With a new season of The Apprentice beginning, we will once again be hearing and joking about the now house-hold phrase, “You’re Fired”. But for those in the real world that have to pick up the pieces and carry on after being fired, the phrase is far from common. Just like a personal breakup, professional relationships can end on good and bad terms. As the employee, the outcome will stay with you and affect your career, so it is important to handle any professional breakup, regardless of who initiated it, with professionalism.

It is understandable that emotions come into the breakup equation, but if you were fired from your job it is critical to assess how this will impact your career and then immediately begin implementing damage control to salvage what you can of the relationship and your reputation.

Clients often ask me about the best way to proceed after being fired. My suggestions usually depend on the situation but dusting off the old and preparing for the new is usually my best advice.

You can begin by seeing if you can get a positive reference from someone above you at the place you were let go. If you are not able to generate an effective letter or contact name it might be worth a small investment to contact a reference checking company such as www.alllisontaylor.com which will inquire about your services at your previous employers to see what they’re recommendation will be. It can save you in sleepless nights and the uncertainty of not knowing what they will be saying about you.

As you prepare for your job search make sure your online presence has a consistent message and relates directly to your resume and your current goals. Take time to make the necessary changes to your online and offline materials to ensure a strong branded message. Develop a motivated plan for your search  including  narrowing down the industries, companies, and location you will focus your search on and ramping up your networking.

Assume you will have to discuss the reason you were let go from your previous job. Spend some time either writing or talking with someone to get out your feelings, fears, frustrations and even anger regarding your departure. Once you’ve got it all out you can organize an honest yet positive response that isn’t dripping in spite or excuses. You want an answer that does not bog down the interviewer with details or emotions, but does leave them seeing the positive nuggets that came from the breakup which you learned about yourself. Share with them that what you learned about yourself will be valuable to your next employer.

As you look for your next job make sure the position and the company are the right fit for you. Do your due diligence to confirm that the company, culture and employees align with your personality and goals. Use your networking savvy to find contacts that can provide rave reviews and hand deliver you to your next opportunity.

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