I was terminated from my last job; I was there for 17 years. I switched positions within the company and moved to another department. I was terminated after my 90 day probation. I was let go because the boss didn't feel that I was getting the gist of the position in a reasonable amount of time: I didn't get things done in a timely matter, my computer skills were lacking, I didn't multitask and I required more assistance than they felt was necessary at this point.

My question is should I add this position to my resume and, if not, how do I answer the question about the last position held? Should I just not mention this position and can you tell me what questions does a new employer ask an old employer?

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    Simple: Don't include anything that may/will be seen in a negative light. Tell as much as makes sense, then stop. – ig-dev Nov 30 '19 at 4:36
  • It would help if you would be more specific about what you mean by "it". Do you mean the termination itself, as two of the answers assume, or are you asking if you should put the last position you held at the company on your resume? To me, it sounds like you're asking the latter but it's not actually clear. – BSMP Nov 30 '19 at 7:42
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    No one says "Terminated" in their resume. But do include your 17 years. If this is recent experience, it's not like you can leave that off. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 30 '19 at 7:44
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    Please also tell us in what country this is located in. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 30 '19 at 10:09
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    Related, but not a duplicate IMO – Player One Nov 30 '19 at 14:54

The fact that you were terminated? No. Just don’t include it. Nobody will assume that after holding a position for 17 years that you were terminated for poor performance. Unless you are a champion hide and go to meetings player.

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    Can you clarify your last sentence? As a native English (NZ/Aus) speaker it doesn't make any sense to me. – Player One Nov 30 '19 at 14:16
  • I'm a non-native speaker and it looks a bit cryptic for me as well – rath Nov 30 '19 at 14:29
  • Unless you are a champion "hide and go to meetings" player. So I think they mean, you'll only be able to survive 17 years with poor performance if you fly under the radar, hide, and just go to meetings. – stanri Nov 30 '19 at 16:14
  • @rath basically the only way to have survived 17 years of non-accomplishment is to attend meetings but otherwise be impossible to find to the point that people assume you are busy. – Matthew Gaiser Nov 30 '19 at 16:52
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    @MatthewGaiser ah, so "champion hide-and-go-to-meetings player" was the object. Got it! Totally agree btw – rath Nov 30 '19 at 18:35

If it was a 3 month stint at a new company that didn't work out you might have been able to leave it off of your resume. But the position is at the company you were at for the past 17 years. That means it's likely to come up during a reference check. Furthermore, you're almost certainly going to be asked why you left your last job in interviews anyway, so you'll have to mention it at some point.

So you should list all the positions you had with your former employer on your resume. (But not that you were fired. The other answers are correct that you don't put why or how you left a job on your resume.)

Alison Greene (Ask A Manager) advises people concerned about possibly getting a bad reference to either work with the former manager about what they'll tell reference checkers or give potential employers a head's up:

If you’re worried about getting a bad reference, trying calling your old boss to see if she’s willing to reach an agreement with you about what she’ll say to reference checkers. Many managers will be willing to work something out with you if you explain that you’re worried that their reference is making it impossible for you to find work – even if it’s only to agree to limit the reference to confirming your work there.


Last, if none of that works, you might need to warn future reference checkers that the reference from that manager might not be a positive one. That will allow you to provide some context about why – such as that your work there suffered while you were having health problems that have since been resolved, or that you were in a job that was a bad fit for your skills.

In your position, I'd also suggest using the manager you had before you changed departments as your reference for this job. Someone who's seen you work for over 3 months is a more useful reference anyway.

As for what reference checkers actually ask old employers:

This varies from employer to employer, but it’s pretty typical for a reference checker to ask about the quality of your work, your strengths and weaknesses, the reason you left the job, and whether the employer would hire you back if they could.


No, don't include it the fact that you got fired. If you did, any future employer would take that into consideration when interviewing you. The fact that you were there for 17 years is a plus and will help you in your future endeavors. If you're asked why your no longer at the company simply say "The company wasn't doing well so they had layoffs". If you live in the United States, the company won't tell a future employer why you're not there but can only give basic information. Like the fact that you did work there.

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    Please do not assume things you don't know. Omitting something is one thing, but lying on your resume or in the interview is about the worst thing you could do in many countries and the OP did not state theirs. – nvoigt Nov 30 '19 at 6:35
  • What assumptions did I make? I also highly disagree. Never say you got fired. It will always look bad on yourself. – gmalenko Nov 30 '19 at 7:42
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    Did you even read my comment? I never said you should mention you got fired. You can omit things. But lying about them, saying you got laid off, is about the worst mistake you can do in many countries. You assume it's US. There is no indicator it is. – nvoigt Nov 30 '19 at 8:31
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    Nothing in the OP says "the company wasn't doing well". Either you're assuming this, or you're advising OP to lie. Neither seems like a good idea. – Geoffrey Brent Dec 1 '19 at 1:01
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    "If you live in the United States, the company won't tell a future employer why you're not there but can only give basic information." - There are certainly employers who will indicate what they think of a former employee in the United States. However, this answer reads like you are suggesting they lie about the reason they were fired, your examples wouldn't apply to the author's former company. However, I agree a resume is supposed to sell a candidate to a potential employer, how the author explains their situation in a positive light will be difficult. – Donald Dec 1 '19 at 7:50

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