Pure and simple: no one is perfect. Many of us have a not-so-perfect track record that could potentially deter a future employer from extending a job offer. But when it comes to your past work experiences, honesty is the best policy. You don’t want to appear as someone who has something to hide—just the opposite. You want to present yourself as an honest person who has learned from their experiences and is moving forward.
How to explain yourself
You may wish to briefly reference your past work issue within your cover letter, with the plan to explain more fully during the interview. Situations such as employment gaps, termination or giving less than two weeks’ notice are perfect examples.
The most important thing is to stay positive. Employment issues will likely come up when asked why you left a particular job. If they don’t, take the opportunity to mention them. You might say something like, “We haven’t talked about this yet, but I wanted to be 100 percent honest with you and let you know that…” Then, be transparent about what happened, but don’t mud sling—never blame a situation on a past boss or co-worker. Simply give an overview of the situation, and always stay focused on what you learned from the experience. It’s mature and professional to take ownership and frame it as an opportunity for improvement. For example, you were dismissed from a position due to [blank] and because of that you took [this action]. In the future, you look forward to [what you hope to achieve in your career].
What are you looking for in future career opportunities? Keep your eyes on the road ahead and let your endeavors to learn and grow become the focus of the conversation. Honesty and taking responsibility for your actions are both admirable qualities.
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