Dealing with retrenchment or redundancy is not easy.
Looking for a new job right after is equally challenging.
While retrenchment regulations in Singapore stipulated by the Ministry of Manpower require companies to practise responsible retrenchment, going through an experience like this is still emotionally devastating.
This is especially true for employees who have served with companies for the longest time, only to be informed of an unexpected redundancy.
These emotions, from shock, denial and anger to guilt, acceptance and relief, are normal.
In fact, they offer important clues about yourself and give you some confidence to write a fresh chapter of your professional life.
Finding the next foray in your career, of course, starts with your resume.
How do I update my resume after being laid off?
It is not uncommon for retrenched individuals to quickly tidy up their resumes, and mass apply for jobs because they need an alternative source of income as fast as possible. It’s understandable, with such turbulent times impacting day-to-day lives.
However, searching for a suitable job requires preparation.
Perhaps you may consider a career switch, or you will need to better align your professional story to a similar role in a different field.
You can seek a career coach following your retrenchment via Workforce Singapore (WSG)’s Careers Connect to make sense of your professional background, and think through the options ahead of you.
Only after ironing out the possibilities should you prepare your resume.
Here’s how you can update your resume after being laid off:
1. Fill gaps in employment and competencies
The resume is precious real estate for you to convince a potential employer to ring you up for an interview, so making full use of this two-page document is imperative.
Regardless of the type of resume you prepare — chronological, functional, targeted or a combination, you should pay close attention to articulating your professional experience and competencies clearly across your employment history.
This means leaving out unnecessary information such as reasons for leaving each job unless requested by the employer.
You can also choose to eliminate the months from your resume to avoid the employer from noticing any gap in employment — these can be discussed in the interview or in your cover letter (if required).
If this information is required as part of the job application, then you must be honest and not mislead.
This means you will need to word your resume carefully.
2. Word your resume carefully to align with the job description and expectations
Generally, when considering how to write a resume that sells, whether after retrenchment or for a job change, you need to first analyse the job description extensively.
By doing so, you can apply similar vocabulary, concepts, and contexts when writing out your job experiences to show a better match of skillsets and a potentially good fit.
This is similar to how you would answer a ‘Tell me about yourself” question in an interview.
If you are required to indicate your reasons for leaving, stating a simple reason for your retrenchment will suffice.
Lines like “Retrenched due to company restructuring during Covid-19” or “Retrenchment due to company shut down” will suffice.
These indicate that the event was beyond your control or the company’s for that matter.
3. Include part-time or contract work commitments taken up after retrenchment
Jobseekers often find their part-time, ad hoc, or contract work experiences unreliable but this is not the case.
The trick lies in how you phrase these experiences and match them to the job expectations when you write them in your resume.
Interpersonal, communication, and resourcefulness are some examples of soft skills honed in these experiences that can add value to the resume.
Moreover, it is also important to highlight to your prospective employer that you are spending your layoff time productively, as you look for stable employment.
After your retrenchment, joining the sea of jobseekers out there who are also looking for the right job may seem daunting.
Do not let your redundancy come in the way of your career progress!
As you embark on your job search in Singapore, always remember that a well-crafted resume will help you stand out from the crowd.