Got Fired? 4 Tips on How to Address It During Your Job Search

Firefighters from the Nebraska Army National Guard spray water during an aircraft rescue and firefighting fire burn for an exercise at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, Wisconsin. (Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren/U.S. Air National Guard)

It happens to the best of us. Sometimes, the company culture just isn't a good fit. Other times, we may not be performing in a way that is expected of us. And sometimes, the company just downsizes, leaving some of its employees out of a job.

There's no easy way to say it, but we just got fired.

Getting fired can be embarrassing and might make you feel like a failure, but it's important to shake off that feeling. No matter the reason for your termination, two things still hold true: It's not the end of the world, and you still need a job. So you pick yourself up and get to the job search.

When you reach the interview phase, you need to be able to explain why you got fired to the person conducting your interviews. Remember that you aren't the first person ever to be fired from a job, and you won't be the last. Here's how to handle it.

1. Don't Mention It on Your Resume

Your resume is supposed to be a list of your skills and qualifications for a certain position. You want to include positive aspects of your work experience, including the length of your tenure in those positions. You don't need to mention why you left your last job.

The resume is not the place for explaining away the details of your termination, no matter how much you want to talk about it. Your resume, when properly planned and formatted for the job you're gunning for, is supposed to get you in the door. Don't waste space on telling the recruiter you were fired.

2. Don't Lie About Still Working There

You might be tempted to say you still work at the company that let you go. After all, everyone on the internet says that gaps in your work history are not good things to have on your resume.

But lying on your resume is exponentially worse, so don't do it.

You still have time and experience at that job, so be proud of the time you did put in and list it on your work experience truthfully -- no matter how long or short your time there might have been.

3. Layoffs Can Be Explained in Your Cover Letter

There is a difference between getting fired and being laid off. A layoff is when a company downsizes a portion of its workforce for a given time period and can sometimes be temporary. The criteria used to determine which employees are let go are at the discretion of the company, and they aren't necessarily a reflection of the employee.

For anyone who got laid off as opposed to terminated, the cover letter would be the place to reveal how you were laid off and why. It's not a bad idea, especially since losing your job wasn't related to job performance.

4. Write a Strong Resume

Resumes are a listing of your experience and qualifications, but they aren't only that. They are also a highlight of your workplace accomplishments in your career field. If you focus on things that make you stand out in your field, the recruiter or human resources professional reading it may not even notice that you're unemployed -- or they might not care.

Like any other job opportunity, give the person filling a position a reason to want to meet you and see whether you might be a good fit. Just because you didn't thrive in one company doesn't mean you won't thrive at another.

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