Looking for Work in a Recession

         How can I tell if my
        employer has financial
The days when a job was for life have long gone. Advances
in technology, relocation of resources overseas or a
downward turn within an industry can have a detrimental
affect in the fortunes of a company.
Some companies teeter on the edge of disaster for long periods
whilst others, seemingly profitable, can disappear off the radar
without warning.
Regardless of your loyalty to an employer, it's usually better to leave
a sinking ship rather than risk drowning with it, so here are the signs
that you need to look out for to protect yourself and your career.
  •   Closed-door meetings – If it appears that your manager
      suddenly becomes engaged in a series of meetings with the
      powers-that-be, or he exudes levels of stress previously
      suppressed, then impending redundancies could be on the

  •   Targets - Have your targets suddenly increased? Have you
      been given extra support to achieve these new targets or has
      more pressure been added to your workload? This could
      indicate that the company is ‘on the market' and, as such, it is
      trying to increase its sale value.

  •   Check the stock market - Look at the profits of your
      company – the information is freely accessible if your
      employer is listed on the stock exchange. If there is a sudden
      unexplained spate of executives selling their stocks and
      shares, it's a bad sign.

  •   Look around the office - Sometimes the signs that there is
      trouble ahead are more obvious than you may think. Watch
      out for changes in company procedures with a focus on
      saving money. Has business travel or client entertainment
      been stopped or cut-back? Do you now have to get your
      expenses signed off by a higher member of staff?

  •   Previous lay-offs - If there have been lay-offs in the past
      then it is likely there will be more in the future. Traditionally,
      employers would make redundancies in one foul swoop but,
      increasingly, organisations are favouring the little-by-little

You have to consider your own interests first. If you get a bad feeling
that all is not well, there is probably a good reason for it. Trust your
instincts and do some investigative work to satisfy your suspicions.
After all, knowledge is power, right?

 Keep informed…
 Whether you’re looking for a new job or if you’re just looking to
 find out the general state of the market, our Employment News
 tool will help you up-to-date with what's going on in the world of
 recruitment and employment.

                 ‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks
Looking for Work in a Recession

  When is it the right time to
       change jobs?
There are a lot of things to consider when deciding when
and why to move on. To begin with, you need to assess
where you are now, what you have achieved and where you
want to be in a few years time.
What do you enjoy about your present job? What don’t you enjoy?
What do you feel is missing? What have you enjoyed about any
previous roles you have done? How will you know when you have
achieved it?
As well as your own personal motives for wanting to change jobs,
there are plenty of other reasons out of your control that cause you
to leave your current position, including:
  •   potential financial difficulties for your employer
  •   your company moving into a different area of business
  •   a collapse in communication with your manager or colleagues

Spotting when the time is right
If you do decide to leave a job, quitting at the wrong time can hit you
in the pocket if you’re not careful. For example, leaving just before
your big bonus is due is not very sensible.
It’s a good idea to think about whether you’re currently paid in
advance or in arrears as any change may affect your monthly cash

If you’ve got a holiday planned, wait until you get back before
handing in your notice. Your new employer won’t take kindly to you
booking two weeks off during your probation period.
Leave in a position of strength
Once you’ve made the decision to leave, make sure you have
somewhere to go before handing in your notice. Don’t be tempted to
storm off in a huff or make some sort of statement if it means leaving
yourself vulnerable.
It’s much easier to find a job when you already have one. A long
period of unemployment sends out a bad signal to a future employer.
Don’t ignore the consequences of quitting before you have a new job
lined up, no matter how much you dislike where you’re working.
Apart from looking bad as you start applying for new jobs, voluntarily
leaving your former role could compromise your eligibility for
unemployment benefits.
Money shouldn’t be the only reason
If money is the overriding issue in your desire for change, have the
courage to address it before thinking about leaving. If you don’t feel
you’re getting paid enough, ask for more. This can be a scary
experience, but it could solve your problem.

 See the options…

 There are thousands of careers available and it’ can seem like a
 daunting prospect to find out what’s right for you. That’s where
 our Career Snapshots tool comes in handy, allowing you to
 explore the options that are out there.

               ‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks
Looking for Work in a Recession

       What happens if my
     company is taken over?
Takeovers and mergers are becoming commonplace as
companies face growing economic pressure and
competition. And with change come new challenges, new
demands and new personnel.
When a company has been taken over and various departments
merge it’s inevitable that certain roles will no longer be tenable.
In general it’s the employees working for the company who are doing
the buying that tend to keep their roles, although employees in the
company being purchased usually have the chance to re-apply for
their jobs.
It's common for the remaining staff to feel de-motivated, anxious or
sad that former colleagues - and friends - have lost their jobs.
The group dynamic has changed and the introduction of new faces
in the office may be met with a certain element of distrust,
uncertainty and negativity with some staff feeling unclear about roles
as brilliantly portrayed in comedy series, The Office.

 Further Reading
       - How do I handle office politics?
       - How do I integrate myself into a new team?

Changes in the office should be seen as a new challenge, so, how
do you cope with the new faces in your office to make the
changeover run as smooth as possible?
  •   Keep an eye out - Company purchases usually take many
      months and you may hear rumours in the industry or even
      national press.

  •   Find out the plans - Although it may not be easy information
      to extract, try and find out what s happening to your role as
      soon as you can. Regardless of whether you’re safe or under
      threat, prepare a case for why you’re valuable.

  •   Make another first impression - Under the old regime you
      may not have got along with some of your former colleagues.
      Approach this change in the same way as you would your first
      day of work in a new job.

  •   Break-down barriers - When new faces enter the office,
      there may be some people who feel that they had earned
      promotion instead of an office outsider or they assume that
      they have more responsibility simply because they have
      worked in the same office longer. Avoid being part of an ‘us
      and them’ environment. Be prepared to help your new
      colleagues settle into their new office and be on hand for your
      new boss.

  •   Avoid nostalgia - It is tempting to look fondly on the way
      things used to be because with change comes uncertainty.
      But avoid getting sentimental - what may seem unusual now
      will become normal within a short period of time.

                ‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks
Looking for Work in a Recession

 How should I cope with my
The days when you could land a job after leaving school or
university and keep it until you chose to move on are long
Even in traditionally ‘safe' industries like banking or the Civil Service,
redundancy has become a fact of life as organisations are forced to
change to keep pace with market pressures.
The first thing to remember is not to take it personally. Redundancy
is a numbers game – reducing overheads and cutting positions
which have been judged expendable for a variety of reasons.
You may have seen it coming and take the final redundancy notice
as a kind of relief from the uncertainty. However it happens, it's likely
that you will feel angry, betrayed and possibly a bit desperate.
These are all perfectly natural emotions but, as ever, it's how you
respond that matters.
Your redundancy package
First off, find out what' redundancy package is on offer. Some
employers just pay the bare minimum, others offer more attractive
Always take your time before making any decision, and discuss it
with friends and family.

If you are offered another post which turns out to be totally
unsuitable you are not obliged to take it. If your employer does try
and force it on you, you will most likely have grounds for unfair
Contact your Trade Union or speak to an experienced advisor at
your local Citizens' Advice Bureau. Don't sign anything until you've
had it checked out by a qualified employment lawyer.
What to do with the money
Depending on how much you get, you may be able to realise a
dream like starting your own business or paying off a big chunk of
your mortgage.
If you haven't got any immediate plans, you may fancy blowing some
of it on a special treat. But think long and hard before you do, and
don't blow the lot.
Sign on to the dole straight away with Job Centre Plus or the
benefits office. The financial support they provide is part of the
reason you pay your taxes every month and by not registering you're
throwing away free money.
They will also be able to provide you with useful job hunting
Explaining redundancy to your next employer
Unless you were made redundant for gross misconduct, it's nothing
to be ashamed of - it happens every day to good people like you.
Be honest and direct with your potential employer and put a positive
spin on things.

               ‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks
Looking for Work in a Recession

 How can I manage a gap in
      my earnings?
In an ideal world, the transition from one job to the next will
be quick and without a loss of income. Unfortunately the
reality is often very different.
Even if the decision to move on was yours, the case may be that
your old employer paid you in advance but, your new employer
requires you to work a month in arrears.
If it was not your decision, you may find yourself out of work for a
few weeks or even months while you wait for the next opportunity to
come your way.
So how do you keep control of this temporary lack of income and
without jeopardising your financial responsibilities?
Keep a budget
Working for a whole month without any pay does not have to be as
daunting as you may at first think. Creating a budget enables you to
stretch your final pay check further and prioritise your essential
Reduce your spending where possible by cutting down on
discretionary items such as eating out or other entertainment, at
least until your new salary hits your bank account.
Try and use cash whenever possible – it's much easier to control
what you're spending when you have to keep going to the cash point
every couple of days.

Balance your books
Always pay your most important bills first. Mortgage or rent, utilities,
transport and food shopping are usually your main priorities –
anything after that can be considered a luxury.
Consider changing your bank account to one that offers an interest-
free overdraft facility. Many credit companies offer protection
schemes for when you're out of work so take a look at the options
available to you.
If you have any personal loans, credit cards or a hire purchase
agreement for your car then you want to consider contacting your
creditors to negotiate lower payments or interest-free payments.
Don't wait until you're behind on your payments or your creditors
may be less flexible and your credit file will be marked if you miss a
Hide away money
If you are lucky enough to receive a large payment as part of a
redundancy package. Invest the lump sum into a savings account
and ‘pay' yourself monthly until you have found a new job.
Managing a pay lull is not as difficult as you may think. By
calculating your monthly outgoings and sticking to a budget for the
next four or more weeks, you may find that you are more
comfortable than you think.

 Further Reading
       - How can I save money?

                ‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks
Looking for Work in a Recession

  How can I keep busy while
     I'm unemployed?
Although there is some solace in the fact that frequent
corporate downsizing, international relocation and
reorganisation are the norm in today's world, regardless of
whether you have been unemployed for one month or one
year you may begin to feel like damaged goods.
And, clouding every interview that you attend is the dreaded
question about why you have been unemployed for so long. But
relax. The tips below will show you how you can, with the right
Keep your skills up to date
When you have been out of work for a prolonged period of time, you
need to work harder at your job search than someone who is still
employed, which means that you need to find ways of improving
your employment value.
Keep yourself updated with the latest trends and developments in
your industry by reading trade journals, taking a career-related
course and attending industry conferences.
Get your name out there
Remember that not all jobs are advertised in the conventional way.
Tell friends and ex-colleagues that you are looking for work and ask
if they know of any companies that employ people with your skills.
Word-of-mouth is your biggest promotional tool so use it to the

Online networking also has its benefits, especially if you can create a
blog, writing about the industry in which you work. It will show
potential employers your expertise and put you in contact with
people you may have otherwise not come across.
Providing articles for trade publications, or volunteering as a speaker
at an industry seminar will also have the same effect.
Consultancy work
Unfortunately, your financial outgoings don't stop when your final
salary does. But before you tap into your savings, consider
marketing the skills and experience you fine-tuned when you were
Let your former clients and business contacts know that you are
available for consultancy/freelance projects. Even voluntary work will
help fill the gap on your CV. This not only keeps your skills updated,
it also demonstrates your determination to find work and could open
up new career opportunities.
If you can demonstrate to employers that you have been doing
everything you can to find work and to keep your skills and
knowledge up to date, most will overlook the fact that you are
currently unemployed.
Always remain positive - rejections are part of life. Each ‘no' that you
get moves you closer to that all-important ‘yes'.

 Further Reading
       - What is networking and how do I do it?
       - How can I benefit from conferences?

                ‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks
Looking for Work in a Recession

      How can I stay motivated
       during my job search?
When you set out on your job search, it's rarely possible to
guess how long it will go on for. As time passes, the
rejections mount up and the budgets get tighter, it's easy to
become disheartened.
However, this is exactly the time when you need to dust yourself off
and put in more hard work than ever. One of the main attributes of a
successful job seeker is persistence. Here's a few tips to help you
stay positive:

  •   Start as you mean to go on - The first 30 minutes of your day
      are golden. The thoughts you think and the actions you take
      during this critical time affect your performance levels for the
      rest of the day. Instead getting up late, set your alarm as if you
      were going to work, have a shower and take a walk to get some
      fresh air in your lungs.

  •   Set daily goals - If you don't have anything concrete to work
      towards, you have nothing to focus on and will find yourself
      achieving very little. Goals will keep your mind focused on the
      things that are important and keep you feeling positive about
      your future.

  •   Set up the right environment - There's a lot to be said for
      being neat, tidy and organized. Make an area in your home
      where you can run your job search. It will help you stay focused
      on the target.

  •   Eat right - Your environment also includes what you put into
      your body. make sure you eat lots of fruit and vegetables, stay
      away from fatty foods and try to limit your alcohol intake. A
      healthy body generally leads to a healthy mind.

  •   Create a support network - Forming an alliance with other job
      seekers will help you share experiences, get advice and give
      you an outlet for you inner feelings. Try to meet at lease once a
      week with your team and share strategies.

  •   Remember the law of averages. The more calls you make,
      the more networking events you go to and the more
      applications you make, the greater your chances are of finding
      the job of your dreams. However resist the urge to blanket
      bomb every recruiter out there. You need to tailor your CV for
      each job. Sooner or later, you'll hit the right mark.

  •   Enjoy the process - Job hunting is a time of transition and
      change and it can also be a very important time for self-
      development. Use this period to reassess your goals, find out
      what you really want to do and engross yourself in making
      yourself the best you can be.

At every stage of your job search, you should look to get feedback. If
you're not getting asked for interviews then get someone to have a
look through your CV.

If you're getting to the interview, but being rejected there you should
find out what you're doing wrong. Fix these, and you'll find yourself in
a job in no time.

 Further Reading
       - How can I make my CV more effective?

                ‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks
Looking for Work in a Recession

      Where can I find hidden
A common misconception about looking for a new job is that
all vacancies will be either advertised or easily visible.
Unfortunately, that couldn't be more wrong.
Many vacancies are regarded as hidden, never to be seen by the
majority of people - instead of advertising, employers will fill these
vacancies by word-of-mouth, headhunting or simply recruit internally.
Knowing how to get yourself in contention for these roles could give
you a major boost when it comes to finding your next role.
Getting the word out
Using your network is the other main way to source hidden positions.
Past employers, colleagues, friends, family and just about anyone
you meet can form your network, and for serious jobseekers, even
the most casual of meetings should be treated as a potential job
Conferences in particular provide an invaluable chance to meet a
large number of useful contacts
If you're looking for your first job, your teachers or professors can be
an invaluable source of information about the job market. As experts
in their field they're bound to have contacts in the relevant industry
and will know your strengths better than anyone. Make the best use
of your university careers facility while you're there.

Making a move
Even if an employer doesn't have any vacancies at the present time,
they will always be willing to create a position if an exceptional
applicant comes along.
This is done by contacting companies on a prospective basis to ask
if they have any opportunities for somebody with your skills.
The courteous way to carry this out initially involves giving them a
call, preferably not during a stressful period, and then following up
with an email thanking them for their time and attaching a copy of
your CV.
As well as searching for hidden vacancies, you still need to continue
applying for the vacancies that are visible through regular search
They will let you know the kinds of job descriptions that are on the
market and the kinds of people that are being sought to fill them.
If you're hell-bent on working for a certain company and simply can't
find a way in, consider applying for a lower level job and working
your way up.
Then you can use your contacts on the inside and be the first to hear
about vacancies.

 Further Reading
       - How can I return to work after a career break?
       - How do I get headhunted?
       - How can I preserve my online reputation?

                ‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks
Looking for Work in a Recession

        How do I make a
    prospective application?
Sending a speculative application can be a very effective
method of securing a new job and may convince an
employer to create a position for the right person - if you do it
If you've identified the company that you want to work for, then here
are some tips for succeeding with speculative applications.

Identify who has the power to hire you and personalise your letter
accordingly. You may already know their name but, if you don't,
make sure that you find out by looking at the company's website or
simply telephone to ask for their details.

Most job hunters fall into the trap of treating a speculative application
in the same way as an application for a specific advertised position.

However, this blanket approach alienates prospective employers
because applications are de-personalised, untailored and fail to
address the requirements that that particular company looks for.

Therefore, find out everything you can about the organisation from
the internet, previous job adverts, networking or simply by
telephoning the company themselves and talking informally with a
member of the staff.

Then, clarify in your letter the reasons why you have specifically
targeted the company as your employer of choice. Be as

enthusiastic as possible about their products, services and general
company demeanour – employers want to employ people who are
passionate about their brand so you'll immediately be ahead of the

Your application is designed to unearth jobs that are likely to become
available, before they are advertised internally or externally.
Therefore, your letter has to be constructed in a hard-hitting way that
will keep your details at the forefront of an employers mind when a
position eventually arises.

Give employers a reason to take note of you and tell them what kind
of position you are seeking and what you can offer them. Sell
yourself on the basis of your skills, expertise, knowledge and
experience and don't limit yourself to one specific role. You're trying
to get a foot in the door and if you take one role within a company,
it's much easier to move internally to your real preferred position.

Don't wait for an employer to respond to your application. It is
possible that they will receive several CV's every day and they may
not have time to respond on an individual basis.

Telephone or email the employer a week later to establish personal
contact and gauge if you are likely to be considered should a
suitable position arise. If not, then use this as an opportunity to ask
for feedback which will help improve your chances for future

Your targeted speculative application is designed to position you as
a valuable addition to their company, not a ‘job-beggar'. By actively
seeking out new opportunities, you will be demonstrating your
initiative and motivation to work for the company and differentiating
yourself from your potential competition.

                ‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks
 Looking for Work in a Recession

They say that the grass isn’t greener on the other side, but
often it is. Our series of eBooks brings together expert advice
to help you secure the job you want and build a successful

For more career tools, visit career-advice.monster.co.uk.

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