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Oops! You've been fired. Now what?

youre fired or terminated. what do you say?A local reporter who asks for my input to emails he receives sent me a question from a reader. Her husband was fired over a year ago from his job for a safety violation. She clearly feels that politics were involved (shocking!), He's been out of work now and wants to know how to respond to the question "Why did you leave your last job?" The following is my response. Read it and feel free to comment.

I'm sorry to hear about this gentleman's plight, but I'm not surprised. While I'm certain he's disappointed that things wound up this way, let's look at how to proceed. It is important not to beat yourself up, as this can happen to the best of us. It doesn't even have to be your fault. Many of the most successful people around have been fired. If you haven't been fired, you're probably not trying hard enough.

 

Getting fired also doesn't have to be anything that keeps you from getting the job you want. There are ways to address this that can prevent it from being viewed in a negative light, and can even be a positive for you.

First off, ensure that your resume contains no information regarding how you left previous employment. This information does not belong on a resume, and will most certainly help filter you out if it is present. If the job application asks about why you left, use language like "employment ended" or "terminated". The interview is going to present the opportunity to address the issue most likely. Your answer here is very important. If asked during an interview about why you left your last job, tell the truth. Don't beat around the bush. You might want to consider volunteering this information before they even asked.

Bottom line, be honest, be brief, and keep the interview moving. Do not speak ill of your former employer ever. It doesn't matter if it's their fault or not. Showing resentment and bitterness will eliminate your chances of getting a job. If you made a mistake, admit it, AND explain how you learn from the situation.

Practice your response repeatedly so as to never appear to contradict yourself. Being fired can be a blessing. It provides an opportunity to find work that is a better fit. In this gentleman's case, he obviously left the situation that was difficult for him and many others. With 14 years of experience, for one company, he has an immense skill set by which he can draw from and find work. That is a better fit.

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