The end is near. You knew it was coming, you lost a big account at your firm, got into a heated argument with your boss, or perhaps your sales have been slipping for months now. Whatever the case maybe, you had a feeling that things wouldn’t end well and they didn’t. You’ve just been let go from your job.
According to The Work Institute’s 2019 Retention Report, for every 100th person (total of 250,000) interviewed, six of them reported being fired. And with the advent of COVID-19, nationwide job loss has continued to be a leading topic of conversation. In mid-May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a news release with data showing that employee separations (which included both layoffs and discharges) had increased to 7.5% since the end of March 2020.
The immediate concern might revolve around the fact that you are now out of a paycheck. On the other hand, you might be more worried about how this will impact you professionally. But in reality, nothing tops the emotional and mental effects of getting let go. It’s a blow to your ego and as you pack your desk, it’s easy for feelings of stress, resentment and anxiety to manifest.
I’m here to tell you that it’s ok.
You can bounce back from this. But you’ll need to do so with a fair amount of strategy and thought. No matter how booming of an economy we may (or may not) be in, the job market will always be a challenge to navigate- especially for those in competitive fields or ones most impacted by the coronavirus, such as the hospitality industry. Also, the health risks of COVID-19 have yet to eclipse and it’s keeping communities, employers and our government suspended in a state of distress.
No matter what’s going on, you can still mobilize your job search. Here are some of the things you can do right now after getting fired:
Start Reaching Out to Your Previous Co-Workers, Subordinates, Supervisors or Anyone from Your Past Job Who Can Speak Positively on Your Behalf
A lot of hiring managers will grill you on what went wrong at your last job. Even more so if your resume shows a trend for job hopping or you’ve been let go before. What you need to reassure them that you’re still a great candidate are references. Hopefully, you’ve maintained good relationships with people you’ve worked for, with or managed. These people can turn into your biggest advocates, speaking well on your behalf to prospective employers when asked. Call or email these people right away and ask if you provide their information to places you interview at if they ask for a reference. If the hiring manager doesn’t ask you for any, take the reins and offer them. It looks good when people are willing to vouch for you.
Start Reaching Out to Your Existing Network of Friends, Family, Relatives and Professional Peers To Tell Them You’re In The Job Market
I always thought it was a half-truth when career counselors and professors from college said that most jobs come from people you know. I’ve come to realize that this is really more of a whole truth. Folks spend a lot of time at work. Some roles and industries are demanding by nature, finding yourself on the job more than you’re at home! People want to work with individuals that they know, like and trust. With that being said, wouldn’t it be great if your office best friend from three years ago had an opening at his company that he could refer you to? What about your mom’s gym buddy, who happens to have an executive role at some Fortune 500 company? Let everyone you know know that you’re in the market and ask them to spread the word. Getting referred by someone may make it easier to walk around the fact that you were fired.
Think About the Entire Scope of Your Last Position and Write Down Every Single Thing You Did
You probably didn’t realize all of the things you did while working for your old company. The tasks you were given that were not exactly part of your job title, or that you found yourself taking on naturally, have now become added tools in your skillset. You might have been a graphic designer, but found yourself pitching ideas to the content team at your last job. Or, perhaps you were a hostess at a restaurant but whenever service got slammed you had to take on a couple of tables to help manage the floor. Although you weren’t regularly called on to do these things, or required to do them at all, you did. Whatever you did that made an impact at your previous employer, no matter how small it may have seemed to you at the time can be selling points for you now as you move onto the next opportunity. If you rather focus on the core of your capabilities and not stray too far from that, perfect. You can still leverage your past contributions in a way that works for you without inadvertently pitching yourself for another type of role you may not be into. But keep in mind that although you may be looking for a similar position, the actual duties may differ from company to company. Think about the ways that it might pay off if you show that you can do more than what your job title says. You might be able to level up to a bigger job title or negotiate higher pay!