It’s the toughest question of all. The white elephant lurking in the interview room. Your silent stalker.
“So why are you looking for a new position?”
It’s the question most people affected by redundancy fear in an interview and also the most common stumbling block. With a look of resignation most people answer –
“I was made redundant”.
Sure, it’s the truth isn’t it?
The answer is an absolute 100% resounding no! Why, because you weren’t made redundant – your position was. In today’s economy, retrenchments are generally caused by economic circumstance and business downsizing and not because of individual performance.
If it was a performance issue you would have been fired for cause. You weren’t, your position was made redundant, and yet almost universally people feel the need to step up and shoulder the blame for ‘losing’ their job. It’s healthy to self-examine, it’s not healthy to assume blame where there was no need to. At the moment redundancy has little to do with the individual and mostly to do with the bottom line, and this mindset of fault and blame will only hurt your chances when looking for your next position.
Personal Branding Strategist Gillian Kelly says “How you perceive and present yourself to your network, recruiters and potential employers is how they are going to see you and as soon as you start to wear the redundancy brand it will stick.”
Instead, focus on what you want you want to be known for – what you want your personal brand to be. When asked by employers, friends, family or others in your network why you left your last job, explain that the organisation was downsizing or undergoing change and that due to this certain positions in the company were no longer needed. Then refocus on the positive. Talk with confidence and enthusiasm about your enjoyment in your past role and your time with the company in general. Hone in on the contributions you offered. Use this as an opportunity to bring to the attention of others the value you have offered in the past and potentially offer new employers in the future.
In essence brand yourself for the future not by your past.
Contact Gillian Kelly for more information on outplacement services or visit the personal branding section of Six Figures Resources section.