Everyone in the UK is keenly aware of the redundancy problem. Whilst unemployment fell in May, the number of applications for Job Seeker’s Allowance is up. And really, with government plans to streamline and cut jobs over the next few years, redundancy is not a problem that will go away anytime soon.

The best place to begin your job hunting endeavour is from a position of strength – while you are still employed. Whilst redundancy notices can come as a shock, many workers report that they ‘felt it coming’. If you know your company’s sales are down and expenses are up, they may seek to incorporate a redundancy programme into their cost-savings plan. Whilst I don’t recommend jumping ship early, it is a good idea to at least have a plan in place just in case the need arises.

Even if you feel secure in your position, it is a good idea to maintain or increase communications with your business network. Keep your ears open for which companies are performing well and which are under the gun to stay alive. The last thing you want to do is go from bad to worse.

You should also get your CV and references in order. Consult a CV writer or agency to make sure your CV is powerful in case you need to put it to use. If you’ve already lost your job, the same applies. A CV serves as an employer’s very first impression of you as a person and a worker.

Create an emergency budget that will maximise the benefits to which you are entitled under redundancy laws. Decide which items you will need to do without and which items can be reduced. Watch your savings, as well. If you haven’t already done it, try to build up savings to cover one year of your current salary. Yes – I said try.

Watch the job boards and recruiting agencies. If the need comes about, know which job boards and recruiters are getting results. If you are fairly positive that your company is doing poorly and you are in a position that is likely to be made redundant, start searching for more stable employment before redundancy hits you. If you are currently employed, you will be seeking work from a position of strength. You may even increase your pay.

The best way to begin job hunting after redundancy is by activating a pre-determined plan. Put your emergency budget into effect; make contact with your network of friends, family and business associates to let them know you are looking; and sign up with pre-designated job boards and recruiters that serve your industry and job position. Success often finds those who are well prepared.

Finally, make sure you know where you want your career to go. I often encounter people who want to go in new directions after a job loss. Some want to move up, feeling that their skills and experience make them ideal candidates for higher positions than the one they were in most recently. Some want to enter completely new industries and positions altogether. If this is the case, be prepared to analyse your current skills and experience critically – would more training or education make you a more desirable candidate? You may want to spend part of your job hunting time in a programme of study to gain new skills or polish ones you haven’t used in a while.