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Does Being Fired Ruin Your Chances of Getting Another Job?

by Naomi Millburn

Getting fired from a job, while unpleasant, is not the end of the world. While you might be worried that it will ruin your chances of getting another job -- or at least the kind of job you won't -- nothing could be further from the truth. You can even use the transitional period as a time of self-discovery and self-improvement -- a definite asset for your job hunt.

Don't Burn Bridges

You might find it tempting to storm out of the office on the day of your firing. But glowering to yourself and vowing to never speak to any of the company's employees again won't do you any good in the long run. Don't let your pride get the best of you, and don't be afraid to ask for references from former colleagues and even former managers you got along with. When you have been fired, it can be especially helpful to have your ex-colleagues provide positive reviews of your work and character.

Assess Your Situation

When you've been fired from a job, it is important to keep things in perspective and analyze what happened. Consider what you might have done to contribute to the firing, and be honest with yourself. If your performance was subpar, identify the areas where you lagged. Also, consider other factors that led to your firing that were beyond your control, such as a boss who simply didn't like you. Next, think about what you can do in the future to improve your skills and performance, such as seeking additional training. If you come out of the experience with new insights into how to improve yourself, you will make yourself a more valuable job candidate. Potential employers will sense this, too.

Be Honest

While some employers might turn away from job candidates who have been fired, many won't. If you want to make sure that being fired doesn't work against your chances of getting another job, honesty is the way to go. If you're asked during an interview why you're not at your last job anymore, tell the truth about your firing. If you lie and say you quit, the hiring manager might call your former employer and find out the truth. This will probably eliminate you as a job candidate. Be prepared to talk about your experience and why you believe you were terminated. Don't dwell on the situation, but don't try to avoid it either. Use it as an opportunity to discuss how the situation changed you, what you learned, and what you have done to improve your skills and value as an employee.

Take the High Road

Many potential employers might find your honesty about your job termination refreshing and endearing -- but only if you play nice. While it's important to speak truthfully about your firing, it's also important not to turn a job interview into a bashing session. Don't speak negatively about your former employer or supervisors. Keep your conversational style straightforward and neutral, rather than resentful. A civil attitude is your friend. If you speak negatively of the supervisor who fired you, it reflects poorly on you and could ruin your chances of getting the job. You don't want your potential employer picturing you talking badly about her should things ever turn sour.

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