Please advise me on how to fill out an application for work.
May 15, 2016 12:44 PM   Subscribe

I need help knowing how to fill out a job application with my imperfect work history.

I'm trying to fill out a job application and I don't know how to answer parts of the work history section without shooting myself in the foot. I've read some articles on job search sites, and maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like they cherry-pick the scenarios they advise upon and don't really address the issues I'm having. I'm under the impression from reading here and elsewhere, anything that looks remotely negative will result in having my application thrown away immediately.

They want "all information for a 10-year period." For me, that covers four positions: Two of which I was fired from, one I quit showing up, and one that was sort of informal, working as a helper for a friend of the family. I need advice on how to address three of those positions.

Position One:
This was 6 months, in a call center, doing outsourced customer service for a major US telecom provider. I was fired for not having a high enough post-contact rating from the customers I'd talked to. If it were academic grading, I got fired for getting a solid B and I needed to have an A to keep that job. I'm not sure how to answer "Reason for leaving" section on the job application. I was fired for job performance, but that seems like a major negative to list on the application like that and would make the hiring people think the worst, so I'm not sure what to put here.

Position Two:
This was for 1 year. Purely physical & extremely demanding: swinging hammers and lifting heavy lumber for up to 12 hours a day. There were no benefits whatsoever, and management was unsympathetic. My co-workers were illegal immigrants and work-release inmates. Eventually I was injured, not catastrophically, but bad enough to need to stay out a few days, and I just didn't go back and didn't contact management. In addition to the "reason for leaving", the job application wants to know my supervisor's contact info. I'm not sure what to put down for either of these. I only ever knew the supervisor's first name, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't work there anymore anyway. I could list a higher-up position but I'm not sure if this is a good idea either since I don't expect they actually have anything particularly nice to say about me.

Position Three:
This was a 3-year stint in IT support. I was fired when the IT director lost his temper. None of the people who I knew and worked with at that time are with that organization anymore. I don't know who to list as a supervisor, or again, what to say as my "reason for leaving."
posted by glonous keming to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
List all of your jobs.

For supervisor, just put the title.

For reason left position, I might put something like:

Injured at work unable to return
Workforce reduction
Laid off

Most of these employers will verified date of work and that's pretty much it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:53 PM on May 15, 2016 [7 favorites]

Ruthless Bunny nails it.

The hardest bit is the "supervisor's contact info" just list the company and the job title of your supervisor (if they had one). Doesn't matter if the businesses are still in business of not. The reasoning here is that your supervisors really weren't all that high up, and people change jobs especially at the levels they were in. Perfectly understandable if all the company (HR department) is able to do is confirm that, yes, you worked for them at some period of time in the past, or that there once existed a business that you claimed to have worked for.

I suspect that the jobs that you are looking for aren't expecting to contact and interview all of your past supervisors.

Reasons for leaving:
1. Workforce reduction.
2. Workplace injury, unable to return.
3. Workforce reduction.

If they ask you to expand on the reasons during the interview:
1. Workplace (and industry) placed a philosophical emphasis on retaining only their overperformers. Expected level of performance based on client feedback is not sustainable in that industry out of pure statistical chance.
2. It was a highly physical job, there was a minor injury (was this injury reported to any workplace safety organization in your jurisdiction - these things might be required, if it was and it wasn't reported, you have solid grounds not to return. If its not required, then you didn't want to stay in the industry and continue risking your health).
3. Workplace (and industry) placed a philosophical emphasis on churn. As such, the staff that you worked with at the time have all moved on as well.
posted by porpoise at 4:24 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

I mostly agree with the adorable animals who have posted already, but I would not say that you left Job 2 due to a workplace injury. I would just say that it was a demanding physical job, and you were concerned about the effects it was having on your health and quality of life. On the application, you can just put "resigned".
posted by Rock Steady at 7:36 AM on May 16, 2016

Thanks for the help, everyone! :)
posted by glonous keming at 6:52 PM on May 16, 2016

« Older Documentary-making for dreamers with only pocket...   |   Simple sample project for PM Certificate study? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.