I am working on my resume and don’t know what to do. After staying home with my children, I recently returned to my career field (nursing). Earlier this year I worked at a hospital for three months and was let go after my probationary period was successfully completed. There were personality difficulties with some under-performing colleagues, but the official reason for dismissal had to do with medical issues, which are now completely resolved.
Since this was such a short period of employment, should I not include it in my resume? If I did include this job, and then was asked why I was fired, how much information should I give? I don’t want to lie but at the same time, I don’t want to be discriminated or overlooked because of the fact that I had been fired (first time in my entire life) nor do i want to disclose all of the information of my medical issues. If you could please give me advice on what decision I should make to better my chances of getting the position I’m looking for.
No wonder you’re confused! You’re in a rather murky, but not uncommon, situation.
First, you must BE PREPARED to answer the why you aren’t there anymore question. IT WILL COME UP. You should call your previous employer, and speak to the HR department and see how your file was processed. Does it say “due to incompetence” or “due to personal medical reasons?” (I’m just giving an example here, not saying YOU are incompetent.)
Also, ask how reference checks work. See if you have a copy of your employee manual and if it says anything in there. Some companies have it as their legal policy that only dates of employment can be verified. (Basically, because one could sue them for harassment, discrimination, breach of privacy, whatever. Someone might sue because they were “black-balling you in the industry, etc. It’s a CYA policy.) Ask who the “correct” person to refer verification of employment would be. Would it just be some random person in HR? or the dept personnel you had issues with? This is super important to find out.
Sometimes you can buddy-buddy up to the HR person who does the verifications, and also inputs that info (why you left) in your file (often on a computer somewhere). You can check and see what your file says. Perhaps this information can be tweaked in a light that is not quite as damaging to you. Not lying, not falsifying documents. Please don’t think that I’m proposing something of that nature.
Personally, I once convinced the Office Manager of an old firm to say that I was laid off and imply due to the economy instead of due to the fact that the owner of the company decided my “Hello, sir, how are you today?” wasn’t polite and kowtowing to him enough. (Oh yeah. Seriously. See? We all have one of “those” jobs in our history.) This Office Manager really liked my work and also didn’t appreciate the way I was being let go. So he agreed. You can discuss this with them. If you can work this out, make sure that person and their direct number is put down as a reference, not your supervisor, unless your supervisor would be willing to agree to this as well.
I also have a referral partner that you can pay to do these reference checks and verifications for yourself, to make sure if they are following company policy, if you are interested. It’s not that expensive, actually.
Now, let’s think about what we can do in a proactive manner about your situation. Do you have anyone there that liked your work? Anyone who would be willing to speak positively regarding your work ethic, or doing your assigned tasks well? It doesn’t have to be your direct supervisor or people on your team. Another administrator, or a doctor, or a head RN that “saw” you a great deal? Could you talk to them about using them as a “character reference” and also writing your a letter of reference? Being able to produce written letters of recommendation in an interview (and in an application document) can be very powerful tools, even more so because HR administrators and recruiters see them so rarely nowadays. Does this individual have personal contacts in your future department? Would they be willing to put in a good word for you or introduce you personally to the decision maker? Again, think about what you can do to head a potential employer off at the pass.
To answer your question about what to say: I think it is perfectly fine to state, “Unfortunately, I had some personal medical issues that came to the surface when I began that position that hampered my ability to perform my job effectively (or to my complete potential). Now that those issues have been completely resolved and are no longer a concern, I am ready to move forward with my career.” Easy-peasy.
If they ask for more details, they’re just being nosy. However, most interviewers won’t touch that with a ten foot pole, AS LONG AS you can assuage their fears that your “medical issues” won’t be a problem again. That’s the main point you need to emphasize.
Finally, leaving the position completely off your resume is not a great idea, in my opinion. Ultimately the final decision is yours, but leaving it off is chancy. Some might disagree with me, but here is my reasoning.
- It’s your most recent position. It does show that you’ve worked recently and are attempting to re-enter your field.
- People are going to talk. The medical world is just not that big, especially in your specific geographic area. People know people who know people, and it is natural that someone is going to ask around.
- Not listing this position makes you look like you have something to hide, and it’s logical that someone would start to wonder what that might be.
- What happens if you get the new position, and your new supervisor hears about you from a friend? Would that new supervisor consider that “falsifying your resume?” And that is never a good situation to be in.
So I believe being up front and bringing it out in the open is your best bet. Whatever decision you make, just be SURE about it, and cover all of your bases.