So you got fired. Be proactive afterward to make sure that’s the only time it happens.
The very moment of getting fired may seem like rock bottom, the lowest of lows, but young professionals also need to consider the long-term consequences of a job termination.
Glittery interns and inappropriate Transportation Security Administration inspectors are among the fired who face the task of addressing why they lost their position during a job search. Kevin Nall, associate director for Baylor University’s Career Services, said it’s important for young workers to know how to handle questions in an interview.
If an interviewer asks how a terminated job ended, spin it into a lesson learned about seeking the right fit and do not criticize the former boss, he said. Nall said he recommends that anyone who was fired for performance reasons be accountable and explain that it led to personal growth.
“Own up and take responsibility,” Nall said. “Concede you could have done things better with your effort or your relationships with colleagues.”
Lisa Crawford, senior vice president of human resources at staffing firm Randstad US, Professionals, said recent graduates may encounter sympathetic hiring managers.
“Typically, employers will provide some leeway for young people who have made mistakes, but they want to know that you have learned from this and won’t have a future lapse,” Crawford said.
A pattern of short-term positions is a hiring red flag, she said. It is typically acceptable to omit a terminated position on a resume if it is outside the candidate’s field, Crawford said. However, job searchers should never lie on a resume or in an interview because checking references and social media can expose deceit, Crawford said.
Pouya Vafaee, a 21-year-old sophomore at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said he quit a retail job because he suspected he was about to get fired.
“All of my friends were getting fired for no reason and my managers were giving me weird looks,” he said.
Vafaee said he chose to give his two weeks notice early because he did not want firing’s stigma on his resume.
“Getting fired looks really bad on you,” Vafee said.
History suggests a termination does not ruin careers. Steve Jobs, Peyton Manning and President Grover Cleveland were all denied in their careers and persevered. Crawford said many successful people from different fields survived being fired.
“It’s not the firing that determines your future, it’s how you pick yourself up and move on that will,” Crawford said.
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