I have a problem: 2 months ago I was terminated from my job on conflicts on a safety
issue where I knew I was right about it. Well finding a new job has been both depressing
and not going well at all. It makes me wonder if my past employer is giving me a bad
reference and reputation to where the prospective employers don’t want to sit down
with me for an interview. Is there anything I can do about this?
And what should I say when asked on the applications why I left or reasons for leaving?
The 20 or so rejection letters I can handle But what will it take for someone to give me a
chance and let me show them that I’m not what my old boss says I am??
The Career Doctor responds:
It’s certainly possible your former employer is giving you a negative recommendation
but it’s more likely that you have not properly dealt with the issue from a psychological
and job-hunting perspective.
First from the psychological perspective. Being fired is a traumatic experience. I don’t
care what anyone says. Being fired hits us right in the ego. Our self-esteem takes a shot
and it takes a little while for us to get over the shock and the hurt. It’s during this time that
our mental well-being can affect our job-search efforts.
Second from the job-hunting perspective. It’s not uncommon for people to give off signals
even when we’re trying not to and after being fired and feeling mentally hurt we often do not
do our best job-hunting oftentimes signaling our fragile condition to prospective employers. What
can you do about it? First try and get over the disappointment and move onward with your life
and your career. Next make sure you have all your job-search materials in good order and that
there are no indications of your termination in your cover letter or resume. Remember that you c
ontrol what prospective employers learn about you; and on job applications simply state that you
left to seek new opportunities.
If you are not getting any interviews it’s probably more to do with your job-hunting techniques
or materials than your previous employers. References are usually not checked until an employer
becomes a little more serious about you as a candidate. And if you’re really curious you can always
hire one of the companies that calls your former employers and tells you what they’re saying about you.
I suggest you read my article
Getting Fired: An Opportunity for Change and Growth.
Finally if you’re interested in one of these reference-checking services go to the
Job References & Career Portfolio Services section of Quintessential Careers.