Overcoming the Stigma of Being Fired

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Losing your job is tough enough on its own, but being fired instead of laid off brings another layer of trouble. A firing may act as a red flag to other employers, since you lost your job through some fault of your own. While you'll have to work a little harder to find your next job, you can bounce back from a termination with a little preparation and honesty.

Audit Yourself

Honestly evaluate yourself by taking a look at your current skill set, education and other qualifications. You must decide whether you want a job in the same field or take a different career path. Make an accurate list of your goals and what you need to do to achieve them and keep track of your progress. You may need training or have to take classes to make yourself more marketable or suitable for the position you want. Use this time to deal with the negative emotions you feel over the firing. Take care of yourself physically and don't fall into a slump. You will keep your emotions from invading your job search if you deal with them now.

Market and Polish

Don't just recycle your old resume. Create an entirely new resume and cover letter and polish them as much as possible. Highlight your skills and accomplishments as opposed to your work history. Get all of your professional references together, and if you don't have any, get some from former employers and co-workers. Rehearse what you will say in interviews regarding your termination. If you're caught off-guard, you might say something you didn't need to disclose.


While you don't want to ask anyone you know for a job outright, you can use your connections to uncover job opportunities. Let everyone know you're looking for a job and ask for advice. If your line of work has professional associations, now is the time to get involved by attending events and volunteering. Use professional events and meetings to make connections with other people in your industry.

Be Honest

You can gloss over your termination on your cover letter and resume, but it might come up in an interview, and you will need to address it. Do not talk poorly about your past employer and do not lie about your firing. How you should approach any questions about your termination depends on why you were fired. For example, if it had to do with your performance, state the facts and emphasize what you have done to correct those problems. You don't need to go into great length about your firing, however, and move the conversation into a different direction as soon as you can.