5 Ways to Bounce Back if You Get Fired


If you take a look at the most influential people in the world, they often went through intense periods of discouragement and failure before finding success in their field.

Oprah was fired from a reporter role early on in her career and was told she would never succeed in television. She now owns one of the worlds largest TV networks.

Walt Disney was fired from a local newspaper for having a lack of imagination. Today, a new generation is hearing the stories that Walt Disney created 70 years ago for the first time.

As inspirational as these stories are, finding out that you’ve been fired can be devastating. All of the positive stories in the world would probably not be able to offset what you’re going through. What’s important at this point is that you process the event and begin working on a resolution. Here’s a few suggestions on how you can begin to bounce back.

Ways to Bounce Back When You Get Fired

Setbacks happen to everyone at one point or another. Here are some suggestions to help you get your career back on track!

1. Process What Went Wrong

Whatever the reason was for your termination, you should use this time to evaluate and understand what went wrong. What caused you to get fired? Think about the discussions and performance reviews you’ve had, any incidents at work that may have led to the decision, and consider gathering feedback from former colleagues. You can use this information to help prevent a similar incident from happening in the future. Understanding what went wrong will also prepare you for step 5, which is crafting your story.

As tough as this can be to do, it would be a good idea to reach out to any ex-colleagues you trusted and compile references for your work abilities. This can be done by emailing them directly and asking for a letter of recommendation, or by requesting an endorsement on LinkedIn. Any new employer will want to know why you were terminated and a list of references who can vouch for your skills. Compiling a reference list ahead of time while the event is still relevant will be extremely helpful in future interviews.

2. Strategize Your Next Move

Your first reaction to getting fired may be to run and start applying to jobs as quick as possible. DON’T DO IT. It’s never a good idea to rush in to a new commitment just to secure a job. Instead, take a step back and use this opportunity to really consider everything you are looking for in a career. Think about what you want the next 5-10 years to look like. Could it be possible that this event is telling you something? Maybe you’ve been working in the wrong field. Think about what your passions are and then do some research on some jobs that may be a good fit with what you actually ENJOY doing. If you decide that the path you were on was not the right one, use this incident as an opportunity to branch off in a different direction. That could mean switching industries, going back to school, or taking a few weeks to do some self discovery.

It might take a little while for you to fully be back in the driver’s seat, so make sure you spend that gap period wisely. Freelancing, volunteering, continuing education, new certifications, or taking time to build your skills show a potential new employer you didn’t let this time go to waste.

3. Create An Action Plan

Once you’ve decided what direction you want to take your career, it’s time to get back in the job search. Finding a new job could be fairly quick, or it could take 6-12 months to complete the process and get your first paycheck. Before submitting any applications, make sure your resume is polished and updated, your social media profiles are clean and appropriate, and you’ve compiled a portfolio of sample work from your last employment to highlight in future interviews. Depending on your financial situation, you may want to consider investing in a professional resume builder, interview coach, or talk therapist to help prepare you for your next move. Anything that can help you secure a higher paying job in less time, is well worth the investment.

4. Leverage Your Network

Your network will likely be the most helpful component of your job search. Reach out to any close friends, family, and prior work contacts to let them know that you are in the market for a new job. Chances are that they’ll be happy to help you out and keep their eye open.

5. Craft Your Story

Whatever job you apply to next will want to know why you were fired and what you’ve done during the gap in your resume. It’s super important that you have a story prepared to share in an interview. While crafting your story, make sure to focus on all of the positive things that you accomplished in your last roll and back that up with a brag book (a physical compilation of past work you’ve done). Remember, it’s okay to acknowledge that you were let go, but don’t dwell on it. Highlight the fact that you’ve learned a lot as a result of the experience and are using it as an opportunity to make improvements to yourself.

6. Chase Your Dream Job

The last thing you need to do to bounce back from a job loss is to hit the ground running and chase after a new and improved dream job. Create a spreadsheet and track how many companies you are applying to. Make a goal to apply to a set number of jobs every day. Keep track of how many applications you put through and compare it with how many interviews you get. Job hunting is all a numbers game. Although, make sure you do your applications first thing in the morning! Research shows that you’re 5 times more likely to secure an interview if you apply to a job by 10am. You can also try searching for recruiters on LinkedIn to see if they have any opportunities available that you may be a good fit for.

Help is Available if You Need to Talk

Getting fired isn’t an easy thing to deal with. Losing a job can feel like a personal failure. If you feel like you’re struggling to deal with the transition, a licensed mental health counselor can help you assist in processing the event in a way that is healthy. Click the link below to learn more about how talk therapy.