I Just Got Fired. Now What?


1.) Grieve, then move on.
You’ll experience a range of emotions after hearing the news, most of them negative: Yes, others probably deserved it more than you. Yes, you hated the place anyway. Get the negativity out of your system and move forward. If you hang on to this baggage it will only impede your search for a new job.

2.) Get your resume together.

Hopefully you’ve kept your CV current, but if not, get busy building or rebuilding one. Start by putting together a list of all you’ve accomplished in your last job. Think numbers, percents, or dollars saved. Don’t regurgitate your job description. Your resume is your marketing brochure to wow new employers. Seek out help from resume-writing books, such as The Guide to Basic Resume Writing, and What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles. Also consider partnering with a career coach.

3.) Let everybody know you’re on the market.

Most people are ashamed of being fired and keep the bad news a secret. That’s the wrong move. You’d be amazed at how many people would be willing to help if they only knew. Let all of your friends and family know you’re a free agent looking for a new team. You never know who may have a lead. Then go through your collection of business cards and start reconnecting with former associates.

4.) Expand your network.

The first part is easy — check in with people who know you. But you also need to meet plenty of new people. Deepen your relationship with the people at your gym whom you nod and grunt to. Spend more time talking with the parents of the other kids on your daughter’s soccer team. Studies show 80% of all jobs come through networking.

5.) Treat the job search as a full-time job.

This means eight hours a day of solid work, starting with the tasks you enjoy the least. Pick up the phone to make your calls early in the day when you have the most energy. And don’t focus too heavily on job Web sites alone. Instead, build relationships, call up potential employers, join and participate in trade association meetings, and attend any and all networking events you can find. Spend an hour per day reading up on the career you’re trying to get a job in. Professional job seeker may not be a title your proud of, but if you chose to be one, it will be the shortest career you’ve ever had.

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