The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How do you bounce back after getting fired?” is by Edward Fleischman, CEO of The Execu|Search Group.
Getting fired is never an ideal situation. However, there are steps you can take in the immediate aftermath and in the following weeks to help you recover and secure a new job. First of all, don’t be resentful. Once you’ve been let go, you should collect your thoughts and make sure you don’t say anything that will harm you down the road when it comes to references or networking. Take a deep breath and collect yourself. On day one, focus on getting yourself together, but on day two, it’s time hit the ground running.
First, take a look at your experience. Be honest with yourself and identify the reason you were fired. Was it a result of downsizing within the company or department? Maybe the position wasn’t a good fit, and your performance suffered. Or perhaps, a new boss brought in people they knew from their former company and you were replaced. Identifying the reason for losing your job will be invaluable when deciding the next step in your career. Then, think about what you have learned from this experience: What have you discovered about yourself? What insight have you gained about your chosen career? Maybe the company culture wasn’t the right fit for you. Or just maybe this career path isn’t fulfilling enough.
Next, you need to update your resume. Many times people use their outdated resume as a crutch — don’t. Get your resume done within a week and move on. As you start to search, remember that there is a job out there, you just need to find it. Make a schedule and approach the search as you would an actual job. If you woke up at 6:30 A.M. for your previous job, keep waking up at 6:30. Devote several hours each day to looking for and applying to open positions, but also diversify your job search with other activities. For example, try volunteering at a place where your skill set is relevant. Organizations are always in need of support, and volunteering can help you network and make connections with people in a related field and with similar skill sets.
Also, consider taking a temporary position. This is another great networking opportunity, and there is often a possibility of the temporary position turning into a full-time one. Approach the temporary position as a working interview and be sure to put your best foot forward. Often employers are evaluating temporary staff to see if they would make a good full-time addition to the team, and this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.
Finally, if you came to the conclusion that you were fired because you lacked certain skills, take this opportunity to improve your skills and gain new ones. Make good use of your more flexible schedule and look into resources that can help you enhance your skill set. Regardless of the path you take, it is important to remember that there are millions of people who have been laid off and went on to find a new position and have done very well for themselves. Getting fired is not the end of the world. As long as you reflect, regroup, move on and start job-hunting, you have the ability to land back on your feet.
Read all responses to the Leadership Insider question: How do you bounce back after getting fired?
Here’s the real reason you were fired by Tom Gimbel, CEO of the LaSalle Network.
The one question you need to ask after you’re fired by Joanna Weidenmiller, cofounder and CEO of 1-Page.
How to stay positive after getting fired by DeLisa Alexander, chief people officer at Red Hat
Never say this when an employer asks why you were fired by Clark Valberg, CEO of InVision
Why this CEO won’t judge you for getting fired by Kevin Chou, co-founder and CEO of Kabam
Why getting fired can be a good thing by Ryan Harwood, CEO of PureWow