Should you add to your resume a job that you got fired from?
April 24, 2007 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Should you add to your resume a job that you got fired from?

There is actually more to this question. I recently got fired from a job, actually last week, and I"m putting together my resume to start applying but I was wondering should I put this job that I was fired from on my resume at all? Also the thing is that this job that I got fired from I had worked there for 5 years so it would be a big missing spot on my resume if I do exclude it. I'm just not sure how to handle this situation since I never had to before. Also if I do add this previous job to my resume will it affect me finding another job?

Thanks in advanced.
posted by mcraul to Work & Money (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It all depends on your internal issues with lying. If it was me, I'd look for a job now pretending I still work there, yet tell the possible employers I was still there and not to call them as I don't want them to know.
posted by thilmony at 8:44 AM on April 24, 2007

Response by poster: I had thought that HR is not supposed to tell the other potential job that I had been fired but only that I worked there. I might be wrong on this and prob an HR person can answer this.
posted by mcraul at 8:48 AM on April 24, 2007

Why were you fired? Misconduct? Or was it more of a workforce reduction rather than anything to do with your performance? If the later, don't worry about it. Happens all the time.

If the previous job relates directly to the new job, you really should have it on your resume. Is there anyone at the previous who is more sympathetic to you, and can be used as a reference?
posted by Thorzdad at 8:50 AM on April 24, 2007

Response by poster: It wasent for miscounduct but some vague policy violation which I never got written up for, which is a whole other story and many people feel I have a good case for a lawsuit. But I do have friends there that I could totally used as a reference no problem. Most likely the next job I"m trying to get wont relate at all to this previous one. But still I would have a big gap of missing work time if I exclude it and in an interview process they are bound to ask me what I was doing during that time.
posted by mcraul at 8:53 AM on April 24, 2007

Not directly applicable to your case, but I had something similar happen. I walked out of a previous job after a lot of internal dispute. I hated them, they hated me, but my performance was phenomenal for the role I was in.

Instead of giving a general HR contact or my departments manager (who was responsible for over 100 people) I gave my line manager as a contact. He was a senior analyst who gave me a very favourable reference.

As Thorzdad says, perhaps you should give a referee who you KNOW will give a good reference?
posted by TheAspiringCatapult at 8:56 AM on April 24, 2007

In that case, put it on your resume and forget about it.
No problems.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:56 AM on April 24, 2007

Include it. A five-year gap would be a HUGE red flag, and will keep potential employers from considering interviewing you. The HR department should only verify the dates that you worked there. (Obviously, whoever fired you would not be on your list of personal references.)
posted by desuetude at 8:58 AM on April 24, 2007

I had thought that HR is not supposed to tell the other potential job that I had been fired but only that I worked there.

A lot of corporations won't tell people who are asking any more than that you worked there, because they fear lawsuits, and have nothing to gain from giving out that information; but there's nothing in the law, AFAIK, that says the corporation can't tell people you were fired. In other words, that's the internal policy of many companies, but not the law.

As to the original question, I would definitely include the job on your resume.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:58 AM on April 24, 2007

thilmony:If it was me, I'd look for a job now pretending I still work there, yet tell the possible employers I was still there and not to call them as I don't want them to know.

While most companies will not give references, they will confirm dates of employment at the very least. If this doesn't jibe with whats on the resume, it has a one-way ticket to the trashcan.
posted by dr_dank at 9:00 AM on April 24, 2007

A five year gap in your resume is going to look worse than being fired from a job. I would include the recent position and emphasize your strengths in the description of your work there. When you are asked why you are no longer working there, you need to have a consistent and truthful story ready.

A lot depends here on the reason for your termination at the previous position, naturally. If there is any way you can spin it that it doesn't sound like you were grossly incompetent or dishonest, that's the way you need to tell the story.

Your story may take the form, "These were the problems I was faced with; here is how I successfully met challenges A, B, and C. Unfortunately there was also challenge D, which I attempted to solve using strategy X. I did not take into account complication Q, which resulted in R. As such, I was terminated from the company. It was a very difficult experience for me, but I feel I did learn Life Lessons S and T from it."
posted by La Cieca at 9:00 AM on April 24, 2007

Response by poster: Ok I might just do that I'm just really worried about whatever potential new job I might have being screwed up by whatever the previous job tells them about me. You know sometimes these people can be a little vindictive BUT the previous job is a very large corporation and I might just be another name to them and might not even mention anything other than I worked there. I guess the only way to find out is to try.
posted by mcraul at 9:00 AM on April 24, 2007

Response by poster: Yes I too think that a 5 year gap in a resume would not be helpful at all. Once I was unemployed for a year and at interviews i was asked over and over what I did during that one year lapse in work.
posted by mcraul at 9:03 AM on April 24, 2007

If you fail to put it on your resume you will be asked about that time. If you lie that is grounds for later termination if you get the job. Be honest about the job. Leave out the reasons for leaving.
posted by caddis at 9:05 AM on April 24, 2007

Response by poster: It might actually be in my favor that I worked for such a large corporation being that i'm prob just another blip in their giant machine.
posted by mcraul at 9:05 AM on April 24, 2007

Judging by all the similar questions recently, it must be firing season.

About listing the job on your resume: my mother was recently fired from a job for a very dumb reason and she is going through the same process that you are. Deciding she'd rather be a regular candidate rather than a candidate with a story to tell, on her resume, she listed the dates at her former employer as through "present," figuring that this would eliminate the possibility that her former employer would be called. Not so much. The people with whom she's interviewed have indicated that they won't call her "present" employer until after they decide to hire her. This policy doesn't make much sense to me and perhaps they wouldn't bother calling once they hired her. Nobody has offered her a job yet so the will-they-or-won't-they call issue hasn't been resolved. However, I think she's decided that she's more comfortable listing the actual dates on her resume, just in case. As with everything, YMMV.
posted by necessitas at 9:26 AM on April 24, 2007

Can you (or a friend) call the HR department pretending to be a prospective employer and see what they say?

Since it is a big impersonal firm, you could also just call HR and ask them what they would tell prospective employers if you were to list them as a reference. I'm sure they have a system and I don't think they would lie to you.
posted by paddingtonb at 9:27 AM on April 24, 2007 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Calling to see what they say is a good idea. I think I saw somewhere were they is actually a firm you could hire that will make those calls for you to see what former employers say about you and if it is accurate. But would it make any difference whatever the say.
posted by mcraul at 9:52 AM on April 24, 2007

Resume Fraud - not to scare you or anything
posted by caddis at 11:41 AM on April 24, 2007

Response by poster: caddis- nice but I dont think i will be doing any fraud. :)
posted by mcraul at 11:49 AM on April 24, 2007

If you leave it off your resume you will be asked what you did for the last five years. If you lie, that is fraud.
posted by caddis at 12:09 PM on April 24, 2007

Call the HR department and pretend to be a potential employer for yourself. A little white lie never hurt anyone and you avoid the problem of 'fraud' on your resume by finding out if it's going to be a problem at all.
posted by bradbane at 2:13 PM on April 24, 2007

Did you have the same title with that employer the entire five years? Can you put down whatever titles you had prior to the one you had when you got fired, along with the description & dates of your job duties, etc.? It may reduce that gap a bit. Also, if you can afford it and have interest, maybe start taking a class or two or any training related to your field. Not just to help with job prospects but to have something else to discuss with interviewers besides (and possibly instead of) why you are currently employed.
posted by PY at 3:42 PM on April 24, 2007

oops, "...why you are currently unemployed."
posted by PY at 3:43 PM on April 24, 2007

(I kind of assumed you are currently unemployed. For all I know you could be freelancing or temping since last week, and that would kind of serve the same purpose.)
posted by PY at 3:45 PM on April 24, 2007

Response by poster: lol yes i'm unemployed as of last friday. I have had several positions in that company so maybe I dont have to use the one I was in when I got fired. I think the real test will be when I actually get an interview and see what happens.
posted by mcraul at 4:56 PM on April 24, 2007

Most people get fired at least once in their careers. It's hardly a badge of shame, and it doesn't devalue the experience you had at the employer who let you go.

And, a five year run with a single employer is a terrific record these days, no matter how it ends. I've seen (as I've mentioned on MeFi before) at least a thousand resumes in the past 12 months, and it can't be more than 2% or 3% with that kind of tenure. It really benefits you.
posted by MattD at 5:03 PM on April 24, 2007

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