I Got Fired, Now What? A Step By Step Guide

A Step By Step Guide


We’ve all been there in some capacity, an unexpected change in your career – sometimes not by our own choice. It can be devastating, or the best thing that’s ever happened to you. It’s all about how you look at the situation and the choices you make moving forward.

While working with many people in this situation, follow this step-by-step guide to get through getting fired.

    1. Take a day for yourself This is an opportunity for you re-charge, re-evaluate, and process. Sometimes you may have a very clear understanding of what just transpired, and sometimes, you’ll never know. Grieve. You’ll feel many emotions, sometimes, all at the same time. You aren’t the only person that this has ever happened to.
    2. Find something to learn from this
        • Is there something you can do differently moving forward?
        • Is there a better type of organization culture, leader, or industry that will be a better fit for you?
        • What did you do really well in your role?
        • Hindsight is 20/20, just because you didn’t know or realize that something then, doesn’t mean you can’t utilize it moving forward.
    3. File for unemployment Depending on why you were let go, could determine if you are eligible. This safety net can help with some of the stress that comes with not having a job. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
    4. Identify your cheerleaders who can you reach out to for support and encouragement. Surround yourself with those people. People who can tell you why you are spectacular, but can also help you process and give you candid feedback. Who can you put down as professional references?
    5. Get to work on your resume Be sure to articulate results you brought to your organization, not just job duties. Have someone take another look at it and give you feedback.
    6. Make a list of top 100 companies These are companies you want to work for. Do your research and be intentional. Regardless of if they have the right position listed, research to identify what you do want out of an organization. Are there any associations or networking groups that you can get involved with?
    7. Make a list of job titles These are job titles you are qualified for and some that you aspire to do. Maybe it’s not a title, but a task you want to focus on. Process your thoughts around that. Are there any certifications or education requirements you need to work towards to get you to that goal?
    8. Get out of the house Get showered, dressed and get out of the house. Go sit at a coffee shop or diner and apply for jobs. This will help you not feel as isolated and stuck in a rut. Volunteer a few hours at an animal shelter. Get involved in an association or networking group that you’ve been too busy to get to the past few years. Keep busy.
    9. Start applying There are so many resources out there for job site aggregates. Indeed, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter. Research what works best for your industry, and get to work. Don’t apply for just anything. Do your research and be intentional. Circle back to your list of 100 companies and individually look at each of their job boards.
    10. Document where you are applying Track where you’ve applied, what you applied for, who you talked to, what agencies you’re working with, etc. This will help you stay organized and on task for your new job, finding a new job.
    11. Figure out how to answer “What happened” This stage can often be the most challenging to articulate. Steps #2 and #4 should help here the most. Be honest about what happened, but less is more. Do you feel like a victim and that you were wronged by your former employer; this is NOT the place for that conversation. Take responsibility where appropriate, but highlight and focus on the value you bring to the table, what you’ve learned, and what you are excited about moving forward. Maybe you were ready for a change and your former employer expedited that process. It doesn’t feel like it, but use the perspective that something good will come because of this and this opened up the door of opportunity for that transition.
    12. Finish the day with positivity What did you accomplish today? I know there’s still negative thoughts and feelings dancing around in your head, focus on the highlights of your day. Did you have a fruitful conversation? Did you get to read a book that’s been on your list for months? Did you get some much-needed quality time with someone you love? Make a list of 10 things you feel good about that day, regardless of how small or minor that thing may be. If it made you smile, even a small bit, write it down.


See, that wasn’t so bad. I’m here to tell you that losing your job could be the best thing that happened to you and if you keep a positive focus, it will show while you interview.