How to Bounce Back After a Job Loss
Getting fired can come as a huge shock and may leave you feeling angry, ashamed, or resentful, but it doesn’t need to be the end of your career. So, before you launch yourself back into the job market, follow these steps to help minimize the fallout.
1. Give yourself some time to recover.
You can't really bounce back into an effective job hunt until you've dealt with the negative emotions. You may not have the financial luxury of taking too much time to recover, but whatever time you can give yourself, take it and try to work through the emotions. If you start a job search feeling depressed, overwhelmed, angry, or bitter, what's the likelihood that you will have a good job interview? You'll need to project a positive image to woo potential employers, so give yourself space to work through your feelings.
2. Let it sink but don’t wallow.
It can take time to see the situation in a more objective light, but it's helpful to think about what went wrong, and any lessons you can learn. Give yourself a chance to work through the emotions is one thing. Wallowing in pity, getting caught up in what-was and what-ifs, or engaging in other self-destructive behaviors (such as drowning yourself in alcohol to ease the pain) is an entirely different animal. You can't change the past. You can only learn from it. As hard as it may be to do, thinking of job loss as an opportunity moves you into the future. Thinking of it as a negative keeps you in the past.
3. Patiently prepare for your next move.
Before you rush into a job search make sure you've taken the time to decide your career priorities and have planned your next move – whether that's in a similar role in the same industry. Avoid sending out unfocused resumes in a desperate attempt to get any new job. Instead, bring your resume up to date and spend time customizing it to the roles and companies that now interest you. Assess your areas of expertise, find examples that illustrate these, then present these clearly and convincingly in all your dealings with potential employers – on CVs, at interviews, in speculative letters, at networking events, and so on.
4. Maintain and present a professional image.
Try to agree the wording of a reference letter before you leave, as well as any communication to colleagues, clients or suppliers about your departure. Exit as gracefully as you can and don't publicly slate your ex-employer or blast out angry emails. Keeping a folder of positive performance reviews and endorsements from other company managers, clients and colleagues as well as previous letters of reference, can speed up your job search. The more active you've been in your professional communities, the easier it will be to ask for help.