By Debbie Holden 23 Jul 2018 5 min read

What to do if you think you’re being made redundant


The emotional strain of redundancy can be described as none other than gut-wrenching. Nothing can prepare you for the threat of redundancy, but there are ways to cope with the reality of it.

Losing your job can be devastating, but the most important thing to remember is that it’s not the end of the world (although it may well feel like it). The best thing to do though, is take some time to assess the situation, then get back on the horse and start tackling your job search.


If you have been made redundant, click here to get started with your job search.


If you haven’t lost your job yet, but you think the axe could fall in your direction, here’s what you can do to prepare yourself for the next step.

If you are at risk of redundancy, you’ll be called in to a meeting where your employer will tell you your job is at risk. You’ll be given a letter, which details the reasons behind why you’re at risk of redundancy, the process of it and when your next meeting will be. That meeting will conclude whether your contract will be terminated or not, or whether there will be another meeting to further discuss.

This initial meeting will be an absolute blur. It will be really hard to digest what’s happening, especially if it’s out of the blue. You will be asked if you have any questions, but the reality is, you’ll be in shock. If you do muster up the words, ask about the process at hand. Ask why it’s you, and most importantly, find out what your rights are.


Typical selection for redundancy includes:

  • Performance
  • Length of service
  • Qualifications and training
  • Attendance record
  • Time-keeping
  • Disciplinary record


Know your rights

Employers are legally obliged to follow strict procedures when making redundancies. This includes making sure the selection process is fair and objective, that you have a clear explanation in writing, and the the job losses are genuine redundancies and not just an excuse for dismissing certain people.

Check your contract for details of redundancy, including likely compensation. Below we’ve included an outline of what you’re legally entitled to:

Been in the same job for two years or more? Then you have the right to statutory redundancy pay. You could also be entitled to more than this – your contract will outline it all clearly, and if not, you can always speak to Human Resources at the company. You may also be entitled to pay in lieu of notice and holiday pay.

If you have been in your current role for less than two years, it’s likely that you’ll only be entitled to one month’s full salary. Stay on top of what you’re entitled to – you’ll need to know where your next paycheck is coming from. If you need more information, visit here.


Get in to the right frame of mind

It’s never easy to bounce back from shocking news like redundancy. You are perfectly entitled to feeling lousy, useless and anxious about your career path during this time. The best advice we can give you? Don’t let this defeat you. Whether you’ve been told your contract will be terminated or not, at some point, you have to start thinking realistically, and planning for your future.


Update your CV

The next step will be to update your CV, and start looking for another job as soon as possible. Leaving your job search until you’ve actually been told you will be made redundant could mean losing valuable time discussing a new opportunity with recruiters. Plan for the worst, and be ready to move on.

Note: you don’t need to include that you could be/have been made redundant on your CV or cover letter. You can discuss this honestly with the recruiter when they ask about your situation.  

We’re certainly not naive to think that during this time you won’t be thinking straight, but the sooner you take control of your emotions and accept what is happening, the better the frame of mind you will be in to approach a new job. Redundancy does not mean you have failed in your career, it’s just a bump in the road, and a step towards a better future.


Start applying for jobs

Now that you’ve updated your CV, you’re in a better position to start applying for jobs. While an updated CV is a great start, you should always take care to write a tailored cover letter with any application. Nothing is a bigger turn off for a potential employer than an application that isn’t tailored to the requirements of the job.

Remember that you are not/may not be in the strongest position financially, so any job worth taking should be approached carefully to maximise your chances of being invited for an interview.


Prepare for “Why are you looking for another job?”

If you’re applying for a number of jobs, be prepared to answer this question multiple times. Katherine Burik, founder of The Interview Doctor provides some really good advice on this via The Guardian.

She says, “Write out a response and internalise it so it sounds natural. There is nothing to be ashamed of with redundancy or leaving a job, but you don’t want to invite questions. Something like: ‘My last position was eliminated. I am looking for X.’ Turn the conversation away from being made redundant, which you can’t control, to what you want.”

“Say it confidently and no one will inquire. Say it with fear and the interviewers will ask more questions that you don’t want to – and shouldn’t have to – answer. So write out your response and practice out loud until it sounds natural. The more confidence the better.”


Broaden your job search

You might find yourself trying to match skills with new job roles. Don’t limit yourself – you could miss out on other opportunities. Take the time to think about what you enjoy, subjects or areas that interest you. Maybe it’s time for an industry change? Or an outright career flip?

You should also consider your restraints, for example is re-training an option, can you take a drop in salary? Making decisions like this can also expand your search.


Find a job you really love

We understand that right now the realities of having to find a new job all over again are daunting, so you might not even be thinking about your dream job… just any job, for that matter. What we can tell you, is that what has happened to you is awful, and unfortunately, it’s an increasing issue in the UK at present.


Look after yourself

Do not let redundancy break your confidence, and do not let it define your next steps in your career. The key is to decide what you really want, and to stay motivated during your job search. The urgency to find a new job can take over your life, so make time for yourself to relax. Talk to friends, make time for family or have some well deserved “me” time.  

Positivity, as hard as it might come at the moment, will be your grit in getting through this unfortunate situation, and hard work and persistence will see you in a new job in no time. If you need a helping hand, read our guide to being kind to yourself.