Unfortunately, many jobs from which we depart don’t have a silky smooth “tally ho!” transition.
Oftentimes, things are ugly, and the departure is even uglier.
It might be because it was your fault.
But a lot of times, it can be the employer’s fault , too. It goes both ways.
So what happens when you have some potential job search liabilities on your résumé in terms of what you want to say about your career narrative for that company?
The trick is to think strategically, and remember these tips:
- You never should “explain away” why you left a company in a résumé. Any reasons for leaving do NOT belong on your career document. However, that being said, if the company was sold, you were downsized, or there was a management transition, there are tricks to position your narrative about your tenure at the company that can tip off the reader to the real story without sounding negative or nasty.
Example: “Grew company bottom line up until company was sold and new management took over, recalibrated positions to include corporate personnel, and shifted direction.”
- Getting contact information for the person who was your boss… who no longer works there.
I personally don’t believe it is the job seeker’s responsibility to follow the trail of bread crumbs to try and track down a former supervisor after that person has left the company. Unless, of course, you want that person to be a reference.
But the onus should be on the prospective employer to get this information, and the HR department at former employers should have personnel records which can provide that information.
- Coping with the “non-job.” People leave companies for many reasons, but sometimes, the departure has less to do with accepting another position or being let go, and more to do with personal reasons.
Examples of this might be having a baby or going back to school, caring for a sick relative, or taking another job only to find out that it wasn’t what you thought (or were promised) it would be.
So you were busy during this time, but the loose ends here are that it looks like you were not working, which is usually the exact opposite.
This leaves an embarrassingly big gap with loose ends dangling in your work experience.
Solution: “Personal Sabbatical” or “Professional Sabbatical” – and then include any transferable skill sets or activities that you were engaged in during this time which might provide an indication of your time spent away from an employer.
These are just some examples but thinking about where the loose ends might lie, and how you can tie them up is important to providing a strong and powerfully convincing career narrative.