Should You Say You Were Fired on Your Resume?

— March 26, 2019

Should You Say You Were Fired on Your Resume?

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One detail that many job seekers get hung up on is how to explain why they left one job for another. This is especially true if they were fired or let go. After all, that doesn’t look great to a future employer. But people come and go from jobs all the time, and oftentimes it doesn’t have much to do with them. They may have been let go because the company downsized, was sold, or restructured. Whatever the reason, it tends to cause some confusion when it comes to updating their resume.

If you’ve been let go from your job, here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare your resume for a job search:

Less is more. Your resume isn’t the best place to go into an explanation of why you left each position. Your goal is to attract interest for someone to hire you, not show them why you were fired. A general rule of thumb is to leave explanations off completely. If you do feel the need to elaborate, choose your wording carefully and integrate it into the content. You could say something like, “Spearheaded all accounts payable and receivable prior to company acquisition by XYZ” or “prior to company downsizing.” If another company pursued you, you could mention that you were “recruited to plan and execute strategic marketing initiatives” or something similar. Keep it short and to the point.

Focus on the positives. Remember that you don’t want the focus to be on why you parted ways but rather on everything you accomplished while you were there. Highlight your achievements, process improvements you put in place, leadership responsibilities, and how you helped the company to be more successful. You want potential employers to see what you have to bring to the table and how you can benefit their business, employees, and customers.

Leverage your cover letter. You could also put a brief mention of why you left in your cover letter if you feel compelled to give more explanation. But once again, try to keep it positive. Explain that you decided to part ways or went through a mutually beneficial separation. You could also say that you wanted to advance your career by pursuing other options. Just make sure that you are being truthful.

Save it for the interview. You may choose to avoid the situation all together on your resume and cover letter and see if it is brought up in an interview. An employer may ask why you left your last position, in which case you should tell the truth because you don’t want to be caught in a lie. But you can be brief and put the emphasis on what you have to offer moving forward.

No matter the situation, your goal is to position yourself in a positive light in order to land your next job. Don’t dwell on the past and worry yourself over what an employer might think. They may not even bring up why you were let go but rather choose to focus on the strengths and accomplishments your resume promotes.

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Author: Amanda Clark

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