How to Handle Redundancy or Unemployment and Quickly Find a New Job

Being made redundant or unemployed is a terrifying prospect for most people, but there are things you can do to overcome your situation.

We'll look at all the factors you face, from finding a new job, to what redundancy payments you are entitled to, plus unemployment benefits, your finances, handling your emotions and beating the redundancy / unemployment blues.

Take Action Now

Don't wait around or take a holiday, start looking for a job as soon as possible. Ensure you have the best possible CV and cover letter, so that you maximise the number of interviews you receive. If you need help, see our CV writing tips section to learn how to produce a good CV.

You should also consider using a professional CV writing service to increase your chances as much as possible. Spending money now may save you a lot of money in the long run, as the sooner you find a job, the sooner you will be earning money again. You might also want a professional cover letter.

Your Job Search Campaign

If you aren't working, then you should spend what would have been your working day looking for a new job. If you are still currently employed, then you'll have to spend as much of your free time as possible searching for a job.

You should apply for advertised job vacancies using your CV and cover letter. For help with writing your covering letter, see our how to start a cover letter and our cover letter example articles.

Registering with recruitment agencies, which are also called employment agencies is always a good idea and can really accelerate your job search campaign. They'll have job vacancies that you won't necessarily be able to find yourself.

You should also approach employers directly yourself to see if they have any vacancies. If you've looked on their websites and can't see any suitable jobs, then you can always send them a speculative cover letter, asking them if they have any suitable jobs - please check out our speculative cover letter example.

Networking is also another great way to find a job where you aim to build up a network of contacts to assist you to find a job. You should use a mix of different networking techniques, including online networking sites like LinkedIn, combined with telephoning, emailing and face-to-face contact.

Redundancy Pay / Payments

If you were made redundant by your employer, then you could be entitled to a redundancy payment from the employer that made you redundant. The pay you are entitled to will be calculated by your former employer and is based on your age and how long you worked for the company.

As well as redundancy pay, redundant employees are also entitled to any pay and benefits under their contract of employment. So if you are on a particular notice period, typically one or three months (check in your employment contract), then you are entitled to receive payment for this notice period in addition to any redundancy pay.

You may also be entitled to other benefits for a set time after you are made redundant, such as health insurance, gym membership, etc. Check with your employer on what you are entitled to.

Unemployment Benefits

You may be entitled to unemployment benefits if you are not currently employed. Your entitlement (in the UK) is determined by your National Insurance Contributions and how much money you have.

To found out your entitlement in the UK see the benefits calculators. Make sure that you claim what you are entitled to, plus if you register you will also normally receive National Insurance Credits whilst you are unemployed, which will count towards your State Pension.

Your Finances When You're Unemployed

When you are redundant / unemployed this can put real pressure on your finances, especially if you have a large personal loan or mortgage or you are the sole provider for a whole household.

It would be a good idea at this point to take a look at all your monthly outgoings and see if you can make any savings. Draw up a budget and decide on what is essential and what isn't can help you if money is tight.

Sometimes large bills can be paid on instalments, so look into this if you've normally just paid off this sort of bill in full - but, be wary of paying inflated extra charges and interest payments.

Handling Your Emotions Following Redundancy

Facing up to redundancy or unemployment is very tough and leads to all sorts of conflicting emotions.

It will help you if you are able to talk over your emotions with your partner, a relative, or a colleague (especially one that is going through the same thing as you).

If the employer has paid for some professional redundancy help, then make sure you use them. If you are struggling to come to terms with your situation it may help to discuss things with a counsellor.

You need to try to get any negative emotions out of your system quickly, because you need to focus on finding yourself a new job.

Beating the Redundancy / Unemployment Blues

Being made redundant or unemployed can lead to depression and feelings of helplessness.

To counter and beat redundancy / unemployment blues try to stay as active as possible. If you already take part in sport or other physical activities, keep doing them, as being active really reduces your stress levels.

If you're not currently very physically active, then try taking up some form of sport or at least improve your activity level by walking more or doing some other form of physical activity such as gardening.

Try and maintain your existing social activities to maintain as much of a sense of normality as possible.

Don't be afraid to ask for help from family, friends and former colleagues. Most people will be willing to help you at this difficult time.

It's good to try and maintain a positive frame of mind, although it's OK and completely normal to have negative thoughts and feel 'down' at times.

Keep your focus on looking for a job as much as possible, as this will pay dividends and should mean that you'll find a job far more quickly.

Need Help With Your CV or Cover Letter?

For help with CVs / cover letters, check out CV companies that can successfully create original CVs and cover letters that generate the interviews you want now.

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