The economy presents a lot of opportunities for businesses to grow, but it is also shrouded in uncertainty and changes are happening across many industries. The latter has caused a lot of people to lose their jobs while many others have found employment. The balance of the market is shifting, and anything can happen to your career.
I know how scary it is to find your worst fear – losing your job – actually becoming a reality. I wasn’t prepared either and I ended up making a few mistakes that I still regret until today. Fortunately, I learned a lot, both from the experience and from the career professionals who helped me get back on track. Here are the five things I learned about what to do after getting fired.
Leave on Good Terms
Immediately after getting fired, there are a few things you want to do, starting with understanding the reason why you are fired in the first place. During the exit interview, ask clearly – and continue asking until you get a clear answer – about why you have been fired.
Convey disappointment and inquire about other opportunities within the company. Most of the time, the company will only let you go because of budget cuts or downsizing. Transferring to another department may save your day.
If no opportunities are present, leave on good terms. Thank your employer for the experience you’ve amassed so far, say your goodbyes – particularly to your immediate superiors – and fulfill your duties before leaving. When you leave on good terms, you get positive references to help you later.
File for Unemployment
The next thing you want to do is acknowledge that you are unemployed, and the way to do that is by filing for unemployment. There are several causes of termination that make you eligible for unemployment benefits, including budget cuts, company downsizing, and even poor performance on your end.
You don’t know how long you’ll be unemployed, so it is best to file for unemployment as quickly as possible. This is a step that you want to get over with because you will then determine if you are eligible for unemployment benefits.
While you are at it, also take the time to update your resume. Define the last role you held clearly and refresh your resume. You are returning to the job market soon, and you need a spotless resume to access the best opportunities in the market. Besides, updating your resume could be as simple as updating your LinkedIn profile.
Cover the Basics
Next, you want to secure some things and cover the basics, starting with your healthcare. The healthcare plan from your previous employer should remain in force for some time, but the possibility of staying unemployed for too long means you need to start preparing for the worst. You need to review your health insurance options.
Short-Term insurance can be used to fill the gap between your old health insurance maturing and the new insurance – from a new employer – kicking in. There are a lot of short-term health insurance options too, particularly with the market being as volatile as it is today. Be sure to read this blog about custom health plans before beginning your search.
You also want to budget differently than usual. Remember that you are living without an income – or a limited income if you have investments and businesses – so some adjustments may be necessary. Cut expenses that are not absolutely necessary and begin stretching your monthly budget to last longer without a paycheck.
You don’t have to wait until you get a new job to start earning income. While applying for new roles and connecting with potential employers, you can also spend time starting a new small business or working on projects as a freelancer. These are viable sources of income worth exploring.
There are plenty of gigs to snatch and you have the internet on your side. You can find freelance projects that match your expertise through sites like Freelancer and Fiverr. The latter is incredibly handy for earning money from microtasks.
Starting a new business is also an option. You can set up an e-commerce site in minutes, and then begin selling products and services to customers. Try looking into drop-shipping if you are looking for an online business model that doesn’t require a big initial investment.
Invest in Personal Development
Another thing you can do while searching for new job opportunities is by improving yourself. Consider taking an online degree or completing short courses on specific subjects. Sites like Udemy certainly make learning new skills easy because you can now do it while at home or having a nice cup of coffee somewhere.
Add the new skills – such as a new degree – to your resume as you acquire them. If you are active on LinkedIn, you can share the experience of mastering those skills to garner more attention. You can connect with industry experts and potential employers through the platform.
Work on your soft skills too. If you want to pursue a managerial role, for instance, expanding your ability to lead and manage projects is crucial. Practice communicating with others or creating presentation decks in your spare time, just so you become exceptionally good at these things.
Since you don’t have a full-time job to maintain – for now – you can spend more time developing a strong online presence. If you noticed how I kept coming back to LinkedIn, that’s because the internet is a great place for professionals seeking new opportunities. Now is the perfect time to start tweaking your online presence more.
Aside from refreshing your LinkedIn page, use Medium and other platforms to share your ideas. Engage your audience and start making content that others will find valuable. You can share stories from the field or specific insights on the industry you are in; you will find the right audience as you go along.
The more you do this, the stronger your online presence will be, and the more opportunities you will discover along the way. I know how daunting losing a job is, but when you look at the things you can do – and the opportunities you can seize – you know you can still move forward in your career.