Guest post by Rebekka Venter from StudentJob UK
Let’s not sugarcoat it: losing your job is no fun affair. It is usually associated with uncertainty, anxiety and a feeling of defeat. If you lose your job and find yourself scrambling to find a way forward, we’re here to help. This article will explain everything you need to know to get you back on your feet.
Why were you dismissed?
It might not seem like it now, but asking the question of why you lost your job can be helpful for several reasons. Firstly, in the case of a fair dismissal, you could explore your own weaknesses and seek to improve on them for your next professional endeavour. If you were laid off due to your company’s financial troubles, realising that losing your job was out of your control could help you to process the trauma of the loss. Secondly, in the case of an unfair dismissal, it would be wise to seek legal advice. You might end up being reinstated in your position or receive financial compensation to get you through this difficult time.
The natural question to ask then is, what constitutes a “fair” dismissal? The following are all reasons why your employer might dismiss you fairly:
- Incompetence: If you are unable to perform your job correctly despite receiving the necessary training or instructions, you may be dismissed fairly.
- Illness or injury: Under certain circumstances, prolonged illness or injury that prevents you from doing your job correctly (or at all) can serve as grounds for a fair dismissal.
- Gross Misconduct: If you behave in a way that poses a threat to your colleagues, customers or the company’s property, you could be dismissed without having to go through a typical dismissal procedure.
- Redundancy: If for any valid reason your employer has to reduce its workforce, you may be fairly dismissed. Typically, a certain form of compensation will be due to you.
- Statutory Restriction: If your employer is breaking the law by employing you, you may be fairly dismissed. For example, if your work visa expires, your employer may let you go as it would be unlawful to employ you without you meeting the necessary visa requirements.
- Other substantial reasons: Your employer may dismiss you should there be substantial reasons for them to do so, and given that the correct dismissal procedure is followed. For example, if you refuse to comply with your terms of employment, you may also be fairly dismissed.
If you suspect that you might have fallen victim to unfair or even constructive dismissal, you should seek legal advice.
Pondering over why you were dismissed can be helpful, but will only get you so far. The best way to approach losing your job is by viewing it as a new chapter in your life and start thinking about all of the possibilities that the future may hold.
Here are some tips for how you can move forward:
- Apply for JSA and update your budget. There’s no tiptoeing around it: losing your job also means losing an income. Applying for a job seeker’s allowance (or JSA) can help you through some tough financial times. You should also update your budget to fit your new financial situation.
- Update your CV. Be sure to add any and all new experience you might have received since last using your CV. Keep both hard and soft skills in mind that you might have developed since.
- Update your social media accounts. Firstly, make sure that you appear trustworthy and professional on your social media accounts. It is especially important for LinkedIn, as many job recruiters find prospective candidates on this platform.
- Speak up. There is no shame in looking for a job. Networking is an extremely important part of job-hunting, so be sure to let your family, friends and professional contacts know that you are interested in finding a new job. Who knows, your cousin’s colleague’s sister might know someone who knows someone who has the perfect job opportunity for you!
- Work on your skills. Use your available time to your advantage. Take an online course, volunteer your services or go to your community college to work on your skills and up your employability. (Also remember to add them to your CV!)
- Start applying for jobs. Some companies have very lengthy hiring processes, so the sooner you start applying for jobs, the better. Still, you shouldn’t rush through applications; make sure to write targeted motivation letters to attach to your CV so that your application doesn’t seem too generic or impersonal.
- Practice interviewing. A good interview can get you very far in the application process, so be sure to spend some time practicing your answers to typical interview questions you might encounter.
- Never give up. Some job applications might get rejected, and some might get ignored. Just know that one of them will be successful, so don’t give up and keep applying until that one crosses your path.
Again, losing your job can feel terrifying, but the worst thing you can do about it is to do nothing. Change is as good as a holiday, and this new chapter in your life might surpass all of your expectations. Who knows? Losing your job might be the best thing that ever happened to you. As long as you keep a positive attitude and make work of the situation, you’ll be just fine.