Re-entering the HR industry after redundancy

Louise Sorrell is HR Business Director at Badenoch + Clark. 

The economic shockwaves of the pandemic have forced many organisations to make redundancies. Often, it’s not a reflection of those employees’ performances but of the difficult economic times.

Getting back to work can seem tough right now for HR professionals who have found themselves redundant over the last yearThe HR landscape has changed a lot and the job market is competitive. But the pandemic has driven a need for motivated, forward-thinking HR professionals to help organisations develop the right practices for this new era. And opportunity awaits for those who take the right steps to boost their professional profile and prepare to enter the ‘new normal’ workplace.

Human resource management in 2021

Even before the pandemic, human resource management was becoming digitalised, and now it has transformed even further. HR’s role in connecting and supporting an increasingly remote workforce has been vital. It has been a key driving force in keeping organisations and their workforces productive, engaged, and resilient in the last 12 months.

The focus on the mental wellbeing of employees has grown in the last year too, as people have tried to navigate the difficulties of lockdowns. HR departments are concentrating on how to support remote workers and ensuring they remain connected and engaged with their organisation.

Recruitment can, and often is, being handled entirely remotely nowNew software for video interviews, recruitment process management, and competency testing are readily available and proving extremely effective. These new digital methods are also helping to support adapted diversity and inclusion policies – another big topic of 2020/21.

As we continue towards the new era of work, companies are adopting hybrid working models and reimagining the physical office spaceWith many organisations unlikely to go back to the five-day office week, HR professionals must draw on interpersonal relationships and collective intelligence to help drive successful post-COVID-19 working methods.

Use your time wisely and learn some new skills

While searching for new opportunities, HR professionals should remain open-minded and flexible. Could you consider a new industry – some sectors like technology and life sciences will be hiring more than others right nowAsk yourself whether you might consider a temporary role - these can be invaluable in building skills and can often become permanent positions.

Use your time to upskill and prepare for the new HR landscape. Coursera, Udemy, and FutureLearn are just a few examples of learning platforms with a huge selection of HR courses.

Research the latest industry trends to understand what skills you will need to be an effective, modern HR practitioner. With mental health and wellbeing key topics in HR currently,you could explore combined psychology and HR online courses to stand out from the crowd.

Increase your chances of success by focusing your applications on the most relevant opportunitiesallowing you to demonstrate at interview stage that you know what you want and why you are best for the role.

Stay connected and update your profile

Connecting and engaging with the HR community while searching for your next position is importantStart by refreshing your LinkedIn profile and social ecosystem to be more visible to recruiters, and broaden your potential for being head hunted.

Make sure your professional profile is up to date, your experience listed, and details of your roles and responsibilities clear. Outline the skills you learned and how you applied them in your previous roles. If possibleas ex-colleagues to write testimonials and references for you which are displayed on your profile to support your legitimacy as a highly skilled professional.

Follow HR leaders and organisations to stay up to date with the latest industry trends and expand your professional network, both of which can increase your chances of finding the right vacancy.

Find and connect with recruitment agencies who you feel understand your motivators and expectations for your next positionThey can help tailor your job search, and expose you to roles before they go live.

Remember, don’t be too hard on yourself during these times. Redundancy isn’t a pleasant experience, but how you bounce back will be a great test of your character, motivation, and employability - and that’s what employers want to see.

Job application top tips  

  • Covering letter: avoid over-writing about your experience - use your CV for that. Focus on why you are interested in the role, and why this organisation is the one you want to work for.   
  • Keep an accurate record of the companies and positions you’ve applied for. If you unknowingly apply for the same job on multiple job boards, it might seem you are not paying attention to detail.  
  • Do some research into who to address your application to. Addressing the person associated to the relevant department is much more personal than ‘To whom it may concern’.  
  • If you haven’t heard back from the hiring organisation after a week, send a follow-up email. Don’t come across too pushy, just emphasise your suitability and interest in the role again.  

Interview top tips 

  • Test your technology and familiarise yourself with the interview software. Zoom, Teams, Skype, and Google Hangouts are some common platforms.  
  • Choose a professional background and dress to impress - even if the interviewer won’t see anything from the waist down, dressing in full attire will help you mentally prepare and get into the right headspace.  
  • Sell yourself. Whilst the interviewer absolutely wants to get to know you and your personality, the key purpose of the interview is to find out how your skills/expertise will benefit the organisation 
  • Talk about your involvement and your personal contribution only, not the collective team and avoid using ‘we’ when answering.  

The CIPD provides members with a range of career benefits including our dedicated Career hub and career workshops run with our partner LHH. Details of these are communicated as places become available, so keep an eye on our social media accounts if these may be relevant for you.


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