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Knowing how to build your confidence after you’ve been made redundant means finding the self-belief that losing your job wasn’t your fault.

If you’re reeling from redundancy, protect your self-esteem and safeguard your professional confidence. They’ve taken a knock, but you need to gather all your strength, energy and will power to find a new job, that you love.

We’ve put together 20 confidence-building tips to:

  • Protect your mental health
  • Learn quick skill hacks to rebuild your confidence
  • Find the right people and organisations who can give you advice and financial support

Keep them close while you’re shopping around for your new role, to help you bounce back and escape the long shadow cast by redundancy.

If you need further support, take a look at our guide to assertiveness and how to handle a redundancy when you first realise your job is at risk. Both those guides will support you through negotiating your redundancy terms and asking for what you really want in a new role.

You can also find out more about retraining after redundancy in our guide, which walks through your rights and access to funding across the UK.

Although redundancy is never your fault, it makes you feel expendable. If you’re defined by your desire to grow, not the job that let you go, you’ll feel relevant and worthwhile. But, the journey to career confidence isn’t always straight forward.

#1 Ride the redundancy wave

When you’re made redundant you know you’ve got to move on, but there’s that moment where you clearly see the challenge ahead of you.

“Your mouth is dry, your knees are knocking, but you’re committed,” says our Head of Leadership and Management, Andrew Wallbridge.

“It feels like a vertical plummet into the abyss, but you’ve come this far and there’s nowhere else to go but forward. As you fall, you think ‘now what?’ and all your physiological signals start telling you this is a bit of a scary moment.”

The job that gave you so much security has suddenly been taken away and you become very vulnerable. That’s when your internal voice becomes very critical and unfair. “You’ll start questioning; ‘how am I going to pay the mortgage? How will I tell my colleagues and my family?’ Stigma is attached to redundancy and you’ll self-sabotage as you try to recover from the shock.”

But, that feeling won’t last forever. It’ll be replaced by grief, shock, hopelessness, anger and even depression, so prepare yourself. The following tips will help you to ride the redundancy wave of emotions.

#2 Name your career goals

Think about what your career goals are. Make those ambitions the positive driving force behind every career decision you make. If that means a career change, be brave and make a careful jump into a new vocation.

#3 Plan for the best

You’ve named your career goals, now you need to strive to meet them.

Make a best-case scenario pathway – “If I take this training course and shadow an industry expert, I will be able to apply for my ideal job.” See the positive path ahead and believe it will be your reality one day, with hard work.

#4 Choose a new career

Of the workers we asked, 14% want a new job when furlough ends. If all you want is to pivot into a new career, the right training puts your foot in the door.

We asked the TSW’s social networks in June “if you have been or you’re currently on furlough, which best describes how you feel or felt about getting back to work?”

  • Get me back in, I can’t wait = 74%
  • 80% pay for no work = winning = 6%
  • I don’t want to go back at all = 6%
  • Reflected – I want a new job = 14%

#5 Decide to upskill

Look at your CV, then look at a job advert for your dream role. Do you match the spec?

If you can see gaps, that’s your retraining plan. Find the courses that’ll propel you towards your dream, book your place and get ready to learn.

There may be exams, but don’t be put off – the right trainers will mentor you through tricky qualifications and hold their pass rates up for scrutiny.

#6 Own Mondays

“What would it take for you to say ‘thank goodness it’s Monday’?” asks Andrew, “To honestly say: ‘I love Monday mornings!’ Getting yourself back into a job is part of that.”

You might still get the Monday morning blues in your first role post-redundancy. You’ll tell yourself you should be grateful to be employed but that doesn’t give you the energy to go to work.

“Doing a job that you love stops that feeling. Your goal is to get the job, not any old job. It should make you cook on gas, get out of bed early, have a quick breakfast and bolt out of the door.”

Make it your business to own Mondays.

#7 Celebrate your achievements

Get used to talking about yourself positively – your results are way more exciting than your redundancy label. There was an outcome for every project you grafted on and delivered at work. And, if you’ve lifted a trophy or scooped awards, you need to celebrate them. Place your proudest results at the top of your CV, weave them into your covering letters and share them loud and proud on LinkedIn. Use accolades to quantify the soft skills that litter your CV to evidence your claims. It’s an instant confidence boost.

#8 Secure funding to retrain

If you can’t afford to retrain, there’s financial support to help you. The Welsh Government’s ReAct training fund awards up to £1,500 for retraining and can be split across multiple courses. You’ll feel ready for the challenge ahead knowing the Welsh Government are behind you 100%!

#9 Protect your mental health

The mental health charity, Mind, recommends taking some time off to relax if you’re finding it difficult to cope with the changes in your professional life. If you take up hobbies to help you switch off, like yoga, colouring or DIY, it’ll help you get used to more time at home, but Mind advises not to become frantically busy as a way of avoiding your feelings.

#10 Ask what you’re good at

There’s a little devil on your shoulder telling you that you’re not good enough, that you’re under-qualified and unsuitable for the new and exciting career ahead of you.

It’s so difficult not to listen to this voice because it’s driven by emotion. it rears its head when you ask ‘Why wouldn’t they give me a job?’ it opens you up to criticism. You can quieten the voice and any other unwelcome critics by reframing the question.

“Go to the people you trust – partners, friends, or colleagues – and ask them what you are good at. It floods your brain with positive thoughts that boost your confidence and self-esteem.”

Getting endorsements from another person gives you credibility and self-belief.

#11 Get advice

All this self-reflection isn’t a walk in the park. Your career is wrapped up in your identity and suddenly it’s gone. Get a helping hand from an expert. Learning and development advisors, for example, know training courses like the back of their hands. They recite syllabuses in their sleep and they’re know-it-all’s when it comes to funding, eligibility and career paths. You can talk to one right now by clicking on our chatbot.

#12 Own your actions

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing, motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holz

Take responsibility for the future. If you’ve decided to retrain, make sure you shop around for the right courses and get signed up. Give yourself credit for the gains you make but light a fire under your seat if you’re stuck in a rut.

#13 Get dressed

On average, it takes 66 days[1] to form an automatic healthy habit. It’s day one of redundancy, so look after your physical and mental health by doing one kind thing for yourself, even if it’s just getting dressed. Set the tone for a productive day that’ll shape your path ahead. You, dressed, will get more done.

#14 Tame harmful distractions

Negative distraction burns you out.

Lack of money, upset ex-colleagues, Job Centre interviews and Universal Credit paperwork can distract you from taking positive steps. And, they take their toll on your confidence.

Pro-actively look for opportunities through training, mentoring and meetings that will keep you focused on the positives and well away from distractions that chip away at your motivation and mood.

#15 Value yourself

Being made redundant gives you low self-esteem, so turn your attention to a satisfying life skill you can excel in. Start with cooking. Make a lasagne from scratch. Stretch the pasta, stir the sauce, channel Gennaro Contaldo and share the spoils with your neighbours and friends. You’re a generous cookery genius and everyone has the time of day for you.

#16 Be adaptable

‘The most damaging phrase in the English language is ‘we’ve always done it this way’. Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper.

Redundancy severed your ties to tired processes. Now you’re free to think forwards. Reflect on what went well and ask people in your field what works for them. Welcome new points of view, present your experiences, adapt to new ways of working and be flexible.

#17 Learn how to save lives

The Red Cross reported that just 5% of UK adults have the skills and confidence to provide first aid in emergencies. So, get buoyed with hero points and learn how to be a lifesaver. By discovering your first aid skills, you’ll see how to be cool, calm and collected in the most pressurised situations. Plus, you’re a reliable, trustworthy and capable pair of hands for any employer.

#18 Learn small skills

You can revolutionise how you work with just a little polish on your existing skills. For example, memorise computer shortcuts. Just show us the administrator that types more efficiently than you – it’s an instant confidence boost.

#19 Find your LinkedIn tribe

Redundancy has taken a torch to your work friendships. You might not even have their numbers – it was all on Slack!

But maybe it’s not such a bad thing.

“Wallowing won’t help you feel confident and you have to watch out for mood hoovers,” explains Andrew.

Sympathy can be well-meaning, but sometimes a curious, angry or grieving ex-colleague can derail your efforts to make positive steps. It can be a look or just a few words that takes the wind out of your sails.

“Make new connections on LinkedIn and immerse yourself with like-minded people. Read and comment to keep the saw sharp and be seen by the right eyes.

“The right job for you might not be advertised, it will come through a connection. So, no matter how you feel, make yourself shine online, especially during lockdown. Make LinkedIn your CV shop window.”

#20 Prepare for the worst

As you climb out of redundancy, predict setbacks and dodge potholes. If you know they’re coming, it won’t sting as much. If it’s a long time before you’re back in work, the salaries aren’t as generous as you need, your skills aren’t as relevant as you thought, resilience is your best ally.

If you’ve been made redundant, let us help you back to work. ReAct is a funding scheme provided by the Welsh Government for anyone who’s facing redundancy and lives in Wales. It awards up to £1,500 to fund your training. All you need to do is chat to an adviser at Careers Wales who’ll discuss your options, complete your funding paperwork and put you in touch with a training provider.

[1] Lally P, van Jaarsveld CHM, Potts HWW, Wardle J. How are habits formed: modelling habit formation in the real world. Eur J Soc Psychol. 2010;40:998-1009. doi:10.1002/ejsp.674

Picture of Andrew Wallbridge
Andrew Wallbridge
Andrew is TSW's Head of Leadership & Management. He’s coached and mentored leaders and the senior management teams at international brands.
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