Monday, December 08, 2008

If you get made redundant

As someone who has been made redundant twice (startups that didn't) and fired once (saying that a company would go bust in 12 months if it didn't change its approach, I was wrong.... it took 18 months) and who graduated during the last downturn I thought I'd give some advice to anyone who finds themselves in IT without a job in the next year, and a few things to do while you are in work to make sure you either keep your job or are better prepared for what ever comes next.

First off lets be clear, being made redundant sucks, its a crappy feeling and it will hit your self-esteem, so the first point is
It sucks, it sucks for everyone, its not just you
You are entitled to mope around for a bit, hell the first time I was made redundant was six months into my first job, my uni girlfriend dumped me and Wolves went out the FA Cup with a dreadful performance... trust me it sucked. The key point however is that you need to drag yourself and realise a few key points
  1. No-one owes you a job - you have to go and get it
  2. You will be competing for your next job - its not an end of year promotion round
  3. Your skills need to be marketed
The first two are pretty obvious but its the later where I've seen people struggle. Your internal profile at your company that lists out your skills is completely different to the CV that your competitors for the job are putting in. Its not a question of lying its a question of putting it the right perspective for the job you are going for. If you are after a Java developer job then your CV needs to reek of Java, don't lob in the fact that you did VB for six months on a nightmare project as most Java guys will turn their nose up at that. If you are after an architect job and your last project was on time and budget... don't expect people to know that.

Its really worth spending time crafting your CV and making it something that markets yourself. When you review CVs how often do you look at page 2? How often do you look behind the first half of the first page (especially when reviewing electronically)? Well that is how most other people review as well.

The other piece that some people have to face up to as well is that maybe IT isn't he best area for them to be in. Lots of people have fallen into IT because there were lots of jobs and will struggle when it gets more competitive. Sometimes its worth taking advantage of redundancy to recognise that your career lies elsewhere.

Key things to do while you are at work is get your Google score for work up if you can. Nothing says "different" like being able to find relevant stuff to your job on Google and someone thinking "hey, this guy knows his stuff". I've had people say they are "world class" in a given subject but I've given the job to the person who the world actually knew about.

Another key thing to do at work is start profiling your work for your career. This doesn't mean turning down work it means thinking about how it best reflects what you want to do. If you are managing a team of offshore developers, but you want to be an architect, then make sure you are also doing the governance and oversight stuff.

If the worst does happen and you are made redundant make sure you don't dress like it at interviews, a new suit and shiny shoes (like when you went for your first graduate job) are a must at many companies.

Being made redundant can also open up new doors, I was lucky. My first taste of redundancy got me into Air Traffic Control which ended up with me meeting my wife in Paris. My second led to be working in Denmark which led to my third (getting fired) which led to a solution architect role that got me to where I am now. If I'd been in the same job since university then I wouldn't have done half the things I've done to date.

So start planning now because you aren't just planning for redundancy you are planning for your career, and its that focus that will make sure you aren't out of a job for long.

Being made redundant sucks but not having a plan for your career sucks even worse and is especially critical at a time like this.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Surely being a Wolves fan everything else sucks less???????