How Do You Say, "I Was Fired" ...

by Rebekah Cockrell


It happens to the best of employees and it can be a devastating experience. However, you will need to pick yourself up and get back to work. 

For employees that have been at a company for years, you want to include that experience on your resume. For employees that have only been at the company for a few short weeks, you can possibly get away with not including the experience on your resume.  However, you will still need to be prepared to answer the gap in employment.

Beyond the resume, the problem that most people have is deciding how to tell a prospective employer in a questionnaire or during an interview that they were fired.

The best thing you can do is to just be honest about it. It is better to explain upfront why you were dismissed from a job, than to try to cover it up.

Employers will often check past employment for references and to confirm employment. Nowadays most employers can’t say whether you were fired or not or give a personal recommendation. (It really depends on the state you live in and local employment laws). However, they can generally say whether or not you are eligible for re-hire. And this is how employers will determine whether or not you left a company on good terms or bad terms.

When asked directly why you were dismissed, keep the reason brief. You will want to stick to facts and keep personal opinions out of the reason. No matter how you feel, it is better if you don’t say anything negative about a past employer. This will allow you to keep your credibility and also keep you in the running for the new position. You may want to keep copies of all past reviews from the company to prove good performance.  If possible, try to get a recommendation from co-workers and past supervisors or managers. This will also help you when trying to show that it was just a one-time experience or misunderstanding and you are definitely worth hiring.

Don’t forget, honesty is the best policy. 

Rebekah Cockrell is a Community and Marketing Manager for CreateBetterResumes. CreateBetterResumes was founded with the purpose of making it easy for everyone to have a compelling results-driven resume using our signature phrase building technology.

Become a Contributor

We are always on the lookout for good writers. If you are a resume writer, career coach or human resources professional and would like to contribute, please get in touch and earn your badge!

WorkBloom Badge