G asked: “I was fired. Should I put this in my resume?” Short answer: yes. But this can be complicated. So, read further…

Show me a perfect human being and I’ll show you a newborn. If you have grown into adulthood, then your childhood and teen years should have been a staging ground for all manner of mistakes and errors in judgement. A time to learn what not to do. A time to discover boundaries and how to meld into a civilization. We all are ashamed of something in our past, maybe a few things, maybe these events happened in the recent past. These events often help people to move forward, after they cope with and recover from hitting “rock bottom”. Examples?  Being fired. Going bankrupt. Being sued. Experiencing bad press. Ignoring the rules by committing a minor criminal offenses. As daunting as these may be, don’t let it derail your resume or your interview. But, not everything must go into a resume or be discussed during the interview. Know the difference.

As a rule of thumb, if  it  is relevant to the job you are applying for, I strongly urge you to stick it in the resume, but worded in such as way as to avoid attracting an excessive amount of negative interest or attention. Be factual. Don’t lie or cheat. Don’t distort it to fit your circumstances. Be honest. If it might affect the decision process of the new recruiter and interviewers, or, if it may negatively bias your career at the new company after your “secret” emerges, it should go into the resume and you should be prepared to discuss it before it comes back to haunt you.

As with most resume items, there is an art to presenting these instances on a resume. If you are not confident in how to present your “bad experience”, either in your resume or how to handle the question when asked during the interview, then seek the advice and wisdom of a competent job skills coach or employment counselor.

Remember, no matter how dark your cloud, there is always a silver lining if you look hard enough. If you can’t find it, get help from a real employment counselor.