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What to Do After You’ve Been Fired?

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of the business and time management books TimePeace: Making peace with time – the The Book of Answers: 105 Career Critical Situations – and I am a business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies.

A busy professional has this question regarding what to do after you’ve been fired.

She had 3 major questions:

1. Can you leave short-lived jobs off of your resume?

2. If you were fired from a job you were at for a long period of time, is the solution to create a good story around it that doesn’t place blame on the company but also puts you in a positive light?

3. What can you do if you expect bad references?


These are very good questions, so let’s take them on at a time.

Can you leave short-lived jobs off of your resume

There are various types of resumes. The Chronological format is the version most people use. It lists all your jobs and years of employment in chronological order. As you can imagine, the chronological format sometimes put a spotlight on short-lived jobs and breaks in your work history.

The Functional Resume, on the other hand, highlights your experience and accomplishments. The functional resume positions the Objectives, Professional Profile, Skill Summary and Professional Experience sections ahead of your employment history. This way, people review your accomplishments before they even get to your employment history.

Also, you can omit the timeline on the employment history in a functional resume. Instead, you sort your employment history according to its relevancy to your new/desired position. For example, if you are going after a web design job, position the employments associated with web design ahead of anything else. Then position anything associated with development and customer interaction, (in order of relevancy).

If you need help with your functional resume, just give me a call.

If you were fired from a job

If you were fired from a job you were at for a long period of time, is the solution to create a good story around it that doesn’t place blame on the company but also puts you in a positive light?

The phrase “create a good story” – tends to imply that the story would not be “true”. I recommend, regardless of the situation regarding your termination – you always want to be honest. Interviewers can tell when you are not being honest.

You also want to avoid any negative comments about the company or co-workers. If you blame others or describe yourself as a “victim”, prospective employers might perceive you as troublesome.

One the other hand, taking responsibility for your part in the firing, learning from it and being aware of what you need to do next time – is the best course of action. Using the firing as a personal and professional development opportunity illustrates your commitment to continued improvement and dedication to do your best in tough situations.

Your situation may be different, but in general, owning the situation is your best course of action.

What can you do if you expect bad references?

The good news is that potential employees rarely call the reference, unless you have past the initial screening. Congratulations!

Secondly – potential employees also realize that the list you have provided are normally your friends.

This means that, if they are going to check references, they will probably deviate from your list by asking your managers and previous employers. You need be prepared and not assume they will stick to your list.

Be objective and create a list of managers (or whomever you think will give you a bad reference) that you feel might give you a negative reference Contact them, be open regarding your upcoming job interview and apologize for the behavior that lead to your release. Do your best to pre-empt a negative reference from them. It might be a difficult conversation, but it will help. This is also known as “owning the situation”.

On the other hand – I would not tell the interviewer that you expect negative reviews.

Some companies have a policy of not giving references. They are only allowed to say when the person worked there. So, don’t automatically shoot yourself in the foot — when the other person may not be allowed to say anything.

Hope this helps a little.

I know your situation is different. If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally. It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

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