Even though the job market is still favorable for workers, Americans looking for a new role are facing more competition compared with two years ago. But workers who find themselves unexpectedly job hunting aren’t always making the most of a valuable resource: their network.
To that point, 31% of workers who were fired kept their recent job exit a secret from family and only 29% told their friends, according to a survey by career advice website Zety. The website surveyed 990 respondents, including 26% who said they were fired from their last job and 57% who quit their last job.
People with an annual salary over $75,000 are more likely to stay quiet about losing a job compared with people who earned up to $50,000 a year, at 43% versus 21%, Zety found.
It’s understandable that you may want to keep the news to yourself for a while because even well-meaning family members and friends may add to your stress or heighten anxiety when you should be “getting your bearings and making a plan,” said career and money expert Mandi Woodruff-Santos.
However, make a plan of action and focus on taking your next steps, because reaching out to people in your network is “about creating professional resiliency,” said Woodruff-Santos, who is the co-host of the podcast series “Brown Ambition” and founder of MandiMoney Makers.
At some point, you’ll need to share the news and can benefit in the long run.
‘You’re going to have to learn how to talk about it’
Even if you’re not ready to share your job loss with friends and family, it is in your best interest to at least reach out to people in your industry for potential leads, said Caroline Ceniza-Levine, founder and career coach at DreamCareerClub.com.
Your network “is your biggest source of leads to get your next job,” said Ceniza-Levine. “I can see maybe people don’t want to talk about it, but the reality is that you’re going to have to learn how to talk about it.”
If you don’t feel comfortable about sharing the news publicly on social media platforms, make sure you have a plan to contact people in your network directly to find new openings. If you don’t start soon, you may miss opportunities, Woodruff-Santos said.
It will benefit you in the long run the sooner you learn to talk about it by overcoming your emotions, said Ceniza-Levine. Have an in-depth conversation with a reliable friend or mentor about your last job and what you’re looking for, she added.
On the other hand, don’t immediately turn to your keyboard and publish your initial reactions to your job loss on social media. There are measures you should take before making that jump.
How to frame your job loss when hunting for a new role
While the term “fired” is used interchangeably, it is widely used when you are let go for cause or when “there are performance-related reasons,” Ceniza-Levine said. The term “laid off” could be tied to internal restructuring in the company.
If you were recently let go for cause, it is in your best interest to steer away from any social media platform to “air your grievances” while the tension is still high, Woodruff-Santos said. While it may feel good in the moment to vent in a public forum, you may be drawing unwanted attention, she added.
Additionally, you may be legally barred from doing so. Your former employer may have asked you to sign a legal agreement that prohibits you from sharing confidential or internal company information, she added. With or without the legal guardrail, a rant may look bad to future employers.
When you are ready to post a statement about your job loss, keep it professional. For instance, a good start would be the following: “I’ve parted ways with my company and I’m excited for a new opportunity. Here’s what I am looking for in this new chapter,” said Woodruff-Santos.
As you apply for new roles, avoid getting into all the details of your job exit until you have established yourself as a good candidate in the interview process, Ceniza-Levine said.
If and when your job exit comes up with a prospective employer, be honest and stick to the facts. Focus on your next steps by saying you are ready for the new role. You’re not “hiding something that’s dirty or shameful” with this approach, said Ceniza-Levine.
“You never want to be a job candidate that lives in the past,” she added.