By: Victoria S. Johnson
You are called into the HR office and the Human Resource Representative tells you that your position is terminated. The initial shock and awe of hearing these words can rattle even the best employees, especially if your employer considers you to be an indispensable asset. On the contrary, if your job made you unhappy, wired, pessimistic and angry, then thank your lucky stars that you were fired! Whether you were fired, laid-off or resigned, you will need a concrete game plan to not only get back into the job market, but to snatch the job of your dreams while keeping your pride intact.
WHAT DO YOU DO NEXT?
ASK FOR A REFERENCE LETTER
How unorthodox is it to ask an employer who has just fired you to provide a reference for your next job? Under certain situations, it's the best thing you can ask for while on your way out. The odds of walking out with a good reference are better than you might think. Securing a reference will help you explain your exit to prospective future employers.
Are you eligible to receive unemployment benefits? Determine with your state unemployment office, especially if you have a different opinion than your employer does about how you parted ways.
Clear up how long your health insurance coverage will last, and determine what you’ll do when this period expires. Apply for COBRA health benefits. COBRA benefits usually extend for thirteen months and allow you to purchase basic coverage at a discounted rate through a government plan. Find out your eligibility for COBRA immediately after termination, since your company coverage will probably expire by the end of the month.
SEND A THANK-YOU LETTER
After receiving your reference letter, severance pay, and all other negotiated items, show your professionalism and send your management a thank-you letter. Send your letter via e-mail & by regular mail and call to confirm its delivery and engage in a final chitchat. Reach out and communicate your gratitude. They may be impressed and regret that they’ve lost you.
UPDATE YOUR RÉSUMÉ.
Your resume is the first document employers’ review and leaves a lasting impression. Your first job is to stand out when being compared to other resumes. Your main reason for having an excellent resume is to land numerous interviews. Present a polished resume to the highest bidder that showcases your talents and potential. If you have been job searching for some time without success, it may not be you, but how you are coming across on paper. That's where we come in.
ATTEND NETWORKING EVENTS
Now’s the time to network with other professionals in your area. Use LinkedIn to identify your industry peers, and you can even go beyond this and go to professional development conferences. Just because you were fired doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to improve yourself and mingle with industry moguls. Relentlessly promote and brand your image. Your new employer may be in the same exact room, waiting for your elevator pitch.
The key in interviews to explaining why you got fired is to make it not about you, Anything from the new boss wanted to get in his own team to the entire department was downsized is better than admitting you lost your job due to your own performance.