Question: "How do I go about looking for a new job after being fired/terminated/downsized?"
by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Let me first state that the chances are quite good that at least once in your life you are going to be dismissed from your employer -- no matter how well you perform or how nice a person you are... companies go through cycles, and every few years (especially in a weak economy) they reduce their workforce. I know that my comments don't help take much of the sting from their actions, but my point is that you can't sit around being discouraged -- you need to use the time to evaluate your career and get back into the job market.
I suggest you take the time you've been given for a career tune-up:
- Decide on a career path or change. Take the time to decide whether it's time for a career change or simply a job change.
- Tune up that resume. If you haven't kept your resume current, now is the time to spend some critical time getting it in shape. Consider these resume resources.
- Resolve whether you are staying or relocating. It's the perfect opportunity to evaluate where you want to work and live.
- Network, network, network. It can't be said enough... networking is the best way to find a new job, and even though it may be difficult facing your network after being fired, you have to do it. Learn more about networking.
- Revisit your references. Besides keeping your references informed that you are back in the job market, it's also a good time to evaluate your reference list.
- Be prepared to work. Okay, I acknowledge it's a cliche, but looking for a new job is hard work - and you better be prepared to put in the hours necessary to line up a few new job offers.
- Face the tough question. Why were you dismissed? Word gets around. At least be prepared to answer why you left your previous job... and never, ever blame a former supervisor or employer -- and don't make excuses.
- Be prepared for rejection. It's natural to be a little sensitive during these times, but you need to develop a thick skin and deal with the degree of rejection that occurs in any job search. Keep looking forward.
You can find much more specific information and resources by reading my article, Getting Fired: An Opportunity for Change and Growth.
This article is part of a series from The Career Doctor's Cures & Remedies to Quintessentially Perplexing Career and Job-Hunting Ailments. Read more.
See a list of all the most common college, career, and job questions -- and Dr. Hansen's solutions.
Who is the Career Doctor? Learn more, read his current career column, or browse the column archives when you visit the Career Doctor's homepage.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.