Handling a Termination/Demotion Situation in Resume

Anonymous writes:
Here’s my situation: New CFO wanted to make changes and was also unhappy
that I had retained a poor-performing employee. The CFO told me I could leave
or move to a smaller role in the company. I have been in that role for 2 years and
would like to leave for another company in a management role similar to the role that I
had initially. How should I address the termination/demotion in a resume and during interviews? Also my compensation was reduced when I was moved to
the lesser role.

The Career Doctor responds:
Anytime you take a lateral or backward step in your career — and many do you
have to be prepared with a story to explain your logic in making that move. So
your first step is to develop that story. Why did you choose not to leave back then?
What have you gained from staying these two years? You do not need to be brutally
honest with your story but you do need to have a positive spin on the outcome.
Just remember to never say bad things about the CFO in your story. You can say you
had a difference of opinion but you never want to go any further. Any job-seeker who
says something negative about a former boss or company is often pretty quickly
eliminated from consideration.
Second focus on your accomplishments from all your previous work experiences. One of the
weaknesses of many resumes I see is a lack of results. And whenever possible quantify
those accomplishments.
Third sharpen the focus of your resume. All resumes need to clearly define what the job-seeker
can do as well as what s/he wants to do. And especially for someone in your position where
you are now seeking the position from which you were previously demoted it becomes critical
to show you are ready for the job again.

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