Application Strategies for Awkward Situations

Reasons For Leaving a Job

You want to make these reasons positive, forward-looking and as impersonal as possible while being truthful. Remember, employers check references.

Instead of “Fired” use…

  • “Agreed to seek better opportunity” if the reasons for leaving were about how you fit with the job.
  • “Prefer to discuss at interview” for other reasons.

Instead of “Quit” explain what you did next in a positive way…

  • “Left to pursue education”
  • “Left to accept position with greater responsibility and opportunity”
  • Instead of “not enough money” use “resigned to seek advancement”
  • Instead of “no babysitter” use “child care unavailable” or “left to care for family”
  • Instead of “no car” or “car broke down” or “bus late” or any other transportation related issue use “commute issues”
  • Instead of “moved away” use “change of residence”

Instead of “Laid off” use…

  • “Reduction in workforce.” This sounds less personal and can serve as a substitute in most any situation
  • Use “plant closure,” or “company closed.” Use these if they are accurate

No Employment History

Describe experience like school or household chores as if it were employment. Write down any duties you performed and skills you used to perform those duties. Here’s an example.

Employer:Self Telephone #206-111-2222 From:9/93
Address: 123


Attended school six hours every weekday. Studied algebra, physics, English, and construction in order to earn my high school diploma. Frequently used writing, math, planning, researching, improvising, and listening comprehension skills in my coursework.

Reason for 
Currently Employed