7 Ways to Land on Your Feet After Being Fired

Man in suit holding cardboard box

Even under the best circumstances, being fired from your job is always difficult. Maybe you knew it was coming. Perhaps the termination has nothing to do with your performance and is an unavoidable result of organizational downsizing and shifting business goals. Or, maybe you know the job just wasn’t the right “fit” for you either. Whatever the reason, being let go can still feel like a professional and personal defeat and can do a number on your confidence level.

But being fired, while discouraging at the moment, is not a career killer. In fact, sometimes the jolt of getting that proverbial “pink slip” can actually inspire you to take stock of your wider career path and goals as you put yourself back on the job market.

Here are some helpful ways you can position yourself for landing an even better job after being fired:

Update your resume

The first thing you should do in you have been or are about to be fired is to update your job search materials, like your resume, cover letter, or CV. Make sure to add any recent experiences or accomplishments, and be sure to include examples of specific or measurable outcomes you achieved. If you have an objective statement, replace it with the more updated executive summary” or summary, where you briefly describe your areas of specialization and offer a synopsis of your most important skills.

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Start networking

Start with your immediate network and reach out to as many of your professional contacts as you can to let them know you’re looking for a new opportunity. You may also want to attach the updated version of your resume to your message, and ask them to keep you in mind for any open positions that may be a good match. Some reports say up to 85% of all jobs are found by networking, others say 60% or 70%. Whatever the exact number, it’s clear that tapping into your professional network either online, on social media, or in person at networking events is one of the most effective ways to find a great new job.

Clean up your social media

Once you make your job search public by announcing your plans to your network, you should see some more activity on your public social media accounts, especially LinkedIn. At the very least, more people will be looking at your profile to learn more about you and get a better sense of what you’re looking for. Make sure your public social media accounts are updated with accurate contact information and content, as well as a recent professional picture. Just as companies brand themselves online to increase sales, you, the job seeker, are branding yourself on social media, and how you present yourself online will have a direct impact on the way potential employers will view you and the attention they will give your candidacy. Now is the time to delete any content from your social channels that could have a negative impact on your job hunt.

Take some time to reflect

In the spirit of viewing your termination as a door opened instead of a door closed, take some personal time to reflect on your personal and professional career goals and how you can better work towards achieving both your short- and long-term goals. Be honest with yourself about your priorities, as well as your strengths and weaknesses (including the bad habits that may be preventing you from having the career you really want), and take active steps to make positive changes going forward.

Close your skills gap

If you find yourself with a bit more free time after being let go, use some of that time to close any skills gaps or gaps in your resume by taking extra classes, getting valuable certifications or undergoing training, attending professional events and conferences, or even publishing some of your own original work (for non-academic professionals, even publishing high-quality content around your area of expertise on LinkedIn can go a long way to strengthening your professional reputation in the eyes of a potential new employer).

Try to stay positive

You may have been temporarily knocked down, but keep in mind that being fired doesn’t have to be an “ending” – it’s a great opportunity for a new beginning that you’re excited about and that better reflects your goals and desires. To remain positive throughout your new job search, surround yourself with friends, family, and peers who invigorate you, support you, and prop you up in difficult times. Try to engage in healthy habits as you put yourself back on the job market, and only allow those things and people into your life that will help to put you on a positive course for happiness and success.

Start applying!

Don’t wait too long after being let go to start applying for new jobs. Take a day or two to update your materials, and then start floating your resume around immediately. The application and interview process, for some, can take weeks or months – especially if you’re looking for a very specific position or are location-bound – so don’t drag your feet when it comes to putting yourself back out there.

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