Any of us who have been fired from a company (been there, done that!) know how difficult it is to get organized and prepared to jump back into the job market. But before you put yourself out there for interviews, you need to take a few small steps in order to get yourself properly prepared for what lies ahead. Here are a few suggestions that have helped me in the past.
Check Your Emotions at the Door. For whatever reason(s) you were fired, and no matter what your feelings are regarding if you were terminated with justification, you need to reflect and analyze what happened in your last job. I recommend that you sit down and write out a complete history of what you experienced and what you learned and where you were at fault. You don’t need to share this with anyone, but you do have to do some soul searching to see where the disconnect occurred between you and your last employer. The last thing you want to do is go for a job interview and vent your emotions to a prospective new employer. You need to admit to yourself why you were let go – regardless of whether you were ‘at fault’. Perhaps it was bad chemistry between you and a new boss. Perhaps the company moved in a direction that left you as the odd man out. The bottom line is – be honest with yourself and take a good hard look at what happened.
Take some time to look for the right opportunity. I realize we all have to get back to work as soon as possible so we can pay the rent. But rushing into a new job just for a paycheck is a terrible idea. If you’ve been honest with yourself regarding what happened at your last job, you’ll probably come to the conclusion that it was just a bad fit and the push-comes-to-shove moment was always on the horizon. So take a deep breath and explore what you would ideally want to pursue, where your unique abilities can best be utilized, and what type of a company (and boss) you’d really like to be working for.
Network. Network. Network. You will be amazed at how many friends you have and how many of your colleagues are willing to help you in your new job search. Bounce your ideas off of these assets and rehearse possible interview questions – especially, “so tell me about your last job.” Role playing was one of the most effective ways I found to be able to tell others what happened in my last job without sounding defensive (or offensive). And talking to trusted colleagues about what direction I thought would be right for me allowed me to gain more insight based on constructive advice.
Rehearse. And then rehearse some more. I leaned on several friends who helped me rehearse the interview process. We kicked around ideas and talked about what questions I was likely to be asked. The more I rehearsed, the more comfortable I became. And, the more confident I became. Confidence in one’s abilities comes through in every interview – you either have it or you don’t – and decision makers like to see a confident candidate. Confidence is beautiful.
Stay positive and control the interview process. Once you’ve identified the position you want to go for, write out your unique abilities and a narrative of why you’re the best person for the job. Sit in front of the mirror and make your case. Again and again. When you show up for the interview, bring a positive attitude and a bit of swagger and make your case. Don’t be shy when it comes to selling yourself. A positive, informed, confident interview is what the interviewer is looking for – they want a candidate who is not afraid of leading and stating their position.