Job hunting after you're fired can be a challenging task. However, with persistence and determination, you can ensure that your next position ends up being a much better fit with your career goals.
What Went Wrong?
Before you begin your job hunt, it's helpful to spend some time thinking about what went wrong at your last position. According to human resource experts, some of the most common reasons for employee terminations are:
- Poor performance
- Repeated absences
- Demonstrating a poor work ethic by whining or complaining about work-related duties
- Doing personal business at work, such as making long distance calls or using company email to contact friends and family
- Personality clashes with coworkers and/or supervisors
- Unethical behaviors such as stealing company materials
If your former supervisor didn't officially address the reason for your termination, you may have to be honest with yourself in assessing what went wrong. Did you stop putting as much effort into your work because you found yourself bored with your position? Were you calling in sick on a regular basis to avoid confrontations with unpleasant coworkers? The better you understand the circumstances of your termination, the easier it will be to proactively address the issue during your search for a new job.
Looking for a Job is a Full-Time Job
It's common for people who have lost their jobs to feel angry or depressed. Additionally, if you're used to the structure of a typical corporate environment, dealing with the free time that comes with unemployment can be an overwhelming experience.
Although you may be tempted to spend your days lounging around in your pajamas watching sitcom reruns, remember that looking for a job takes full-time effort. When job hunting after you're fired, make a schedule for yourself and try to stick to it as much as possible. Getting up at a consistent time each day, working to update your resume, visiting prospective employers, attending networking events, and pursuing continuing education opportunities will help you keep busy while maintaining a positive attitude until you've found a new position.
Job Hunting After You're Fired: Managing the Interview Process
Once you've landed an interview for your dream job, you may find yourself wondering how to address the issue of your past termination. In most cases, an interviewer won't ask "Were you fired from your last job?" It's much more common to be asked "Why did you leave your last position?" If you were asked to leave, it's fine to say that you had advanced as far as possible and are looking for a new job with opportunities for long term success. You may also wish to say that you didn't see a future for yourself with that particular company.
Here are a few more tips to consider during your job interview:
- Relax. Getting fired is a more common experience than you might think. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. In fact, author J.K. Rowling was fired from her secretarial job for writing creative stories on her computer and used her severance to begin the first Harry Potter book. Getting fired may actually turn out to be the best thing that has ever happened to you.
- Don't badmouth your former employer. Even if you're convinced your termination is entirely the fault of your former employer, resist the urge to make negative remarks about the company. You'll only come off as unprofessional and immature.
- Emphasize your commitment to change and growth. Make an effort to appear as positive as possible during your job interview. Talk about what you learned from your past employment and how you would like to apply your skills and knowledge to your new position.
For more tips on job hunting after you're fired, check out the following helpful resources: