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Redundancy Advice

There is constant change in the food manufacturing sector: mergers, acquisitions, contracts lost with major grocery retailers, fire, flood, off-shoring, change in consumer buying behaviour. These are just a few of the events that can lead to food manufacturers making redundancies.
Things might look bleak right now but try to resist wallowing and take action. The following five points are designed to help you cope with the initial shock and lay the groundwork for a speedy return to work.

 

  1. Give some comfort to your partner 
    Often it’s not the person who’s lost their job who does most of the worrying – it’s their nearest and dearest. They worry about the mortgage, the kids, whether to cancel the holiday, and they worry that you’ll fall apart. In fact, dealing with their anxieties can be as bad as dealing with your own.

    So tell your partner what your immediate plan is and involve them where possible. If they feel like you’re in control and that they can be of use, it will ease the worst of their concerns.
     
  2. Tell the right people
    Telling people you’ve lost your job can be really tough. It’s likely you’ll feel embarrassed about the situation – but you really shouldn’t. There’s no shame in being made redundant: it can happen to anyone. If you want to get back to work, the worst thing you can do is keep your redundancy to yourself.
    Work out who needs to know, and how to tell them. In addition to those friends and family who can offer you emotional support, include former colleagues who might be able to help with your job search. Be vocal about the fact you’re looking for work because you never know what doors will open.
    Try sending your professional contacts an email saying something like this: 
    "I wanted to let you know that unfortunately I’ve been made redundant from , so you’ll need to remove my work email and phone numbers from your contacts.
    Needless to say I’m looking for a new job at the moment as I’m keen to get back into work quickly. I’m interested in career opportunities in , so, if you hear of anything going that might suit me, I’d really appreciate you letting me know. I’ve attached a CV for your reference." 
    Professional networking site LinkedIn is a great tool for people who have been made redundant. Connect with as many former colleagues as possible and change your status to say that you’re actively seeking employment opportunities.
     
  3. Sign on 
    One of the first things you need to look into is signing on for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). Whether or not you need the money, it’s important that you claim for the following reasons:
    • The Department for Work and Pensions will credit your national insurance (NI) account with NI contributions as though you were working. This will prevent any sizeable gap developing in your NI record, which could affect your pension or your rights to benefits later on. You don’t have to present a job search every two weeks if you don’t want to claim an allowance – just explain that you only want to sign on for NI contributions. 
    • It’s important you don’t underestimate how long it will take to get another job. When economic conditions are normal, a manager or professional can expect their job search to take between three and six months. In the current economic environment, it might take a lot longer.
    • A few things to bear in mind…
      • You cannot claim while you are still being paid ‘payment in lieu of notice’. This is because you are still officially employed while you are receiving this money.
      • You do not have to wait until you have used up your redundancy payment to be able to sign on. Most people who were employed under PAYE will have made enough national insurance (NI) contributions to qualify for contributions-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, which is payable for 26 weeks regardless of savings and income.
         
  4. Make a budget
    Unless your redundancy settlement was exceptionally generous, you will need to restrict your outgoings until you find a new job – and that means budgeting.
    Tip: Get your bank statements out, make a list of your regular outgoings, and then prioritise them. You should end up with a long list that you can truly do without, a few that you might consider cutting out if you really have to, and handful of expenses that are unavoidable.
    Tip: Start a money diary, keeping track of everything you spend. You’ll be amazed at where your cash goes! And once you realise how your money is leaking out, you’ll soon find yourself economising naturally.
    Tip: Think hard about any major planned outgoings, especially a family holiday. If you can afford it, the family holiday can provide valuable reflection time and an opportunity to draw a line under any redundancy-related bad feelings. And don’t starve yourself of all recreation because you’re living according to a tight budget - fun times will keep your morale up and help you stay motivated.
     
  5. Set up a daily and weekly schedule
    It’s important you give your days and weeks structure to stay motivated and keep up your self-esteem. That doesn’t mean you need to search for jobs 9 to 5 – that would quickly wear you down. However, it is sensible to replace the structure of a work day with an alternative that includes time for job searching and networking, health and fitness, friends and family and hobbies. Put in some events or activities you can look forward to each week, whether it’s a trip to the cinema or a night out. Stick to a structure and you’ll know you’ve reached (and earned) a weekend break

Job Hunting Tips

Research

Successful applications tend to be very targeted ones, where you have matched your skills and abilities to those that are required. Look at what you've done in all aspects of your career. Target companies where you already have an understanding of their food products, customer base, processes, manufacturing techniques etc. Employers are keen to recruit people who understand their business and can quickly ‘slot in’. Demonstrate this via your CV/Covering Letter and there’s a good chance you will secure an interview.

CV

As an out of work individual, there is a lot of help out there to access both government funded and within the private sector. If you are a food manufacturing professional, Food Careers would be delighted to assist you in composing a first rate CV. We understand what food manufacturers are looking for in a CV. Contact us and we would be pleased to assist. Remember, a CV is not all things to all jobs - you need to tailor it for particular food sector or specific job you are applying for.

Persevere

Getting a job can take time and practice helps. Try and handle any rejections; it's not a personal attack, it might just be that another person performed slightly better at interview. Next time it could be you. Stay positive through the application process. If you're rejected following an interview ask for advice on how you could improve on further applications. At Food Careers, we also ask employers for feedback as pass it on, as we understand the value and benefit this feedback has to candidates.


Interviews

Think about what you want to get across in the interview and prepare. What are your key skills and why should an employer choose you? Have those points mentally listed. Food Careers will fully prepare you for each and every interview we set up for you. Please contact us if you are a food industry professional seeking interview advice.