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What to do after you have been fired

The materials available on this web page are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal or medical advice. I do not represent a legal firm. I am not a doctor. I am not a lawyer, nor a paralegal, nor any kind of legal or medical representative whatsoever. Contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem, and a doctor for any issue related to your health or emotional outlook. This is not a legal document. The author assumes no responsibility for the use of information contained within this document.


This page is for people in the USA who have been fired from a job, are NOT going to pursue legal action against that former employer, and want to recover professionally as quickly as possible.

Also, this page is for people in the USA who have lost a long-term job, or a job for which they moved to a new city, or a job in their career field, and the job loss has the potential to hurt financially or professionally. It's not really for someone who had, say, a fast food job for a few months and got fired for being late - you will be able to find another job relatively easily and quickly (good luck), and you won't ever have to put that short-term job on your résumé.

Being fired from a job is one of the most painful things you can experience. It not only feels deeply humiliating, it can put you in jeopardy financially, socially and personally. But you DO have options. You CAN survive this and, eventually, move on emotionally. You are more than this experience.

When I say fired from a job, I don't mean you were laid off, I don't mean your job was eliminated - I mean you are being dismissed not because of budget cuts or because the company is going in a different direction - you are being fired because of your actions or who you are perceived to be, specifically.

Day of the Firing

The first thing you need to do after you are fired is get to a safe place where you can mourn, think, breathe, and get control of your emotions. You might need to cry - a lot. If your home isn't a good place for this, go to a library or a public park. Take a couple of hours if you need such. Don't be ashamed of crying in public - people will leave you alone if you are quiet.

You can get through this, even on your own, I promise. You can not only survive, you can thrive. Millions of people have survived this. You can too.

Your goal for this day is to get through it, without causing yourself more pain or endangering your employment prospects. Your goal is to keep yourself safe and comforted. Your goal for this day is not for everything to somehow, magically, to be solved.

If you have a very trusted friend or two you can call, that would be good to be around in this period, do so - but don't be disappointed if they can't get to you quickly, or at all. Make sure these are friends that won't judge you for your emotional state, for your anger, etc., friends who can see you at your worst and know that you are so much more than these circumstances.

If you are feeling desperate, despondent, or suicidal, please call 1-800-273-TALK(8255). They are there to help. If there is a pastor of a community of faith you trust, that you've talked to before and you know he or she is an excellent counselor, give that person a call. If you have a doctor, call your doctor and tell him or her you are feeling desperate, despondent, or suicidal.

Do not post to social media - no Facebook, no Twitter, no Pinterest, etc. Stay off social media for at least 24 hours - and maybe longer. Don't even send a text message unless it's a reply to someone concerned about you wanting to know where you are - and then, just say where you are. You are too emotionally fragile and might say something in writing you will deeply regret later. More about how you should use social media, text messaging and email, eventually, later on this page.

Don't take calls from co-workers for the rest of the day. You are too emotionally fragile and might say something you will deeply regret later.  More on how to manage those communications later on this page.

For the rest of the day, be careful about who you spend time with. You are emotionally fragile, and you don't want to be around people who won't understand, who might repeat what you say, or who would encourage you to engage in inappropriate behavior.

Go home when you are ready.

Be open about what has happened to you to those you live with. The more you say the truth - I was fired today - the less painful it will become to say it, but say it only to people you live with and to others on a need-to-know basis. If you don't need to call family or friends to tell them, urgently, then don't, for now. This is time to mourn and get control of your emotions. This is time for you. It's not a time to broadcast what's happened to you.

For today, don't think about how you are going to pay bills - there is nothing to be done on day one. Again, this is a time to mourn and get control of your emotions.

Again, if you need to call someone because you are feeling desperate, despondent, or suicidal, do it - see the previous information for who you can call.

Stay away from alcohol and mood-altering drugs. Take a walk, alone or with a friend, and do your best to do the things that you must do today: pick up your kids from school, walk your dog, etc. If you absolutely must do something, like attend your child's school play, do so - focus on that wonderful experience as much as you possibly can. If you can manage doing something that doesn't require you to interact with people, but can help you stay busy, such as cleaning a room, cooking, or doing yard work, do it.

Do your best to get a good night's sleep - at least eight hours. If you take an over-the-counter medication to help you sleep, take only the recommended daily allowance, absolutely no more.

Day Two

It's a new day. It's a day to assess what happened and assess your options. And you do have options. Because you are more than this experience.

You also have a new job, one that doesn't pay right away, but it requires you to be on time, work several hours, and present yourself in a positive light. That job is called survival and recovery.

Don't sleep all morning. Getting an hour or two of extra sleep is one thing, and it's fine to do, but staying in bed all day won't help you. Get up, take a shower, and put on clothes that are comfortable and would allow you to leave the house and not look like you just crawled out of bed.

Have a nice breakfast. Leave the TV off until you get the following done. Don't view social media yet.

If you don't need to call family or friends to tell them you've been fired, then don't, for now. You will need to, but you want to be able to frame the message in a calm way.

If you used your work email address to login to Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other online social media profile, login IMMEDIATELY to those accounts and change the email to your own email address. But do not read messages on Facebook, for now, nor reply to such.

It's time to think about why you were fired. You need to be honest with yourself. Be able to say, out loud, the reason you were given for being fired - you may feel you were fired for another reason, but you need to be able to say, out loud, even just to yourself, the reason you were given for being fired. Write it down on paper (NOT online) if it's too complex to remember. This will help you to be able to own the experience, to make it less traumatizing as time passes. It will also help you if you choose to file for unemployment - they will need to hear this exact information from you. HOWEVER, not everyone needs to know you have been fired, or why. More on what you will say to family and friends later.

If you were fired for drug or alcohol use or abuse, for sexual harassment, for stealing, for putting someone in danger, for threatening someone or any other violations of policy that could also be unlawful, you have to face your own actions and mistakes and address them. Are you ready to say to yourself, I got fired because of my own behavior? Do you need drug and alcohol counseling? Do you need to read more about sexual harassment? Do you need to work with an organization or therapist to change your inappropriate behavior? If you don't address such issues, you not only might be fired again, you could find yourself a part of an ugly legal action. You also will find happiness hard to come by. Make getting the help you need a priority. Your county offices can refer you to mental health resources available to you - even if you don't have money to pay for such. 

If you were fired for being late, for losing an important file, for violating company policies and procedures regarding confidentiality, or some other issue that isn't illegal was inappropriate, you have to face and address your own actions and mistakes. Are you ready to say to yourself, I got fired because of my own behavior? And I will make a commitment to change that behavior immediately? If you don't address the reality of your own actions, you might be fired again. It doesn't matter if other people also make these mistakes and haven't been fired - you have. Face it. Own it. 

If you were fired over a disagreement on how to do a task, or because someone didn't like your "style", or for some other reason that wasn't a violation of company policies and procedures but was about a clash of personalities, perhaps even a personal vendetta, you need to think about what you learned from that experience. Perhaps there was no way to change the perception a particular person had of you, or there was nothing you could do to change the outcome, other than quitting earlier, but what were the signs of trouble and how will you recognize them in the future? Do you need to be more guarded in your discussions with co-workers at work? Or perhaps not see co-workers in social settings outside of work? There is always something to learn from a job experience, even a bad one. And you CAN recover from this; the truth rises, like cream. What you need to focus on is activities that will help you to recover professionally as quickly as possible, and won't contribute to any negative perceptions about you.

In short: face the real reason you were fired. While you aren't going to broadcast it, you need to be able to be honest with yourself about it. It's how you will overcome this. Also, you have to start exploring all of this early on because you are going to have to say the exact reason you were fired when you apply for unemployment (if you apply for unemployment). Who should know the full, real reason you left the company? Only those who really need to know, such as the unemployment office, your spouse or your very best, closest friends. Never put these reasons in an email, text message or social media post, no matter how private you think those might be, unless you feel it's a part of your recovery.

Go online and look up your state's unemployment information. Each state differs in how you can file for unemployment benefits. Some states will let you file online or over the phone. Find out what you need and how to apply directly from the state's official web site - don't just rely on what friends or family tell you. For sure, you will need your Social Security number, a mailing address, a phone number, proof of identification, and the names, addresses and dates of employment of all your past employers for the last two years. Have all of this information written down and ready BEFORE you call or visit an office. File your claim ASAP - on day 2 of your being fired, if possible. Follow the directions for filing carefully. It might take weeks before you get your first check, so the faster you file, the faster you can start getting paid.

After you have applied for unemployment, or have an appointment with the office to do so, it's time to assess your finances for the next four weeks. Can you pay your bills that are due today, this week, next week, and this month? If you have savings that will cover your bills for the next few months, that's great, but know exactly what money you have and what expenses you have for immediate needs. If you don't have savings, you will need to secure some kind of employment as soon as possible, and you may need to borrow money. But you need to know exactly what your financial situation is, ASAP, in writing, at least for the next four weeks.

After you have done all of the aforementioned, think about how you are going to announce your situation and to whom. Draft some possible messages for social media. These should be unemotional, with no accusations or blame at all. For instance, for Facebook, your message could be:

Yesterday was my last day at xxxnameofformeremployerxxx. Sorry for the brevity and sudden nature of this announcement - I'll post more information soon. I can be reached at xxxemailaddressorphonenumberxxx.

Remember that the moment you send this message, you are going to start getting questions, emails, text messages and phone calls. You do NOT have to answer these immediately, but you will need to answer them. More on that later. 

Make a list of professional colleagues outside of your work place that you want to maintain contact with, if there are any. These could be vendors, these could be people at other companies that you had contact with through your job, etc. You will want to contact them soon to tell them how to get in contact with you. For now, just make the list of people and their email addresses - we'll talk about messaging later.

Read over your email inbox. If there are any that require urgent attention, such as an email from your former employer asking you for information required in order to send you your final paycheck, answer such. If you have emails from co-workers asking what happened, reply and say, "I can't talk about this via email right now, but thank you so much for your concern, and I will be in touch shortly," and if you want to make plans to talk with them in the coming days, on the phone or in-person, and you feel up to it, do so. But keep conversations with former co-workers about your termination verbal - don't put any discussions in writing.

Do not write any email or social media message or text message that in any way shows you are angry. Do not put anything into an email or social media message or text message that, if it were seen by a potential employer, could be viewed as a reason to never hire you. Even if you think your email, social media, or text messages would never, ever be seen by a potential employer, DON'T DO IT. At least not today. If you feel the need to write about your feeling, do so in a private, paper diary.

Eat lunch on time and get out and walk at least once.

If you walk your dog in the middle of the day and someone says, "Hey, what are you doing home in the middle of the day?" Just say, "Oh, I needed a day off." And move on. If a neighbor wants to have coffee with you say, "Hey, I have some things I need to do - maybe next week?" You need to focus on you right now, and you don't need to be telling various people that you've just been fired.

Amid all of this, you may need to cry some more. You may need to mourn some more. You may need to feel time being angry. That's absolutely fine and completely normal. Take time to do that. And, again, if you have a very trusted friend or two you can call, that would be good to be around in this period and talk to about how you are feeling, do so. These should be friends that won't judge you for your emotional state, for your anger, etc., friends who can see you at your worst and know that you are so much more. If you don't have such friends, then write down how you are feeling in a paper diary. If you are feeling desperate, despondent, or suicidal, please call 1-800-273-TALK(8255). They are there to help. If there is a pastor of a community of faith you trust, that you've talked to before and you know he or she is an excellent counselor, give that person a call. If you have a doctor, call your doctor and tell him or her you are feeling desperate, despondent, or suicidal.

Accomplishments on the second day:
  • Reality check on why you were fired and start of exploration of how to address this in future employment
  • Information gathering for unemployment filing
  • Unemployment filing, or appointment to do so
  • Initial financial assessment
  • Draft message for social media (and, possibly, sending it)
  • List of professional colleagues outside of the workplace to contact later
  • You survived and put in motion plans that will help your future
  • You got through another day without causing yourself more pain or endangering your employment prospects.
First five days

Congrats on all you have gotten done on those first two days!

This is important every day, so let's say it again: Do not write any email or social media message or text message that in any way shows you are angry. Do not put anything into an email or social media message or text message that, if it were seen by a potential employer, could be viewed as a reason to never hire you. Even if you think your email, social media, or text messages would never, ever be seen by a potential employer, DON'T DO IT. You want to make recovering professionally and personally, as quickly as possible, your priority.

Get up every day at the same time. Go to bed at the same time. Eat at the same time. Sleeping too much or too little can make your emotional state even worse. Do not alter your schedule drastically. The time you spent at work is, for a while, going to be spent on your new job: recovery.

Walk every day. If you have a regular work out schedule, keep it. Moving, every day, is absolutely essential for your mental health. Limit your TV viewing, limit your online gaming, and greatly limit your social media activities. Be able to have something useful to show at the end of every day, whether that's mowing the lawn or cleaning the bathroom or preparing a terrific supper for your family. It will greatly affect your outlook on your job search and life in general.

Get your LinkedIn profile updated immediately - and if you don't have one, create it immediately. Your LinkedIn profile needs to detail your employment for at least the last five years. Make it as complete as possible - that includes the job you just lost if you had that job for six months or more. 

On day two, you made a list of professional colleagues outside of your work place that you want to maintain contact with - if there are any. Contact these people via email in these first five days, after you have updated your LinkedIn profile, to tell them how to get in contact with you. Your goal is to maintain contact with people that you might need to know for future employment, and to protect your professional reputation. Your email to these people could say something like:

DATE/DAYxxx was my last day at xxxnameofformeremployerxxx. I wanted to let you know my updated contact information: I can be reached at xxxemailaddressorphonenumberxxx. My LinkedIn profile address is xxxx, and I would welcome your invitation to connect on LinkedIn. All the best...

You could send the same message to any co-workers you wanted to maintain contact with.

You need up to three references for most job applications, and for each person, you will need to provide their phone number and email address. A professional reference does not have to be your supervisor; co-workers who worked with you closely and are willing to speak about your skills and experience can also be appropriate. You should ask a person if they would be comfortable being your reference on job applications before listing them.

Return messages from co-workers if you feel that you can maintain your emotions and not speak out of anger. You may, of course, listen to or read all the information they want to share with you, but don't say anything in an email, in a text, or on the phone that could come back to haunt you - no insults regarding the person that fired you, for instance. Feel free to say you are upset, that you are scared, etc. in email or a conversation with former co-workers. But also focus on the positive: say that you are busy updating your résumé and going through your finances. Your goal is to exude your capabilities and strength to everyone, to protect or rebuild your professional reputation.

Get a library card if you don't have one. Your public library has free Internet access, as well as books that can help you professionally and emotionally, and subscriptions to all your local and national newspapers.

Update your résumé or CV. Your résumé should detail your employment for at least the last five years. If you haven't written a résumé in a long while, look online for résumé samples. Your résumé should have the name of your previous employer, your job title, and a description of your responsibilities and accomplishments at that job. It should NOT say why you left. Start thinking about who among your professional and personal contacts would be willing to proofread your résumé, contact them when you are ready for a review.

If you are going to have health care coverage for a few weeks or months from your former employer, make appointments ASAP for all you need: eye check up, dental appointment, annual exams, etc. These appointments will need to happen within the time of your remaining health care coverage. Family members will need to do the same.

You need to start thinking about what you are going to say when asked on a job application, in a job interview, or by someone who isn't a really, really close friend why you left your previous job. You want to be honest, but you probably won't want to say "I was fired." Yes, you were fired, that's the truth, but maybe there are ALSO reasons that would be true if you gave them as answers to why you left:

“I could not meet my career goals at this company.” Be ready to say, in an interview, what those goals might be.

"There had been some personnel changes over the last year at the company and the new culture didn't really fit me anymore." Be ready, in an interview, to say what you are looking for in workplace culture - like "results-oriented" or "a place where all team members are valued" or "a place where there's good work-life balance" or "a place where honest communications is valued, where there's not a fear of open communications among staff", etc. In a job interview, you might be asked to explain what you mean by "work-life balance" or "open communications."

My work approach wasn't a good fit/was no longer a good fit for the organization's work culture. Be ready, in an interview, to talk about that work approach. For instance: "I believe in being very forthcoming and asking questions in staff meetings. My previous supervisor interpreted my questions as criticisms." If honestly talking about your work style, a style you are unwilling to change, removes you from the running from a job, then be glad you were up front about it before you were hired.

“I achieved everything professionally that I could at my last employer. To keep improving myself both personally and professionally, I want to be a part of new company with more room for growth.”

“I’m interested in a job where I can be given more responsibility/where I can work as part of a team/where I can work more/less with the public/that will challenge me, that does not require me to answer my work phone outside of business hours,"

"There was a personal issue that required my full-time attention. Thankfully, that issue has been taken care of, and I'm now ready to focus my energy on a new opportunity with a new company." This reason works if you were fired for violating the company's policy - for being late, for inappropriate behavior on the job, etc. But you have to be serious when you say that issue has been taken care of!  

Don't say you left a job because of a toxic work environment - you may think that sounds like a neutral statement, but it's not. 

I am NOT encouraging you to lie. I'm encouraging you to come up with a way of saying why you left the organization that doesn't brand you as unemployable.

Don't use any of these reasons on social media. If someone asks you on a social media network like Facebook why you left a company, send them a direct message that says, "It's complicated, and a little painful, so I'd rather not discuss it on social media." You can add, "Feel free to give me a call and I'd be happy to give you more details," if you really would like to discuss your departure with that person. 

Temp employment

I recommend temp employment for anyone worried about their immediate finances (because of how little unemployment benefits pay, or because you are turned down for benefits), and/or who feels that they need to rebuild their professional reputation rapidly. Temp employment could land you in a place where you would like to stay as a regular employee.

Go online and type in the name of your city and the phrase temp employment agency. Look at the web sites for different agencies. Is there an agency that specializes in the kind of work you are qualified to do? Or an agency that specializes in the kind of work you would be willing to do - such as for secretarial dues / administrative assistants? Look at the web site for an agency in which you are interested and follow the directions on how to schedule an appointment.

When meeting with a temp agency, be 10 minutes early, and dress for a job interview. Have your résumé in hand and on a flash drive, ready to share. Don't balk at any tests they might want to give you, such as a typing test. Know what you want before you arrive: any temp office job at all? a temp job that could lead to full-time work? Your finances, and the amount of money you will get from unemployment, will probably determine what you want from the temp agency. Note: if you start a temp job, you lose your unemployment benefits - but that might be just dandy, if the temp employment pays more than unemployment.

When working with a temp agency, you have to make their temp job offers a priority; if they call you on Monday for a job on Tuesday, and you say you aren't available, you won't be the first person they call next time. Treat every temp job with the utmost urgency, professionalism and respect. Every client gives a grade for you to your temp agency at the end of every job, and if you have consistently high ratings, and are always, or almost always, available for the temp jobs offered, you will work consistently. Of course you can tell the temp agency you won't be available on a particular day or week - but just make sure you give them as much advance notice as possible.

Temp agency can lead to permanent employment. You might learn of a job at a company because you are temping there, and if you have done your temp job well, this can give you an edge when you apply. You may work somewhere long enough that someone at a company is willing to become a professional reference.

Remember: once you land a temp job, you will need to contact the unemployment office.


One of the hardest part of being fired: managing your finances. You must know exactly when bills are due, and the amount of money that is due each time. You have to know how long your savings will last - and if you have no savings, you have to think about how you are going to pay bills. This means making a list of ALL expenses: rent or mortgage payments, electricity, gas, water, garbage service, loan re-payments, health insurance, car insurance, medical bills, credit cards, school fees, gas for your car, food, etc.

This is a great time to cancel, or greatly scale back, your subscription TV service. If money is scarce, cut down on your phone and Internet services as much possible. If you can't pay your credit card bills, call each company, tell them you must cancel the cards because you are struggling to pay the bills and want to know if they can come up with a more affordable payment plan for paying off your balance - often, they will give you a slightly lower interest rate to pay.

Stay away from quick loan services and look for ways to save money.

Talk to your family members in your household about the need to economize and what that will look like (scaling back TV subscriptions, no eating out for a month, etc.), but also reassure children that they will be fine and that, together, as a family, you are all going to get through this. Emphasizing that you will face this together, as a family, will give your children a sense of empowerment and participation.

Do you, and other family members, need to babysit, dog walk, do yard work, clean houses or take in laundry in order to make quick cash? Don't be ashamed at letting friends and neighbors know that you are available for such work. Take such work super seriously: be on time, do the work with commitment and a great deal of attention to detail, do the work within the time you said you would and do the work in a way that truly impresses.

If you need to borrow money from family, you should present your details, in writing, on exactly what your expenses are, exactly what the loaned money will pay for, your plan for how you will be seeking income and how you will be paying them back. If anyone implies that money is a gift, send them a thank you note, in writing, for that gift. 


You get to take the weekend off, just like ANYONE. Don't think that you have to focus on your job search on weekends. You're human: you need a break. If you cannot afford what you did on weekends when you were employed, then go hiking somewhere, or go to the library and see if they have a cultural pass that would get you into museums in the area for free.

Accomplishments in the first five days:
  • Stayed busy during regular business hours and followed a healthy schedule
  • Took concrete steps to get a job/income
  • Made and kept important appointments 
  • Updated LinkedIn profile and résumé
  • Contacted work-related network with new contact info
  • Answered emails from former employer
  • Identified professional references
  • Drafted statement on why you left your job (for job applications and interviews)
  • Library card
  • Full financial assessment & a financial plan
  • Made appointments at/met with temp agencies
  • Got through more days without causing yourself more pain or endangering your employment prospects.

After Five Days - or When You're Ready

You have been focusing your energies on activities that are already helping you to recover professionally and personally as quickly as possible. You have been focusing energies on rebuilding, on healing, on YOU. That's so much better for YOU than giving in to hate and anger and wishing harm, figuratively or literally, on others. Because you have focused on all of the aforementioned activities, you are on your way back. You may have a long road to go, but you have started the journey. People DO recover from getting fired. They are all around you.

Social media

You need to go through Facebook and put absolutely everyone you worked with on a list (a list that you create on the platform). You could call that list work colleagues. This will allow you, whenever you choose, to exclude these people from posts you don't want them to see - you just choose to exclude that list when you post a status that you don't want them to see. You need to put every neighbor, parent of a child's classmate that you don't consider a close friend, etc. on a list as well. You could call it neighbors. You need to put family on a list called family. You need to do this because you now need to be oh-so-strategic regarding your social media in terms of who sees what. You do not want former work colleagues or potential employers to read about your moods, your anger, your frustration at job hunting, or comments that could be interpreted as reflecting poorly on you as a potential employee. But maybe you do want them to see how busy you are, how fabulous you are.  

Don't unfriend former co-workers only because they are former co-workers. If you want them to, at least some times, see what you are up to, and you want to possibly stay in contact with them, stay Facebook friends. But you need to get them on the list discussed earlier, so you can be careful about what information they see about you. And if you really want nothing to do with them ever again, by all means - unfriend.

If you've followed the aforementioned advice, you have already posted a Facebook message stating that you have left your job. Now, you are ready to provide an update to all of your Facebook friends every day. Make those updates that all of your Facebook very upbeat. Here are good messages to post, once you are ready:

I've updated my LinkedIn profile - have a look at xxx address.

A busy day! I've read and answered lots of emails, gotten a library card and talked to two temp agencies. Whew!

Just back from an interview with xxxtemp agency. What a nice group of people!

In the coming weeks, via social media, talk about classes you are looking into or taking, about volunteering you are looking for or doing, and your usual social media posts, whatever those were before you were fired (about politics, about your hobbies, about your family, etc.). But do not post anything negative about your previous employer that any former-co-worker or potential employer might see.

If someone posts a negative comment about your previous employer on one of these all-friends status updates, such as "I hate those people for what they did to you!", just say, "Thanks for your support, Mary", or say nothing. Do NOT say anything negative about your employer to ALL of your Facebook friends if that would include some former co-workers, no matter how supportive of you that you think they are!


You might want to look into classes you could take, either to just stay busy or to make you more marketable as a job seeker. Your local community college is always the best place to start looking for affordable, quality classes. Getting a degree is great if you can afford it, but certificates can be more affordable and provide you with just enough of what you need to increase your chances of becoming employed. You could take classes to be able to work in another language, writing classes, marketing classes, or anything else that you can afford and that you believe could help you become more employable.

But while you can look for such classes in these first two weeks, don't make a long-term commitment until you know you can afford it, financially, that it will fit in your schedule of temping, job hunting, and income-generating activities, and that it's something you really want to do.


Volunteering isn't just a great way to stay busy; it's always a great way to gain skills and experience for a paid job. If you are a marketing person, for instance, then having accomplishments regarding helping a nonprofit with its social media activities, fundraising, event attendance, press coverage and media relations, etc., will look excellent on your résumé and LinkedIn profile. If you are an IT person, then having accomplishments regarding improving an organizations online security, raising the skills of staff members regarding managing the back end of a web site, or working with low-income communities regarding how to use the Internet will set your résumé and LinkedIn profile apart from other job applicants. Also see this long list of links to web pages about where to find volunteering.

Applying for jobs

You might be ready to start applying for jobs right away, within hours after being fired. You might feel the need to wait many weeks, even months, before you feel ready.

At this point, if you followed the aforementioned advice, you have already updated your résumé and LinkedIn profile, you have drafted a statement to give regarding why you left that job, and you are engaged in activities to have at least some money coming in, and/or to improve your marketability (classes). You also are engaged in activities that look great on a résumé, like taking classes, pursuing a degree and/or volunteering.

Have business cards with your name, phone number and email address, and be ready to hand those out to anyone you want to let know that you are seeking employment.

There’s no shame whatsoever in letting people know you are looking for work. Post to your Facebook account and link to your LinkedIn profile about what it is you are looking for, employment-wise. Don't come from a place of desperation for a job ("I really need a job! I'm desperate!") but, rather, about what you are looking for ("A reminder: I'm looking for an entry-level marketing position. My profile is on LinkedIn. Let me know if you hear of any opportunities!").

Use that list you made earlier of professional colleagues outside of your work place that you want to maintain contact with. If you followed the aforementioned advice, you have contacted them just once, with your updated contact information. If you think it's appropriate, you can contact them once more, unsolicited, to say that you are job hunting, what type of job you are looking for, and a link to your LinkedIn profile. But if they don't reply, don't write them again - you have let them know, so move on.

There are plenty of web sites that help you look for jobs, so I'll defer to those for where to look for jobs. 

Long-term unemployment

If you have been unemployed for more than three months/90 days, according to your résumé, you need to show in your résumé what you have been doing in that time. So... what are you doing? Temping? Taking classes? Volunteering in high-responsibility roles? Traveling? Yes, some employers will exclude you because you have been unemployed for more than three months, or have been temping in a service job while looking for a job in your profession, but many WON'T if you show productivity and initiative in that time of unemployment.

For more, see:
Tips for Long-Term Unemployed People Seeking Jobs, Older Job Seekers and For Those Just Starting Out

Exude a positive image to family and friends, online and in-person

I’m not going to tell you to “stay positive”, to never lament your unemployment situation or the frustrations of job seeking. Being unemployed is frustrating, and being fired is humiliating for most people, no question. But don’t let this define you to others. You don’t want anyone to hear your name and think, ugh. You want them to think, oh, that so-and-so, she/he would be great to work with! So be careful with whom you share regarding how you feel about your previous company, your frustrations regarding job-seeking, and how often you share those feelings. By all means, tell people you are looking for work, and even remind them every now and again, but exude activity and thoughtfulness in your conversations and online messages - be the person people want to work with. Talk about what you are doing - volunteering, books you're reading, hiking, enjoying ANYTHING - rather than what you aren’t doing, as much as possible.

Can you ever be open and public about being fired?

Is there ever going to be a time where you can write a public blog about being fired and NOT have that blog be a potential threat to your future employment? Is there ever going to be a time when you can post on Facebook, for anyone to read, about how much you hated working somewhere specific? Yes:
  • when you retire.
  • when you are a renowned expert regarding something and are more powerful, and more well-known, than your previous employer. Or
  • if you win the lottery or otherwise become extremely wealthy.

Even if the your previous employer goes bankrupt or the person that fired you ends up leaving the company in disgrace, you need to continue to be careful about what you say regarding an employer that fired you. Your words can come back to haunt you. A friend that you have been very open and honest with regarding your firing and how much you hated your previous employer can unconsciously become prejudiced against you when there's a job opening at his or her own company, for instance.

Great people get fired. Good people make horrible mistakes and have to work to overcome those mistakes. Steve Jobs got fired from the company he founded. Vanessa Williams got fired from being Miss America because of racy photos from her past. Walt Disney got fired from a newspaper because, they said, he wasn't creative enough. J.K. Rowling got fired as a secretary from Amnesty International because she kept dreaming of being a writer. Anna Wintour started her career as a junior fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar and was fired after just nine months. Some of those people deserved to be fired, because they made mistakes that hurt their employers. But they all overcame their firing. It IS possible.

And if you've followed my aforementioned advice, you have a library card - so take yourself to the library and read Fired!: Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized, and Dismissed.

Also see:

How to complain about your volunteering experience.

How to transition from a teenage social media presence to a deliberately grownup, professional, public one

Using Your Business Skills for Good - Volunteering Your Business Management Skills, to help people starting or running small businesses / micro enterprises, to help people building businesses in high-poverty areas, and to help people entering or re-entering the work force.

Volunteering In Pursuit of a Medical, Veterinary or Social Work degree / career

Online Volunteering / Virtual Volunteering

Ideas for Leadership Volunteering Activities
These are more than just do-it-yourself volunteering - these are ideas to create or lead a sustainable, lasting benefit to a community, recruiting others to help and to have a leadership role as a volunteer.

Careers Working With Animals (for the benefit of animals)

How to Go Car-less/Car-free in the USA (or, at least, use a car less)

© 2010 - 2017 by Jayne Cravens, all rights reserved. No part of this material can be reproduced in print or in electronic form without express written permission by Jayne Cravens.


 The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook,  available for purchase as a paperback and an ebook from Energize, Inc.
or as a paperback from Amazon or as a Kindle book from Amazon.
This book is for both organizations new to virtual volunteering, as well as for organizations already involving online volunteers who want to improve or expand their programs.
The last chapter of the book is especially for online volunteers themselves.

Book suggestions:

Fired!: Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized, and Dismissed

The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service

Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service (Disney Institute Book, A)

dfree: Breaking Free from Financial Slavery by DeForest B. Soaries

Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. – How the Working Poor Became Big Business by Gary Rivlin

Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times: 250+ Ways to Buy Smarter, Spend Smarter, and Save Money by Clark Howard

Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny by Suze Orman

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey

The Financial Peace Planner: A Step-by-Step Guide to Restoring Your Family's Financial Health by
Dave Ramsey

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Out of Debt by Ken Clark

The Everything Guide To Personal Finance For Single Mothers Book: A Step-by-step Plan for Achieving Financial Independence (Everything (Business & Personal Finance) by Susan Reynolds

250 Personal Finance Questions for Single Mothers: Make and Keep a Budget, Get Out of Debt, Establish Savings, Plan for College, Secure Insurance by Susan Reynolds and Robert Bexton

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© 2010-17 by Jayne Cravens, all rights reserved. No part of this material can be reproduced in print or in electronic form without express written permission by Jayne Cravens.

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