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Empowered retrenchment should be focus for employers and employees - expert

Jan 29 2017 17:22
Carin Smith

Cape Town - There is such a thing as empowered retrenchment, according to Vicki Marais of Manpower SA.

She told Fin24 that there are practical skills one can apply in order to get another job. These include the correct CV format, how to do an interview and even how to discuss the reason why you left your previous job.

"Nowadays even great employees get retrenched. Many companies outsource off shore, for instance, or to other core service providers. This means even great employees are impacted," explains Marais.

It is important to tell the market place why employees were retrenched and also important not to lose credibility and hope.

"You must position yourself in the market place and for that you need a clear understanding of your achievements. Companies want to know how you will make them more money, be more productive, save them money and reduce risk," says Marais.

"Employees need to understand what it is they do in their jobs. How do you contribute to key aspects and what examples can you give of that? So many people interview poorly."

According to Marais, the new interviewing techniques are competency based. People have to give real life examples of how they dealt with specific situations.

"People under prepare for interviews. You need to have a examples ready when you are asked for them in an interview. Everybody has examples - you just need to know how to tell them. Yet, we are socialised not to sell ourselves well," says Marais.

"The market is flooded with poor CVs of people who don't really know how to sell themselves. This is the case with from managing directors of large corporations to drivers."

Marais says having a great LinkedIn profile is very important.

"The biggest way for people to find jobs these days is through self-promotion and direct marketing of yourself or active networking. If you are not active on LinkedIn you are doing yourself a disservice. We teach people how to use it. You cannot rely on traditional job offers or replying to ads. You become one of hundreds or thousands," says Marais.

She adds that it is important to display confidence during an interview.

"Nobody wants to interview a Debbie Downer or people feeling sorry for themselves. People don't get the importance of the mental frame of mind. It is a vital factor. You can have a great CV and get an interview, but you need the right skills and frame of mind. If you have self-doubt you cannot move on," says Marais.

"Many people also feel somebody else has to do something for them. The world does not work that way anymore. Yes, you lost your job, but you have to take control of it. You cannot sit back and wait for a recruitment company or put your CV on a portal and wait for call."

It is estimated that about 75% of jobs are not in the open market place.

"See entrenchment as an opportunity rather than a negative event and turn it into a chance to make yourself more competitive in the market place. Rather stop and think what you really want to do and where you want to go," suggests Marais.

"Look at your interests. What are your passions and skills and how do your interests overlap with your skills. Often people underestimate what they know. It is all about making them aware of the knowledge they already have and then seeing how reality overlaps with that. Then people can make conscious choices."

It is important to consciously put a plan in place and consciously making good choices so that you avoid being in a situation where you are retrenched again.

"Reality is always there and survival is always a factor, but there are so many more options than we give the market credit for. If you have great skills and experience there is light after dark moments. There is a different world out there and a different way of doing things," says Marais.

Marais offers some practical tips for empowered retrenchment:

- Understand your achievements and have as many real examples ready to discuss as possible;

- Do a great CV - not a template - but the one that truly represents you;

- Have a rock star LinkedIn profile;

- Never underestimate interviews and prepare well.  See it as a conversation for your future. Do not see it as being judged, but that you are going to get informed and make the best possible choice for your future;

- Be in right frame of mind.

"Employers are only now starting to look for solutions for how to responsibly let go of people and empower them to move on. Responsible employers are growing in SA in order to protect their image as an employer and as a brand," concludes Marais.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

retrenchment  |  sa economy  |  empowerment
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