Should She Explain Termination to Prospective Employers?


Donna writes:
I am having a difficult time finding work with a BS degree in business and an MA in education. I was terminated on my previous job. What is the best way to explain that to a prospective employer?


The Career Doctor responds:
Unless there a criminal reason for your termination I see no reason why an employer would ever have to know you were terminated from your last job. Perhaps you chose to resign. If the reason was simply corporate rightsizing or restructuring or personality clashes or some other non-criminal reason I would simply state that it was a mutual
decision between you and your former employer and that you were seeking new challenges and opportunities — a chance to offer your key skills and education to help other organizations excel. Always put a forward-thinking positive spin on your answer — always with a push toward helping prospective employers excel; helping solve their problems. Never be negative never feel you need to explain but also never lie about it.
I think the biggest problem job-seekers who have been terminated face is themselves. The great majority of us have been fired terminated downsized or rightsized at one time or another so I know how you feel. You need to rise above the bad feelings you may be having about losing your job and focus on putting a new shine on your cover letters resumes and interviewing style. Now is the time to take advantage of your network to search out new opportunities and new directions; and don’t forget to take advantage of the alumni and career resources of your college(s).
I strongly recommend you read my article Getting Fired: An Opportunity for Change and Growth…it’s full of helpful advice strategies and resources for helping you rise above and move forward.
Best of luck.