Getting fired is an unfortunate circumstance that isn’t uncommon in the working world.
It can happen to anyone, whether it’s a fault of your own, the boss having a bad day, or the result of a customer interaction gone bad.
It’s important to move forward with confidence and resolve after being fired, but this begs the question: “What about my resume…?”
Does Getting Fired Look Bad on a Resume?
Getting fired looks terrible on a resume if it is written explicitly. Any new employer would view having been fired as a red flag, and it would make most reconsider hiring a person. You do not need to write on your resume that you were fired, so try to write in a way that doesn’t allude to it directly.
Employers do have a right to be hesitant with someone who had been fired. Why did it happen? What did they do wrong? Especially if the incident was malicious, such as being fired for stealing or for knowingly breaking policy.
Being fired is much different from being let go, laid off, or being a dislocated worker, so make sure you do not use these terms to describe your employment situation.
A worker who was fired has had their employment terminated for negative reasons, and it was not a mutual decision.
If an employer comes to find out this was the case, they have the right to pass over your resume, as employment protection laws do not cover the potential employee for these reasons.
Be aware that if an employer were to find out, it would reflect poorly on you.
For this reason, it is best to avoid mentioning the reason you left your previous employment on your resume! It is not necessary to outline your reasons for leaving previous jobs.
This is an uncommon practice in resume writing, though sometimes utilized by those who are relocating or were let go from temporary jobs.
You should not lie to an employer, as this is immediate grounds for not being hired, or in some cases can lead to dismissal after hiring if found out. That said, you can leave your reasons vague while being interviewed.
“My visions differed from those of my ex-employer”, “It was not the right fit for my skillset”, or “employees were not protected from customer harassment” are all ways that you can explain your departure from an old company without outing yourself as having been fired.
Should you include a job you were fired from on a resume?
The safest option is to not include the job which you were fired from on your resume. However, if this was a long-term job or an extremely relevant job it may be best to leave it in. Huge holes in your working history may raise suspicion and lead to questions. If the job was short, you can omit it.
The biggest reason to avoid including a job you were fired from on a resume is that an employer may call your old place of employment to inquire about your working history.
If it comes up that you were fired from that job, then you may not get that new job you were hoping for.
It may happen that an employer never does their due diligence and doesn’t call the old place of employment.
It is a gamble, so be sure that the job is extremely relevant or impressive if you choose to include it on your resume.
Leaving the experience off a resume is the best option to choose when possible because there is no risk of an employer finding out what you don’t tell them.
How to include a job you were fired from on a resume
A job you were fired from should be included on a resume just as any other job would be in the experience section. List the company name, the dates worked, and include responsibilities and achievements. Do not include the fact that you were fired in the description.
Jobs in the experience section should be listed in reverse-chronological order, meaning newest on the top and oldest toward the bottom.
While in some cases you may write your reason for leaving a job, the word “fired” should never appear on your resume.
Leave off all reasons for leaving from your resume, as having one missing could raise a red flag. List the dates worked using month and year format, and list everything else as usual.
When including your bullet points, stick to 3-4 bullet points for a specific job on your resume. Decide whether or not you wish to use periods with bullet points, as you have to remain consistent for each job you list in this section.
When written properly, the job you were fired from should look as follows:
Joe’s Sandwich Shop – Line Cook (January 2017 – November 2019)
- Prepared food on a per-order basis in a fast-paced environment
- Logged kitchen stock and prepared weekly orders of ingredients and equipment
- Kept a clean and maintained area according to restaurant Servsafe policies
You will notice that nothing seems amiss in this job description, nor does it give off any red flags or reasons an employer should worry. This is the goal when listing a job you were fired from in the work experience section.
Does being laid off look bad on a resume?
Being laid off is different from getting fired. It is typically not the employee’s fault and isn’t viewed negatively by a new employer. This doesn’t look impressive on a resume and shouldn’t be mentioned in writing, but it is not a red flag if an employer finds out about a past layoff.
Layoffs can occur for several reasons, but they tend to be out of necessity rather than a reaction to employee behavior.
Departments being cut, staff numbers being reduced, or programs being ended are all reasons why someone may be laid off.
As with someone who has been fired, you should not note specifically why you left your previous place of employment if you were laid off.
The difference lies in the interview, where you can be upfront about the reason for leaving without worrying about the consequences.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.