Being laid off or fired can happen to anyone.

In fact, companies across the globe are cutting more jobs than ever before due to worsening conditions of the labor market. In 2024, some of Canada's biggest companies like Google, Rona, and Enbridge left hundreds of workers without jobs after trimming their workforces.

You may also find yourself at a job that doesn't best align with your personal goals or interests, resulting in being terminated or fired from the position.

A man sitting at desk visibly upset and throwing items off his work desk.

Being laid off or fired can be frustrating, upsetting, and sometimes confusing; however, there are steps you can take to feel empowered so you can jump back into the workforce.

1. Process the Situation

Being laid off or fired from your job can come as a surprise and can leave you feeling an array of emotions. It's important to process these emotions so that when you jump back into the workforce, you feel focused and energized.

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  • Practice mindfulness by accepting any emotions or feelings that you may be experiencing.

  • Lift your spirits by engaging in activities you enjoy like yoga, cooking, painting, breathing exercises, working out, or any other activity that interests you.

  • Seek support from trusted friends, family members, and medically trained professionals, or check out online sources about how to deal with negative emotions.

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Think about your experience. Write down any thoughts that come to mind in a journal.

  • What are your professional strengths? What areas would you like to improve?

  • What professional goals would you like to achieve in the next month? How do you plan on reaching these goals?

  • What does your ideal job look like?

  • What have you learned from your last job?

Once you've had time to reflect, you'll be ready to move on to editing your resume.

2. Update Your Resume

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When you feel you are ready to re-enter the workforce, the next step is to review and update your resume. Regardless of the reason you departed from your previous position, you may have still gained valuable experience that you'll want to include in your resume or cover letter.

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  • Review all the skills and achievements you learned from your previous workplace. Even if you were fired, it's a good idea to focus on what you did well along with your professional achievements.

  • It's not necessary to include that you were fired in your resume. Your resume should only include when you began the job and when it ended.

  • Use positive language if you need to mention why you left your previous job in your cover letter or job application.

  • Update any professional online profiles like Linkedin or Indeed.


You apply for a job and the application form asks you, "Why did you leave your last job?" How should you answer? Select all that apply:

3. Prepare for your Interview

Once you get called for an interview, it's time to start thinking about your response to questions like "Why did you leave your last job?"

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  • Be honest in your interview. If you were fired, always be honest but keep your response brief and to the point.

  • Frame your response positively. Whether you were fired or laid off, you want to respond in a way that doesn't defame the company or negatively impact the interviewer's impression of your character.

  • Speak about your growth. You can mention what you learned from the situation and how you've grown professionally since then.

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Imagine you land an interview after being fired. The employer asks you why you left your previous job. Review the following responses, then answer the quiz question below.

A. "My previous work environment was very toxic and unhealthy. My direct manager gave me too many tasks, so I yelled at her and she fired me."

B. "I did not handle conflict well in my previous workplace. Since being terminated, I have developed healthy strategies to communicate and have begun seeking jobs that better reflect my career goals, such as this one".

C. "The truth is, we argued over job duties, but they were wrong and fired me anyway."


Which of the following responses stated above would be most appropriate?

Take Action

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Now that you have learned how to prepare for a job after being laid off or fired, it's time to put these tips in motion.


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