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Feedback Q&A on Careers

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 79 comments and questions on Career issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

List of next 10 letters




Getting Fired Should I put being fired on my resume? USA
Getting Fired Told off boss before quitting job USA
First Impressions Can I write a letter asking why I wasn't hired? USA
Getting Fired Lost temporary job and having trouble getting others USA
Elevator Speech Was fired and learned a lesson USA
General Having difficulty in getting a job Nigeria
General Afraid to apply for a job UK
General Biology job in Pakistan Pakistan
General Wants to be a police officer Canada
General Nervous in job interview USA

Next 10


First 10 letters

Should I put being fired on my resume?

Topic: Getting Fired


September 7, 2006

I was recently fired,I knew it was coming & wanted to give my employer a 2 week notice but I didn't. Do I have to state I was fired on my resume. If I don't, do I start an interview by stating I was fired & give the reason? I am devastated & need your help! Thank you.




On a resume, you never state why you left a job. You list the job, your accomplishments and how long you worked for each company.

You may or may not have to fill out an application before an interview. That is where they usually ask why you left a job. Typically, you can state you have a personality conflict with your supervisor. That is acceptable.

If you did not get along with your boss and that was the reason that you were fired, you can try to get someone else in the company to provide a reference. During the interview, you can say you had differences and left the position. Do not dwell on it and certainly don't say anything bad about your old boss or the company. It is something that happened and now you want to move on.

Be sure that you have a clear idea of why you were fired, so that you can use it as a lesson learned. Many people have been fired and found it was the best thing that happened to them.

Best wishes in getting a good job.

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Told off boss before quitting job

Topic: Getting Fired


September 1, 2006

My work experience is being an Administrative Assistant. I have worked in Utah and Colorado. I moved back to my hometown after having been gone for thirty years. I went to work as an Administrative Assistant at our hometown university. The boss that I had was very demeaning. She would come in the office and it would be a flurry of demands.

She was a micro manager. Some examples:
(1) I was instructed to order blue paper. When it arrived she said that it was not the correct color of blue. I had to send it back and order the color she wanted.

It was just going to separate different document that were going into a packet for the Alumni of the university. There were other colors that were also going into the packet.

(2) She asked me to order an umbrella for an outdoor event. I sent her the specification of the umbrella. She wanted a yellow one. So I was going to order it. She then told me to call the company and ask how yellow the yellow umbrella was.

(3) I was to put together a menu for an Alumni Dinner. We chose a dish that was from the Campus Cafeteria. She asked me to ask the cook how spicy was the dish.

(4.) We were in charge of the Homecoming Parade. She criticized everything I did.

There are so many things that I could not do right. The Monday after the Homecoming Event I went into her office and gave her my resignation. I asked to be relived of my duties that day. In the past I had talked to her about her treatment of me. I told here at my exit interview that I felt that she did not have any respect for me and the skills that I brought to the job.

She was not happy about how I left my job and the department.

My former boss is the Director of the Alumni Association. I have a job interview at the university next week for another department. I know that the manager will call my former boss and ask her why I left. She will say that I left on bad terms. What do I say to the manager? I want to work again at the university. It is a very small town and not a lot of jobs are available.

Thank you for your help

Gerri Johnson

Gerri - USA



There are bad bosses in many industries, but there seem to be many more in the administration of colleges and universities. I have heard of other examples of demanding supervisors in colleges who show no respect to their workers. This type of behavior would not be accepted in most businesses. You did the right thing to quit and move on, but you did the wrong thing by telling her why you wanted to quit. I am sure that she has taken it personally.

Although it is after the fact, a rule in leaving a job is to make sure you are not burning your bridges behind you. Smile, even if you have to grit your teeth, because you never know if you will need the person as a reference.

In your job interview, tell the manager that you had a personality conflict with your previous boss. Say that your previous boss was a nice person, but you had completely different working styles, so you felt it was best that you leave the position. Do not say anything negative about your former supervisor. In fact, think of things you can praise about her--like her work with the alumni. Thus, if your former boss bad-mouths you, it will sound like sour grapes.

Note that if you do not get the job because of a bad report from the other supervisor, you have legal recourse to sue the school. Most companies have a policy only to verify the person worked there and what the final wages were. They do not give personal evaluations because of the threat of a suit. You also can play the "harassment card" since you were apparently verbally harassed and force to quit. Certainly, you do not want to get involved in any legal actions, but I just wanted to let you know it is an option.

Emphasize your skills and how you can help this new department. Show that you are a good worker and are pleasing to work with. Then no matter what the other manager says will not matter.

I hope this helps. Best wishes in getting the job. Let me know how things work out.

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Can I write a letter asking why I wasn't hired?

Topic: First Impressions


August 26, 2006

I didnt get the job. Can I writte a letter asking why? What did I do? where should I improve?

Eloy - USA



It can be disappointing not to get a job. But you don't know how many other people applied and whether someone had a better background than you. Sending a letter will usually get no response, because it is too much work for them to write back to you. But you can write a letter stating that you were disappointed and asking if they would keep you in mind for future positions. Often showing you want to work for the company can make a good impression.

Even if you made a phone call to the person who interviewed you, the person would probably only give a vague reason such as, "We found someone who was more qualified." So, that won't help much either.

Think back about your interview and try to picture the impression you made. You may be able to pinpoint some problem areas. Other than that, keep trying. Very seldom does a person get a job with one application. You have to get as many as possible in your area of skill. It takes a lot of effort, but it should be worth it once you get hired.

Best wishes on getting a good job.

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Lost temporary job and having trouble getting others

Topic: Getting Fired


August 7, 2006

I was terminated from a previous job in June, 2005. I was hired by a temporary agency and worked for them in various assignments for over a year. On my last assignment, they were given the impression that it would last through December and may even go permanent.

That wasn't the case. They laid me off-with NO warning-on my birthday. July 28, 2006.

I'm in paramedic school and I was working for an insurance company. They knew what they were getting when they hired me. Now I'm back in the job search and I had one interview today and they wanted to hire me...until they found out that I was in paramedic school.

Hospitals and doctors don't want me-no experience-they say I have worked in an office too long and not enough on the ambulance (I work part time with an ambulance service). Offices don't want me because I am in paramedic school.

Do you have any advice for someone like me?

Thank you,
Melissa Anthony

Melissa - USA



One reason companies use temp agencies is that it is easy to terminate the contract if conditions change, while it is difficult for them to fire a full-time employee. So, don't take it personal that you were let go from the agency with no notice.

The worst thing that could happen to you on your last assignment is to be hired as a permanent employee. It sounds like your dream is to be a paramedic, and that would just sidetrack you.

Keeping in good terms with various temp agencies is worthwhile to be able to get short-term jobs when they come up. But I think you really would be better getting part-time work. In that way, you could concentrate on your schooling and getting the experience needed to get a job in that field. Right now you look like someone who is vacillating from one thing to another.

One thing you can do is to check with the companies where you worked before to see if they need part-time help. If you signed a contract with the agency that you won't go back to a company, you might have to get a release. But also working part-time with the ambulance service may help out.

The big thing is to focus on what you really want to do.

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Was fired and learned a lesson

Topic: Elevator Speech


January 27, 2006

Thanks for the information concerning the amount of time it may take to find a new job. I just got fired almost a month ago. And it's frustrating, because I know why I got fired, and I definitely have learned my lesson. But the interview process is the hardest, because people always ask why you left your old job. If I am pretty sure they will ask to call the employer, I tell them the truth, acting as humbly as I can, and let them know to the best of my ability that I have truly learned my lesson, and it will never happen again. But if I can avoid it at all, I just tell them I got laid off due to budget cuts. I just try to remain as humble as possible right now, so that if in either case, it comes back to bite me. Surely they would understand why I felt the need to lie about the reason for me leaving anyway. But I still do not have a job, and did not receive it's frustrating. But thanks for the article.




Legally, a former employer can only verify that you worked there. Most companies will give no further information for fear of a lawsuit. But still, you never know what they may say, so you don't want to take any chances, especially if you were fired for some activity that could prevent you from getting another job.

Although I advocate honesty, there are situations where telling what happened is not the best route to take. Even if you have learned your lesson, often companies don't want to take a chance. Whatever happened is best left unsaid.

But you need to have at least one reference from your previous employer. If you know someone there that can be a reference, you can then say that you had a personality conflict with your boss and would prefer to use this other person as a reference. In that way, they can verify you did work there and you can avoid a possible embarrassing situation.

Don't get discouraged and keep trying. I hope things work out with getting a new job soon.

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Having difficulty in getting a job

Topic: General


August 27, 2005

Dear Sir,

I'm truly sorry to barge in on you like this, but I am at the end of my tether and would greatly appreciate the benefits of your insights.

I am a 26-year old Nigerian chap who has been unable to secure a job four years since leaving colege here in Nigeria. Hard as I try, I never seem to make it past the interview panel of several organisations I've applied to. In my desperation, I've resorted to writing my applications on coloured paper and even attaching a passport photograph.

Lately, I've come to the conclusion that I'm perhaps not doing a good enough job of 'selling' my potential to these potential employers. However beyond knowing this, I am at a loss as to how to actually go about 'selling' my potential.

Sir given your vast expertise and experience in these matters I wish to from the depth of my heart appeal to you for tips - the missing link in my past failed attempts -you think I can employ to bring about a positive change in my situation. I do not ask for bread; only the tool and techniques of baking mine.

Please can you help sir?

Yours sincerely,

Jide Olugbon.

Jide - Nigeria



Start off by writing out an extensive summary of your education, job experience and skills. This is something you will keep for yourself as a reference and reminder of what you have to offer. It is also good to list possible character, academic and employment references for when you will need them later.

Note that you need to examine what you have done in the past four years and list worthwhile activities in which you have been engaged to advance your knowledge and skill. You may have to think hard on this. Companies do not want to hear that you just were looking for work. This is a major obstacle for you to overcome.

One of the first things to do in applying for a job is to research the company so that you know what they do and what their needs are. Write a one- to two-page resume' that is customized to the needs of the company and the job description (never more than 2-pages). Every resume' you send out should be customized to the job you are seeking. You can have a template to use and modify. Most of your resume' information will be your educational background.

Do NOT use coloured paper for a resume'. Use high quality white paper. Do NOT send your picture or listing of references. Include a short cover letter with your resume, explaining you are seeking an interview.

Before you go on any more interviews, practice being interviewed. Have some friends give the interview, asking some tough questions. (One question is, "What have you done the past years since graduating?") You need to be able to answer questions with confidence and respect. You don't want to be caught by surprise.

An interview is a difficult task. You want to get the people to like you. You want to seem intelligent and skilled but not arrogant or conceited. If you have done research on the company and have practiced your interview, you should do much better at convincing them you are the person to hire.

The same day, after the interview, send a letter to the hiring person, politely thanking him for the interview and indicating you are sure you can help the company.

I hope these ideas help. Best wishes on getting a good job and having a great career. Let me know how things turn out.

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Afraid to apply for a job

Topic: General


June 1, 2005

Hello, my name is Claire. I am 17 years old and am just finishing my AS levels. I have decided I would like to gain some independance by getting myself a job, and resume my education later on. The problem is, I am very scared to get a job, as I have never worked before. I have no confidence and because of this I feel other skills which are necessary to getting a job are lacking...please help me, I am feeling lots of pressure from family etc to get a job, and almost feel like a failure because I am not carrying on with my education...I do not want to mess this up, but I am scared, and have no confidence, please help
love xxxx

Claire - UK



The most important thing is to find the type of work that interests you and you would enjoy doing. Sometimes it takes a few years of trying different things to discover what you love to do. The problem with starting off at 17 is that you probably haven't established any skills that would give you much of a job. Low-level jobs don't pay well and usually aren't enjoyable.

I think you would be much better off to get a part-time job and go to school part-time. In this way, you can accept a lower level or beginner job and still be advancing your education with some basic or required courses. Plus, you would seem to have more independence with some money coming in.

Getting a job is harder than doing a job. Ask some friends who are working or relatives if they know who is hiring. In this way, you may get some assistance in getting a job, as opposed to having to go through Human Resources or talking to some manager.

It can be scary applying for a job, but it is a good feeling when they hire you. Best wishes in your career and education.

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Biology job in Pakistan

Topic: General


May 15, 2005

What kind of a job a person could get in Pakistan, who has a Bachlors degree in Biology?

Sanna - Pakistan



There are many jobs in the government, health agencies and biomedical companies that need people with a bachelors degree in biology. Look through some of the job sites on the web for Pakistan to see some opportunities.


Best wishes in getting a job.

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Wants to be a police officer

Topic: General


April 30, 2005

Hi my name is Michal and I ain't doing all so good in school I was wondering what are some way's to improve this if any? I'm also really intrested in being a police officer I'm curentlly in grade 11 At monsignour John pereyma and I want to take lessones through the internet to help me with regular school thank you for your time and for listening hope to hear from you soon!

Michal - Canada



Hopefully some of the lessons in our site will help you in your classes. It is good to look at why you haven't been doing well in school. Do you pay attention in class? Do you do your homework? Are there some distractions? Make a list of possible reasons you may not have been getting good grades. These are things to work on.

Note that the police department prefers to get people that are self-disciplined and have good grades in school. Some departments even require a college degree. So if you want to become a police officer, it is good to buckle down and do better in school.

If you get a chance, talk to a police officer and tell about your interest. You may get some useful tips. Some police departments even have intern programs for future officers who are still in school.

Check through our section on getting good grades at:

I hope these ideas help and you achieve you goal.

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Nervous in job interview

Topic: General


April 24, 2005

My Name is kody and i am currently a senior in high school and am about to graduate here in about 3 weeks....and before i went into college i thought i needed to do something about my being terrified to talk infront of a group of people....when i start to talk i get really really nervous and cant even talk correctly i stumble over my words and pause a lot along with having a shaky voice...for example the other day i went in for a job interview and the boss asked me to read a 3 paragraph paper to her with nobody else in the room and i barely made it through it i was shaking the whole time and running out of breath...And the bad thing is i will have to overcome this fear because i am in a local band in my area and here pretty soon we are going to start playing concerts and im not sure i will be able to do it... so is there anything i can do or anything i can take to help me relax and get through a whole speech without messing up or being terrified?? please help me...


Kody - USA



Being in a band is a lot easier than giving a speech all by yourself. For one thing, if you goof up, the others can cover for you. But still, it is good to have confidence in from of an audience. I think that performing with the band will give you more confidence and it should help your speaking skills.

Note that it is more important to do well in a job interview than in talking before a group. You need to be well-prepared for the interview and be ready to answer typical questions. Go through a sample interview with some friends who can try to trip you up.

You seem to worry about making mistakes. Don't try to be perfect. Think in terms of being understood. Realize that is what the other person wants to hear.

One suggestion I have for you is to join Toastmasters. It is very good for learning to speak without fear. Most members are a little older than you, but you still would be accepted. See: to find a club in your area. Just go to one meeting to see if it is something you like. It is worth the effort.

I hope these ideas help. Best wishes in speaking and with your band.

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