Resumes Don’t Include Why You Were Fired or Quit
Surprised? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. One of the most popular questions the experts at Resume Genius face on a regular basis is that of how to deal with being fired from a job or quitting a job on their resume. This seems like such a common problem we’ve decided to create a simple guide to help job seekers understand how to deal with leaving their old jobs on their resume.
The problem is all-to-common and goes something like: “I was fired from my last job”
Being fired from a job isn’t necessarily indicative of being a bad worker or being an underperformer. In fact, the term “being let go” is attached to an overly negative stigma from a resume expert’s perspective.
There could be multiple reasons a “good” employee may be fired. From poor management, office politics, and lack of leadership to simple downsizing, many job seekers who are looking for jobs are actually high caliber talent and should present themselves in just such a way. So just how does one go about creating a resume to reflect this all?
The Wrong Approach:
Including why you were fired under each position in your professional experience section is not only the incorrect place to state such information; it also overshadows the positive elements on your resume and reduces your chance at landing an interview.
The Correct Approach:
The resume is a place to detail achievements, skills and knowledge, not failures. Your resume should focus on the positive, up-selling yourself as an applicant. The place to explain your current situation and why you are applying to the position is actually in your cover letter, not in the resume itself.
Resume Expert Tips
Avoid using the word “fired”, as it’s probably the worst possible way to frame your leaving your last employer. Instead, try some of these phrases to describe your separation:
- “Mutual beneficial separation”
- “Outgrew my previous role”
- “Employer downsized”
- “Company restructuring”
- “Cost cutting”
- “Decided to go our separate ways”
- “Left on good terms”
- “Our paths diverged”
- “Our long-term goals differed”
Wording is so important in resume writing, as it can mean the different between a relatively positive impression and a negative, or skeptical impression at worse from hiring managers.
Ultimately, it’s best not to focus on negatives when composing your resume. Instead, focus on the positives and leave any potential negatives for the interview where you can apply a “glass half full” mentality in how the questions are addressed.
If you are applying for an entry-level job and the job application asks why you left your previous job avoid flat out saying you were “fired” and instead use some of the more positive synonyms mentioned previously.
Never lie to try to cover up the source of a previous termination, as this only creates professional liabilities that could easily surface and be a detriment to your career later on. It’s a bad idea to invest in building a history with a company when all of your achievements could easily be toppled because of an unnecessary lie.
Remember, the job of the resume is to simply land you the interview, so don’t worry about potential negatives and just build an attractive, interview-winning resume.