Dear Sam: I was terminated from my employer for excess time off work. Unfortunately, I received a conviction and, based on the time I had to spend in court, with my attorney, and generally repairing my life following this lapse in judgment, it was too much for my employer of 16 years to bear. While I have been successful in rebuilding my personal life—as this was my first offense I did not receive jail time—I am struggling with figuring out my journey back to my career. In addition, I feel very emotional and often angry about being terminated as I never had a performance issue and now feel potential employers will see me as having a scar on my record. – Kim
Dear Kim: I can understand how difficult navigating your way through a job search must be, especially as I am sure you are possibly thinking of the interview questions you will have to answer about reasons for leaving your last role. Remember, no one reviewing your résumé knows anything about your situation; that will be explored during the interview once interest has been established in your candidacy. I would make sure your résumé is promoting the value you contributed to your past employer, being sure to present all of your accomplishments and the performance you drove. Do you have copies of past performance reviews? These could add credibility to your claims and could be offered during an interview or used in the development of your résumé. Sometimes I will place excerpts from performance reviews directly on a candidate’s résumé, never more important than when performance and character may come into question. Also, develop a written statement about your situation and what you learned from it; showing it as an opportunity for personal development will demonstrate your ability to self-reflect and not repeat those actions. Lastly, you have to let go of your anger toward your past employer. I know the situation is incredibly frustrating, but the worst thing you can do is hold onto a negative attitude and show that to potential employers. Revamp, reenergize, and restart your search with your best foot forward.