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I was fired. Should I leave it off my resume?

Nurse Beth   (565 Views | 5 Replies)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

18 Followers; 103 Articles; 234,707 Profile Views; 2,059 Posts

Dear Nurse Beth,

I have just been fired from my first hospital job as a new grad after having been oriented for 2 months. Although it was devastating, I am quite relieved as I've come to learn that ER is not where I want to be right now. That being said, how do I approach this in my resume and interviews?

Should I even put it in my resume as work or as skills? I have learned so much and gained skills that I believe can be useful on the floor, but how do I go about professionally mentioning this (if I should) if I am asked about it during an interview?
Thank you!

Dear Devastated,

You should never leave out relevant jobs in a resume for the purpose of misleading an employer. Even though it was a short tenure, not including it in your resume carries a risk.

Nursing is a small world, and you can easily run into someone later on who you worked with during those 2 months. Discovering you were not truthful on your resume after you're hired could result in losing your job.

While it can place you in an unfavorable light, when it comes up in an interview, you can mitigate the damage.

  • Plan and rehearse your answer- not to the point of sounding scripted, but enough to control what you say during the interview, and avoid getting off-topic or overly wordy.
  • Keep it brief. Over-explaining makes it look like you've done something wrong. A simple explanation such as "it wasn't a good fit" is best.
  • Never blame your previous employer. Keep it positive and indicate that you learned from the experience.
  • Control the narrative. At every opportunity, segue to the positive and to the future. "I look forward to working in an organization that shares my values" (be sure you know the mission and values statement).

I hate to tell you this, but 2 months experience in the ED is not going to carry much weight, experience-wise, with a MedSurg hiring manager. Experience for a new grad begins to count at around 1 year. In their minds, you are not a nurse with 2 months experience, you are a new grad.

Submit plenty of applications and practice your interview responses.

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819Nurse has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SNF/LTACH/CM/Orthopedics/Med Surg.

472 Posts; 7,667 Profile Views

Nurse Beth,

when answering the question of why are you looking to leave your current employer, or why did you leave your last job..... i noticed you suggested several times (in other post) to inform the employer "its not/wasnt a good fit". Which sounds great. But this recently happened to me, and i told the recruiter the job i left "wasnt a good fit" and the recruiter asked "well why is that?".......I simply explined to the recruiter somethimes all the cogs in the watch do not align it it doesnt work. And i repeated to her, it just wasnt a good fit for me. Needless to say every application to this particular hospital system is auto rejected now. Prior to this recruiters were reaching out from this hospital system, the status of my applications would immeditely read "application under review"....etc...

How do you respond then? Especially if one doesnt want to speak negatively about the employer and if the job was TRULY not a good fit. 

(FYI...I accepted another position at another hospital, so I am no longer applying to said hospital system above)

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

6 Followers; 13,271 Posts; 59,599 Profile Views

I'm not NurseBeth ... but when someone tells me a job was "not a good fit," I am going to follow-up with "In what way was it not a good fit?"

What I want to hear when I ask that question is some honest (but kind and generous) explanation of reality.   I want to know that the person I am interviewing has done some introspective thinking about what happened and has learned something so that they don't keep making the same mistakes over and over again.   And note that the mistake they made might not have been a nursing practice mistake, but rather a mistake in picking a job that didn't match their skill level, or cultural beliefs, or schedule needs, etc.   Maybe the lesson they learned was the importance of picking a job that would suit their cultural and scheduling needs.

So prepare to answer that follow-up question by being honest with yourself about why the first job didn't work out.   Figure out a "nice" way to say it.   For example, were you not as ready for the high level of acuity of the ED?  ... or the fast pace? ... or the great variation of the types of patients?   Did you find that you did not like or thrive in an environment when you didn't have a chance to get to know your patient and had to jump into situation with minimal oportunity for assessment?   Was the environment different than you expected -- and what way? 

Once you have identified what went wrong and figured out some ways to discuss it (very briefly -- maybe just sentence or two) that don't make you look incompetent or mean-spirited ... then move quickly on to what you learned and how that will make you a better nurse as you move forward.   Discuss how your knowledge and skills (some of which you may have learned from that previous job) will help you be a great employee for the job you are now applying for -- and how this new opportunity will be a better fit for you.

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1 Follower; 2,295 Posts; 48,477 Profile Views

 

1 hour ago, llg said:

I'm not NurseBeth ... but when someone tells me a job was "not a good fit," I am going to follow-up with "In what way was it not a good fit?"

Thank you for adding this, as it often goes unsaid.  

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819Nurse has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SNF/LTACH/CM/Orthopedics/Med Surg.

472 Posts; 7,667 Profile Views

On 2/7/2020 at 11:32 AM, llg said:

I'm not NurseBeth ... but when someone tells me a job was "not a good fit," I am going to follow-up with "In what way was it not a good fit?"

What I want to hear when I ask that question is some honest (but kind and generous) explanation of reality.   I want to know that the person I am interviewing has done some introspective thinking about what happened and has learned something so that they don't keep making the same mistakes over and over again.   And note that the mistake they made might not have been a nursing practice mistake, but rather a mistake in picking a job that didn't match their skill level, or cultural beliefs, or schedule needs, etc.   Maybe the lesson they learned was the importance of picking a job that would suit their cultural and scheduling needs.

So prepare to answer that follow-up question by being honest with yourself about why the first job didn't work out.   Figure out a "nice" way to say it.   For example, were you not as ready for the high level of acuity of the ED?  ... or the fast pace? ... or the great variation of the types of patients?   Did you find that you did not like or thrive in an environment when you didn't have a chance to get to know your patient and had to jump into situation with minimal oportunity for assessment?   Was the environment different than you expected -- and what way? 

Once you have identified what went wrong and figured out some ways to discuss it (very briefly -- maybe just sentence or two) that don't make you look incompetent or mean-spirited ... then move quickly on to what you learned and how that will make you a better nurse as you move forward.   Discuss how your knowledge and skills (some of which you may have learned from that previous job) will help you be a great employee for the job you are now applying for -- and how this new opportunity will be a better fit for you.

Thanks thanks and more thanks!

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Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

18 Followers; 103 Articles; 2,059 Posts; 234,707 Profile Views

llg gave excellent advice.

Here's a couple more tips:

When asked "In what way was it not a good fit?" do not give an answer that casts doubt on your skills/ability to do the job. If you had time management problems in the ED, do not say "I couldn't keep up" when applying to a MedSurg unit.

Keep it very high-level. Do not get into the weeds of the situation. Instead say "The mission and values were not a good fit for me" and then segue to the future "I look forward to practicing in an environment where the values align with my own" 

Congrats on landing your new job ! 🙂

 

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