If fired, get fired up

Lenroy Jones
Lenroy Jones

Did you get fired from your last job?

Losing a job can be demoralizing and contribute to depression and increased stress. The experience is magnified when you're escorted out after serving as a hard-working, loyal and passionate employee.

If you're young and have not lost a job, you probably will. In his 2005 book Fired Up!, noted business author Harvey Mackay cited human resources executives in suggesting that those younger than 30 have a 90 percent likelihood of being fired during the next 20 years.

When you lose a job, you can spend your time reflecting on why, or you can start to plan and prepare to bounce back quickly. It's all right to allow time to lament but don't get stuck, and stay away from negative talk about your previous employer.

Anthony Davis was laid off and is now a project manager with information technology staffing firm TEKsystems. Even though he bounced back relatively quickly, "I would have started my search sooner and been serious about all inquiries," he said.

While he's now a senior independent agent with insurer Aflac, Anthony Hartsfield's previous job was eliminated.

"The greatest obstacle can be yourself," he said. "In the search for new employment, it required multiple things simultaneously to position myself for the greatest chance for success."

Even though you have more time available, you should plan your day and week. Creating a daily checklist will keep you focused.

"You have to treat a job search like it's a job," said Deborah Sainte, who bounced back from unemployment and is now senior financial service representative with First Investors Corp. "Every day, you send letters, your résumé and follow up with letters to previous interviewers."

"Stay persistent and remain positive," added LaMontrose Love, a financial sales consultant for PNC Bank who was unemployed for about four months several years ago.

You have to take the attitude that you're going to secure employment, regardless of whether there are many job openings.

Even if you don't receive any interviews or offers early on, "remaining positive keeps you in good spirits after you've been told 'no' so many times," Love said.

Here are several tips to help you focus and bounce back from losing a job:

■ Talk with people who have been in similar situations or seek out experts.

■ Develop a clear and concise response about why you aren't with your most recent employer. The truth is the best route to take because future employers can check references.

■ Tell your family, friends and previous colleagues that you are available for employment, and be realistic and specific about your interests.

■ Review the descriptions of listed positions and don't waste your time applying if you don't meet the minimum requirements.

■ Complete or enhance your LinkedIn profile. Add a professional photo and update your headline to note you're seeking employment.

■ Consider relocating if there are more jobs available elsewhere. You can always come back to your hometown.

■ Use the Internet job search engines wisely. Davis said he frequently updated his résumé on the most popular job sites. "This triggers the search engine to re-index and present my résumé at the top of searches," he said.

■ Conduct your job search daily and often. Create a routine and stick to it, with the understanding that the longer you are unemployed, the more difficult it becomes to land a job.

■ Seek out someone to be an accountability partner. This person should be able to give you honest feedback but also tough love when you need it. This might be a longer journey than you anticipate. You also can approach a career coach to assist you in focusing on the task at hand.

When you lose your job, it's like a grieving process. You're angry and hurt, but those emotions can derail your job search. Stay focused and be positive, because your next job is just an interview away.