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How to apply for a new job if you’ve been fired

By Fi Darby

Losing your job is never easy. However, if you’ve been fired, things can be even trickier. Alongside your turmoil of emotions, you may be faced with financial worries, and not know where to turn next. All of these can result in losing your confidence with job applications. 

Whatever happened in your last job, you’ll have learned lessons to make you stronger in your next one. 

Below, SkillsTalk share some top tips on how to apply for a new job if you’ve been fired.

How to cope when you've been fired from a job 

1. Give yourself some space.

Before you make any big decisions, take time to rest, exercise, eat healthily and look after your wellbeing. Being fired can be a stressful time. You need to make sure you’re ready before you start looking at your next career steps.

If your finances allow, you might want to consider taking a short break. Some time away from your usual setting might help you clarify what you want to do next. If you can’t afford to go away, consider a staycation. Relaxing activities enjoyed from the comfort of your own home can be just as beneficial as visiting a new place.

2. Talk to people.

man talking with woman looking serious

Talking difficult situations with other people often helps. Choose friends and colleagues whom you know will be honest. If you’re struggling with your emotions, consider seeking professional help. For example, a counsellor will be able to help you understand your feelings and develop strategies that will help you move forwards.

When you feel you’re ready, ask for feedback from your former employer. Once your emotions have settled, it can be really helpful to get clarification about the circumstances of your dismissal. If you don’t want to talk to your ex-boss, consider approaching the human resources team. 

As you talk things over with people, be prepared for uncomfortable truths. This is a good time to exercise humility. Try to accept what other people say, even if you don’t entirely agree with it.

3. Understand your current situation.

Making a comprehensive review of your current situation will help you ensure your next steps are the right ones.  If your financial situation is worrying you, examine that first. Make sure you understand your income and outgoings. If necessary, look specifically for opportunities to make temporary cutbacks on expenditure.

Try to do a bit of self-examination. Take advantage of this chance to consider your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be too hard on yourself but be honest about areas in which you could improve. Remember that weaknesses can also be seen as opportunities.

6 tips to find a new job after being fired 

1. Ensure that you're the right fit for the role.

Consider your personality. A temperament that didn’t suit one organisation might be exactly right for another. A good place to start would be deciding whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert. It might also help to think about previous career moves. Consider how different elements of previous jobs made you feel. Pin down what would help you see your next career step as a positive one.

Before applying for jobs, think about what you like doing. It’s often the daily tasks list on a job description that gives the most information about that job. Match these to your abilities and you’ll be onto a winner.

2. Do your research. 

There are job titles and roles out there today you might not have heard of when you started your last job. If you don’t know what a digital marketing strategist or an IT business analyst does, take time to find out.  Being open-minded about different job roles or even industries will give you a far greater chance of making a positive next career move.

Pay particular attention to roles in industries that are currently experiencing growth in Australia. These include information technology, community services and distribution. By finding a role in an expanding industry, you’ll be giving yourself more opportunities for future development, as well as a more secure job.

3. Take the opportunity to develop new skills. 

young woman with glasses smiling at camera

As time goes on, it will be easier to see being fired in a positive light. If you want to learn something new, or have a hobby with job potential, now would be a great time to consider studying for new qualifications.

The sooner you can start studying the better. After the negative experience of being fired, learning will help you move forwards and take positive steps. On top of that, you’ll be showing prospective employers that you are eager to progress. Online learning courses can work really well in this situation because they’re flexible enough to fit into a busy schedule once you do find your next job.

4. Nail the tone of your job application. 

Before you apply for a job, contact your professional network to find some reliable referees. If you’ve been fired, you’ll need some glowing references to boost your credibility. Get in touch with previous colleagues or clients and check they’re willingness to help out.

When completing your application form, don’t leave out any vital information. Employers will always question employment gaps. Your last job didn’t end well but you still need to include it on your resume and application form. Make sure you emphasise your skills and responsibilities in your last role but put more focus on previous jobs that you feel went well.

5. Be positive.

Whatever happened in your last job, it’s important to remember that you still have plenty to offer. This is your opportunity to showcase your strong points. Your job application and interview are both about moving on. You’ll have to answer questions about the past but make sure you allocate more time to talking about your positive ideas for the future.

A few positivity skills will help you make it clear you’re ready to move forward. Using phrases like, ‘seeking new opportunities’, ‘welcoming new challenges’ or ‘embracing change’ in your covering letter and interview can demonstrate your eagerness to progress.

6. Create a lasting impression during job interviews.  

Be ready for tricky interview questions. Your interviewer will understandably want to ask you about the reasons behind your dismissal. Accept this and prepare your answers carefully. Your best approach will be honesty without dwelling too much on the past.

Never dish the dirt at an interview. Employee loyalty is important in all jobs so, no matter how you feel, avoid being negative about your former boss. It’s okay to mention differences of approach but don’t make things personal. Leave your emotions at home on the day of your interview. Losing your cool won’t help your job prospects. Practising answering questions with friends will help you to desensitise and keep calm.

Keep pushing forward with your career 

How you approach the job market now is up to you. Whatever route you choose to take, your prospects can be enhanced by additional learning. Upskilled offers a wide range of online courses that can give you more flexibility when tending to your work and personal commitments. 

Get in touch today to find out how Upskilled can help you make your next positive career move.
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*By providing your information, you agree to our Privacy Policy and to receiving email and other forms of communication from Upskilled. You are able to opt-out at any time.