During the interview process, you are going to at some point be asked why you left your last job.
I think it is a good idea to volunteer that you were fired even before the question is asked. Explain why you were let go. Keep it brief and to the point and be honest. Explain why you were downsized, for example, and how it was not your fault. If it was, explain what happened and how you learned a lesson, turning a negative into a positive experience.
It is also important not to speak negatively about your former employer. It is normal to feel upset if you were fired but leave your anger at home and do not bring it into the interview. You need to get over being terminated and move on.
You have to be able to convince future employers that regardless of what happened in the past you are a strong candidate for the position and can do the job. Therefore, you need to focus on the skills and experience you have, rather than on the firing.
You may also have worked for someone who is known for firing people at whim. If your former employer has a reputation for letting people go for little or no reason then you might not have to do much explaining in your interview.
Regardless of the reason you were let go by an employer, the keys are to be honest, address the situation with as positive a spin as possible and show the employer why you would be the best person for their job.
Jane Waldman is director of recruitment at Kaplow