Whether you’ve been fired or laid off, losing your job is never ideal. Whatever the reason you were let go may be, this kind of change in your career can leave you feeling drained, both emotionally and financially. If you plan on trying to find a job elsewhere, and want to do so in a timely manner, it is important to be strategic about your next steps.
1. Stay active
It’s important not to take too much time off between jobs when you’ve been fired. It’s best to start your search for your new job right away. Avoiding a large resume gap will help you look more appealing to potential employers and help you to keep your momentum going as well as steering clear of complacency.
In addition to launching your job search, there are other productive ways to fill your time that will help you find a new job faster, including: volunteer work, professional development groups, leadership courses, technical training courses, networking events and even internships in your desired field. All of these activities appeal to employers. You can include them in a cover letter, on your resume or during your interview conversations. It is also a great way to build your network and make connections in your field, which will help you find a new job quickly.
2. Look for references
Almost any job application will ask for references. Sometimes they will require only the person’s contact information but it really sets you apart if you can include a couple letters of recommendation from these references as well.
If you can get a past colleague, or even better, someone in a management position, to paint your departure in a more positive light, that will make you look more appealing and more likely to score an interview. An example of a time where this might be appropriate would be if, for instance, the company you worked for was downsizing and you were let go because of budgeting reasons, etc. It makes the whole circumstance sound a little better.
Depending on your situation, you may not be able to use your most recent employer as a reference. In this case, look for outside references in your network. Go back in your employment history and think of other employers and professors who you had good relationships with and call on them to help you find a new job.
3. Brush up on job hunting skills
Has it been awhile since you last searched for a job? For best results, you’ll want to brush up on your job hunting skills, as things may have changed since the last time you were in this situation. Prepare your resume and cover letter. Do some research online and by talking to your network about the latest hiring trends and resume building tips. Ask peers to read your resume and cover letter and ask for feedback to make them the best they can be before submitting them to companies.
4. Stay positive
When networking, and even more importantly, when interviewing, it is important to keep a positive attitude. Deal with your emotions at home first. Vent to your family and friends but don’t let your negative feelings show in interviews. And no matter how tempting, don’t badmouth your past employer.
You want to do your best to be honest about the situation, but be brief in your explanation of being let go so you don’t appear defensive by telling a lengthy story. It’s best to take responsibility for what happened and be able to explain what you learned from the experience.
If you were laid off due to restructuring or downsizing, use that to your advantage. Let the interviewer know if other employees were also let go during that time. It will help the interviewer understand the company’s situation.
5. Partner with a staffing company
If you are having trouble finding a new job after you’ve been fired or just don’t know where to begin looking, consider partnering with a staffing company, like Alliance Technical Solutions. A staffing firm can help you look at your skills and goals, and match you with a company that fits your needs. They can help you with those next steps in finding future employment by getting your foot in the door with reputable companies that may have openings that match your skillset.
So if the unfortunate circumstance of being fired or otherwise let go from your job does happen, keep these tips in mind to make the most of your time between jobs. If you are strategic with your actions you will surely find your new job that much faster!