How to Get References After Being Fired

Updated November 21, 2016

Being fired from a job can be a devastating blow to your ego as well as your finances. Beginning a job search after being fired can be difficult but it's not impossible. With careful planning, you can receive quality references even after being fired.

Understand that there is life after being fired. Approach reference gathering with a positive attitude. After all, if you can't remain positive about your future, why should someone else? Ask a friend or family member to remind you of your strengths and good qualities in case you have forgotten.

Make a list of potential references. Since most employers will ask for at least 3 references it is important to have a diverse pool to choose from. Use this initial list to weed out those who may not portray you in the best light. Although you were fired, there may be useful contacts from your former workplace that will give you a positive recommendation.

Think beyond your past workplace. Do you volunteer at the community centre or play a sport? Providing references from contacts outside of your former workplace will help present your total skill set. These references can also work to offset any negative impressions associated with your past firing.

Contact your potential reference. You should always give your reference a warning that he will be contacted by a prospective employer. Always ask permission before listing a reference to prevent the embarrassment of a negative reference or a wrong number. This will also give you time to figure out how to get the best references regarding your skills and abilities.

Follow up with a thank you. This applies even when the job opportunity is not offered. Being polite will be remembered in the future.


Avoid using relatives as references. References should be able to provide unbiased opinions to your potential employer.


Never make up a reference's contact information. Their contact information should be as accurate as your resume.

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