These are the scariest words you will hopefully ever hear from your boss or your employer’s HR manager.
But, scary as those words are, they do NOT end your career. You can — and you WILL — recover!
Before we dive into some actionable steps you can begin today in order to inch closer to employment status, it is necessary we reframe your thinking and “‘jolt those heart muscles.”
Without the right mental shift, your job search steps will not yield optimal results.
The Mental Preparation
First, accept that being terminated happens to the best of us! Do not allow it to chip away at your confidence and self-esteem, my friend. If you were let go due to company restructuring, understand you must market yourself as if your tenure just simply ended. That is all.
It is not your job to make excuses or defend your former employer’s decision to terminate your employment. It is your job to present your best self and to advocate for yourself by promoting your qualifications.
Yet, even if your actions did lead to your termination, you can rebuild your career. You can!
I bet you’ve heard that most companies are searching for employed candidates. Yes, unfortunately, there are some companies that have adopted this type of criteria in the candidate-sorting process. However, there are still companies out there that have not opted to create more barriers for the unemployed.
More importantly, if you package your candidacy magnetically — you will be irresistible — and you will earn an interview invitation, despite your unemployment.
A great marketing tactic is to focus your resume on all the years that you have exceeded expectation. This will provide you an opportunity to overshadow your hiatus from paid employment.
The Quick Fixes
Five options for re-entering the job market:
Volunteering is a great way to not only garner activity to include on your resume, but it is also an excellent way to keep yourself busy and to nurture a healthy attitude. If you are tactical enough in your search for a volunteer job, you can align your volunteer experience with your career goal.
At the very least, you will garner or hone transferable skills (skills that lend weight to your profession), which you can leverage once you are employed. And, you will add experience to go at the top of your resume, above the job with the employer who terminated you.
2. Temporary Employment (a.k.a. “Temping”)
Working for a temporary employment agency can provide both income and an opportunity to check out other employers and industries.
For a few days to a few weeks or months, depending on the needs of the agency’s candidate, you can gain experience and fill the “unemployment gap” in your resume.
[Learn much more about this option in Job-Hunt’s Guide to the Temporary Work Option.]
3. Freelancing or Consulting
Are you in a position to provide your expertise by working as an entrepreneur? You can register your DBA (“Doing Business As…”) name, and launch a website, prepare some business cards, and start consulting. Read the US SBA’s Choose Your Business Name for more information about registering a DBA.
Of course there is more to being a successful entrepreneur than this, but we are discussing the minimum you need to perform to legitimately demonstrate you were trying to keep yourself active in your field.
[Learn more about this option in Job-Hunt’s Guide to Freelancing and Contracting Jobs.]
4. Join Associations/Organizations
Perform a Google search for an association in your field. There are many benefits to becoming a member of an association such as tapping into resources for career development, often including job postings, and staying abreast of the latest news and developments in your industry (maybe even promoting your consulting gig a little further).
Also, by becoming a member of an association relevant to your career, you will not only create “activity” you can include on your resume and talk about during an interview, BUT you will be networking with professionals of like interest (and most of them will be employed).
5. Part-Time Employment
If you have been looking for employment for a while with no success, have you considered accepting part-time employment in the interim?
In my quest to help job seekers, I have found many part-time opportunities in fields where only full time jobs were once the norm. This is partly due to budget constraints, I am sure, but also due to changes in demand and need.
The Job Search Plan
Research and target companies selectively. It is understandable that when you are out of work you would seek any employment with any company.
Instead become more strategic in your job search:
- Research and match your qualifications with the best opportunities.
- Invest considerable time in mapping out employers of interest near your home (location can be a big factor in the hiring process),
- Customize your job search documents so that your fit with opportunities is more persuasive.
- Interview well. Many job seekers make it to an actual interview but then they never receive a call back! Hone your interview skills. You can arm yourself to ace the interview and survive the “why-did-you-leave-your-last-job” question.
For more about acing job interviews, read Smart Answers to Interview Questions and Smart Strategies for Answering Behavioral Interview Questions to be well-prepared.
Remember that being fired happens to almost everyone at least once. The key is to move on by facing the situation, dealing with your feelings (read the Job Loss Recovery articles for help with the emotional aspects), and getting on with your career. You can do it!
More on the Transition from Fired-to-Hired:
- Laid Off or Fired?
- How Employers View You Being Fired
- In a Job Interview, Answering Why You Left When You Were Fired
- Resume Example: Just Fired
- Beating the Job Search Blues
About the author…
Rosa Elizabeth Vargas, Job-Hunt’s Fortune 500 Job Search Expert, is owner of and principle writer for CareerSteering.com. Rosa is also quadruple-certified writer, holding the Master Resume Writer certification (a certification held by only 26 other resume writers, world-wide), Certified Expert Resume Writer, Academy Certified Resume Writer, and Nationally Certified Resume Writer. You can follow Rosa on Twitter at @ResumeService and connect with her on LinkedIn and Facebook/CareerMarketing.