How to Handle a Termination

Getting fired, unfortunately, can happen to the best of us. It can happen even when it's not your fault. There could be a personality conflict between yourself and your supervisor. Your idea of what the job was going to be like might differ from what management was thinking. You could have simply screwed up. It happens. You're not alone. Experts estimate that at least 250,000 workers are illegally or unjustly fired each year and that's not counting those that were justifiably terminated. Regardless of the circumstances, what to do if you've been fired? Where do you go from here?

Getting Fired

First of all, don't beat yourself up. As I said, getting fired can happen to the best of us. Don't dwell on it. Instead, focus on what you are going to do next and how you are going to find another job. Keeping in mind that another hurdle - the stigma of being fired - has just been added to your job search. That said, there are ways you can address this issue and put it in at least a neutral, if not a positive, light.

Legal Issues

Before you begin a job search consider where you stand from a legal perspective. Was your firing legitimate or could it be considered wrongful termination? Are you eligible for unemployment benefits? If you were fired for misconduct you may not be eligible, but, don't presume that is the case. Check with your state unemployment office, especially if you have a different opinion than your employer does about how you parted ways. In many cases, if it isn't clearcut, the unemployment office will lean towards the unemployed job seeker, rather than the employer, when making a decision on unemployment compensation benefits.

Resumes and Cover Letters

All your job search correspondence must be positive. There is no need to mention that you were fired in your resume or in your cover letters. In your cover letters, focus on the basics. Make sure your cover letters address the position you are applying for and why, and how, you are qualified for it. That's all you need to do. There is no point in bringing up the circumstances of your leaving until you have to.