How to Move Forward After Employment Ends

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After X amount of time working at the firm, you have now found yourself without a job. Regardless of the reason, whether it was due to firm-wide layoffs or you were fired, you’re feeling frustrated and unsure of what your next move should be. Losing a job is a devastating experience for most people and it’s important to have a game plan ready before you immediately jump back into the job market.

Here are a few steps you should take before getting back into the job market after a job loss.

Keep a Positive Mindset

A lot of times, our identities are tied up into our jobs. So when we lose a job, it feels like we lost a part of who we are. It’s common to want to go into hibernation, carry a sense of shame and not tell anyone. Don’t do that.

However, do allow yourself to feel the full-range of emotions. You will be sad and even angry and that’s ok. Feel the emotions and then channel it into something constructive.

Get your support system in place and talk to people who are on your side. If possible, take a vacation to clear your mind, so you can return with a fresh perspective.

Reflect on your accomplishments by writing down all of the successes you had at your former job and throughout your career. This will help give you the confidence to sell yourself when you’re back on the job market.

Think of the job loss as an opportunity to figure out what you really want to do and position yourself for a better opportunity.

Reflect on What Caused the Firing/Layoff

It’s important to understand what happened that led you to be without a job. You want to make sure you’re not making the same mistakes in your new position. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • Why was I laid off or fired?

  • Was it my fault or someone else’s?

  • What could I have done to prevent this from happening?

  • Am I better off without this job?

  • Do I want a similar position or something different?

  • What have I learned from this experience?

  • What can I do to improve so it won’t happen again?

Strategize Next Steps

After you’ve done some reflection on what went wrong and how you can improve, give some thought as to what opportunities you want to seek next and who you know is in the best position to get your foot in the door.

Speak to a career coach/counselor or recruiter about your options and let them help you create a game plan for where to look and what your next steps could be.


Let people who are in a position to help you know that you are looking. You don’t have to divulge the entire story if you’re not comfortable, but the more people who can put feelers out for you, the better.

If you were not already active, start getting active in organizations and associations that have the people who do what you want to do. However, remember that the key to effective networking is making connections and adding value.

So be sure that you're not just looking to take and get their resources, but you’re looking for ways to be a resource for them.

See Always Be Networking

Update your LinkedIn

LInkedIn is a great way to connect with people and you can even stay in your pajamas for it.

Let recruiters know that you’re in the market.

You can do this by going to your LinkedIn home page and click the “Jobs” tab on the toolbar. When the “Jobs” window opens, select “Career Interests” at the top of the page.

When the window opens, you will see a slide button. Simply move the button to the “On” position and fill out the short questions about your career preferences.

Perfect your Soundbite

When you do get interviews and are asked why you’re in the market or why you left your job, have a soundbite already prepared.

Don’t say negative things about your employer.

Keep your answer brief and positive. Explain succinctly why you’re in the market and don’t ramble.

If it wasn’t your fault you were laid off, say things that are objective like the practice area diminished for xyz reason and number of people were let go for that reason.

If it was your fault, speak with a career counselor who can help you think of things you can say that won’t raise a red flag to your prospective employer.

If possible, have a conversation with your previous employer about what you can say that would be consistent with what they would say.