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Gaining New Skills Following Redundancy

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 27 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Friends Colleagues Good Bad Points

It can be hard to appreciate your own skills. Many people feel uncomfortable 'showing off' about their abilities, yet unless you do, nobody else will.

The best way to understand your skills and present them in the best light is to speak to a trusted friend, colleague or professional careers advisor and ask for a critical assessment of your professional abilities.

This is even more important following redundancy because your confidence can really take a knock. This makes it harder to feel positive about yourself and your abilities, right at the very time that you need to be pushing yourself into new employment opportunities.

Get Advice

Start with asking a friend or colleague, even your old HR manager if they are approachable, if they will meet you to discuss your CV. Perhaps offer to take them for lunch or afternoon tea, but make it clear your need their professional opinion. Remember that most people want to help as long are honest with your intentions from the start.

Tell them that you are keen to understand your strengths and weaknesses to be able to work on them before attending interviews. Ask what they think you have to offer an employer and what areas you could work on. Take their views on board and do not get defensive.

Training Courses

Once you have established the areas that you could improve on you need to work out a strategy to put into practice. This may involve enrolling on a training course or opting to work on a voluntary project that will help you with your missing skills.

If their feedback was more personality focused, perhaps now is the time to think about what work you can do on yourself. If you need to be a better listener, for example, then try harder in your everyday life to listen more effectively. If you need to work on your timekeeping, think about your morning routine and how you could be more effective.

Be Honest

Feedback from friends or professionals is only as good as you allow it to be. If you get offended or feel affronted, you must accept that this is one of your negative traits. You can work on any issues as long as you accept them to be true. If you feel as though your friend was being unnecessarily harsh, by all means seek a second opinion (ideally without your friend knowing, after all, you did ask them).

Understand Your Worth

After you have taken the time to understand your strengths and worked on your weaknesses it is important not to undersell yourself. Hopefully by now you will be feeling positive and the knock of being made redundant will have passed. When you start to attend new interviews, negotiate your salary and package to the best of your ability, safe in the knowledge that you have improved yourself and put your best foot forward.

This does not mean that you need to be arrogant or pushy, just remember that no one else will fight your corner unless you fight your own. By gaining clarity on your existing skills, or lack of them, you will have proven your ability to change, a valuable commodity that must not be undersold.

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