Being fired can be a very demoralising experience. Even if you saw it coming, getting the sack never feels good - and it can be especially traumatic when the dismissal was unexpected. Feelings of uncertainty and panic may start to creep in, doubly so if you don't have another source of income to fall back on. Bills still need to be paid, food has to be bought and commitments must be fulfilled, but all of these things require money - money you may not be able to come up with if you don't get a new job quickly.
If you've just been let go from your job and you're wondering what to do next, here is a simple list of small things that you can do to lift your spirits and get your career back on track!
1. Find out why
The first thing you should do after getting fired from your job is to find out why it happened. This may involve asking some difficult questions and hearing some unpleasant truths, but understanding why your employer has chosen to let you go can help you to not make the same mistake again (if indeed it was your fault). Knowing and learning about your flaws in the short term will help you grow in the long term, hopefully making you a much better employee next time around.
You can even use the information that your employer gives you as great interview fodder for the future. When you are asked to describe any weaknesses you may have, you can use your reasons for being fired as something you intend to improve on (as long as it is something appropriate and something a hiring manager would want to hear!).
Of course, it's possible that you didn't do anything wrong; sometimes, businesses are forced to streamline and downsize as a result of structural changes that are simply out of your control. This will make the transition to a new job far easier as knowing you were never the issue will be a huge weight off of your shoulders.
2. Don't burn bridges
Whether you've been fired from your job as a result of your performance, your personal behaviour, or something that was entirely out of your hands, it is vital that you do not burn your bridges and leave the company on negative terms. How you leave your job after being fired can, unfortunately, have an impact on your success further down the line.
After being fired, it's completely natural to feel angry towards your employer and / or your co-workers. However, you should always refrain from bad-mouthing the business or any of its employees, both online and offline. You never know when you might need a reference, and one instance of talking negatively about your boss or colleagues can cost you dearly when looking for another job.
3. Claim any available benefits
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your dismissal, you may be entitled to certain unemployment benefits. If you were fired for reasons largely out of your control (e.g. company downsizing, budget cuts or a lack of skills), you may qualify for a number of benefits to help make the transition into unemployment a little easier.
If, however, you were fired for reasons such as misconduct, fraud or theft, unemployment benefits are usually not available. As your period of unemployment is unpredictable, asking your employer whether there are any benefits you can claim as a result of being let go can help in the short term at least.
4. Update your CV
Once you have left your job, it's a good idea to update your CV - which has most likely been gathering dust since you started that job. Update your job history and list all of the skills and responsibilities demonstrated in your last role that may help with securing a future position.
If you need any guidance or help with writing your CV, check out our CV tips and advice.
5. Start your job hunt
Once your CV has been revised to include all of your current skills and an up-to-date job history, you'll be ready to start searching for a new position. If you enjoyed your previous job and want to continue working in the same field, look for jobs that match both your experience and skill level; alternatively, if you fancy a complete change of career, look out for jobs that sound interesting or catch your eye.
6. Develop more skills
Just because you're on the hunt for a new job, that doesn't mean you can't learn new skills! Take advantage of having more spare time to brush up on your hard and soft skills and add some new ones to the list.
This may sound like effort, but if you are able to add more relevant skills to your CV, you'll have an even better chance of securing a rewarding new job.
7. Don't be afraid to talk about your termination
Eventually, after being fired, you will have to sit down during an interview and explain why you were fired from your previous job. However, this should never be an issue and you should never feel bad about explaining what happened.
Job loss is a very common thing, with people unexpectedly losing their jobs every day, so you should never feel victimised or upset if it happens to you. Be prepared for any hiring manager to ask you why you left your last role and have answers ready that present you in a good light.
READ MORE: How to Explain Getting Fired
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