Understandably, many survivors have questions about whether and how to disclose their cancer diagnosis during the job-search process. But for those who find themselves back in the job market due to a termination, another disclosure question surfaces: How do I explain why I left my last job? Recently The Muse published a piece with tips for how best to address this question in three specific scenarios. Here are the highlights:
- Approximately 85% of jobs are found through networking, which makes the people you know (and the people who know them) a very valuable resource when searching for your next work opportunity. According to The Muse, when reaching out to your network via email, it’s key to craft communications that feel effortless — and it may not be necessary to include any information about why you left your former job. Keep emails to no more than a few sentences, and focus on trying to set up an in-person conversation or phone call to talk about potential opportunities. But as part of that outreach, be sure to share information — or offer a favor — that might be helpful to that person. For an example of what such an email might look like, click here.
- Some people believe it’s a good idea to briefly mention in a cover letter that they’ve been let go, because it provides context for why they’re in the job market. But note the operative word here: brief. Remember that the main purpose of any cover letter is to convince the hiring manager that it’s worth bringing you in for an interview; so keep the focus on selling yourself. For example, you might say: “I am an experienced retail sales manager with a passion for creating unique shopping experiences for customers. I was recently let go and am excited to find a new position that will enable me to share my XYZ skills....” If you’re going to reference the departure from your prior job, it’s important that you immediately follow it with talk of the awesome skill set you can bring to that hiring manager’s workplace.
- Similarly, if during a face-to-face interview you’re questioned about why you left your last job, your best bet is to take a light touch. Acknowledge the question, but move past it to refocus the conversation on all the compelling professional traits you possess. You can also take a similar approach when questioned about any gaps on your resume and consider using a technique we refer to as “The Swivel.”
For more advice on how to answer questions about being let go from a job, read the full article on The Muse website and check out the following CAC resources: