How to handle being fired on your resume

Woman Carrying Belongings in Box after being fired

One of the most feared circumstances that job applicants dread has to deal with, is how to handle being fired on their resumes. Is there a particular way or process that you should follow? You ensure that you bag this new job while avoiding the uncomfortable fact that you were fired from your last job. This guide will put you through on what to do if you are in this situation.

Before we go into that, however, getting fired from a job does not necessarily mean that you were a bad employee or someone who underperforms. Sometimes, even the so-called ‘good’ employee gets the sack as well. This situation could stem from a lack of competent leadership, office politics or poor management. As a matter of fact, lots of employees who got laid off were high caliber workers. But then, gone are the days when you can sign on with an organization and stay with it until you reach retirement age. Prospective employers understand this sequence of events which could make you move from one job to another. To make a strong impression, you need to present your resume in a positive light such that you can up your chances of getting invited for an interview later on.

Do not mention the fact that you were fired

Closeup of a manager showing progress, dismissal on a resumeYou don’t need to mention the fact that you were fired or try to explain the circumstances behind the action on your resume. All your resume needs to showcase to your prospective employers is the start and end dates for the positions or jobs that you have held.You do this without providing the details behind why you left the jobs.

Your primary focus should be on what you were able to achieve during the time you held those jobs, and how your skills enabled the organizations you worked for to move from one level to another. These skills, of course, should be relevant to the position you are applying for in the new company. Until the hiring manager asks you about the occurrence, there is no need to draw attention to that fact. Generally, you may need to supply some brief information about why you left your previous job in your job application. At this juncture, you can write ‘terminated,’ ‘laid off,’ ‘job ended.’ This is the best response since your primary goal is to make use of your resume and application to secure a position for an interview. Your resume should only display information that has to do with your skills, knowledge, and achievements in your former places of work. Do not display the reason for your termination. Dealing with this issue in person is much better than trusting a sheaf of papers to do it for you.

Be candid

You should always display honesty, especially when you are searching for a new job. If for instance, you were laid off, you should not imply that you are still presently employed by listing your job position as ‘to present.’ This gives your prospective employers the impression that you are still employed. When you try to explain to them later on, they could get offended that you misled them. This could hurt your chances of getting called in for an interview in the future.

Use your cover letter

Your cover letter is the ideal place to mention the reason for your termination. But that is if the reason for firing you had nothing to do with your performance. You can write something along these lines, “my former company underwent an internal which led to the termination of several employees. Unfortunately, I was among those who were laid off, despite my ardent contribution to the growth of the organization over the years. I possess full confidence in my abilities, and believe that, given a chance, I will be able to repeat this feat when given the position that I am applying for…”

Is your last position relevant?

smart casual sollicitatiekledingYou need to find out the relevance of the position you held at your last job and the new one that you are applying for. If there is no relevance, then you need not showcase this fact on your resume. What the hiring managers or prospective employers are interested in is your relevant skills and experience that you can bring to the table.


Avoid insulting your past employer

Don’t ever make the mistake of saying abusive words or invectives at your former employer even if you were laid off. This can be misconstrued as unprofessional and character flaw which could attract untoward questions which will draw attention to negative areas. Don’t bring this situation on yourself.

Why were you laid off?

Girl in a job interviewThis type of question can only come up during the job interview. Since you already have a foot in the door, you can give more details about your termination. Explain in plain language the reason behind the termination and be succinct.

A lot of candidates erroneously assume that getting fired makes it easier for hiring managers to weed out the seemingly bad eggs from the crate. This is usually not the case. The way you handled the situation goes a long way in determining how impressed the hiring managers will be concerning your matter. No one is perfect, and almost everyone has had one negative experience or the other. Handling the situation positively puts you in a positive light with your prospective employer. You will be perceived as someone who is adaptable.