How to Describe Being Fired on a Resume

Being fired shouldn't stop you from going forward in your career.

Being fired shouldn't stop you from going forward in your career.

Being fired can be a devastating experience. With all the extra complications of losing your job in this way, getting fired can make it more challenging to get hired in the future. But getting fired is never a reason to give up on your career. As you begin your search for a new position, you shouldn't lie on your resume, but you don't necessarily need to highlight the truth either.

Reason for Leaving

It's not usual on a resume to give a reason for leaving each job you list in your employment history. You just note in the "dates employed" when you moved on to the next one. If you have been fired from your last job, or another job before that, you do not need to describe that specifically on your resume.

Accurate Dates

If you were fired from your last position, be honest about the dates of your employment on your resume, and accurately record when you left the firm. If you try to bend the truth and write "...to present," implying you are still employed there, that's unethical and there's a good chance you'll be found out.

Stay Positive

It's sometimes difficult to think up anything positive to say about a position that ended on a sour note, but your resume should still accentuate the things you achieved or the skills you gained while employed there. Stick with the truth, but resist the temptation to badmouth your former employer.

Prepare for Interview

While you don't have to specifically describe being fired in your resume, you will have to tackle the issue during the interview. More than likely you will be asked why you left, and you should be honest and upfront. The key is to frame your firing positively. Say that you were let go, but tell the interviewer it's been a time for reflection on what's important to you in your professional life, and that you've addressed the issues you believe were at the root of what happened in your last job.

Reach Out

Try to make peace with the employer who fired you, or at least agree to a ceasefire. Call the personnel department or human resources and ask that they not give you a negative reference if they are contacted by a potential new employer. Most will be willing to agree to confirm that you worked for the company, but then to say that their policy is not to give references, or to say that you left by mutual agreement. This leaves you with less explaining to do in your new job application.

 

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