So, you got fired. How can you address this in your job hunt?
Losing your job is never a great thing (well, unless you were desperate to get out!) Even if you were keen to call it quits anyway, how does getting fired or laid off affect your future job search success? Is there a way to ‘twist’ what happened to work in your favour?
How you approach losing your job with a new company depends on a couple of factors. Here are a few suggestions for how you can bring it up (or not) in your next job interview.
First option: Don’t mention it
If it just happened, or if the circumstances around why you were terminated or let go are particularly bad, there’s no reason to bring it up - in your resume, cover letter or in an interview. There is no rule that says you have to tell a new employer what happened at your old job - but if they ask you, you’ll have to tell them something. Ditto if your termination leaves a big gaping hole in your CV. Feel free to keep it vague; say you are looking for a new challenge.
If they’ve done their research, however, you may want to think about how you would talk about what happened in a way that won’t reflect as poorly on you. Fingers crossed.
Second option: Be 100% upfront
This is totally your call. Not saying anything about why you were let go could completely backfire on you down the track, especially if you are in a senior leadership position. It could not only ruin your reputation, but the company’s as well. If you’re going to go down the honesty path, be prepared to not get the job. Don’t lie on your resume and say you still work at the place you got fired from - it only takes one phone call for the HR department to find out the truth.
Third option: Pick positivity!
So, you were laid off. It sucks, but you learned so much from the experience. On your resume, focus on your accomplishments and achievements, before you got fired. What did you do really well? What targets did you hit? What successes did you have a hand in driving for the business? This is a time to big yourself up, not wallow in your failures. Some things to think about and mention:
- Did you come up with a new process or efficiency that saved your department time and money?
- Were you consistent in taking on responsibilities and tasks outside of your job scope? Did you put your hand up for extracurricular projects and helping out other teams?
- Measurable outcomes from how well you did your job. Where exactly did you help your previous employer succeed? Share facts and figures here, if possible.
- While you were part of the team, did you win any awards or accolades at industry events? Give details - specifically around your contributions.
But if you’re still struggling, here are some key skills that you can master to get hired in one of today’s most in demand occupations.