Getting fired, unfortunately, can happen to the best of us. It can happen even when it’s not your fault. For instance, there could be a personality conflict between yourself and your supervisor. Or, your idea of what the job was going to be like might differ from what management was thinking. You could have simply screwed up. It happens you’re not alone.
First of all, don’t beat yourself up. Being fired doesn’t mean the end of your career. Don’t dwell on it, since that won’t help your situation.
Sacked, canned, terminated, dismissed – whatever you call it, you can bounce back. Here’s how:
1. Keep it classy
A sudden job loss naturally leaves you shocked, angry, upset and maybe embarrassed (even if you hated the job). And while you may be tempted to lash out or seek revenge, don’t. It’s a small world. Your reputation follows you everywhere. Grit your teeth, keep to the high road, and vent those emotions away from the workplace, in the company of people whom you can trust.
2. Make and implement an action plan
The said plan should include thinking through next steps and beefing up your network. At the same time, you are allowed to take a break. Being fired can take the wind out of your sails. But do make sure this break has a clear end point. The longer you are without work, the harder it is to find work.
3. Become smart about money
Now is the time to be hardheaded about your finances. If you are eligible for unemployment compensation, take it. Don’t neglect to make sure you get whatever benefits your company owes you. Search for ways to bring in more money or to save money (sell your second car, say, or cancel that upcoming trip). Whatever you do, resist the temptation to indulge in retail therapy.
4. Come up with a story
People will ask what happened. You need to be prepared with an explanation that is concise, true and as positive as possible. Take some time to prepare answers to questions about being fired so you know exactly how you are going to answer. Practice again, so you can respond confidently and without hesitation. Be sure not to say anything bad about your former employer, as it’ll only make you look bad.
Before you say why you resigned during a job interview, be sure that your response matches what your previous employer is going to say. It will be a hiring “red flag” if what you say doesn’t mesh with what the company says. Also, don’t talk negative about your previous employer. Feeling angry after being fired is normal. However, you need to leave that anger at home and not bring it to the interview with you.
All your job search correspondence must be positive. There is no need to mention that you were fired in your resume or in your cover letters. In your cover letters, focus on the basics. There is no point in bringing up the circumstances of your leaving until you have to. If you are specifically asked if you were fired, you need to answer yes. Lying on a job application is grounds for dismissal at any time in the future.
7. Don’t blame yourself
Finally, don’t feel bad. In many cases, there is absolutely nothing you could have done to change the situation. Employees are forced to resign or fired every day and once the company has made the decision that you need to go, there is little you can do to change their mind. Instead, look at this an opportunity to move on and to start over in a job that is a better fit.
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