Tips for Getting Out of a Rut & Back on the Horse
What to Do After You Get the Axe
Maybe you thought everything was going fine at your job, and you were shocked to get your walking papers. Maybe you made a mistake that led to being let go. Whatever the reason for being fired, the effects can be devastating financially and emotionally — often leaving people drained of their savings and their self-esteem.
But the effects don’t end there, says Dana Manciagli, veteran hiring manager and author of “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” She points out for better or worse, it’s much easier to find a new job when you’re still employed, in part because of some hiring managers’ negative perceptions.
“There’s the idea that companies don’t let go of their best people, even in the worst of times,” she said. “So, if you’re unemployed because your company let you go, then the perception — and it’s not always right — is that you weren’t one of the top performers. That is the stigma.”
But that stigma doesn’t have to stand in your way, as Manciagli says “the world around us is filled with people who were fired and who’ve been rehired — because they handled it well.”
The following tips can help you best handle your job search after you’ve been fired, so feelings of disappointment and self-doubt, as well as the negative perceptions of others, won’t stand in your way as you try to find a new job.
6. Get Back on the Horse
Although you may think it’s best to take some time off after you’ve been fired, Manciagli suggests you start your job search right away.
Since remaining active is the best way to move past the bad experience, and you want to avoid having large gaps in your resume, you should start your job search as soon as possible.
5. Deal with Your Emotions
Although Manciagli doesn’t suggest putting your entire professional life on hold to grieve the loss of a job, it does make sense to work through your feelings during your job search. You may need to vent to someone during this time — friends, family members or even a therapist — so you can get negative feelings out of your system and out of your job search. This is important because it will help improve how you feel, as well as how you project yourself to others.
“No hiring manager wants to hire a negative person, so don’t badmouth the boss and don’t badmouth the company,” she said. “When you’re job searching, you can’t have that negativity because it will come through during an interview or when you’re networking. You have to contain it or it will taint the perception of even those who want to help you.”
4. Sharpen Your Job Hunting Skills
If it’s been a while since you’ve looked for a job, Manciagli suggests spending some time brushing up on your job search skills so you’ll get the best results.
Oftentimes, she says, people engage in what she calls RAA, or random acts of applications, meaning they send out their resume to any company they can find. This may stem from the job-hunting myth that you should take whatever you can get, as soon as you can get it. Instead, Manciagli advises spending time researching companies so you can target organizations where you’re most likely to have success.
In addition, spend time reading blogs and books from career experts in order to get some coaching on the best practices for job hunting in today’s workforce.
3. Fill the Void
In order to avoid having gaps in your resume, you may want to consider volunteering your time to an organization that needs help. However, although feeding the hungry at soup kitchens or folding clothes at the Salvation Army or Goodwill are worthy causes, Manciagli warns against doing volunteer work that doesn’t relate to your job search.
Instead, she suggests finding volunteer opportunities relevant to your career, or job skills you’d like to develop for your next position. If you need help finding options, try searching for volunteer opportunities at VolunteerMatch or Craigslist.
2. Don’t Use the F-word
When you’re in a job interview, you don’t have to use the word “fired” when describing what happened at your last job. Although you shouldn’t lie about it — don’t say you left a job voluntarily when you didn’t — you can frame the situation in a more positive light, so it doesn’t come off as negative.
“There are so many options of what people can say and it doesn’t even matter if you were fired for something bad. You don’t have to share that. You could say my company reduced headcount, my role was eliminated, or my company downsized,” she said. “I don’t recommend anyone lie, but being downsized and being fired is one in the same. These are gray areas.”
1. Remember, You’re Not Alone
Although getting fired is tough, and some people will make erroneous judgments about you based on the fact that you lost your job, remember you’re not the first person to be fired. And you won’t be the last. In fact, some employers see the ability to get passed a setback and land on your feet as a selling point.
“Companies hit speed bumps all the time and they need people who are resilient — so show your resilience during your job search,” Manciagli said.
Get Back on the Horse, Then Negotiate Your Job Offer
After you shake off the sting of being fired and have a few successful job interviews, they’ll make you an offer. That’s when you’ll need to negotiate, and Salary.com can help.
The first thing you should do is research, so you’re able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what’s a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.