Redundancy can mean opportunity!

Apr 07, 2020

As a Chartered Accountant dealing with redundancy in the current climate it’s worth noting that redundancy can mean opportunity!

Being made redundant can turn your world upside down. It is one of life’s challenges that Chartered Accountants may experience at some point during their working careers. This change in what forms a major part of your life can be dramatic. It represents a time of major disruption but also of new beginnings and opportunities.
As we move through this temporary crisis redundancies are unfortunately becoming more common and few sectors are immune. Redundancy is often short lived however and you can take advantage of the situation.  

The view you should adopt during this challenging time is as follows:

• It is your role that is being made redundant and NOT you. Try not to take it personally. The impact of global events has created this circumstance and nothing else. 
• Look to the future and do not dwell on the past. Postmortems will get you nowhere.
• Treat it as an opportunity to move out of your comfort zone and to take on a new challenge and to potentially pivot your career. 

Considering your options

Take time to come to terms with and assimilate your new situation. Make sure you are aware of your entitlements under any redundancy agreement or government supports in the current situation. This may have a major influence on your options and plans going forward. In some instances, the company may offer an executive outplacement service as part of your severance package. This can prove beneficial and provide you with additional support when you are re-entering the job market. If this is not offered, you may wish to investigate if your employer will consider paying towards such a service. You can then source a professional directly. 

Looking to the future

Once you are over the initial shock of being told that you are to be made redundant, look to the future and see the potential for new opportunities and personal growth. 
The time that you now have available can be put to good use. Start by performing an analysis and assessment of your current skills and experience. Where are your strengths and what areas need updating or retraining? Look to the market to see what skills and experience are in demand. There are some sectors that have not been hit as hard as the others. You can then plan any retraining or education based on this. Attend relevant CPD courses to update your skills and knowledge base. Many webinars and on-line courses are currently being offered free of charge including by Chartered Accountants Ireland. 
Consider what it is you liked about your job and what you did not enjoy. What is it that motivates you? Going forward you can incorporate these considerations into your new career choices. Cross reference your soft skills to see if there is transferability to the more buoyant sectors in the market. The Career Pathway competency map on the Chartered Accountants Ireland website can help you to identify your skills and to map out your future skills requirements.

New beginnings

This may in fact have been the push you needed to move out of a stagnant comfort zone giving you the required stimulus you need to make a change. Very often when you are busy you don’t take time to plan or to look at new options. It is easy to become immersed in the mundane day to day aspects of your role and forget to look at the ‘bigger picture’ and think strategically about yourself.  
Use this opportunity to re-evaluate the various facets of your life such as your career, life-long learning and development, your aspirations and your finances and earning requirements and potential. Incorporate your thoughts and desires into an overall career plan mapping out your aspirations and how you intend to get there. This will give you a focus and overall aim. You can amend and adjust the plan as required. You should have a number of options that you are considering and do not rely too heavily on anyone. Have a Plan A, Plan B and even a Plan C in place to help keep your options open. Plan for a number of eventualities. Perhaps put a time frame on your new project to give it extra focus e.g. Plan A achieved by August, if not then Plan B by end September and then Plan C completed by November if needed. 

Complete change 

You may decide to make a complete change and pivot your career such as considering the option of working part time or from home or you may even decide that a short term contract or maternity cover is the clever option for you given the temporary nature of the current market slump. Indeed, you may want to investigate setting up your own business or consultancy.  Spend time researching the various ideas and options open to you. Do not rush into any major decisions. Seek advice from others who may have gone down these routes already or other relevant professionals or contacts. Take advantage of any support and guidance that is on offer. Speak to your mentors and anyone who understands your situation and who can provide meaningful advice.  

Interim Solutions

Maximise your chances of securing a role by considering contract roles as an interim option. This can very often open up new opportunities for you. Roles that have started as contract can in many cases become permanent. The experience you gain can also serve to enhance your CV and ultimately make you more marketable. Taking a contract role also demonstrates to prospective employers that you are keen to work and are capable of adapting quickly to new work scenarios and environments. It will also help you to avoid any potential long gaps on your CV. Being immediately available is advantageous for contract roles and this can work in your favour.

Your CV

The main tool you have at your disposal to market yourself is your CV. It’s your sales document. Ensure that it is a fair and accurate reflection of your experience and skills. Ensure that it does you justice and highlights the key skills, knowledge and experience that you can bring to a role. Tailor your CV to each role that you are applying for and you will need a number of versions that emphasise different strengths and areas of expertise. It is the first introduction that a prospective employer will have to you, so it needs to make an impact. Seek advice and support when you are writing your CV. As a member you can avail of free advice in relation to your CV and interview preparation.

Sourcing a new role

Ensure you are using all your routes to market when you are seeking a new opportunity. In general, they are as follows

• Select Recruiters
• Advertised opportunities / Jobs Boards
• Personal Contacts 
• Active Networking / LinkedIn Connectivity
• Speculative applications

The internet is an invaluable source of information including market and company information. Use it! Create a shortlist of targeted organisations you want to work for and start researching them and their people on LinkedIn and their corporate website. 
Reconnecting with ex-colleagues and your former training colleagues can help you to develop your network and help you to learn about any current opportunities that might be available in the market at present. In many cases jobs are not advertised so you will have to network to hear about these roles. This is especially true of more senior level roles. Don’t let your pride get in the way. Let as many people as possible know that you are available and seeking a new challenge.  The more people that are aware of your status the better as this will increase your chances of sourcing a new role.
Monitor and track your applications. A spreadsheet often works best for this and you can then follow up on applications you have made and ensure you receive a response. A proactive approach is required. Don’t apply for roles that you are not suited to as this may damage your credibility with the employer. It will also give you more time to apply for roles that you are most suited to, increasing your chances of success.


When interviews start to result from your applications be prepared to make the most of these opportunities. Preparation is key in advance of any interview and in the current environment being ready for a virtual interview via Skype or Zoom is essential. (see our website for further advice on this topic)

Some tips include:

• Research the company and the sector
• Know your CV
• Know the job specification
• Be able to articulate synergies between your experience and that required for the role
• Ask relevant and pertinent question
• Express an interest in the company and the role
• Don’t be negative about your redundancy – present a positive outlook

If you have not been in an interview scenario for some time it is advisable to avail of a role play service where possible. This will assist you in identifying areas where you can improve on your interview technique and help you to secure that all important job.  Members can avail of a free interview advice offered by the careers team.

Salary considerations and negotiations

When considering your salary expectations be sure to research the market as the salaries on offer are likely to have changed. When considering an offer do not judge it purely on the base salary. You should consider the company, the role and the opportunities attached to it in terms of career development. Consider also the overall financial value of the package when you attach a figure to pension, health insurance etc. Do not just view the base salary in isolation. 

Also, if you are offered a role at a lower salary than you were on prior to redundancy it may be worth serious consideration if it offers genuine career potential and advancements or incentives in the shape of performance related bonuses.

Your new start

Before starting a new role, if possible, take some quality time to unwind and relax from the stress of redundancy and job searching.  It is always a good idea to allow yourself time to close the chapter of one part of your life, to recharge the batteries before you start on the next phase of your career.

The power of positive thinking

A positive approach throughout the process will help you to succeed. Dealing with redundancy will provide you with challenges. It will test your resilience and will prove character building. However, with a positive attitude and a determination to succeed it can be the beginning of a new and rewarding chapter of your career, bringing many new experiences and rewards. You will have earned the right to feel proud of your achievements and progress. Your experience will add to your overall confidence and self-esteem levels making you better equipped to deal with life’s obstacles going forward. You never know where it might lead you!!

The Chartered Accountants Ireland Careers team can also help you with the following services
• Career planning
• CV preparation advice
• Support with interview preparation
• Advice in relation to personal branding and your LinkedIn profile
• Market intelligence 
• Salary information
• Connecting you with our clients who are currently recruiting for Chartered Accountants Ireland

Contact the careers service now

Dave Riordan
Phone 01 637 7251

Karin Lanigan
Phone 01 637 7331