Employment history low points?

Subject: Employment history low points?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2002 09:34:52 -0500


Richard Goldberger wonders: <<do you include in your CV positions from which
you were fired?>>

The goal of a resume is to present a sufficiently compelling work history
that the personnel department considers you sufficiently qualified to be
worth interviewing. So yes, if the positions from which you were fired are
relevant to the job you're applying for, they should appear on the resume.
Most people in the high-tech sector are more than familiar with the
phenomenon of layoffs for reasons good and bad, and can empathize with you.

<<Now I'm sure in some cases people are sacked because of personality
clashes or other non-work performance related reasons, but what if (perhaps
early in your career) you were given the boot because you genuinely screwed
up a writing task?>>

Saying why you left a previous job is always a delicate dance, particularly
if you left involuntarily. The trick is to tell the truth as much as
possible, but in a light that reflects well upon you. If you screwed up,
admit it--and point out that you learned from your experience and haven't
screwed up in that manner ever again. Better still if you're lucky enough to
have screwed up while taking a significant risk trying to stretch your
talents; it's safer not to take risks, but on the other hand, risk takers
are often the ones who make breakthroughs and who are willing to grow in
their jobs. You'll probably still lose the job to someone with identical
qualifications and equal honesty who _hasn't_ screwed up, but them's the
breaks.

If you're an otherwise qualified candidate, any boss worth working for will
admire your honesty and accept the fact that even the best of us is on a
learning curve when we start out. What lies in the past is less important
than what you've built on that foundation. ("Yeah, that toilet training
thing really had me down for a few years when I was 2. But you know
something? I finally got the hang of it. I don't expect it to be a problem
in the position I'm applying for." <g>)

--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada

"Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the
earth's surface relative to other matter; second, telling other people to do
so. The first is unpleasant and ill-paid; the second is pleasant and highly
paid."--Bertrand Russell

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