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6 Tips for Getting Hired After You've Been Fired

Getting let go from a job can be demoralizing and it often presents a major obstacle when you’re ready to look for your next gig. At some point, you may find yourself having to explain to a potential employer what lead to you being relieved of your duties. If you lost your job as part of a large-scale layoff within the company, you might not have to do as much talking. On the other hand, landing a new position can be trickier if being fired involved something of a more personal nature. If you’re on the hunt for employment after getting a pink slip, here are some things you can do to up the odds of getting hired after getting fired.

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1. Be Honest

When you’re going in for an interview, you should be prepared to answer questions about why you left your last job. Stretching the truth or trying to gloss over the reason why you were fired can come back to bite you if a potential employer finds out that you were fudging later on. The best approach is to acknowledge what happened and be honest about the circumstances surrounding your departure.

2. Keep It Simple

Honesty is the best policy but that doesn’t mean you need to give the interviewer a 45-minute answer when they ask about your dismissal. When it’s time to discuss the elephant in the room, keep it short, simple and to the point. Only include the most relevant details and don’t feel the need to over-explain. Going on and on about the situation may give the impression that you either haven’t gotten over what happened or you feel the need to justify your past actions.

3. Don’t Point Fingers

It’s natural to feel resentful or angry when you get let go from a job but trying to shift all the blame toward your former employer won’t do you any favors. Even if you feel that your firing was a completely vindictive act that had nothing to do with your performance, you can’t say that to the person who’s interviewing you. You don’t want to come off as the kind of employee who holds a grudge or isn’t willing to accept responsibility for their actions.

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4. Choose Your References Carefully

One way to minimize the damage to your reputation when you’ve been fired is to find someone who’ll agree to give you a solid reference. If the relationship between you and your direct superior has gone south, look around the company to see if there’s someone else who could vouch for you. You may need to look a little further in your network if getting a reference from your former employer isn’t possible. The key is to choose someone who’s familiar with your work ethic and isn’t shy about singing your praises.

5. Find the Lesson

Trying to put a positive spin on the situation after you’ve been sacked is tough and it may seem like there’s absolutely no silver lining in sight. The best thing you can do is look at what happened as a learning experience so you’ll know how to handle it if you find yourself in a similar situation again. Whether you got fired for always being late or you just weren’t putting enough effort into the job, there’s a valuable lesson to be learned if you’re willing to look for it.

6. Stay Busy

The worst thing you can do after getting fired is sit around and mope over what happened. Being proactive about seeking out new opportunities helps to take your mind off the situation and keep you looking forward instead of backward. In addition to searching for a new job there are other ways to use the break to your advantage. Taking a class, learning a new skill or volunteering in the community are all good ways to stay busy and who knows, it could even lead to a new career opportunity.

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People get fired every day but when it happens to you, it can feel like the end of the world. Keeping a positive attitude and taking steps to minimize the damage can make finding a new gig that much easier.

Photo Credit: flickr

Rebecca Lake Rebecca Lake is a retirement, investing and estate planning expert who has been writing about personal finance for a decade. Her expertise in the finance niche also extends to home buying, credit cards, banking and small business. She's worked directly with several major financial and insurance brands, including Citibank, Discover and AIG and her writing has appeared online at U.S. News and World Report, CreditCards.com and Investopedia. Rebecca is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and she also attended Charleston Southern University as a graduate student. Originally from central Virginia, she now lives on the North Carolina coast along with her two children.
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