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Should You Leave a Bad Job Experience Off Your Resume?

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You start a new job with hopefulness of the great things you’ll soon be able to do. Over the next handful of months, that excitement morphs into dread as you realize this job just isn’t a good fit. You may decide to quit or you may get let go — either way, it’s a negative job experience you’re now tasked with explaining to future employers.

If you had a job for a short period of time and it was awful, you’re now facing the conflict of how to address it on your resume. Many people contemplate leaving off these negative experiences altogether. Perhaps you fudge the dates of your past employer so there isn’t as much of a gap, or you try to justify the gap with vague statements like you were freelancing or taking time off to help a family member.

GetFive career coaches agree that lying on your resume is a big mistake. If a hiring manager uncovers the lie, it makes your entire resume suspect, not to mention your moral character. If you are hired and then the lie unfolds, it could put you at risk of losing your job. Either way, lying is too costly of a risk to make. Hiring managers verify employment dates and call references. They do their due diligence. So don’t think pulling one over on them is easy.

Rather than lie, take the high road and be prepared to explain what happened, and more importantly, what you learned from the experience. You can turn a negative experience into a positive talking point if you stress what you learned, how you would do things differently in the future, and why this experience was meaningful. Avoid bad-talking any past employer as it will make you seem spiteful and not ready to move on.

Beyond addressing the situation honestly and positively, it’s important to take steps to avoid having another negative experience at a future job. This means doing your due diligence and researching all aspects of potential employers before accepting an offer. Many people get swept away in the big-ticket items like salary and benefits. While these certainly are important, never overlook the significance of other aspects of working, such as culture, structure, and the supervisor’s management style. These are perfect conversation points to bring up during an interview to help you learn more about what it will be like to work there.

After all, a job is far more than a paycheck. You want to feel good about what you’re doing and who you are working with. For more advice on handling a negative job experience and ensuring you don’t have another one, contact a GetFive career coach today.

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