Getting fired— it can happen to the best of us, and it can even happen when it’s not your fault. Many people have been fired due to personality conflicts between themselves and managers or other employees. The idea of what your job was going to be like may be miles away from what management had in mind. Or you could simply have screwed the pooch. It happens and you’re not alone.
Experts believe that at least 200,000 people are unjustly or illegally fired each year. So you’re fired–now what do you do? Do you sulk and cry for a day (pity party, table for one please), probably, but then you get back up and do your best to find something that will work for you. But, you’re fired now, so what are your options? Regardless of whether you were fired for legitimate reasons or not, where do you go from here?
First thing you do is not beat yourself up over it. Getting fired can happen to anyone, even the best employees have been fired at one point, so do not dwell on it. Keep your focus on what you are going to do next and how you’re going to find another job. But, keep in mind that you have another hurdle to overcome – the tag of being fired – has been added to your job search woes. There are ways to overcome this issue and at least put it in a neutral light.
Before you start your job search do some research and see where you stand legally. Your termination could be legitimate or it could be considered wrongful termination. Check and see if you are eligible for unemployment benefits. You don’t know whether you are eligible until you file so that should be the first step after getting fired. Ask your state’s unemployment office, especially if you and your employer have a disagreement on the grounds of your termination. In cases where it is not clear, the unemployment office will often lean towards the unemployed person over the corporation, especially when making a decision on unemployment benefits.
Your Resume and Cover Letter
There is no reason to mention that you were fired in your job search, on your resume or in your cover letter. Just make sure that your job search is positive and you portray yourself in a solid, responsible light. In your cover letter, you can focus on the basics, while avoiding long winded explanations of past employment. Your cover letter should address the specific position you are applying for, make sure that your cover letter is correct and matches each job you apply for, as well as addressing why you are applying, and how you are qualified. There is no reason to bring up your firing in your cover letter or resume. That should wait for your interview, if at all.