Getting a Job After Being Fired: Tips for Finding a New Position

Ben Allen  | 

As long as you play it smart, getting a new job after being fired is not very different from finding a job in any other situation. For legal reasons, many employers are cautious about sharing details with others as to why a person was fired. If they say one thing incorrectly that leads to damaging your character or chances for a new job, they open themselves up to a defamation lawsuit. For that reason, many employers will only confirm that you did leave the company and your dates of employment with them.

If your ex-employer follows the norm and only reports your hire and termination dates, and you didn’t do anything illegal or open a lawsuit, and there should be no public record of why you got fired. That’s great news, as you can better control the story of losing your job and spin it to reflect better on you.

Finding a Job After Being Fired

Finding a job after being fired is very similar to finding a job when unemployed. The biggest difference is what you’ll put on your resume, and how you behave in interviews. It’s a common interview question to ask why you left your last job, and having the right answer is important to landing that next job. By being smart and diligent, you’ll find an even better job for you and be able to put getting fired behind you.

Use Your Network

Networking is a useful tool to help you find out about jobs in your wheelhouse from family, friends, old coworkers, acquaintances, former teachers, and even old bosses. Often, they have connections, either in their current employer or other people that share your industry, that can help you find open positions to apply for.

Many jobs never even hit the public job market, instead many companies keep the posting internal. Networking can help connect you with that job, and possibly attach a personal reference to your name, helping increase the odds you get an interview.

In everything you do, try to grow your network even larger. Go to networking events to meet new people, ask everybody you meet if they know of a place that’s hiring, and utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn to connect with potential employers.

Have a Good Reasons For Leaving Your Last Job

In every job interview, you’re going to be asked why you are leaving or have left your old job. Employers want to know what they can expect from you and if you’ll leave this job for a similar reason. Prepare for the interview, especially that question, so when it does come up, you have a plan for answering it.

Be truthful in answering this question. Explain why you had a failing, what the barriers were there that prevented your success, and how you are overcoming the firing. Keep your emotions in check, letting your anger show won’t help you here.

It’s a good idea to practice answering this question with a friend multiple different times to find the best answer. You want to have a good mix of telling the truth and explanation that leaves you in a positive light.

Freelance

If it’s possible in your chosen career, give freelancing a try. It’s a great way to fill the employment gap on your resume, it shows you are proactive, and maybe you’ll find you love it. If you’re really good at it, it could even lead to a full-time career. You’ll get money to help make ends meet, and beef up your resume. That way, the first thing you can list on your resume is your freelance experience, not the job you got fired from.

Explain Employment Gaps as Resolved Health Issues

Another common interview question revolves around gaps in your employment history. It’s completely understandable that after you got fired, you took some time off to recover. Maybe losing your job was associated with a health problem and you wanted to get better before finding a new job.

If you feel uncomfortable going into reasons behind your employment gap, just explain it as a resolved health issue. An interviewer can’t ask for more details (it would be discriminatory) and as long as you emphasize that it’s resolved and no longer a problem, you’re good to go.

Don’t Smear Your Old Employer or Boss

It might feel good, but don’t bad mouth your old employer during the job hunt process. It only really reflects poorly on yourself and hurts your chances of landing a job. Don’t complain to those in your network, it might discourage them from looking for jobs for you. Definitely don’t complain to an interviewer, they might see your negativity and decide that you are not somebody want to join their team.

If the topic of your old employer does come up, try to focus more on yourself and not on what you disliked about your last job. Stay professional, and focus on your achievements there, not the employer’s failings.

Keep your head up and strive to get your next job. Just because you got fired doesn’t mean other potential employers won’t hire you. If you play your cards right, potential employers might not even know you were fired. Keep the interview focused on you and how you are the right person for the job, not on why your old job was unfair.


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Ben Allen is a freelance content creator and digital marketer who believes in helping small businesses succeed. He spends his free time bragging about his two daughters, eating stuffed crust pizza, and playing video games.

This post was updated August 14, 2018. It was originally published July 19, 2018.