In the 3 months to September 2020, the UK saw a record number of redundancies. 314,000 to be exact. That’s higher than the 2009 financial crisis.
According to the latest data, there are currently 1.62 million unemployed people in the UK. However, that’s likely to rise as this data doesn’t represent the most recent months.
By April 2021, when furlough and other government financial incentives come to an end, the Bank of England estimates unemployment could even rise to as high as 10% of the population.
COVID-19 has put many of us in a situation that has become unavoidable. However, with the state of the economy being as it is, it’s important to remain positive and proactive.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of in being unemployed. Many of us will be made redundant at least once in our lives. With the creative industries and many that rely on large gatherings being forced to shut indefinitely, unfortunately many in creative careers are also having to look into temporary career changes.
So when faced with the worst case scenario, how can we keep going?
Hopefully our guide below can offer some useful advice. Let us know if you found any use for these tips, and if you do find yourself in a tricky situation, don’t hesitate to give us a call to discuss the latest free government-funded courses available for the unemployed.
If you’ve just been made redundant
First things first, get to work! Here are a few things you should make sure to do before you even log off from your role for good:
- If your contract permits it, save copies of your best achievements and projects. You’ll want to build a portfolio. This might involve copies of graphic design work, articles you’ve written, screenshots of websites you’ve been involved with etc.
- Connect with your colleagues. Be sure you’ve got numbers saved and added any important contacts on LinkedIn. This can be customers and suppliers too! Your contract might forbid you from working with customers in future, but there’s nothing to say they can’t put you in touch with another connection or offer some helpful advice later down the line.
- Write down your bookmarks, industry publications and useful tools. Take note of anything you found beneficial and used regularly in work, you’ll want to keep up to date with your industry!
- Ask a higher up for constructive feedback. Your role may have been made redundant, but your boss might know another skill that’s in high demand. You can then go away, retrain, and apply for a job title that’s experiencing growth.
What to do when you’re unemployed
It’s really easy to feel down and demotivated when you’ve been made unemployed, especially just after it has happened.
It’s important to keep reminding yourself that you have a lot of value and although you’ve become a victim of these circumstances, they’re not impossible to change.
Below you’ll find some great tips for being proactive in this situation.
First thing’s first, keep the money coming in
It can be stressful to job hunt at the best of times, but if you’re worrying about meeting the next bill, it’s even harder.
That’s why your first priority should be to apply for any and all financial aid that’s available to you. Even if you think you’ll get a job pretty quickly, you’ll want to make sure you keep afloat, as sometimes it can take a while for your next paycheck to come through.
Of course, don’t forget to ensure you’ve had everything you’re entitled to if you’ve been made redundant. Most contracts include some statutory redundancy pay, especially if you’ve worked there for a number of years.
Here are some options you should investigate:
- JSA (Job Seeker’s Allowance) If you’ve made enough National Insurance Contributions in the past few years you’ll be eligible for JSA.
- Universal Credit UC is based on household income, so if you were the primary breadwinner and you need help with childcare or housing costs, this is worth investigating.
- Educational Grants Consult a website such as Turn2Us to check if you’re eligible for any grants you can use to pay for education.
- Get on top of your debts. Unemployment may mean some of your debts such as car payments, credit cards and loans suddenly become too much. Seek independent debt advice from Step Change or Citizen’s Advice.
Additionally, it’s also worth checking for these available bill reductions:
- Many banks are currently offering mortgage breaks for those affected by redundancies and pay cuts due to COVID-19.
- Check if you’re eligible for a reduction in Council Tax.
- Many loan and credit card providers are also offering temporary lower fees if you’ve lost your job.
Just remember that many payment breaks will be repayable and may affect your interest rates when you return to work.
Make your CV extremely desirable
There are still plenty of industries growing and hiring but competition will be slightly higher than usual for these roles.
The best thing you can do is make your CV stand out, by diversifying your skillset, adding qualifications and increasing the wow factor!
As expert educational training providers, we’ve helped plenty of people achieve their dream jobs over the years. So here are some of our favourite tips!
Create an Eye Catching CV
With so many people searching for jobs, employers are going to find stacks of CVs on their desks. 99% of them will be black and white word documents with no images.
Why not consider making your CV a demonstration of your graphic design skills? Add a professional photo of yourself, and think about using one of the beautifully laid-out templates on Canva or Resume.io.
You could even go one step further and accompany your CV with a digital portfolio. It’s really cheap and easy to create a website these days. Try out Wix or WordPress, and not only will you have a jazzy, interactive portfolio, you’ll also learn some valuable web design skills!
Fill Your CV With Keywords
Unfortunately, another side effect of having so many CVs come through to employers is that they’ll always be looking for ways to cut away the chaff.
Many employers and recruitment agencies now use AI programs to read CVs and cut down any that are irrelevant to the role.
Of course this isn’t a perfect science, and a relevant CV could easily miss the mark for the AI. But when an employer has over 300 CVs to go through, it doesn’t matter as long as they end up with a quality selection.
Be sure to do some research and include some industry relevant keywords in your CV text. Many of these AI programs reference your CV with the job description, so make sure you’ve mentioned any skills and qualities that were specified in the advert.
A top tip? If you’re particularly cunning you can copy the job description and paste it at the end of your CV, change the text to white and save your CV as a PDF so no one can see the white text – but the AI can!
Take Advantage of Government-Funded Qualifications
The wonderful thing about a government faced with an unemployment crisis is that it’s really not what they want for the economy. So they’ll be very serious about providing help and resources designed to get you back on your feet.
This current government is adamant about providing free training so that people who have lost jobs from declining industries can add in-demand skills to their CV.
Here at NTG, we’re a government recognised training provider, so we can access government funding to offer you free courses if you’re unemployed.
If you feel like you need to prove or develop your digital skills, why not check out our free Level 2 Digital Skills Qualification?
If you live in Staffordshire, you could also get a free FLT licence to help you get ahead in the warehouse industry.
These courses make an excellent addition to your CV!
Further tips if you’ve been made unemployed…
Use This Opportunity to Reassess Your Career Path
It’s never too late to make a change. Maybe you lost passion for your career long before you were made redundant?
In which case, you should take advantage of this time to consider moving into a new career.
Did you know? You can become an apprentice at any age!
Apprenticeships are a great way to earn and learn, and at the moment there are plenty of government incentives to businesses for taking on apprentices.
Be brave, there are plenty of apprenticeships advertised at the moment, but don’t be afraid to approach your dream company with the concept. You can find lots of apprenticeship resources for employers on our website to help cement your case!
Take Part In Virtual Meetups and Groups
You may not be able to attend any physical networking events, but you can attend some online ones!
There are actually a multitude of benefits to online networking events. Distinctly, one advantage is that you can meet and talk to experts from all over the country, or even internationally.
They’re also a bit less nerve-wracking to attend if you normally find networking events a bit intimidating. It’s easier to approach people that you wouldn’t normally, and you’ll be able to connect online afterwards if you have further questions.
Most popular local networking groups have now moved online. You could also set up your own online Zoom conference! Why not check which of your LinkedIn connections are in similar circumstances and invite them for a coffee and a catch up once a week.
It’s a great way to share job hunting strategies and stay motivated!
Remember, if you found this article helpful we’re here to advise. Feel free to contact us on 01244 678100 to discuss our current opportunities for anyone who is unemployed.