Fired? The Complete Guide to Getting Employed Again
Arguably, the two words in the English language that rush the blood to your brain causing a tragic meltdown.
Once the initial shock clears. The mental state switches from dizziness to clarity.
Hopeless thoughts take hold.
Out of work…
How am I supposed to face my family who’ve pinned their hopes on me?
Am I a social outcast?
Joblessness is a difficult and depressive phase of life. Cleverism aims to solve your predicament through actionable solutions listed in this writeup.
FIRST THINGS FIRST! 4 THINGS TO IMMEDIATELY PERFORM IF YOU’VE BEEN FIRED
It’s never easy when you’re back home and your head is heavy with events of what transpired earlier in the day.
But it’s all in the past now. What’s happened has happened. Nothing you can do to change it.
Accept the situation, own the act and come clean.
Here are 4 relaxing tips to ease the frustration of being fired.
1. Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
Maybe the entire fault lies with the employer or your coworkers or plain bad conduct on your part.
Put your hand on your chest. Do you feel your heart thumping?
That’s your body telling you that you’re alive. And when you’re full of life, you are ready to conquer any bad phase that life throws at you.
And as long as you’ve got the willpower to change your mistakes and correct your wrongs, you’ve got a second chance.
The obvious action for any individual that’s recently fired is to spend time backtracking the events leading up to being fired.
Use this time to extract your inner frustration and pour it out. Let this be your mourning period.
According to psychologist Stephen Sideroff, breaking down is a positive state for the body to recover and is perfectly healthy.
Express your outrage in front of the mirror or burst out in tears, whatever gets the jobs done. Personal venting is your mind recovering from a tragedy and it’s natural to take the day off to sulk.
However, a stern warning – Do not reach out in desperation to your ex-boss or colleagues or send them nasty emails.
Be the better person and move on. Life is full of opportunities.
Accept the Situation
Once you begin to feel yourself again, it’s time to accept reality and return to the present.
Promise yourself to never recall events that occurred in your office. They are painful reminders. Instead, work towards the next chapter in your life.
Inspirational quotes serve as subconscious motivators and aid in healing wounded egos or lost pride.
Success stories of people who’ve been in your position or worse are excellent reads. When we relate with others in the world, our problems become small and we realize we aren’t the only ones suffering.
Once you’ve taken ownership of your situation, you’re ready to take on the world.
2. Breaking the News to Your Loved Ones
The first feeling that comes when delivering the fatal news to your family and friends is – Shame!
Around this time various lies begin taking shape and it’s generally easier to conceal the truth than to be upfront.
Often this leads to misleading your loved ones and when they do find out about the truth, you’ll be far worse off than just being fired.
Avoid falling into the pit of deceit. Do the noble thing and be straightforward with them.
Utter the 3 uncomfortable words and face reality.
Emotions may run wild, but at the end of the day, your family and friends are there to offer comfort at a time when you require it the most.
Here is a list of rules to follow when disclosing your unemployed status.
- Ensure your spouse/partner is the first person you share the news with
- If you have children between the age of 1 to 8, it’s best to maintain secrecy
- Teenagers and young adults comprehend and relate to your story, feel free to share
- Discuss with your spouse on what you’d like to share with your extended family and social circle
- Never hide any critical details behind the reason for losing your job with your significant other
- If you’re single, it’s important to only share your current situation with someone you can trust, you don’t want gossip spreading around town and making it worse on you
- Clear communication always ensures you’ve got nothing on your mind to hide and this helps with your recovery phase
- When you’ve landed a new job, it’s important to show gratefulness to all those who supported you in your tough time
3. Take the Week Off
Yes! We are very serious. Once you’ve unloaded all your dark thoughts and shared the news with your loved ones – Schedule a celebratory week ahead.
Because being fired can be a silver lining to an otherwise mundane lifestyle. Here are 3 reasons to support this ideology.
1. Lifestyle Change
“If Life Gives You Lemons, Prepare Lemonade”
When you’re unemployed, every day opens doors to new careers.
Let’s say, you’ve always wanted to write a novel. What better time to start than now, when you’re unemployed?
Some of life’s best inventions began with accidents.
Don’t treat being laid off as a professional sin instead think of how much positivity there is to gain with the time off.
Create a better you starting from today. Think of being laid off as a sign to restart your life for the better.
Are you overweight? Neglected family time? Use this time to create a daily routine and cover the potholes of your personal life.
Once you’re employed, you’ll realize that being fired was a blessing to turn your life around into a new leaf.
2. Learn from Mistakes
“If you haven’t made a mistake, you haven’t risked yourself. And if you haven’t taken risks, there are no rewards.”
Being fired is your first big challenge in life. It allows you to gather your self-esteem and lets you learn from your mistakes.
Often, when we grow in our jobs, we become proud of ourselves. It’s a great feeling. But too much pride leads to egotism and being fired is a lesson that grounds us back to humble beginnings.
Joblessness demonstrates the necessity to be grateful for what we had or we could end up losing everything in an instant.
3. Job Hopping Benefits
Switching jobs have their benefits – a bigger pay package, expand your professional network, new skills, etc.
An article by Forbes demonstrates that employees who didn’t switch their jobs for longer than 2 years, got paid 50% lesser than their job-hopping counterparts.
You’re thinking, being fired isn’t the same as changing jobs, right?
Absolutely right! Interviewers view people that are fired as red flags.
However, we’ve tackled ways to explain your situation to your interviewer in the next section. Once you’ve provided a satisfactory explanation, the new swanky job is yours along with the job-hopping benefits.
Now that you recognize that being fired isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Let’s help you plan your celebratory week.
- Spend quality time with your family. They deserve it and so do you.
- Walking outdoors especially early mornings is great for the lungs and your mental state.
- Meetup with friends and colleagues that you’ve been putting off due to your busy schedule.
- Get physically fit. Celebrating your joblessness with a fit body helps you build your confidence levels.
- Send grateful letters to everyone that supported you. Tell them how they’ve been a beacon of light in your darkness.
- Read books related to boosting productivity and biographies of successful people. Boosting self-esteem is extremely critical during this phase.
Remember – celebrate in moderation. Don’t blow up your savings especially when you aren’t bringing in the dough.
When your mind is positive, we’ll move on to the next critical step below – “How to get you employed again”
4. Begin the Elusive Job Search
You’ve had an exceptional celebratory week. You’ve reunited with your friends and family, went beyond the usual drinking limit, and the spirits are as high as they can be.
Great! It’s time to take this positive mood into your job search and reignite your professional life.
Where do you begin?
It’s simple. Follow this step by step process to land yourself an interview.
Step 1: Review your Performance
Answer the following questions to get a self-review going.
Why were you fired from your last job?
Make sure you compile a self-evaluation sheet for the reasons you were fired. Maybe you were lazy, took too long to complete your deadlines, didn’t heed warnings, was caught gossiping about your boss to another colleague, etc. the reasons are endless.
Put them all down on paper and create a bulleted list to give you a complete overview.
What are your best accomplishments?
Each successful feat that you’ve achieved for every company you’ve worked in the past, list them down.
Has someone mentioned a positive testimonial about you after project completion?
List it down.
Do you have certificates and accolades with your name for being an achiever?
List them down.
This section compiles the best of you.
If I had one skillset that defines who I am, what would it be?
Maybe you’ve got excellent communication skills to convert leads into clients.
Or you’ve recently narrated a presentation so stunningly that everyone in the board meeting gave you a standing ovation. Or maybe you’ve trained a team in the past to complete a successful project.
Name that one key aspect that defines the best of you. Whether it’s ‘Communication’, ‘Presentation’, ‘Leadership’ or something else.
Information from the above questions serves as data on your resume. And speaking of resume…
Step 2: Recreating your Resume
No! We won’t be using your ancient 5-year old resume that speaks about your basketball achievements and your eccentric hobbies.
Creating a resume when you’ve been laid off is incredibly important to list out the best achievements of your career. Your resume draws your interviewer’s focus towards your accomplishments instead of on why you were fired.
What should you put on a professional resume?
Remember how you broke down every bit of your professional life in the previous step? It’s time to compile that information into your resume and focus on your prominent qualities.
- List down detailed in-depth project analysis.
- All solutions provided by you during a project
- The clients that you’ve brought in for your company
- Utilize numbers and statistics of your work to ensure accuracy
- Hobbies and unrelated work should be listed much lower or negated from a professional resume
- Mention your personal website listing your portfolio of work if you have one
- Testimonials from previous clients and bosses
The idea is to shine bright in the eyes of your interviewer. Most companies pardon your past if you prove your current value to the company.
An exceptional resume should highlight your positive attributes.
Step 3: Update Online Records
Social media sites are accessible by anyone including your future employers. Ensure every bit of information remains updated and eliminate any incorrect information.
Websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social sites represent you. When an employer or an interviewer performs a background check to verify your “being fired” story, your online data serves as proof that your story is valid.
Perform a Google search on your name. List every website that appears in the first and second page of the search engine.
Individually, begin to update every search result to your current records.
Pay special attention to your LinkedIn profile. This is especially important because
- Hiring managers can connect with you to offer jobs if you meet their requirement on LinkedIn
- Your LinkedIn profile provides authenticity to your work
- The top companies are on LinkedIn
- Your personal network opens a world of opportunities for your career
- LinkedIn provides valuable resources such as best practices and several career growth strategies
- Research and gain knowledge on salary information to get an upper hand during salary negotiation
Step 4: Begin applying for jobs
And you’ve made it to the final phase. It’s time to start applying to employers and recruiters within your professional circle.
If you’ve got a dream list of companies you always wanted to work for. Shortlist them and begin applying for open positions.
Don’t let ego breed in your way. Forward your job recruitment status to as many friends and family as you can. You never know where your dream job is concealed.
Don’t worry about failing interviews, you gain experience, and with knowledge, you’ll get better. Also, improve your networking list when you interact with professionals.
At Cleverism, we offer a job search tool to find your dream job.
Apart from this, there are plenty of other things to improve your job search such as –
- Online job boards such as CareerBuilder and Monster
- Apply on shortlisted companies directly on their website
- Local recruitment agencies
- Referrals from friends and family
- Good old cold calling
- LinkedIn job listing feature
Job searching in today’s world is convenient utilizing the comfort of your home. No reason to get dressed and head out to companies while the mean sun stares down at you.
Once you’ve got the elusive call from your interviewer or received positive signals from companies, it’s time to explain the most important question.
“WHY WERE YOU FIRED?” – HOW TO ANSWER THIS SUSPENSEFUL INTERVIEW QUESTION
Congratulations! You’ve gotten this far into the article and getting an interview is a dream come true. Now it’s time to face the tune of answering the question you’ve always dreaded.
Why were you fired?
In fact, it’s one of the most challenging interview questions in the world.
First, let’s understand what the interviewer wants from you by asking this question.
The Interviewer’s Perspective
The interviewer knows. They identify the moment they ask this question that you’re put in an uncomfortable situation.
The interviewer tests your resilience in the face of adversity.
If your explanation is lengthy and vague. The interviewer marks you down as an apprehensive candidate that is clearly at fault.
The interviewer is also observing for signs of honesty from you. Everyone goes through a bad phase, and being honest about your circumstances demonstrates your integrity. It also shows you’re a changed individual.
With this information, here are a few tips to follow when answering the “Why were you fired?” question.
- Don’t be dishonest in your answer.
- Disclose events in a brief manner without turning it into a long story
- Train yourself to be calm, create a mock interview with a friend or spouse to get comfortable
- Speak less about events that transpired and more about how you’ve changed to the better
- Don’t blame your coworkers or boss and instead be responsible for your actions
- Smile often when explaining your story to portray your positivity
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer when explaining
- Don’t slouch, sit up straight and don’t shift your hands about
Hiring managers are trained to pick up on lies and any dishonest behavior from their candidates. Being honest about your uncomfortable situation demonstrates that you’re human and you’ve committed a blunder. You’re now ready for a second chance.
SAMPLE ANSWERS TO EXPLAIN THE “BEING FIRED” QUESTION
Now that we’ve understood what the interviewer seeks to learn from you, let’s begin with a few sample answers.
Sample Answer 1 — Downsizing
“As uncomfortable as it is, I was one of the picks from the recent downsizings that occurred in my company. While I had a great rapport with my boss and colleagues, unfortunately, I was one of the 5000 sacrificial lambs for the company. I have no ill feelings towards them and wish them better times.
Reason it Works
You come off as an unlucky pick that got the short end of the stick. It’s not that you were a bad employee but the company was going through a shortage of funds and they simply had to let you go.
By wishing your former company the best, you demonstrate your positivity and maturity to the interviewer by holding no ill feelings.
Sample Answer 2 – Desperate Times
“Of life’s biggest blunders, this one stands tall. I had been desperate for work and a way to make ends meet. So, without analyzing my career, I accepted the job without a second thought. Today, I am equipped with the right skills and a passionate mindset and am in a better position to pay my bills.”
Reason it Works
Money is required to survive and a job pays money. The explanation is straightforward, you were in a difficult period of your life and you took the first job that paid.
Now you’re financially in a good spot and your skillset is tailored towards your career pursuits.
Sample Answer 3 – Career Change
“At first, I focused my talent towards offline sales but I noticed it didn’t suit who I was. The result was me being fired. Since then I’ve taken up certifications in digital marketing and have made leaps in the right direction. This is where I truly belong.”
Reason it Works
A career change when you don’t like your job or because you were fired is quite a common occurrence. If you provide evidence of your success through certifications and talent, your hiring manager is bound to understand the reason behind your shift. A portfolio works wonders here.
Sample Answer 4 – The Angry Coworker
“To put it briefly – I was an angry team player. I was quite passionate about getting things done to a perfect O that I didn’t notice the damage I had done to my fellow team members by my words and actions. To show my dedication, I have managed my anger issues by enrolling in several meditative classes and have volunteered in charity programs to be a team player.”
Reason it Works
Being angry or a violent coworker is certainly a red flag for an organization. With a passive explanation demonstrating how hard you’ve worked on your personal behavior; you’ll convince your hiring manager that your anger demons are long gone.
Without your anger monkey, you’re a valuable candidate to work with due to your perfectionist nature.
Being fired doesn’t make you a black sheep. A total of 19.9 million layoffs were recorded in 2016 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the number increasing every year.
While it’s necessary to minimize your chances of being fired by being positive and increasing your overall productivity, sometimes life happens.
Being fired counts as a lifetime experience. If there’s one takeaway from the entire article, it’s this – ‘Be honest to your hiring manager about your situation.’
Have you ever been laid off? What was the experience like? Share with us in the comments below.
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