applications direct to target organisations.

Top tips for those left at work after widespread redundancies

What if you’re on the other end of this scenario – you’ve had workmates leave and you’re left behind after a round of redundancies. What’s next? Here are my top tips:

  • Survivor syndrome isn’t just a catchy phrase. This is a well-researched, real situation that is characterised by a feeling of guilt among those left behind. Some people can feel a sense of relief that their role wasn’t affected by the changes, but this can be accompanied by a sense of guilt, or even the thought that they themselves should have lost their jobs. If this sounds like something you’re going through, shift your focus externally to the task/project at hand, or indeed to the individual who has left the organisation. Are you able to assist them job search in any way?
  • You may be expected to do more, with less. A reduction in staff is often matched with a restructure of how things are done, or redistribution of work. While this might sound pretty unattractive, use this chance to learn new skills, work on a different project or refresh old skills.
  • Think about your career mobility. Use the situation as a chance to revamp your career goals and your resume so that you’re prepared should something happen to your role. Being more prepared will make any future change easier to navigate.
  • Understand your environment. Use the change as an opportunity to understand what’s going on in your organisation and company. What lead to the change? What was the change designed to achieve? What change is likely to come up in the future? Again, the more you understand, the easier it will be to react in an agile way to any change that comes your way.
  • Maintain your motivation and engagement by managing your stress. Ensure that you’re keeping your stress in check so that you’re able to stay on task and still hitting your targets and goals. Make sure that you’re looking after yourself physically through exercise and your diet and you’re blowing off steam in a way that isn’t hurting yourself or someone else. Keeping your motivation up and stress down is a sure-fire way to get through really tough organisational change.

Therese Lardner is a registered psychologist with extensive experience in all areas of the employment cycle from recruitment and selection to development, employee engagement and career transition. Click here to ask for Therese's expert advice on landing your perfect mining and resources job or moving up the career ladder in your workplace.

Click here for lots more expert career advice from Therese Lardner.