If you’ve recently been retrenched as a result of the havoc the Covid-19 pandemic has caused, you’re not alone. According to a recent United Nations Labour Agency report, the economic impact of the virus is far worse than the global recession we experienced in 2008-2009, and as many as 200 million job losses could become a reality worldwide.
Thanks to full or partial lockdown measures, as well as already soaring unemployment rates, many small businesses will have no choice but to close their doors and retrench their staff. However, there are some steps that you can take to help reduce your outgoings, so that you don’t get into any financial difficulties, and so it’s easier to get back on your feet when you do find work again.
Step 1: Cut all non-essential debit orders
Work out which payments you need to prioritise (whether it’s your home loan payments, municipality bills, or utilities) as well as which debit orders you can stop. See if your lenders will allow you to negotiate lower repayments or to take a payment holiday on house and car payments.
Step 2: Ask for assistance
If you do get into financial problems, never borrow more to pay off other debt. And don’t consolidate debts into a loan that’s secured on your home (you could lose the property if you can’t keep up repayments).
While debt counselling will cost you, you may need this kind of help in negotiating new repayment terms with your credit providers. If you need debt counselling or if your business is in trouble, contact the National Credit Regulator.
However daunting, don’t bury your head in the sand and ignore important notices in the post from lenders – you could end up footing the bill for expensive court proceedings and risk losing your assets.
Hire Resolve is a niche recruitment agency that advises you to look at what makes you marketable and helps you find your unique selling points.
Step 3: Consider a career change
Ask others for suggestions and look at job and career websites for ideas. Do the options genuinely interest you, do they fit your needs, and are they achievable?
Tackle any gaps
Undertake training, build up your work experience (even unpaid), or consider a stepping-stone role. Don’t expect a career change overnight.
Don’t present yourself as a career changer
Employers want staff who are capable of doing the job. Focus on the relevant skills, experience and qualifications you can offer. Don’t mention how different your old job was.
Be proactive in your job search
Don’t rely on adverts, as candidates with conventional career backgrounds are likely to be favoured. Instead, contact employers directly to offer your services. Temporary work can be a great route into organisations.
Step 4: build your confidence
Recruitment specialist Resa Galgut suggests seeking out former colleagues who will remind you of your skills and experience. Also try to:
Be clear with yourself
Give yourself objectives and set about achieving them. You don’t have to say yes to the first thing that comes along.
It might take time to find the right job, so surround yourself with those who boost your confidence.
Adapt your CV
Tailor it to highlight the experience and skills that are relevant to the specific post you are targeting.
Step 5: Start networking and be proactive
Jacqueline Rogers, a business networking specialist, advises…
Pick the right network
Do you want an informal networking event where it’s up to you to mingle? If you feel this may be intimidating, then choose a structured networking event with a clear agenda.
Use social media
I’d especially recommend LinkedIn, which has an online tutorial to help you get the most out of it.
Honour all commitments that you make. If you promised someone you met at a networking event that you would forward your CV or send them a business contact, do so.
If you agreed to meet up, approach it as you would a business meeting. Agree on the purpose of meeting, how long it’ll take, and respect both. Listen more than talk.
There’s no doubt that exercise eases panic and it will help to give you the energy you need for your job search.
Say yes to invitations
It’s always a good idea to surround yourself with supportive family and friends. You’ll feel better and that will reflect in your interviews.