Getting fired can be a major blow to your career, not to mention your self-esteem. And unfortunately, sometimes it happens to good people who get in over their heads at work, or who genuinely try to please their managers but somehow fall short on expectations.

But a new survey from ResumeLab reveals some comforting news: A large number of workers who got fired in the course of their careers wound up recovering pretty easily. And that means that if you've been let go, you can take comfort in the fact that all is not totally lost.

The aftermath of being fired: not so bad?

You'd think that being fired would relegate you to a lower-level job out of desperation or a lack of better options. But actually, among fired workers, 39.2% landed in a similar position after the fact, while almost 38% got a higher-ranking position. Furthermore, only about 25% of employees were unhappy with their new salary after being fired.

Woman with sad expression holding a box of office supplies while another woman watches in the background


How are things shaking out so well for fired folks? Part of it could boil down to honesty. A good 54% of employees who were let go from their jobs were up front about being fired during the interview process. If you're in a similar scenario, your best bet is to be open about what happened, and also, avoid making excuses for what transpired. Instead, own up to the fact that perhaps your performance didn't meet expectations, but that you've learned from your mistakes and are ready for a fresh start elsewhere.

Another thing: Nearly 60% of workers who got fired updated their resumes after it happened. And doing so seems to have increased their chances of not only landing a new job, but also, snagging more money in the process. Specifically, over 49% of employees who updated their resumes post-firing were hired for the first job they interviewed for afterward. And, those who made positive resume changes wound up with nearly $2,000 more per year, on average, at subsequent jobs.

If you've been fired, it pays to take a look at your resume and see if it's up-to-date. Chances are, the last time you gave it a close look was when you applied to the job that let you go, so make sure that document accounts for changes in your work history. If you developed new skills in the course of your employment, you'll want to list those, along with any awards you received or professional certifications you obtained along the way. Having an updated resume will put you in a stronger position to embark on your job search.

And speaking of which, as you explore new roles, don't feel compelled to limit yourself to the same field. ResumeLab reports that more than half of people who got fired wound up getting a job in a brand-new industry.

Though getting fired certainly isn't ideal, it's also, apparently, not the end of the world. Be straightforward with prospective employers about that fact, present an updated, compelling resume, and be open-minded in your job search. With any luck, you'll secure a new role before you know it.