Dealing with redundancy in an IT world

So you’re working for a company that’s going well (or not) and you start to hear rumours of parts of the business being sold off, the project you’re working on is being pulled or worse the business is closing down. Before you know it your x amount of years at said company have come to an end and you’re now redundant. The following Dilbert comic is a possible scenario you may have to deal with.

How you deal with this new found freedom is completely up to you? You can go on a big holiday, have some time off doing things around the house, buy that 2 seater car you’ve always dreamed of owning or go straight back into the workforce using the redundancy (if you got any) to pay off a chunk of your mortgage. Whatever you decide to do, at some point (unless you are retiring) you will need to go job hunting again.

In my situation I was being made redundant and leaving a company I had worked for, for the last 7 ½ years as a senior system engineer. I have a wife and 2 children so I really just wanted to get back in the workforce as soon as I could. The mortgage was not going to pay itself off.

As soon as I heard that I had a month left of work I took out my CV and had to try to remember each position I had occupied over the last 7 ½ years and what my achievements were. And you know what, that is not an easy task. When you’re working and you complete an achievement, you always think to yourself “If ever I have to update my CV ill add this to it”. Problem is 5 years down the line you won’t remember that “good piece of work” and you’ll struggle to put some of the great achievements down on paper for your future employer.

After several attempts at updating my CV, it was ready. Now time to start looking for work. My main skills are in Citrix technologies, PowerShell, Windows Server Operating Systems and my company’s proprietary cloud offering. In my job, I spent nearly every day learning something new and applying it to my job but I didn’t bother with getting certified. When job hunting, the first hurdle I came across was my lack of skills that the market place wanted. For nearly every senior engineer role out there, every man and his dog wanted Azure with 0365 and/or AWS. So any roles that looked good to me were out of my reach because I didn’t have those skills/qualifications.
I found a couple of roles I really liked the look of and naively sent off my CV to those 2 roles only. There were a few other jobs that looked good but I really wanted one of these 2 roles so didn’t apply for anymore. 2 weeks passed and nothing back so I chased them up and still nothing. Oh well guess they didn’t like my CV so I’ll start looking again. And again I repeated the same process. And again the same outcome. I then started do some reading on recruitment sites and how recruiters get so many CVs that on average they will look at yours for 6 second before choosing to read more or toss it.

By now I had finished work and a new job was not in sight, slightly panicking now. I revamped my CV a little, moving my core technical skills to the top of the front page (they were originally at the bottom of the back page) and applied for every job under the sun I liked the look of. I hit every job advertising site I could find and also sent my CV to every tech job agency I could find. If I really liked the look of a job I would follow the online application 30 minutes later with a phone call to get that connection with the job poster and to sell myself (which I hate doing). I updated my LinkedIn page and applied via LinkedIn to jobs on there. I started to use LinkedIn to make contact and catch up with people I knew to see if they had any positions in their companies. I actually found this to be the most successful way to get in to see companies.

Through my contacts I had some interviews and even had a job offer with one tech firm. Problem was they had come in with an offer that was 20% below my previous wage. Do I take it to tie me over the Christmas period and get the money coming in again or do I wait for a possible better job that might show up tomorrow? If I took the job and something better came along would I then rescind that offer and my name would then be mud at that company for anything in the future. I decided not to take the job as it would have meant a major financial shuffle for the family and big cutbacks.

That same afternoon I contacted another friend, as his company had quite a few positions open due to expansion. He put me in contact with their Talent Manger. The following day I had an interview and that evening I had a job offer which I took.

The main take away I hope you get from this is, if this ever happens is to ensure your CV is always up to date. Make sure if and when people leave your present company that you keep some sort of contact with them because you never know when you might need to call on them or you might be able to help them out one day. Keep an eye on the job market and what the market is looking for and get skilled up and/or certified in those areas. If you’re not on LinkedIn get a presence on there, those contacts can be invaluable too. When Job hunting don’t just apply for that one dream job (especially if you’re out of work) hit any one of them that takes your fancy, you are better off having 2 or 3 offers on the table than nothing at all. Last thing to only take the offer if you really want the job, listen to your gut instinct.

As it happens the new company I now work at is going to be one of the 1st in Australia to roll out Azure Stack. So I will be learning and get certified in Azure which better place me for my future.

4 Comments

  1. Hi Alex,
    Thank you for your post and insight. It definitely is tough trying to make the right decision for your future with mortgage and family pressure. Glad to hear you came out on top!

    I'm in a similar situation job-hunt wise, (I haven't been made redundant, but I have concerns about the longevity of the company), with 4 kids and a mortgage, and a lack of on-paper credentials to support my claims of knowledge and experience. It wasn't until last year that I obtained my first Microsoft cert, followed up this year by 2 more. I've found the hardest part to be getting your foot through the door to the first interview, which is especially heartbreaking when it's a job that you feel is a perfect fit.

    Also glad to see another Aussie writing here, did you happen to attend the Sydney Tech Summit last week? There were a great many sessions around O365, M365 and Azure, I took home a lot of great info. If you missed it, it's available on techcommunity.microsoft.com

    Thanks again, really happy your story had a happy ending.

    Liam

    • Thanks Liam, just have to keep plodding through the land of certs but make sure the certs your getting are the ones needed by the types of jobs you're going for and the ones that take you down the path you want to take your career down. And no i didn't get to Sydney Tech Summit, i didn't have the balls to ask my new employers for a day off in week 2 of a new job LoLz 🙂

  2. Or even better follow the blog of someone who just started working at an expanding company in Australia and ask them to please pass their CV cause they wanna move to Australia and couldn't land an interview so far!
    Email me, please!
    w "at" mslhy "dot" com

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