From Fired to Hired: 5 Tips for the Recently Unemployed

So you got fired. While it’s natural to feel like a failure, don’t. There are plenty of successful people who have been in your shoes – Oprah, Walt Disney; even Steve Jobs was fired from his own company!

During her commencement speech at Wake Forest University, Jill Abramson, the recently ousted executive editor of the New York Times, recalled something her father used to say. “It meant more…to see us deal with a setback and try to bounce back, than watch how we handled our success.” Makes sense.

What matters now is how you overcome this hurdle. With the right approach, you can end up in a better position than before. Here’s how you can start turning things around.

Make Nice

However tempting, don’t burn any bridges. You want the reputation that precedes you to be a positive one. Keep the lines of communication open with colleagues. You never know when you’ll work with them again.

Get Praise

Line up your references; you’re going to need them. Round up at least three good ones. If possible, make one of those from your most recent employer – even if they weren’t your direct supervisor. This should help dispel any negativity surrounding your recent dismissal.

Work On Yourself

This is a good moment to reflect. Are there things you can do to make yourself a better professional? Whether it’s taking a class, achieving a new certification or refining your presentation skills, now is the time to do it. Who knows? It could pave the way to your next job.

Look Good On Paper

And online. And in person. Polish your resume and social media profiles. You don’t have to start explaining employment gaps just yet. Be ready for interviews. Dust off that power suit and practice running through typical interview questions – including why you left your last job.

Get Out

Hit the pavement. Let it be known that you’re looking. Don’t be ashamed. Leverage social media. Reach out to former colleagues, classmates, clients and recruiters – anyone who can help you find a job. Try to meet in person. Network over coffee, lunch or happy hour. Remember, your next job offer will come from someone, not some job board.

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