Best Steps To Take After Getting Fired

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 23 November 2022

Published 20 May 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Being fired from a job can be an emotional and complex time in a person's career. Dealing with it professionally can make the process easier and may even provide a positive experience. In this article, we review what a firing means for your career, how to leave a company appropriately and the next steps to get a new job.

What being fired means for you

Getting fired from a job can be stressful and confusing. Regardless of the reason, it's always best to remain professional and focus on yourself instead of external factors. This can also be a time for professional growth, relaxation and reevaluation of personal goals. Getting fired from a job means a new beginning elsewhere. Understanding the potential positives can make getting fired a more manageable event.

It's essential to treat your manager and colleagues with professionalism during the firing process. Try not to take the firing too personally, and remember to treat your colleagues in a friendly manner. Avoid badmouthing the company or gossiping with other employees about why you are leaving. It's also a good idea to steer clear of announcing your intentions after you leave the company. Keep your plans to yourself until you have a more concrete idea of your next steps.

Steps to take after being fired

Knowing what steps to take immediately after being fired can make the process easier. Being fired from a company can be a life-altering event that may affect your emotions, finances and future career plans. Here are some steps to take before leaving your company to ensure you have a smooth and positive exit:

  1. Find out why the company fired you

  2. Ask about other opportunities

  3. Negotiate your departure

  4. Leave on good terms

  5. See if you can apply for benefits

1. Ask why the company fired you

The first thing you want to do is ask your manager why you are being fired. This conversation can be difficult, but it is necessary. If you are being fired because of your performance, it's crucial to get more information for improving yourself in the future. If your firing is unrelated to your performance, it's essential to find the actual reason. Structural or financial changes in the company may be the reason behind the layoff. In such a case, you can use this information to look for other employment opportunities.

When you receive notice of your termination, take a deep breath and try to remain professional. Then plan a few questions to ask your boss. Here are some examples:

  • "This is unfortunate news. Can I ask why this is happening?"

  • "I'm sorry I will have to leave the company this way. Could you please give me more information about why you made this decision?"

  • "I'm sad I will have to leave. Please tell me what I could have done to avoid this?"

Related: 13 signs you might get fired (and how to avoid it)

2. Ask about other opportunities

If your manager fired you because of restructuring or downsizing, it's beneficial to ask about other job opportunities within the company. You may qualify for other positions available in a different department. Ask if there are any positions available to you and if your manager can write you a recommendation. If your termination is due to job performance, you can also ask your manager if they might rehire you after some professional improvement. If your manager says there are no positions available, it's best to respect their decision and leave the company.

Related: How to Deal With the Stress of Losing Your Job

3. Negotiate your departure

It is important to negotiate the terms of your departure, if possible. If you are being made redundant or fired because of circumstances beyond your control, you may be eligible for redundancy pay or severance. If your company gives you many legal documents to sign before your termination, it may be beneficial to hire a solicitor to review these documents.

4. Leave on good terms

You want to leave on good terms before departing. Remaining friendly with your managers and other co-workers means you may rely on them for a reference letter in the future. Finish up any projects you were working on and answer questions about unfinished tasks. If possible, say goodbye to any clients or vendors you worked with. Thank your manager for the opportunity and say a kind goodbye to your colleagues. This professional demeanour can help you maintain a positive attitude and leave your co-workers with a good impression of your time with the company.

5. See if you can apply for unemployment benefits

If your employer makes you redundant, it's important to research your redundancy rights. Redundancy occurs when an employer needs to reduce its workforce. While most employers try to remain fair when making employees redundant, some of them use a last in, first out method for selecting employees to make redundant. Other employers may even ask for volunteers. In such cases, you are eligible for redundancy pay, time off to find a new job and the option to move to other employment.

When you are actively looking for a new job, you may also be eligible for a Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA). The primary qualifications for getting a Jobseeker's Allowance is that you should have been employed recently, and you must have paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions in the last 2 to 3 years. The Jobseeker's Allowance is paid out every two weeks, and the amount depends on your age. The government will also assign you a work coach to help you plan to find a job.

Related:

  • What is severance pay? Plus other FAQs about this pay type

  • When To Claim Unemployment Benefits

Planning for the future

After you leave the company, it is time to plan for the future. This process can be a positive experience because refocusing on your career can help you cope with the situation. Here are some ways you can get started on finding your next job:

Take some time to yourself

It's beneficial to take some time to relax and reflect on your current situation before looking for another job. You can start by creating a list of what you liked and disliked about your previous job while it is fresh in your mind. Putting in perspective what you enjoyed about your last job can help you refocus your career goals and lead to an even better job next time.

Update your CV

Update your CV with details about the job you just left. Mention any skills obtained during your time there and any responsibilities unique to your position. If you were at your previous job for many years, go through your entire CV and remove any unnecessary or old information. If you decide to apply for jobs in an entirely different industry, create a whole new CV tailored to that industry.

Improve your skills

This is a great time to overcome any weaknesses you had at your previous job. You can improve your technical skills with training or enrol in a course that focuses on a skill you had trouble with. You can improve your soft skills such as body language and communication by volunteering at an organisation related to your industry. Pay attention to the weak skills that may have led to your termination and think of ways to improve them.

Practice your interview skills

You will need to practice your interview skills. If you have been working for a company for many years, you will need to update your interview answers. Think of experiences from your most recent job that shed a positive light on your time there. You will want to show the interviewer that even though the company fired you, you still learned a lot from the experience. Ask your family or friends to practise interviews with you. Allow them to ask you questions that may relate to your industry.

Related: How to Prepare for an Interview

Expand your professional network

Now is a good time to network with people in your industry. Set up meetings or phone calls with former colleagues to let them know you are looking for a new job. You can also schedule informal interviews with companies you are interested in and attend hiring events. Interviewers will likely ask you why you are looking for a new job, so prepare a professional and honest answer.

Create job alerts

Along with networking, creating job alerts is a great way to find new job opportunities. Indeed job search allows you to upload your CV and filter results based on your abilities and requirements. Setting up job alerts allows you to stay up to date and thoroughly research the company before applying.

Related: Guide: Using Indeed.co.uk Job Search

Learn how to talk about your termination

Once your termination is complete, it's important to figure out how to talk about your firing professionally and positively. When you begin your job search, interviewers will ask questions like, "Why did you leave your last job?" or "Why are you searching for a new career?" Prepare an answer that puts your firing in a positive light. Focus on what you learned from your time at the company and mention any references from this previous company.

Related: Essential Job Search Guide

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