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How to Explain a Past Job Termination on an Application and Interview

Updated on August 8, 2017
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David has over 10 years supervisory experience and has extensive knowledge in how to handle personnel issues across many areas.

Explaining a job termination can be the most difficult thing when filling out a job application.
Explaining a job termination can be the most difficult thing when filling out a job application. | Source

How to Explain Being Fired

There is one question that most job applicants fear when they are filling out a job application or going in for a job interview:

Were you ever terminated from a job and why?

This is a difficult question to answer. The obvious answer is to be truthful about it, but in some cases that can cost you the job you are applying for. So how do you explain a past job termination on an application? Should you divulge why you were fired from a previous job? This article will cover exactly what you should do on you resume, application, and interview. There are different things to do at different steps, so it's best to be prepared for all circumstances.

There's nothing wrong with being fired.

— Ted Turner

Have you ever been fired from a job?

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My Experience Being Terminated from a Job

I was terminated from a job during my probationary period. In fact, I was just a week shy of passing my probation. When I am asked to explain a past job termination on an application, I always state that, "I was terminated from Pacific Bell (now AT&T) during my probationary period for failing to meet their selling standards."

This is a true statement. I worked at a call center as a customer service representative. People would call in with issues about their phone service and we were expected to sell them products. We didn't have quotas, but we had goals. I had the second highest number of calls in our call center, which a new employee shouldn't have. I should have had just one call per hour, trying to sell all the products I could, multiple times. But I was not a good salesman, so if someone immediately said no, I would finish the call quickly.

So, I was let go. My resume doesn't state why I was fired, but if it's asked on an application, I am straight forward about it. This hasn't prevented me from landing other jobs. I have even earned promotions despite my employer knowing I was terminated from a job.

A Resume Example

There is no need to explain why you were terminated on your resume.  People have gaps in their work history for a variety of reasons.
There is no need to explain why you were terminated on your resume. People have gaps in their work history for a variety of reasons. | Source
Just because you were fired from a job doesn't mean you should put it on your resume.
Just because you were fired from a job doesn't mean you should put it on your resume. | Source

Explaining a Past Job Termination on Your Resume

This is an easy one, but I will still outline what should be on your resume when you explain the job you were terminated from. On your resume, you should include:

  • The company name.
  • Your title.
  • The time period you worked there.
  • Your job duties.

See how it wasn't mentioned that you were terminated? You should not include that you were terminated from that job on your resume. Your resume showcases the best things about your work history. Stating that you were fired from a job will result in the prospective employer to throw your resume away without giving you a chance.

An Online Job Application

An online application that asks the prospective employee if they have ever been terminated from a job.
An online application that asks the prospective employee if they have ever been terminated from a job. | Source

Explaining a Past Job Termination on Your Job Application

There are three ways you can explain why you were fired from a job when filling out your job application:

  1. Hide the fact that you were fired. Basically, this is lying. If you are caught, you have guaranteed that you won't get the position. With the internet, background services, etc. your prospective employer will find out that you were fired from a job. Even if you get the job, you risk getting fired in the future and jeopardize obtaining other jobs because of this. I do not recommend this.
  2. Explain in detail why you were fired. While this one can be better than not stating it at all, I wouldn't recommend this one either. Giving away too many details can look bad because when the prospective employer reads the application, they have no way to ask you follow up questions at that time and it may seem like you are trying to find excuses why you were terminated.
  3. Briefly explain why you were let go. This is the way I go. Explain why you were terminated with brief details. Don't divulge too much information but don't ignore important facts either. Be concise when revealing about your past job termination. This will give your possible future employer a good enough explanation, without having the need to focus on it.

What if you are not asked about a past job termination on a job application?

If your application doesn't ask why you were fired from a job, then don't reveal that information! It's up to the employer to ask that information, so don't feel like you have to be forthcoming with that it. But be prepared to be asked that question during the interview.

How to Avoid Using the Word "Terminated" in a Job Interview

Even if you don't agree with it, you should accept full responsibility for your job termination when asked about it during an interview.
Even if you don't agree with it, you should accept full responsibility for your job termination when asked about it during an interview. | Source

Explaining a Past Job Termination on a Job Interview

If you are fortunate enough to land an interview, here are some tips to remember when explaining why you were terminated from a job:

  • Be honest about why you were fired. If your interviewer is asking about it, they will want to know the details. Don't hide anything at this point.
  • Don't insert any opinions or feelings as to why you were fired. Don't state, "I feel I was fired because..." or "They didn't like me." Just stick to the facts.
  • Don't insult your previous employer. This will only give those interviewing you a bad opinion about you. Don't state, "They were a bad company" or "I was just too good for them". Keep your opinion about your previous employer out of it. If you talk bad about a previous organization, they will wonder if you will talk bad about them if they were to hire you.
  • If possible, explain what corrective actions you took and what you learned from being fired. If you went back to school that helped you gain more knowledge, bring that up. If you held another job that was in the same field as the one you were terminated from, then state that. Employers want to hear you learned from the experience. That can be impressive enough to get you the job.

Has being fired from a job ever prevented you from getting another job?

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What NOT To Do

I once interviewed a person who was explaining why she was fired from a job. She stated she was late often, so they had to let her go. She stated it was still a problem for her that she was trying to resolve.

This was during a panel interview, and the entire panel voted against her because of this one reason.

What was her mistake? She stated she was still trying to resolve the issue. Instead, she should have stated she had taken steps to fix the problem. Trying to resolve a problem doesn't go far, it sounds like nothing has happened at all. That instantly disqualified her.

Don't make this same mistake!

If you have any tips on explaining a job termination on an application, please share them in the comments below.

© 2012 David Livermore

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    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 6 weeks ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Well, it's a contract. Contracts end all of the time on employment. They are usually temporary assignments.

      The story is complicated, and you want to keep it simple. The more details you include, the more it could be taken as an excuse or trying to deflect. Simply state the organization was changing how they were handling projects and that you were no longer needed.

      However, it doesn't look good if your boss asks you to work overtime and you state you didn't want to. Yes, I understand there is no overtime pay, but were you hourly or salary? If salary, you can't expect overtime pay. You also have to look at the laws in your area governing overtime pay. You could have worked the overtime and dealt with the aftereffects later.

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      France 6 weeks ago

      I was suppose to be in my regularization panel interview. But on the last minute my boss said that I will end my probationary contract. My supervisor told me that there was no problems in the projs I handled and I improved. The only problem is that their system changed, they now look to the number of producted works(projects) regardless of the quantity in each project. I work as a creative designer. and we had no over time pay. My boss advise me to still render over time but i don't want to. and I think it was a factor of me not reaching their target number. On the day that I will suppose to sign the end of contract since I finish my six probationary contract I was advised by the HR to make a resignation letter because they say it was better. But I got a bad feeling on that sudden notice so I decided to just end the contract not resign since i finish six months

      I am now preparing for my next job. That was my first job after graduating in college. How can I better explain the reason I ended job? I just want that job for experience. Looking forward for your response. Thank you!

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 7 weeks ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      You should resign.

      Sure, in short term you'll have money issues, but, it'll benefit you in the long term. You won't have to explain why you were terminated. Plus, you can say you felt you weren't a right fit for the job so you felt the best course of action was to quit. You can say your supervisor agreed with you as well.

      Now, if you get fired, you'll have to explain why. You may even mention that you were given the choice between termination or resigning, but you went with being terminated. That's not the best move.

      Had I knew then what I know now, I would have quit a job I knew I wasn't the right fit for. Instead, I was fired, and had to work my way back from that.

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      Amy S. 7 weeks ago

      I was recently let go from my position. I knew it wasn't the right fit for me, but it was my first job out of college and needed some experience. I was let go because my supervisor didn't think it was the best job for me (which I agree it wasn't). She gave me the option to resign if I want. What are your thoughts? Should I resign or keep it as terminated? If I resign, I won't get the severance pay or unemployment.... while looking for another job.

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 8 weeks ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      The first one is easy - you were laid off, and you could state it was because they could not afford to keep you on. The second one is a bit harder. Were you inappropriate, or, do you know what you may have said or done to make them think that? Have you corrected? If anything, keep it basic. State it was a customer service issue, but you have taken steps to improve your customer service skills.

      Now, I believe you are thinking they may have let you go due to your pregnancy. Honestly, that could be the case. However, that shouldn't come up in an interview or job application, not unless you fought it and won in some way.

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      nlom 8 weeks ago

      Like the example above for the online job application, I answered that Yes I was dismissed twice from the same company. I received unemployment benefits both times and I was also 4 months pregnant both times. My application has been inactivated and they want me to email reasons to a retention specialist. I am not sure how to answer. The first time in 2009, I was told they could not afford to pay me any longer. The second time in 2012 I was first told that the President and Vice President did my review and I couldn't be kept. Then my supervisor went further and said it was my inappropriate tone on the phone with the outside payroll vendor. The examiner with the employment commission deemed the payroll vendor complaint may have been designed to pre-empt the employer from complaining about the mistake the vendor had made on the payroll that I was accused of. Need advice badly!

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 2 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Sounds like you might need a lawyer yourself.

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      YescaTheRecluse 3 months ago

      I'd like to move on but Ross Corp lawyers sent me a letter asking for $2,473.62 that their corporate man pulled out if his ass, plus $500 for a civil claim. That they'd like paid to them within 21 days. I thought that after they did an investigation the amount would come down because the priceoveride wasn't always to mark it as less,sometimes it was to mark it as more and he just assumed they were all mark DOWNS.

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 3 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Wow... that's a lot of information. I had to read it a few times to take it all in.

      My first job was at a major chain retail store similar to Ross. They had a zero tolerance policy when it came to theft or taking from the company. They would fire people even if it seemed innocent. They would watch the employees more than they would watch the customers.

      It seems strange they would give you so much responsibility so soon after being hired. Maybe they were testing you. I don't know. But it sounds like you really hold it against them still.

      Honestly, a lot of people go without breaks/lunch. It's your responsibility to push for them when you need them. I had a supervisor who ensured we all took our breaks one way or another. Otherwise, you need to insist upon it.

      My advice is that you move on. If you are going for bigger and better things, a small retail job won't mean a lot in the end.

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      YescaTheRecluse 3 months ago

      So I started working at Ross,a retail store 5/5/16 as part time,it was my second job at the time. On my first day the manager left me watching 2 associates at the register for less than 10 minutes,once they finished with the line of customers one of them left, and the other asked me if I was ready to give it a try. It wasn't until later that I realized the 2 that were ringing up were actually stockroom assosiates,not cashiers,they were so shorthanded when I started working there. After about 2-3 weeks I was given Manager on Duty,MOD, clearance to override stuff. Now Ross doesn't have a real way of looking up prices on stuff customers bring up that doesn't have a price tag,it's just a VERY GENERAL price look up that either overcharges or undercharges or the item they want isn't even included in the system so we either find something else that's the price we think it is,tell them it's going to show as something else on the receipt and they either say YES or they ask if they would be able to return said item because it does not match what the receipt shows. For ex,for shorts that didn't have a price tag they would all be $14,there was no other option for shorts,the system didn't let us break it down further,wheater they were denim shorts,active shorts that are between 6-10$, khaki shorts or swimwear trunks which are normally $9.99. So I would override the price depending on what I thought it was,and I'd been doing it for a year without anyone saying a word. A few days ago on Sat I show up for work and I was called to the office,it was corporates loss prevention dude. He was talking around it,getting me to talk about policies and payments,so I asked if he was talking about the price overrides. He said yes,then asked me about how many times a day I would do price overrides to which In my panic I gave a higher number than I actually thought it was,5. Then he asked how much I thought the difference in price was,I wasn't sure so I said 1 or 2$,but I would always try to make it the price I thought it was in the store. So them he started counting $2x5overrides a day=$10. In one week $50 and then he took out his phones calculator and kept doing the math. At this point I told him that in almost all the time I've worked there I almost never had a second break in a full shift 4:30-1:30 and that I'd also gone several times without a lunch AND no second break. I told him that since those breaks were paid and I almost never got them in the year I was there,I said they could take those 15 min breaks I never got and apply them to the amount he came up with that I would owe Ross 2,300. He told me if it was a concern I had that he would look into but that it wasn't the same,he scribbled something down and continued to tell me I would write a statement about the events and the higher ups would decide if I would be able to come go back to work or not.. I wrote about it And gave it to him,he read it and told me I hadn't mentioned the sum he had just pulled out of his ass. I didn't think about it and included that I would pay said sum and gave it back to him. It was then that I started to think back to stuff he had said,like they do inventory 2x a year,then WHY hadn't anyone noticed my price overrides? Whose negligence allowed me to continue overriding for an extra half a year? And that I was never properly trained,they saw that I could and would do the job without complaining and they made me front end cashier/supervisor and left me there. And then there were always no calls no shows with would lead to the days I'd go from starting at 4:30pm and taking my 1st break 4-6 hours after I started the shift,and sometimes the managers would tell me to just go to my lunch instead,never receiving the 2, 15 min breaks I was supposed to have. I was told I'd get a call on Monday to let me know if I could come back to work,the store manager called me instead of corporate dude and told me the higher ups said I was terminated but he would pay me out the rest of the week I was scheduled to work because he really liked me and was sad to see me go. I got a phone call from Ross lawyers and they were asking for an initial payment,and that some papers were being sent to me but I wasn't told about what,the outcome of the investigation or anything. I told her I wanted to fight it because I wasn't properly trained and because they're abusing labor laws not only for me but for my other co workers as well.

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 3 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      "Wrongfully terminated" is in the eye of the beholder. You don't want to state that in interviews. It may seem like you won't take ownership for your actions. Now there are unusual circumstances for this - you were harassed at work, then fired for complaining, you were injured and they didn't want to pay for your treatment, etc.

      It depends on the situation.

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 3 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      A good boss will know that not every person is right for every boss. I've had employees I haven't seen eye to eye on, but they were still great employees. If you try to point the finger at your old boss, then your new boss won't like that since they may think you will do the same to them.

      State you made a mistake, one you learned not to do again. If they ask what that mistake was, state what you just told me. Your previous boss stated if he felt an employee didn't want to be there, he would terminate them. State you asked for your job description to update your resume, then you were terminated. State you learned how to approach situations like that better in order to avoid the appearance of that you are looking for another job.

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      cb36 3 months ago

      What if you were wrongfully terminated?

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      metagalaxy1970 3 months ago

      Thank you, I'll make that correction in my next interview. I wish it was far fetched that asking for my job description is what the cause of my being let go. He always told me that if he ever suspected anyone of just looking for work, he would let them go. "if they don't want to be here, they won't be here", direct quote from him. And yes, I regret asking for the job description and just used what I had been doing every day. But, question, if I state that I didn't see eye to eye with my previous boss, won't that make the new potential boss even more hesitant to consider me? Won't that make me seem uncooperative? And why is it wrong to bring up the fact that I was the third person he had as an assistant in 6 months? Wouldn't that show that it wasn't me but him? If he had 3 assistants in 6 months, wouldn't/shouldn't that be saying something about him?

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 3 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      I think your explanation is okay, but could be better. State that you and your boss didn't see eye to eye, so you knew you weren't a good for that organization. You don't want to state that you were the third assistance in the last six months, as it may seem like you are putting it back on your old boss.

      As far as the reason you were fired, it just seems far fetched they would fire you for that. But you can be honest that you asked for a job description to update your resume, and shortly after you were terminated. But unless you are 100% sure, don't state the two incidents are connected.

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      metagalaxy1970 3 months ago

      Update on my situation: In interviews, when I stated that it wasn't the right fit, they keep pressing for more details. I was the one that was removed because I had asked for a job description to update my resume. What do I do when they are pressing me for more details? In my last interview, I brought up the fact that I was the 3rd assistant in 6 months that he had and I honestly don't know what's he looking for. Which is the truth, I was the third assistant he had in 6 months since the beginning of the project.

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 3 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      That seems like a very minor reason to be fired, but then again, who knows how important was for the company.

      You want to state you didn't follow the policies set forth by your organization, and that's it. If you state you are appealing the decision, you won't get any job offers if they think you have a chance of getting your old job back.

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      Martina Morrison 3 months ago

      I was fired yesterday for failing to carry out a fire alarm test - I have two application forms to complete today - should I mention the reason for my termination in the application and should I state that I am currently appealing this decision? Thanks

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 3 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Well good thing you got out of it, doesn't sound like a great place to work. In interviews you can state you realized that kind of work wasn't for you, so you are glad that you got out of it.

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      Sara 3 months ago

      The last job I had was in the year 2010 and it is now 2017 so that was 7 years ago;and it only lasted from April to October which is only 7 months before I was terminated, from my understanding it was because I could not be both fast and perfect at the same time.

      In case anybody is curious at all my very last job was at one of those 'Edible Arrangements' store; where they wanted my to complete the baskets under a certain amount of time yet still have them looking presentable, and apparently I just could not perform like that.

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 3 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      I was fired from a job about the same number of years ago, and still mention it on every application I fill out. It's still relevant information.

      I remember every detail from me being fired, so surprised you don't. You could be asked about it depending on your working situation. Have you been working the last 16 years? Then it means little. Have you not been working the last 16 years? Then it means a lot.

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      John 3 months ago

      If its been over 16 years ago and dont remember if you were or only remember bits and pieces. Do you say yes?

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 4 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Easy. You admit what you did wrong and that you learned never to do it again (and you shouldn't, it's usually illegal and very unsafe to do). State you realize it's a safety, legal, and liability issue, so you will never have your cell phone out while representing a company.

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      Dee 4 months ago

      I got fired for having my cell phone out on my driving job ,how can I get another job for getting fired for zero tolerance.

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 4 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Without more details it's hard to give the best verbiage to use. However, you could simply state what you told me. "I was terminated for a code of conduct violation". Short and sweet.

      Just be prepared to explain it during a job interview.

    • profile image

      Nylashia Harris 4 months ago

      I was terminated for a code of conduct violation. DO you have any verbiage for this matter?

      Please and Thank You

    • davidlivermore profile image
      Author

      David Livermore 4 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Unfortunately I see why they terminated you. Even if it was an accident, it's one that should have been avoided.

      Basically you can state you were terminated for violating company policy. When/if asked in an interview, you state what happened. State it was a mistake, but your company had a zero tolerance policy. Then state you learned to be more careful when managing a company credit card.

      I have a company credit card as well and take all necessary steps to keep it separate. I keep it locked up at work, and when I do need to take it with me, I keep it completely separate from my personal credit cards.

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      Kathy 4 months ago

      I was recently terminated after three years for accidentally using a company credit for personal charges. I offered to repay the charges but they terminated. They held my last pay check and vacation as well I assume to pay the credit card bill. Not sure what to write when asked for more details. I had worked for the company for many years. The card was in my name.

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 4 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Something isn't adding up. However, most government agencies do a background check. If that's the case you want to state that you were terminated. You'd rather be up front about it than to try to cover it up. If it's found out later you could still be let go for not being truthful.

      You can ask your previous employer to remove that you were fired, but they are under no obligation to do so.

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      komal kaur 4 months ago

      I was sent letter home about no call/no show,but issue was resolved with my superviser later that week and i didnot signed any paper. but i give my keys any ways because I found another job before I was asked to returne my keys. and I never went back or give any other letter. last week I interviewed for CA state job and did not mentioned on application that I was terminated from previous job as thought the issue was resolved. I called my old job yesterday and they said it is in my file that I was terminated. what can I do now? should I wright letter to new job about not being aware of that and I am not trying to hide any thing? can i request to remove that from my file? please help..

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 4 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      They could if they contacted your previously employer, but considering you were interviewed for the job and selected for it, I don't see how they could hold it against you.

      If they do find out, advise them why you were terminated and it did not happen until after the interview. You aren't required to disclose it unless they ask about it. If they do, don't state the place nitpicked. State why you were terminated and how you plan to learn from that in your new job.

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      jason thompson 4 months ago

      I was fired 30 minutes before i was going to put in a notice that I have accepted another job. Can my new job now find out even though I haven't started that i was terminated. They nitnpicked at something and then got the axe. Maybe they didnt want to pay me for my 2 weeks vacation and sick time . People do that nowadays. Just take off and get two paychecks.

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      Trigg p 4 months ago

      Thank you for all your help David, and reaffirming my actions. I really appreciate your time.

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 4 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Unfortunately being terminated can cause you to lose out on a position. You did the right thing by explaining what happened and what you learned from it. My advice is just keep doing that. A termination will eventually be a footnote in a long line of successful government employment.

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      Trigg p 4 months ago

      I think it actually cost me a position with the Supreme Court in this state. 3 weeks after the interview they asked me what had happened with the City Government. I wrote a brief statement as requested.....and never heard from the again. I even stated what I had learned from the termination.

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 4 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Then go with the same story. It shouldn't be that big of a deal now if you have had 8 years of clean employment.

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      Trigg p 4 months ago

      I believe I did say that I was terminated....and would discuss in the interview. I plead my case in the interview 8 years ago and have them the name and phone number of somebody I worked with who was a supervisor..... but not my supervisor.

    • davidlivermore profile image
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      David Livermore 4 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      What did you put on your application when you applied for the state position? Whatever you put there you want to put on this application. The reason being is you want to be consistent. They may and probably will look at your previous application to see if you are consistently telling the truth.

      With a government position, you are already good since you have been hired and successfully held the position the last 8 years. What matters now is being consistent with the information you provided, and showing you are a good candidate for the job.

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      Trigg p 4 months ago

      I have worked as a State Employee for almost 8 years. I am currently applying for promotions within my agency and with other state agencies for positions that are paying more than what I am currently making.

      My previous job was with a City Government as a Customer Service Rep. with the water department. I worked for them for 4 years. I was accused of stealing water from the city because the said I turned my water on after it had been shut off for non-payment, which was not true. After a month I had to go to a fact finding hearing. I stated I could not guarantee that the incident would not happen again, but would do my very best to ensure the same situation would never arise. A week later, the termination letter I received from the City Manager stated that because I state that I could not guarantee the situation would not happen again, she would not retain my employ.

      There were at least 2 other employees that were actually stealing water, but were never terminated. One of them actually testified in my unemployment hearing. My point being is what do I put on my state application? What do I say in an interview?

      Thank you for your help.

    • davidlivermore profile image
      Author

      David Livermore 5 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      In your profession I could see even minor spelling errors being deadly, so I understand where they are coming from.

      Have you taken any classes to strength your grammar and spelling? Even if you feel you don't need it, having some remedial education can help demonstrate that you tried to overcome those issues.

      For any terminations during probation, you can state you were terminated for not following procedures. Probably the same for the others. But you have to explain that in the interview. You'll explain what you did and what you learned from it. From what I can tell you need to learn to become detail orientated, which is a trait I think would be critical in your profession. You stated you learned to be very careful, which is good, but learning to be detail oriented is what you want to go for in your line of work.

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      JY Lau 6 months ago

      Hello thank you for this great post. I am sure a lot of people in my shoe would find this helpful ! I am a pharmacist and I was let go from my last two jobs. The first one happened in 2012, 1 month after a very positive 3-month-evaluation. I was 4 months into a job and made a mistake. I then got a position at another hospital in 2013. After 2 very positive annual evaluations, I started getting written up for administrative errors ( mistaking policies that were vague to begin with, and spelling errors). I tried to be extra careful since I received those warnings but was placed on probation anyway. During probation I entered a wrong dose for a medication, I read it back to the doctor but she did not catch the wrong dose anyway so the mistake happened. I was fired 1 day after my 3-year anniversary with the hospital. I feel that I am better suited in straight-forward pharmacist roles filling prescriptions and talking to patients. I have learned the importance of being very careful, but there don't seem to be classes I can take to correct it. How would you explain this situation ?

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      WJ 6 months ago

      Thank you for the feedback and the question prompts. This is exactly the type of feedback I was/am looking for. I know interview questions won't be exactly the same as this but this helps with the practice/preparation leading up to a one-on-one or panel interview. The termination is still very recent, but I have had time to reflect and see there is learning to be had. I was not a good fit in the role and despite that did gain valuable experience with my former employee. Thank you again for your time and for offering this forum.

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      David Livermore 6 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      You basically have it done when writing the phrase, "I did not meet the expectations expected of me".

      But what were those expectations and what didn't you meet? Have you done anything to correct or resolve those issues? Or do you agree the job wasn't the right fit. Those are the questions you need to answer in a job interview. If the job wasn't a right fit, you can state you were thankful for the opportunity to work in that job, but in the end you agreed it wasn't the right fit and decided to shift to a different line of work. Or, did you overcome the issue after you were terminated by learning what you did wrong and fixed it?

      Basically you want to own up you were terminated, and what you learned from it. It will show you grew from the experience instead of being resentful.

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      WJ 6 months ago

      Hi. I was terminated from a position for not meeting expectations after a year and a half on the job. I had a positive one year eval and things went south from the 14th month on. I was informed that I was not a good fit for the role, asked to do soul searching about why I was in the role and that my performance had not met expectations. This is longer on the job than most of what I've read on this site and would appreciate feedback in how to best phrase this in writing and in explaining in a potential interview. Finding the right words is much harder than it seems.

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      metagalaxy1970 6 months ago

      Thank you. What I have been putting down on applications is that it was during the probationary period and it wasn't the right fit. I know better than to give them the full explanation in an interview. I just needed an outsider that had no connection to me to make sure that I was putting the right thing on applications and what to say in future interviews. And you are correct, letting me or anyone go for asking for this information is a big no-no.

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      David Livermore 6 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      You have no proof that asking for your job description correlates to being terminated.

      You'll state that your employer stated "things weren't working out" and you were let go. You were two months in, so it's not like it's a huge mark against you. Those things happen.

      However, you are probably right. You were probably let go for asking for your job description to update your resume. That's a big no-no. But you don't want to state that in the interview, that will just jeopardize your chances of getting another job.

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      sarahernan 6 months ago

      David thanks for this thread and for the feedback; It is helping me flush out my thoughts. In the electronic applications one has to place a short statement on the reason for leaving. Finding the right words is harder than it seems. In hindsight, I should have resigned sooner which in itself, is a lesson learnt.

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      metagalaxy1970 6 months ago

      How do you explain to a potential employer this:

      Where I worked at, we worked M-Th 9 hours and 4 hours on Friday. My super didn't like me making runs on Friday because of the time frame. Thursday afternoon I had emailed to HR and asked for a copy of my job description to update my resume. She wasn't in at the time. The super comes in and he tells that he needs me to do a run the next morning (Friday) and started making plans for what I was to do the next day. As I was leaving that Thursday, he was on the phone with someone and did not give any indication that he was going to let me go the next day. I come in at the normal time and as I was getting my things out of my vehicle, he comes up to me with 2 times that I had left and asked if they were mine. I said yes and what was going on. He told me that "thing weren't working out". The only thing I can think of was that HR forwarded my email request for the job description to update my resume to him and he must have thought I was looking for work. That was not the case. Out of the two months I worked there, I was not late but for one day and that was due to my brakes going out. I sent him an email and called the main office to get his phone number (and in retrospect, I should have had his number to let him know). After they were fixed, I did go in. How do I explain my being let go right after I asked for a copy of the job description?

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      David Livermore 6 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      You are providing far too many details and you basically are blaming your supervisor. If I were to read that on an application, I would not consider you for the job.

      You need to state the facts. Why were you terminated? Not following policy? Not achieving the expectations set forth? That's what you need to state.

      In the interview you can then state that in retrospect you realized it wasn't a career for you, so you put effort into another career path. You can then also state that you analyzed what went wrong in your last job so you would not repeat the same mistake again.

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      sarahernan 6 months ago

      Hi, would it be possible to get feedback on the effectiveness of the following 'reason for leaving' statement: Within that I received good reviews from my clients and positive kudos from coworkers, I was not a good match for my immediate supervisor and was involuntary terminated. In introspect, I could have avoided the mismatch in expectations, but this experience has also made me realize that I want to pursue a different career in XXXXX.

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      David Livermore 6 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      You'll state that you were employed, but not why you were terminated. You never list that on a resume.

      If the job application asks for that information, you will include it.

      If you are asked about it in the job interview, you will go into it in more detail. Remember not to place blame. Own up to the mistake and state what you learned from it.

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      Tammy Newman 6 months ago

      Employed in the Banking Industry October 2014 until March 6 2017. Discharged for a Clerical Error. Should I omit this job from my resume. I was with my prior employer for 18 years and was laid off in 2014 in a mass layoff.

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      Jennifer 6 months ago

      Thank you so much,very helpful. Just FYI,my relationship with the staff I supervised was excellent, they have all reached out to me to express their sadness at my departure and gratitude for my Support and guidance,so I know I was doing SOMETHING right!Thank you again!

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      David Livermore 6 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Well, you can state you were terminated during probation due to not having the skills necessary for the position. That covers the basics, but the big deal is talking about it during a job interview.

      First, have you looked back to see what you could have done wrong or could have done better? Have you figured out how to improve upon those issues or done anything to resolve it? Supervisory positions require a lot of independence and self efficiency. If anything, demonstrating that you rebounded from this can go a long way to show you are a good supervisor. So you need to talk about what you learned, how you will come about understanding processes faster, and how you will strive to be independent to make the decisions that need to be made. Don't focus on why you were fired, focus on what you have done to overcome those issues so they won't be a problem for future employers.

      Also, keep in mind being a supervisor isn't for everyone and there isn't anything wrong with that. Not everyone can be a supervisor. You don't mention your interactions with your staff, but if those were good, then that is something you want to highlight.

      Lastly, I recommend you read this article I wrote. It may help you in future supervisory positions: https://hubpages.com/business/Tips-for-Managing-Su...

      Best of luck to you!

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      David Livermore 6 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Ahh okay, thank you for the clarification.

      While office drama may have been the underlining cause, that's something you don't want to bring up as a reason for dismissal. Even if you are in the right, it may sound like you are placing blame. Instead, in interviews just generally state you try your best to get along with your co-workers and work out any issues. If an issue escalates and you feel you can't get it resolved among yourselves, you'll take it to your supervisor.

      Good luck.

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      Jennifer 6 months ago

      I am a seasoned social worker who several months ago decided it was time to kick my career up a notch and seek a supervisory position. After a series of three pretty intense interviews I was granted a wonderful opportunity. I struggled with aspects of the position during my first 90 day probation period,had a poor evaluation and was told I would be reevaluated in another 90 days. Three days prior to that reevaluation I was let go,with the statement' we've come to the difficult decision that you lack the skill set we need to move this program forward". The areas I struggled with were a matter of taking longer to grasp certain processes than I should have and needing guidance more than would be expected in that time frame. Although the reason for the termination was in no way a commentary on my basic skills and abilities,and specifically a commentary on my adjustment to that position,I am still terrified this will immediately cause employers to dismiss me,and I am struggling to complete 2 on line apps right now that ask were you ever and if yes why. Help?

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      Heather 6 months ago

      I worded that wrong in regards to the "reference" I didn't mean I put them as one of my "5 References" (an example) I meant under recent employment when the last two potential jobs called rather than stating "she was given an open invitation back after training" and "positive" feedback as they stated they would they told them I was "too 911" (since I ran/run 911 Emergency while working with them).

      As far as the training with the stretcher, no further training since I got my credentials. I use a stretcher multiple times a week (multiple times per shift) when I am on shift. That is why I felt the termination reason was unjustified if you will since I worked as an EMT a year prior to Transport with them and during. I honestly just can't put and get stuck since the reason was petty office drama--age difference between the 3 partners I had there, I was 20 years older than 2 of them and sadly just didn't fit in.

      I appreciate your help and input.....this is a new career path for me and goes by a whole new ballpark of rules/cliques

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      David Livermore 6 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      First off - were you on probation? Or just terminated outright? Being on probation plays a big difference, and it's something you can state on the application.

      Another thing - have you brushed up on how to use a stretcher? Maybe taken a refresher course? If that was the primary reason you were terminated, then you need to address that. That way when asked about it, you can state, "I was terminated for my lack of skills and knowledge on how to use a stretcher, but I have re-familiarized myself by taking a class and reviewing material online".

      Now on the application, you can state you were terminated by not having the skills necessary for the position you were hired for. That's the truth. If you were on probation, you can state that as well. People get terminated while being on probation, that's normal.

      As far as the reference - stop using them as a reference! It makes no sense why they would give you a good reference if they terminated you. That's usually not how it works.

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      Heather 6 months ago

      I was terminated in Feb. from a Medical Transport job only after working there for 90 days. I have listed the job on my resume/applications (though not the reason why I no longer am there) but on every application I am asked, and this is where I am stumped. I was terminated for I quote "lack of skills and knowledge of knowing how to work a stretcher, which is why you were inured. You also take longer to do your reports than those working here." The day I was terminated (which they stated they would welcome me back after I practiced more and would give me a good reference) was the day after I was cleared from Light Duty after I did injury my shoulder. I just get stuck on how to word the reason I was terminated had nothing to do with that, and was more about petty "high school" drama stuff. Being I run with a Rescue squad at night I know how to use a stretcher....they knew that. But, after the first job applications I filled out I believe they are not giving me a good recommendation as they stated they would. It's been a frustrating processes and now filling out two applications tonight, I am stuck once again. I don't want to lie but don't want to lose my chance at getting looked at either.

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      David Livermore 6 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      He should be thankful he got out when he did. Doesn't sound like a place I would want to be hired at.

      He should simply state he was terminated during probation, but he should not place blame or make excuses. If he blames the employer, then he is guaranteed not to land another job. Taking time off during a probationary period is not looked well upon. It happens, but it can also result in termination. So he can state he was granted time off, but the employer stated it was unacceptable that he took time off during probation. He can then state he will ensure he won't take any time off during his probationary period. However, if he does have to take time off, he should get something in writing authorizing the time off.

      I've been fired myself and know the feeling all too well. But he shouldn't dwell on it. When I was in interviews, I would tell people the job I was fired from wasn't for me. I was glad I was fired and felt the employer was right, as it steered me to work I was capable of doing.

      I wish him good luck. If you can, keep us updated.

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      Rose 6 months ago

      Hi. My husband is already 20 yrs in his carreer as an allied health prof. He got fired during probation. (He just got the new job, his previous employer is okay, the problem is, he's working for 8 yrs there but no promotion happened). In his new job, he supposed to have 6 months probation and got fired on the 7th month (6 months probation plus 1 month extension). He is actually doing well in his new job. He can do his work alone. He is also doing lectures to new nurses about their machines which his boss knows. He didn't even have problems with his colleagues, he is very friendly esp to nurses and nurse managers. He was not even given any hint that his employer will not confirm him. He was given another one month extension and told him that he needs to practice initiatives and his boss didn't like that he took half day leave because our son has award in school. He actually asked permission with his seniors and he was permitted to do so. He explained to his boss that he asked permission and was approved by them. Their boss even scolded him that family is second to career. So during the one month extension, he made it sure that he is being very careful and doing what his boss wanted. After a month, he thought he will pass probation but it's the other way. His boss reason out other thing and it was happened few months ago. (Happened before he was extended). He explained what really happened and he didin't break any protocol or anything. His boss seems thy he is not accepting any reasons. He was fired on that day. Now, he is jobless for a month and feels like he is a criminal where nobody want to hire him (despite of not making any mistakes in his whole career, no incident reports etc) because he had one interview and told them the reason (not in detail) but still he was not hired. For sure the future employer did a reference check to the previous employer and of course they will listen to them.

      We don't know what to do. He feels he's a failure. He doesn't know how to say to the future interviewee that he dod nothing wrong and if they do the reference check, they will tell them what they want to tell and in the end he will not be hired.

      We are really in need of help. Thanks.

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      Steel36 6 months ago

      I interviewed for a front desk position at a hotel about an hour ago.

      I indicated that I had been terminated from a pervious bank teller job 5 years ago on the application. Any background check would find it.

      Anyway, so when asked what happened, I said I was fired for cash exposure. It was my fault and a hard way to learn, but that I now used a notepad to make checklists and keep myself organized.

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      David Livermore 6 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      State you told some inappropriate jokes which lead to your termination, but that you learned from that mistake and won't do it again.

      I just went through sexual harassment prevention training, and while a termination seems extra, it can happen if you offend someone. That person would be in the right if it made them uncomfortable. So you will want to state (if it's true) that you are aware of what is and is not appropriate in the workplace, and won't repeat the same mistake.

      Do not state that your old team was okay with it or it was a dinner outing. If you are with co-workers, always assume you are on the job.

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      Brent 6 months ago

      I got terminated after 20 years in my company for telling inappropriate jokes at a company dinner outing at a pub. Telling jokes was popular with my old team, but I recently started with a new team in the company. A few of my jokes were considered inappropriate by at least 2 team members. HR did not share a lot of detail. I was terminated a few days later. Do I need to explain this in any greater detail in an interview?

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      David Livermore 7 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      First off, I'm sorry for your loss.

      Second, no, you don't need to explain it since it's a medical issue. You don't have to say anything about the gap in employment. You can state that the organization downsized so you were let go. Don't mention the pregnancy, since that's a private medical issue.

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      Natalia 7 months ago

      I was terminated from my previous employer last August because they are downsizing the organization structure, but at the same time (you can say it was a blessing in disguise), I got pregnant but with high risk pregnancy issue, therefore I did not looking for any new job at that time. But sadly, I have had miscarriage and I lost my baby last December. So now I am starting to look for another job. Since in my CV stated that I was in "idle" status as in "not working or unemployed" from August 2016 until present, do you think I need to explain my condition on my CV or maybe you have better suggestion?

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      David Livermore 7 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Jane,

      "I was under pressure to perform better and my performance was going downhill." Don't say that line. That puts the blame back on those who terminated you.

      Instead, state you were terminated due to being unable to follow the proper procedures set forth. You can state you learned from your mistake and will ensure to comply with all directives and policies set forth by an organization.

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      Jane Johnson 7 months ago

      I was terminated because I created a receipt when I had not actually sent one out. I was under pressure to perform better and my performance was going downhill. I feel terrible that I made this stupid decision. How can I explain this issue and get another job?

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      David Livermore 8 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      @Future7 - I have been fired from a call center as well. Just explain that you didn't meet the standards set forth. Then explain what you did to overcome that. In my case, I state that the job wasn't for me, as I didn't have the ability to sell products, so I went into a different line of work.

      @Josie - Did they state that was the reason? Could something else led up to this? In that case you state you were terminated due to that phone call. State it was an emergency, and you now learned to communicate such things to your boss in the future so there are no misunderstandings. Remember, you just give the facts on an application, but give more details in a job interview.

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      Josie 8 months ago

      I was recently terminated from my job. My manager asked me to go to another unit after my unit was done. I went to lunch and got the phone call that my car had been involved in an accident. When she came to check where I was I was on the phone with police. And the next day I was terminated. How do I explain that?

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      Future7 8 months ago

      I was terminated due to idle codes in a call center job. This was where over my career life with the employer they were accumulating a record of me going over my allotted break time of 40 minutes each day. I'm not sure how to explain this?

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      David Livermore 8 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      @Sesdakota

      I'm sorry to hear that. I can tell it still bugs you a lot, and I don't blame you. Just make sure if you communicate that story in any interviews you make it brief and don't place blame on anyone!

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      Sesdakota 8 months ago

      I was terminated by an employer over a decade ago. A cashier had issues with me and would come into my work area to say rude things to me in a deliberate effort to provoke me. Coworkers of mine noticed that she was doing this. I ignored the cashier for about a month, until she said something really rude to me on a night when I was really stressed out. I made a negative remark about her as I was walking away; and, the cashier made a complaint to the management. Normally, the cashier wasn't very articulate; but, her rude remarks seemed unusually well rehearsed (and often out of context); so, I always suspected that the cashier was being used as bait by an assistant manager to get rid of me. A lot of my coworkers had quit without notice because of that assistant manager; and, I once had to calm a coworker down when she was sobbing uncontrollably for half an hour after an encounter with the assistant manager in question. I had been working at the place for nearly eight years; so, nobody had any issues with my workmanship.

      On one hand, that job is more than a decade behind me. On the other hand, I spent nearly eight years at that place; and, I hate not mentioning that length of job experience in my work history. My biggest regret is that the job ended in termination when I had seen early signs of something going wrong at that workplace and could have resigned.

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      David Livermore 9 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      @Michelle Unfortunately there is no good way to put it. That is a touchy subject, and while FMLA is there to protect you, excessive abuse is not. Was it the only incident you had? Did something lead up to it? Did you exhaust all of your time?

      You can put down, "Terminated due to FMLA issues". Then describe what happened in your interview and what you learned from it.

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      Michelle 9 months ago

      I was terminated for FMLA abuse and I'm not sure how to put this on my job applications. I had a migraine & was unable to perform job duties but I then went to my daughters game.

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      David Livermore 11 months ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      @Loc123

      That's a tough one. Own up to it. State you had a disagreement with your boss, and due to other internal politics, you were separated from your employment. Let me make this clear - do not blame your boss, at all. If you do, you will kiss any job goodbye. Instead, state you learned from the experience and know how to handle it in the future tactfully and respectfully.

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      Loc123 11 months ago

      I was terminated because my boss and I had an argument, which essentially was about:

      1. Him not paying me for work rendered, and

      2. Him only supporting the men on the job and not me--the only woman on his full-time staff (i.e., only writing letters of recommendation for them, only advancing them, even though I was doing much more work)

      How do I speak of this? When I asked for a statement of separation, the reason my employer listed for my being terminated was checking the box "Lack of Work", but this is not true and I don't feel comfortable lying. Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated.

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      seekinghelp 13 months ago

      I was terminated from my job of over 10 years due to be accused of calling the manager something terrible. Basically fired for "hearsay" The manager would not listen to me or tell me who accused me of saying it. My termination letter states unprofessional communication and verbal abuse of staff. How do i explain that on applications that asks why I was terminated?

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      stresstomax 15 months ago

      i was recently laid off but a pending investigation is still undergoing how do i put that in a job app??

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      David Livermore 2 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Exactly as you stated in your question to me. State you attempted to explain the situation when you were questioned about it, but now you realize you didn't explain it very well at that time.

      Then you'll want to explain what you have learned from the incident and what you have done differently to overcome whatever problem there may have been.

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      Abbya86 2 years ago

      I was recently terminated from a school due to a couple bad marks on an evaluation by childcare licensing. I didn't explain my side of the story very well when licensing questioned me about the 'incident'.

      Any ideas on how I could explain this on an application? Specifically an application for a teaching position?

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      David Livermore 3 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      That depends. You can provide the job history without revealing you were terminated, since they didn't ask for it. You don't want to hide it, but if they didn't ask for you, you don't have to divulge that information. However, if they find out later, you may have to explain yourself.

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      Workingrl13 3 years ago

      Great article. What if you were fired from a job four years ago, but the application states that they would like history for the last ten years? The position isn't relevant to the position that I have an interview to. But also, I was there for a long time before getting the boot.

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      brownin329 3 years ago

      Thanks David. I appreciate your help.

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      David Livermore 3 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      That's a hard question to answer. When I applied for a job recently, I put that I was terminated, and it was brought up during the interview. In this case, I admitted I was terminated for not performing my job duties, and that the job wasn't the right fit for me, which they seemed to accept. I would try to justify why you were terminated, but I wouldn't say that your last employer was lying, even if they were. That may not give your future employers a good impression on you, even if you are right.

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      brownin329 3 years ago

      David,

      If the reasons for the termination are in dispute, do you also state this on the job application? My last employer fired me for reasons that were not true and now an internal investigation is pending. Thanks for your help.

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      David Livermore 4 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Glad you found it useful. I hope you ever don't find yourself fired either - it's not a pleasant feeling! Thanks for your comment.

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      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      I haven't been terminated yet, but I thought I might need this just in case (but I pray I won't be sacked, but I have to be realistic). Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful. :)

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      David Livermore 4 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      I've had enough dealings with my own termination to know exactly what to do at this point. Thank you for your comment!

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      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      This is good advice. I like how you included screenshots of examples from job applications. And I agree 100% - if the job doesn't ask, then they don't need to know. Voted up!