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.
This article is part of a series from The Career Doctor's Cures & Remedies to Quintessentially Perplexing Career and Job-Hunting Ailments.
See a list of all the most common college, career, and job questions -- and Dr. Hansen's solutions.
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