How To Include a Termination on Your Resume

How To Include a Termination on Your Resume

After an employer lets you go, you have a difficult road to take. In addition to figuring out your finances, you also need to find a new job. And doing that can be a challenge. Most employers like to see lengthy job histories, not terminations. Fortunately, you can still move forward with your career. By following these tips, you make your resume more appealing and increase your chances of finding a new job.

Don't Let It Get to You

Before you feel like your job prospects are bleak, you should know that employers don't expect you to stick with the same company for ten years at a time. In fact, the average length of employment at one employer is just over four years.

So, while termination isn't a good thing, it's not the end of the line for your career. Today, employers are more willing to accept that you may not have spent your entire career at one company. You should go into your job search knowing that you're an asset to whoever hires you. More importantly, you shouldn't focus too much on how your termination will affect your outcome.

Mindset plays into your job search. If you write out your resume as you fret about your termination, you probably won't have a good finished product. Likewise, if you stress too much about your job interview, you won't come across as confident or competent.

Don't Discuss It

If your first draft of a resume has a paragraph devoted to discussing your termination, throw it away. Your resume should be a positive document and not one that explains away your termination. At this point in the hiring process, an employer doesn't need to know everything about you. All they want to know is whether or not you're a good candidate for them.

Instead of discussing your termination, use your resume to highlight your skills and abilities. If you don't know where to start, you should consider hiring someone to write your resume. During other steps of the hiring process, you'll have opportunities to explain your termination. Right now, focus on the positive.

Don't Lie

Here's where things can get complicated. While you shouldn't talk much about your termination on a resume, you also shouldn't lie. Some people try to make it seem as if they're still employed by their employer. As upset as you might be about your termination, resist the urge to say that you're still employed. Eventually, the hiring manager will discover your deceit.

It's rare for a hiring manager to be understanding of deception. Even if you were their first pick for the job, they might decide to go with someone else. When they call for references, they might learn about your termination. Hearing it from your previous employer first means hearing their side of the story. If you want any chance at a job offer, you should be the one to mention your termination.

Don't Be Embarrassed About a Layoff

Did you get laid off rather than fired? In this case, you can be upfront about your situation in a cover letter. Every hiring manager and company owner understands that layoffs happen and aren't the employees' fault. If you explain the layoff, the hiring manager may not question your lack of employment.

There are a few simple ways to discuss your layoff. For instance, you can say the following:

"You may have read about the layoffs at my company. Along with several other positions, mine was eliminated. My performance has always been highly rated, and I look forward to continuing with that trend."

Highlight Your Accomplishments

To make the hiring manager look past your termination, you need to make your accomplishments shine. Think about your value proposition and make that the central theme of your resume. What do you have to offer to this employer?

As you write your resume, focus on all of your assets and accomplishments. This isn't the time to be modest or vague. Use numbers to quantify your success and be specific about what you accomplished.

Put Your Emotions to the Side

One of the most difficult parts of writing a resume after a termination is describing your previous employer and your previous position. However, you need to keep your emotions out of the process. Don't bad-mouth your former employer or mention anything negative about the environment.

Once again, there will be a time to discuss your termination. That time will come during an interview, but you won't ever have an opportunity to explain yourself if your resume is too negative.

Ask Yourself the Right Questions

When you write your resume, take some time for self-reflection. Ask yourself all of the following questions:

Did you perform responsibilities outside of your own position?

Were you able to handle multiple projects at a time without failing?

What major contributions did you make to your previous employers?

How did you excel in the workplace, and how did that benefit your employer?

When did you perform higher than the expectations?

What challenges did you overcome, and how did you overcome them?

Did your performance have a positive impact on the company?

What accolades did you receive?

Apply for the Right Jobs

If you want your resume to be effective, you need to apply for the right jobs. Sure, you can try to stretch your resume to make it seem as if you're a fit for a new industry. But don't exaggerate or apply for a job you have no chance of getting.

For the best results, look for positions you're qualified for. You can still change industries, but make sure you pick jobs you're qualified for.

Ask for Help

Finally, don't be afraid to ask for help. If you're close with any former coworkers, ask them about your performance. They may be able to pinpoint a few accomplishments and assets that you forgot. Even your friends and family members can be a valuable resource for resume writing.

While you might not remember what makes you an asset, the people around you will. Right after a termination, the thing you need most is positivity. Let your loved ones remind you what it is that makes you such a great employee.

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