How to respond when you no longer have your job

How to respond when you no longer have your job

One of the issues that often comes up when we talk about job search is what to say when you no longer have your job. It doesn’t matter if you are no longer there because you resigned or because you were terminated, people want to know what to say when you no longer have your job.

Many years of working with job seekers has put in the position of answering that question many times in the past. There is a stigma that happens when people lose a job. They are losing part of their identity and they want to make sure that they still have standing with their friends, families, neighbors, and others. Job loss is a loss, just like death of a family member, divorce, fires, theft, or any event that takes away part of our life.

Reasons for job loss

  • You resigned because your job changed
  • You resigned because your hours were cut
  • You resigned to change career paths
  • You resigned to go back to school
  • You were terminated due to restructuring
  • You were terminated because of a merger / acquisition
  • You were terminated because the company closed

Whatever the reason, you now want to know what to say when you no longer have your job.

Many famous people lost their jobs, including Mark Cuban, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, J.K. Rowling, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Jerry Seinfeld. Even though it feels like the end of the world, it isn’t.

Here are some ideas and tips on what to say when you no longer have your job (and more importantly, what not to say):

  • Never trash talk your former employer to anyone. Not only is it bad form but for many employers, it raises the question of what you will say  about the new employer if you aren’t happy.
  • Stay off the phone, don’t send a barrage of emails, and don’t send text messages telling everyone you were wronged. You may think everyone knows and you have to explain but resist the temptation.
  • Don’t burn bridges. Even if you are angry now, you may need some of those connections in the future.
  • Keep it basic and positive. If it was restructuring, don’t go into details. “The company restructured and my position was eliminated.”
  • If you resigned even because you were incredibly unhappy with the company, don’t go calling your friends and neighbors to tell them all the sordid details. It won’t help you. Focus on the positive benefits that you gained and what you can offer. Your network needs to know your value, not your complaints.
  • Don’t get defensive. Short answers, being positive will add to your value and your mental health.
  • Take responsibility. Don’t accept blame for things you didn’t do but also don’t blame others for what happened. Simply saying the company decided to go in another direction or  your skills were not the best fit for the new direction.
  • Don’t make excuses for any problems you caused, such as being chronically late or not finishing a project or not following orders. If it comes up in an interview, you can say that you learned from the experience but don’t over explain.

Take a look at those famous people who lost their jobs and how they turned it around. Take this as an opportunity to start over and to do better. You can still add value in your next role, focus on that, not the negatives. Where will this take you? You don’t know right now but you will.

Julie Walraven is a triple-certified resume writer whose interactive coaching style helps job seekers earn winning positions when she creates tactical resumes and LinkedIn profiles to market you for success. Learn more here.

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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