16 Steps To Take After Getting Let Go From Your Job

Its embarrassing to admit that youve been fired from a previous job, but its nothing employers havent heard from applicants. The key is to be honest about explaining why you were let go. Never conceal the fact that you were terminated by suggesting that you resigned or that you were laid off because a simple employment verification will expose the truth.

What does it mean to be let go? When an employer uses the term “let go” to describe a job termination, it means you are losing your position because of company needs, not because of your personal job performance. It is a business decision that can affect your position, multiple employees or entire departments.

LAID OFF or FIRED? Do This ASAP After Losing Your Job!

What does it mean when you’re getting let go from a job?

Being let go typically refers to when someone gets laid off, although some people and organizations may also refer to an employees firing as them being let go from their position at a company. Either way, when youre let go from a job, you will no longer be responsible for performing your job duties for the company you were employed with. Whether youre laid off or fired, your employment typically ends immediately.

If youre terminated, its usually because of performance issues, although if youre an at-will employee, then it means your employer can terminate your employment even without providing a cause. A layoff typically happens as a result of something thats outside of your control, like a company restructuring or budget cuts.

What to do after you’re let go from work

Even when youre let go, you can still find success in your career. Start by following these steps to handle being let go from your job:

1. Change your mindset

Being let go from a job may be upsetting for you, especially if you were happy in your role, pleased with the company, felt you had promotion opportunities and were learning more about the industry. Although going through this can be difficult, consider changing your mindset so you view this time more as an opportunity. This will help you move forward with your next steps faster.

2. Stay confident

Try not to let your being let go affect your confidence moving forward. You should still realize how valuable your skills, education and experience are to an employer, and how fortunate a company would be to bring you on board. To stay confident, think back and remember your accomplishments during your time at the company. While you do this, consider writing these instances down both so you can reflect on them later and as talking points during a future interview with a hiring manager.

3. Ask about a severance package

After finding out that youre getting let go, be sure to ask your employer about a possible severance package. Its likely that if they fire you, you wont qualify for a severance package, but many employers provide severance for laid-off employees, especially if you ask. Receiving a severance can help you feel more comfortable with no longer receiving a regular paycheck and how that can affect your financial situation, leaving you to focus more on the process of getting a new job.

4. Remain professional

Remain professional when you receive the news of your layoff. You may feel emotional or defensive, but remember to do what you can to maintain a positive relationship with your previous employer. Be gracious and make sure to respect the process, whatever that may be. For example, no matter the reason why youre being let go, if the employers process is to have security walk you out, as is common, then realize its not personal and follow along.

5. Pause before responding

When youre in a meeting being informed that the organization is letting you go, youll probably want to respond, which is fair. However, try to take a brief pause to digest the news, take a deep breath and compose your thoughts before responding to your manager or the companys human resources professional.

6. Thank your previous employer for the opportunity

Part of being gracious and professional during this process is to take the time to thank your employer for the opportunity. Even though they are letting you go now doesnt necessarily mean that you cant come back to work for the organization later on. Especially if the reason for being let go has nothing to do with your performance and you enjoyed your time at the organization, youll want to keep the door open for future opportunities.

7. Be open during your exit interview

Your employer may request that you complete an exit interview with a member of the human resources team. During the meeting, be honest about your experience at the company, but do so without being negative. The purpose of the exit interview is to get your feedback about the organization, what you enjoyed about your time there and what youd improve. This is also your chance to express to HR that youd love it if they would consider you for opportunities in the future.

8. Decide what youre going to tell others about your employment status

Youll inevitably need or want to address your employment status with others, whether thats your friends, family members or company representatives for a new position youre applying for. Depending on your comfortability and relationship with each person, you may want your story to be different for each.

There isnt a need to fabricate the details of the situation, but you can be selective with how much you share. For example, you may want to tell a hiring manager that your layoff was a part of a company restructuring and that youre excited about the new opportunity youre applying for, while you may confide to your closest friends and family members that you are upset by the layoff and hope to get back to work soon.

No matter your decision on the amount of information you want to disclose, keep your explanation simple. Especially when speaking with a hiring manager, you want to keep the focus more on the unique qualifications you bring to the workplace and less on the result of your employment elsewhere.

9. Dont speak negatively about your former employer or coworkers

No matter how frustrated or upset you may be about the position youre now in, or what your experience was while employed, refrain from speaking poorly about your former employer or anyone at the organization. A hiring manager or HR professional will view this kind of talk as negative and potentially be cautious about extending an offer of employment to you. An employer may be concerned that should you leave their organization later or should they need to go through layoffs themselves, that you may speak ill of them too.

10. Update your resume

Update your resume as soon as possible after leaving a company, whether youre let go or otherwise. Its important to do this soon so you can be sure to include your job duties, the skills you learned during your time at the organization, the accomplishments you had and more. If possible, request a copy of your job description. It can help remind you of everything you did while employed at the company.

11. Revisit your profiles on social media and job boards

You may have your job history stored on some of your social media profiles, so visit them and see if you need to update your details. You can also take this opportunity to share with your network that youre looking for a new job and see if anyone has any leads or would be willing to keep you in mind for anything they see. If its appropriate and you feel comfortable, consider posting your most updated resume so your contacts have more of an idea of your skills and background.

Be sure to fill out profiles on online job boards and include your resume there too. This gives hiring managers who may be actively searching for new hires to locate your application documents and contact you if youre a good fit.

12. Determine what youre looking for next

Getting let go from your job is the perfect time to really think about what you want to do next. Although you may feel tempted to apply for several jobs so you can secure something quickly, make sure to allow yourself the time to reflect on your experience and decide what your ideal situation is. Ask yourself:

Now is the time to decide if you want to go back to school, switch careers, go for a higher-level position in your field, become a freelancer or start your own business. You can work on these things while employed, but you may find that youre willing to create your own path toward what youve always wanted if given the chance.

13. Reach out to your network

Let your network, which can include previous coworkers, business contacts, friends and neighbors, know that youre searching for a new position. Ask if they know of any or if their employer is hiring for a role you may qualify for.

14. Expand your network

Expanding your network can involve attending networking events, going through additional training or signing up for seminars, joining groups specific to your industry and signing up as a speaker at conferences or special courses at the college level. Doing these things can help you connect with others who have similar backgrounds to your own, learn from industry experts and possibly find a mentor who can guide you through your career.

Another way to expand your network is by getting to know more people, even outside of professional situations. For example, you can volunteer at your local nonprofit, join your neighborhood group and get to know those who live close by, join an adult sports league and more. When youre able to connect with others outside of work, youll probably get to know each other enough to share details about your professional background and employment status. You may find that your new friends and neighbors are willing and able to assist you with securing your next opportunity.

15. Ask for references

Even before you find a job that interests you, ask the people you know personally and professionally if they would be willing to serve as a reference for you. Gather their contact details right away so when youre filling out applications that ask for references, you have everything you need right then, making for a more complete and faster application process. When you ask your contact, explain how youll explain your relationship so theyll be aware of when a hiring manager calls them to ask more about you.

16. Connect with recruiters

Recruiters have access to a number of open job positions, usually at several companies. By connecting with multiple recruiters, youll increase your chances of finding a position that fits your skills and is something youd be interested in. Some employers only share their open roles with recruiting firms to keep from receiving too many applications, so you may have a unique opportunity to secure a position through a recruiter.


Is let go the same as laid off?

Laid-off means that your position was eliminated. Let go can mean either of the two. Resigned means that you voluntarily chose to leave your job. In your case, they changed the essential duties of your job.

What to do if you’ve been let go from a job?

7 Things to Do Immediately if You Get Fired
  1. Ask The Right Questions.
  2. Negotiate The Terms Of Your Departure.
  3. Check if You Qualify for Unemployment Benefits.
  4. Reach Out to Your Network.
  5. Start Brushing Up Your Resume.
  6. Set Job Alerts.
  7. Have Faith In Yourself.

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