My friend is a grad student at an US institution studying Computer Science. During the internship season, they got an opportunity to work at a mid-sized company in the cyber-security domain. Although the role was in that domain, it did not need cybersecurity knowledge as it was mainly related to some automation of activities/processes in that domain.
They performed satisfactorily during their internship they believe, because they received a return offer for a co-op. Now, while working as a co-op, the company underwent sweeping re-orgs and this landed them in a project that needed in-depth cyber-security knowledge. Given their lack of knowledge of the domain, they were asked to undergo some online trainings which they did to the best of their capacity, but unfortunately, they got fired for underperformance.
Now they are worried if this could affect their full-time employability:
Could they discuss with the HR and have it considered as a normal termination of employment instead of a performance-based firing? Is such a request even a thing? Any chance such a request could be entertained?
Since this is a co-op, they could avoid listing it on their resume? (There would be no "gaps" visible, should they choose to drop it) Would this be acceptable? Having said that, they are very tempted to list it, since it counts as their "US experience" being an international student in the US. There have been few interviews in which the recruiters have specifically focused on this employment and asked them (non-technical) questions about their experience working for a US employer.
If they end up not listing it on their resume, should they still bring it up and mention this to the recruiters themselves in the future? They are primarily looking for full time roles in Software Engineering (not necessarily in the cyber-security domain), so they believe bringing this up themselves is not necessary, unless it is an opportunity in the cyber-security domain.
Should they ask for an experience certificate or some employment proof from the organization? Any downsides of doing so? If they plan to list it on their resume, they need some employment proof.
Irrespective of whether or not they add it on their resume or a background-check form, would this come up in their background checks? Could it affect their potential future employment?
Could it affect the status of their current student visa?
It is an unfortunate situation they are in and they regret it. With their studies, assignments and exams along with a job search in this economy, they apparently couldn't focus as much on learning about cybersecurity for the job. And now they worry if they have put themselves in a difficult situation with respect to their future employability.
We don't have any friends or relatives in a similar situation and so we greatly appreciate any feedback or suggestions that you have. Thank you!