Being laid off or let go can feel like a nightmare when you’re going through it. It’s a very emotionally taxing and frustrating experience, not to mention a blow to your self-confidence.

You’re not quite sure what you’re going to do next, or if you’ll ever going to bounce back (especially if it happens late in your career). Studies have shown it’s tougher to get a job when you’re unemployed or have been fired, and unfortunately the longer the gap, the harder it is to get hired.

But it’s most definitely possible, and often you’ll find an even better fit than the role you previously held! You just need to be strategic about your job search and take a few necessary steps right from the start.

1. Adjust your mindset

Take a deep breath. While it may seem like the end of the world right now, remember it’s just a job. You’ll get through this and look back on it as a learning experience. If you’re starting your job search from a negative place, chances are you’ll end up in a situation out of desperation or anxiety, which won’t be beneficial in the long run. This is a great opportunity to reassess and re-evaluate what you’re looking for in your career! Get inspired with these TED talks and take the time to reflect.

2. Enroll in a course

One key move you can make right away is to enroll in a certification course of some sort (ideally related to your career or other job skills). This can cover a gap in employment so you have an explanation when you’re interviewing, and shows you are dedicated to personal and professional development. Why not use this time to invest in building your skills? You may even discover a different career path.

3. Get a reference

Depending on the situation when you were let go, it may not be appropriate to ask for a reference at your old company. Try not to burn any bridges and keep an amicable relationship if possible, you never know what opportunities may come up down the road. If there is a colleague who could provide a reference, be sure to ask without waiting too long.

4. Reach out to your network

It’s completely understandable why you might not want to share your bad news with anyone. And while it may seem difficult, sometimes letting people in your life know is the best thing you can do. Not only can others provide emotional support, especially someone who has gone through a similar experience, but they may have opportunities for you in mind. They won’t be able to share a potential job if they don’t know you’re looking for one. This may also be a great time to connect with a mentor, who can help you through this time and provide feedback or insight.

5. Start your search

Now it’s time to get busy! Check out this comprehensive checklist to get started on your job search, and start preparing your materials. Download Rake so that when you come across jobs that interest you you can easily save them and keep track of your applications. Start networking, even if you’re not a fan, and take as many interviews as possible. They’re great practice, and you never know what will come out of them!

Ready to jump in? Download Rake to simplify the whole process, and get started with the steps above. You’ll be back on your feet in no time!