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I was laid off from a job, but my performance was good and I have a good reference. I then took a similar job, where my boss did not like me and did not support me in learning new things needed for the job. I worked really hard and met the deadlines, but my boss let me go after 5 months.

I have a family to support and I am not that young to start over. I cannot tell prospective employers that I was let go from two successive jobs because then I may never get another job. I want to be honest but I'm sure that if do that, I'm doomed. I have had a very solid background before this happened, but I don't think anyone would care about that now.

Can I say that I left the first job and lost the second job? Or should I just say I was not working since I lost the first job, making no mention of the second job?

  • I did my research and I read a lot that it is not advised to admit being laid off if one can help it. It is also suggested that not every single short term jobs must be on the resume. Do you suggest me and my family should confess everything voluntarily and then starve to death or throw out 10+ years successful and hardly earned career with almost 20 years education and try to get a retail/fast food job? Because I honestly don't see any chances confessing everything.... – user64817 Feb 21 '17 at 2:49
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    Could you just not include the second one on your resume? It's only five months, so I think it's a short enough duration to still include under "job search." – Teacher KSHuang Feb 21 '17 at 8:38
  • You were laid off - as in not fired (for incompetence / poor performance or something). I don't really see where your shame is coming from assuming you weren't the one making key business decisions. Considering you worked hard and met deadlines I'm sure you could put a positive spin on the second job, though you don't say why your boss let you go. – colmde Feb 21 '17 at 12:58
  • @user64817 What research? No reasonable employer will hold a layoff against you. – DLS3141 Feb 22 '17 at 17:43
  • Teacher KSHuang, yes I was wondering if I could do that but Joe and other people told me even if I don't put it on the resume I can't deny it if they ask what was I doing, so it might get me an interview or may not if they didn't like to see I was out of job for 6+ months. I will ask a career coach about this one – user64817 Feb 24 '17 at 23:41
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Being laid off was not your fault. That was a business decision beyond your control and you have the references to back up that you are a good working so that is nothing to worry about.

For the second job I was in a similar position a few years ago. I joined a company, busted my gut, saved the project but got fired for the privilege. I kept that 6 months of work on my resume because it was for a new set of technologies that I hadn't previously worked in and help round out my skill set.

When people asked me about those 6 months (of which I deeply wished to forget working at that company) I simply told them that the position wasn't a good fit for me. And from my point of view it wasn't because I really didn't want to work for a company that would throw me under the bus the first chance they got.

So keep both jobs on your resume. Leaving both of them was out of your control and it seems that you didn't fail at either one of them.

  • Thank you it is really encouraging to read. Did they ask you direcly if you left or were fired? How did it go? – user64817 Feb 21 '17 at 5:11
  • I really feel the first job was not my fault but I'm wondering if I was working 70-80 hours instead of 60 on my second job then the boss would have let me stay... I know he was very different from me and getting along would have been a struggle anyway but maybe I could have lasted long enough to leave them by myself – user64817 Feb 21 '17 at 5:20
  • If you'd worked 70-80 hours a week then you'd have finished the project and been let go earlier and seen less of your family than you did working 60 hours. – Stephen Feb 21 '17 at 8:52
  • @user64817 Nobody ever asked me if I was fired or let go. They just accepted what I said that it wasn't a good fired and we moved on. – Peter M Feb 21 '17 at 12:31
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    @user64817 "I'm wondering if I was working 70-80 hours instead of 60 on my second job then the boss would have let me stay". Don't even think this. If you are working 60 hours a week - unless it's because you didn't have the ability - then that only points to a bad boss. You should have been looking to leave the job and find another one anyway. – colmde Feb 21 '17 at 13:03
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I cannot tell prospective employers that I was let go from two successive jobs because then I may never get another job.

You're dramatizing. Remember, you're the one writing the resume. So you can put a positive slant on things, mention that you found the work interesting and you met your previous employer's deadlines but you were not a good fit with their team. End of story.

For a variety of reasons, there isn't actually that big a gap between people who quit and people who are fired.

First of all, many people quit when they see it coming, so it's not even a strong indicator of performance.

Secondly, an employer will prefer an employee who does at least mediocre work but has a high chance to stay with the company over an employee who could do stellar work but will jump ship if another opportunity comes up.

In the end, an employee that has been laid off a few times, and is now desperate to get and keep a job, has actually a lot of potential to be hired. Maybe not as much as someone with a solid track record, but not that far behind either.

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    +1 In addition, it would be very bad tactics to lie about the first job, because it is the most recent source of a good reference. The OP needs to be able to tell prospective employers about it. – Patricia Shanahan Feb 21 '17 at 3:47
  • Thanks. Sorry I don't know that but what is OP? – user64817 Feb 21 '17 at 3:50
  • @user64817 OP = original post or poster. so in this case, you. – DepressedDaniel Feb 21 '17 at 3:52
  • Thank you. I appreciate your advices. It is good to hear that things may not look that horrible as I thought even if I have tell everything as it is. I would move, even out of country because I'm really desperate to find something stable even with a considerable paycut – user64817 Feb 21 '17 at 4:01
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    @user64817 That would be very bad tactics. Your former manager may say something like "I was a pity we had to lay off user64817, but we just had too many widget makers.". At that point, the prospective employer knows you lied to them. You should either hide the job completely or tell the exact truth about it, including how it ended. – Patricia Shanahan Feb 22 '17 at 22:10
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I have a family to support and I am not that young to start over. I cannot tell prospective employers that I was let go from two successive jobs because then I may never get another job. I want to be honest but I'm sure that if do that, I'm doomed. I have had a very solid background before this happened, but I don't think anyone would care about that now.

Oh please...I've been working for almost 20 years and have been laid off three times and let go once after 2 years because "things aren't working out" (translation: Your new boss doesn't like you.) Guess what? Every single time, I have found a better position. Getting laid off is NOT a black mark...it happens. Even getting let go is not necessarily a bad thing.

When you're asked why you left a position, just be honest. If you were laid off, say, "I was laid off." If you feel the need to elaborate and know why you were laid off, then say so "I was laid off when the price of oil dropped from over $100/bbl to $35/bbl and all of my projects were canceled" ...or whatever the reason may be.

If you were let go, you can just say..."Even though I met all of my deadlines and performed well, it really wasn't a good fit", and leave it at that.

  • Thank you DLS3141 it is really good to hear. I think I can explain my first job as it was indeed a lay off but my next job was the same position for a competitor. Wouldn't people wonder what could possibly be a reason that the exact same job I performed well before was not a good fit for me at another company? So maybe it is better if I offer an explanation instead of letting them guess. And if they ask I will have to say something. What would you say? I heard it is okay to say if you didn't have a specific experience needed – user64817 Feb 25 '17 at 0:04
  • @user64817 I can't address your specific situation better than you. In my case it was a result of changes my new boss made that were ethically questionable and his authoritarian style of management. – DLS3141 Feb 25 '17 at 15:48

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