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7 Tips for Finding an IT Job After Termination

Sep 30 , 2015

Being able to explain your termination well in an interview can help you find a new job.

Termination happens for many different reasons, and no matter the reason, it makes finding a new job more difficult. Here are some tips for turning things around and finding a new IT job after a termination.

1. Start Looking Immediately

You may feel emotionally battered and worn after being fired, but the best course of action is not to take time off, but to begin your search for a new job right away. Gaps in your IT resume are difficult to explain the longer they are, and IT skills can get stale quickly, so the sooner you get back out there, the less you will have to explain or catch up on.

2. Stay Positive

No matter what happened and how wronged you feel, it's never beneficial for your IT job search to badmouth your former employer, boss, or manager in an interview or cover letter. In fact, one approach to try is to accept responsibility for your part in the termination, no matter how small, and try to part on good terms. You can even try to ask for a reference from your former employer, although they may not be willing to give you one depending on the circumstances.

3. Connect With Helpers

Most IT candidates can identify individuals who could support them in their job search. This could be former employers (prior to the terminating employer), course instructors or professors, and associates from professional conferences or other colleagues in the IT field. Now is the time to network and connect with these individuals and see how they might be able to help with job leads and recommendations.

4. Volunteer for Your Career

Volunteering is a positive way to spend your time between jobs, and can bolster your resume as well. Stick to volunteering within your area of expertise, though: instead of serving soup at the soup kitchen, see if you can build them a website or some custom payroll software (depending on your skill set). Taking a course to fill in skills gaps is another good way to bridge the gap and land an interview where you can talk about new skills.

5. Be Creative

Using the words "fired" or "terminated" is almost never recommended in an interview, and never on the application. Some words to use instead include "creative differences," "philosophical differences," or "downsizing." You should come up with a neutral way to tell your story and practice it until it becomes familiar. Rambling on about it raises red flags and is just as bad as not addressing it at all. More suggestions can be found here.

6. Show Your Resilience

Part of your story about your termination should show that you have learned something from the situation. If you can show that you have addressed IT skills gaps, learned how to ask for help, or in some other way gained from your experience, it could actually give you an advantage over other candidates (as long as you weren't fired for embezzlement or harassment or something like that).

7. Keep Trying

Perseverance is particularly important for an IT job search after termination. Utilize all your resources like recruiters, job boards and personal contacts. There are employers out there for whom termination is not a deal breaker, so keep applying until you find one of them that is a good match for your skills.

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