Career Advice

What is the Difference Between Laid Off and Fired?

Laid off. Fired. Let it go. No matter which words you use to define losing your job, it can be a difficult and stressful situation- not to mention downright upsetting. Although the terms surrounding unemployment are most often used interchangeably, they are not synonyms. You might think that language does not really matter as in the end, the result is the same, i.e. you lose your job. However, the difference between being laid off and getting fired can have a vital effect on your money and in the job search in future.

If you are facing trouble processing this turbulent and most often traumatic life event, here is one thing that you must understand to help you get through this: Were you fired or laid off?

The basic difference between “Fired” and “Laid off”

In case of a layoff, the loss of employment is generally without any fault of the employee. Usually, a layoff means there is no longer a requirement for the position as it exists currently.

Typical reasons why a company would lay off one or many employees include:

  • Reorganization
  • Downsizing
  • Acquisition or a merger
  • Changing business requirements
  • Loss of grant or contract for which the person was originally appointed

On the contrary, being fired is often about a certain person and their performance. Typically, a person is fired because of poor performance, violation of company policy, and some other act that is not in line with the organization.

How to laying off has an impact on job search

Regardless of whether you have been fired or laid off, once you have a gap in your resume, you must keep an explanation ready, because, no matter whether you like it or not, it will come up in the future interviews. A layoff can happen to anyone and are not something you should settle on. However, a series of layoff on your resume will begin to raise some questions.

How getting fired impacts job search

On the other hand, getting fired is a different story- literally. Though you may be interested in hiding what happened, or even distort the truth, resist the need to lie.  The world is a small place. You don’t know who knows you. And if you are caught saying a lie, the chances of getting a job almost becomes nil. But you can put the termination in the best manner as much as possible. If you got fired from the organization because of any mistake from your part, then admit it as a professional.

If you keep on passing the blame, you end up being immature and childish. Even if you are right and your boss is an unreasonable jerk, there is no way to win. Talk about your desire to move forward in a positive manner and your commitment to achieving success and focus on your skills and explain why you are an apt fit for this new role. Showing that you learned something from your experience and therefore won’t repeat the same shows that you are responsible or matured.

Letting know the interviewer that you were let go shows that you are not hiding anything from them, and if they confirm this by cross-checking with your references, it won’t be an unpleasant surprise for them.

While both, being fired or laid off from your job are both difficult situations for different reasons, understanding the differences between the two and how to tackle each situation can help you move successfully in the future.

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