Wednesday, 1 June 2016

How to explain being fired on your resume

It is the most awful feeling, because even in the absolute worst job, we want to feel like we are wanted and appreciated. So what happens when you are sat down and told your employment is terminated?

For many people this won't come as a surprise because there should have been months of performance management meetings and performance goals set. But sometimes this doesn't happen, particularly if you work for a small business, or have poor management, or most often within the "probation period" where performance management is a good idea, but not necessarily required.
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So after receiving the news, a letter and trying to digest the news and move on from the shock, the next question is "how do I explain this on my resume?!"

I am sure everyone you ask will give a different opinion, and here is mine.

Be honest.

"Cripes", I hear you say. "Join the real world!"

Yes, yes, I know, but let me finish.

Sit down and think about that job and what you liked, and didn't like. I'm pretty certain on reflection you will discover that it really wasn't the right fit for you. Perhaps it was the culture of the organisation, the culture of the team, the management style, the location or just the type of work. You can use this to not only explain what happened, but to ensure that you don't make the same mistake twice.

On your resume you should write the details of the organisation as you normally would. When you get to interview stage with a recruitment agency or Company and they ask about the role, that is when you explain your role duties and so forth, but also explain that because of xyz, (being the reasons you thought about above) the role wasn't the right fit, so now you are looking for abc.
Let me give you an example:
"I found the culture of the organisation wasn't very team oriented, and I quite like being able to think of ideas and throw them around with a team. So I decided to look for a role that is more team based....."

If the recruiter asks you outright the circumstances of you leaving, then you should be honest about it, but turn it into a positive by explaining what you learnt from the experience and how you have used that to hone in to what you need from a new role. 

There is a real risk that if you try and lie about the circumstances, you may just get caught out, especially when you consider how much information is available online today. You need to build trust in your employment relationship from the start. Your reputation isn't worth it. I also strongly believe that the right kind of employer will respect your honesty and your ability to show emotional intelligence and maturity by learning from the experience.

What do you think? Is honesty really the best policy?

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