What Do I Put On A Resume If I Was Fired?

If you have been fired from a job, your first feeling is probably one of panic. Not only do you have no income now, but how are you going to convince anyone to hire you after your dishonor? Tons of people are fired from work every day, though, and the majority of those people go on to work in new positions. Being fired is not a unique life event, and you should not spend your time dwelling on it—and neither should you dwell on it when you are applying for new jobs. What should you put on your resume if you were fired? Probably nothing.

There is no need to put the reason for the end of your employment on any of your resume entries. Simply put the dates you started and ending your employment at each position and list your duties and achievements. There is no rule anywhere that states you need to discuss the reasons for your termination anywhere on your resume. This is a common thing for job candidates not to realize. You cannot provide false information on a resume, but you do not have to provide all information either.

When you fill out job applications, that is a different story. Odds are you will be asked the reason you left each of your positions. In the case of being fired, you do not have to write the word “fired.” A couple of other words are equally accurate, but more neutral in tone. Try “terminated,” or “discharged,” or even “let go.” These do not necessarily imply you were or were not fired. They could mean there was a mass layoff and you were part of it.

During your interview, there is a chance that the circumstances surrounding your “termination” will come up. If you are asked about it, whatever you do, never lie about being fired. Be honest and up-front about it. Also avoid any negativity about your past employer, even if the circumstances were terrible. Always speak in positive terms about your previous company and boss, and look for ways you can turn the experience into a positive one. Then push the discussion forward as quickly as possible.

Here is a good example of a response to this question:

“After some major reorganization in my firm, there were some organizational complications in my department. In hindsight, I realize that following the structural changes, I would have thrived better in a different environment—like the one here at your company. I am now grateful for my past experience since I am on my way to a better opportunity.”

Notice that in this statement, nothing negative is said about the previous employer, and there is no whining about specifics. A positive statement is made about the potential employer’s workplace, and the last line pushes the interview forward. Do not dwell on the past experience any longer than necessary. Answer any follow-up questions in a similar manner, focusing in moving the interview forward with each of your responses.

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Join The Discussion - 3 Comments

  1. Amber Lynn says:

    But I don’t want to convince anyone to hire me :/

    • Chelsey says:

      Yes, I think the author should edit that part lol overall, it was a good article

  2. Lisa Barrett says:

    I was fired. Someone said I acted in negative way and violated policy. Even if it wasn’t true the new company won’t want to hire me. The reason is for fear I’m going to do that with them.

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