5 Easy Ways on How to Explain You were Fired

By Kelly B. — Published February 15, 2018

5 Easy Ways on How to Explain You were Fired


It is never easy to deal with the aftermath of being fired. Layoffs are quite common in the U.S. as it is in other parts of the world. In May of 2017, more than fifty-thousand retail jobs got cut, which was 40% more than the retail job cuts in April and 70% more than the job cuts faced in 2016! A total of nineteen million layoffs and discharges were seen in 2016.

Being fired can take a toll on physical, mental, and financial health. Explaining you were fired to people who you are not close to can be even more difficult. It may also be challenging to understand how to explain you were fired to other prospective employers. Although it is difficult, here are some pointers to land on your feet and help you with explaining you were fired.

5 ways of explaining you were fired
Here are five ways of explaining you were fired to those who are not very close friends or family.

Polishing your skills: If you were fired because of a lack of certain skill sets and you have since then made efforts to learn them, you should explain this in detail to the prospective employer or others who might influence your job prospects. Of course, it is important that you do address this issue if you got fired because of certain skill paucity.

Job was not up to your expectations: If you have decided to change your career direction or trying to assume a new role, this explanation might be the best route to explaining why you got fired. You could also explain that the previous job you held did not meet your skill sets or expectations.

Workplace policy challenges: If you tried to introduce new processes or ideas in your previous workplace and if they were poorly received, you can explain how the company policies were a poor fit for progressive thoughts. For instance, trying to bring in a new system of feeding terminally ill patients in a conservative hospital could have been met with disapproval. This can convey that you made the best possible efforts to be innovative and creative but the existing policies did not encourage such initiatives.

No fault: Many times, this could be a true explanation for your getting fired! Layoffs due to the company performing poorly, inflation, new tax or labor rules are all commonplace. Explain the reason why there were many layoffs in the company while making it clear that it was not your fault.

Focus on being positive: Excessively criticizing or focusing on the negative points only of your previous employer may actually be counterproductive. The new employer may mark you down as overly pessimistic or negative. While explaining the reason for getting fired, keep it short and concise. Try also to summarize some good points that you appreciated in the previous company such as good perks, pay, great work culture and so on. It is important to remember that what you discuss can reach your previous employer as well.

Talk about positive factors that you have focused on after getting fired such as picking up new skills or taking up freelance work to get more experience.

Finally, explaining you were fired is best done in person. If you are not 100% sure about your facts, it is better to never put these down in written form or email. This will avoid unnecessary complications if ever your previous employer seeks to challenge your claims.

While it may not always be easy explaining you were fired, being genuine, positive, and discrete will help you stay upbeat and on track.

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