During our 20 years in the public relations staffing business, we’ve received many calls from people who’ve just been fired. Most think it will never happen to them so when it does, it’s devastating. We’ve seen seasoned communicators, even ones with years of crisis communications experience, make serious mistakes in how they proceed after being let go so we’d like to share some tips on what to do if you find yourself in this situation.
- Allow sufficient time to recover from the shock. Give yourself permission to experience the roller coaster of emotions associated with being fired and time to lick your wounds.
- Don’t submit any job applications, call prospective employers or reach out to people within your network until you’re in a better frame of mind. If you’re still in a state of shock, your cover letter and resume will likely be poorly written and filled with errors.
- Assess why you were fired. Did you make mistakes? Was it a matter of personality and fit? You can’t successfully move forward and prevent this from happening again until you are brutally honest with yourself about the reasons you were let go.
- Carefully craft your message before you launch your job search. Decide what your elevator speech will be about why you’re looking for a new job and how you will handle being questioned about why you left your last position. Don’t get caught unprepared, never bad-mouth your former employer and don’t be defensive in your explanation.
- Be strategic with your search for the next position. In a targeted and personalized way, reach out to key people in your network letting them know you’re looking for a new position. Provide specific details about the type of job, level of experience and kind of organization you prefer. Before you submit a job application, use LinkedIn to see if you have any connections there. If you do, ask the person if he or she would be willing to hand deliver a copy of your resume and cover letter to the hiring manager. That personal connection can make all the difference in being selected for an interview.