Originally authored by April Klimkiewicz at Bliss Evolution
You’ve been fired. Or you see the way that things are going at work, and you’re worried about being laid off. It doesn’t always have to do with competence, but how do you prove your worth after something like this happens? Let’s discuss how to bounce back after getting fired.
How do you let a future employer know you were fired, but that it doesn’t mean you’re a hot mess?
Because this is such a tricky situation, I decided to lay out the methodology so you can surmount this career concern. Let’s break it down:
What actually happened? Sometimes, we get so caught up in how we feel about what happened that the facts get fuzzy. Before you move forward and try to explain what happened, you have to get clear on the facts. To answer these questions:
What are all the things you can remember?
What information was shared with you? What was actually said?
What sort of change did you witness?
Explaining why you left the previous position depends on your situation. First, start with what you know. Write down everything you know for a fact about what happened. Were you let go because they were company layoffs? Were you let go because of a specific incident? Once you have all the facts down for what happened, you can move on to the next step.
What can you own about the situation? You can’t control other people, so blaming won’t help, but you can make decisions about your behavior, words, and actions. Sure, there are things out of your control, but think about what you can control, and based on that, what you should take responsibility for.
Maybe you realize you’d gotten complacent at your position. Or maybe you lost your cool when you were offered a severance package rather than further employment with the company.
Whatever happened, get clear on how you contributed to the outcome.
Now, determine how you meet the needs of the company where you are applying. What skills or experience are they looking for that you provide? How can you help them meet the needs they have expressed in the job description?
Finally, come up with a good answer. Start with the facts. If you were let go for something that was your fault (you didn't follow company policy), let them know what you learned and what changes you've made to ensure it won't happen again. If you were let go for a broader reason like company layoffs, no further explanation is needed. The first part of your answer should diminish the concern that you are a problem, and the second part of your answer should bring the conversation back around to how you can meet their need based on your skill set and expertise.
To put it simply, you want to explain why being fired is less concerning that it might initially seem, and then you want to share how you meet the need the company has.
Remember the three R’s when it comes to explaining yourself: Reflect, Responsibility, and Reapply Yourself. With this method, you can be confident that you’re giving the best explanation for a tough situation.