Your heart is pounding. You’re freaking out. You don’t know what to do. It’s okay. Oprah’s been fired… Vogue editor Anna Wintour has been fired… Steve Jobs was fired from the company he co-created… Know that you are not a failure. You are simply facing a setback.
Take a step back and reevaluate.
- As cliché as it sounds, everything happens for a reason. This is the time to assess the situation at hand. Understand why you have been fired. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses and take accountability for what you may have done wrong. Blaming others won’t help. Ask yourself questions such as
- Was it the right place for you?
Is this career you really want?
Were there outside factors contributing to your setbacks or were you simply unmotivated?
- We advises students to speak with their advisors after the termination.
- If they were terminated mid-internship, we would encourage them to first talk to their advisor. It is always good to self-reflect on what went wrong and how to avoid making the same mistakes with the next internship. The advisor will help with this process and also help the student understand (from an employer perspective) why they were terminated. The advisor should be able to help the student find an internship that speaks to the student’s strength and gives the person the best chance to be successful.
- Whatever the answer to whatever question, it is good to figure it all out before applying to your next internship. In addition, this would be a good time to relax and get your head together. This can be emotionally straining.
Redo your resume and cover letter.
- After taking time to reflect and move forward, it would be best to edit your resume and cover letter. If you truly understand what went wrong at your last internship and how you learned and improved, be prepared to talk about being fired. Depending on the circumstances though, it may not be best to put yourself in a situation where your former experience can jeopardize a new one. Removing that experience from your resume may be necessary. However, honesty is the best policy.
- Keep in mind though, if the employer finds out you lied on an application then it could be grounds for termination since the application would have been falsified…Recruiters are mini investigators and will press about gaps in employment and can also find information on LinkedIn and other social media.
- That’s it. It’s over. It happened. You learned your lesson. Be sure to take the lesson with you into your next professional endeavor. Focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
- Employers want to know that you learned from the experience and how you would have/will do things different. They also know that whatever you did to get fired, you own and won’t do again.
- The moral of the story is learning from your mistakes. It is okay to pick yourself up, and move forward. Before seeking an internship, find out if that company or organization is a place you feel fits. Professionalism is key. If you decide that you won’t let your mistakes hinder you from success, then you will be just fine.
Things Not to Say or Do If You’re Fired
- Don’t impulsively disparage your supervisor or blame co-workers or subordinates for your performance problems. This is a hard one if you think they helped cost you your job, but future employers will conduct thorough background checks and seek input from former colleagues at all levels. Any enemies that you’ve made with your departing comments will be more likely to share damaging information. Parting impressions can be lasting and might influence staff to view you as a negative person
- Don’t be afraid toask for a recommendationas part of your separation agreement, or at least clarify how your employer will field inquiries about your tenure. If you have supportive colleagues, ask if they might furnish a positive recommendation while you are still in close contact.
- Don’t broadcast your firing to networking contacts and friends immediately. Before you tell the world you’ve lost your job, take the time to think through your message and how you’d like to be perceived by colleagues and other professional contacts. Frame your story around a theme such as the job not being the right fit for you. But don’t be overly critical of your employer or the company in general. Save your venting of emotions for a limited group of trusted friends or family members.
- Most importantly, don’t lose faith in yourself. A firing can be demoralizing but remember it is only one employer’s decision, and there will be other, more suitable options for you. Take the time to regroup and find a job that is a better fit for you and your interests. It may be that this wasn’t the right job for you and a push to find a new one is just what you needed to move along your career.