Skip to main content
The Question

I was recently terminated without cause from my job just before the three-month probation period was up. I’ve never been fired in my career. I’m currently getting employment insurance from Service Canada, but I am stressed by thinking how I will justify this termination to a future employer.

Please advise if I can strike this termination from my employment history and show this gap in upgrading IT skills. Is there some way my future employer can verify my termination/employment insurance if I don’t disclose it?

The First Answer

Greg Conner, vice-president, human resources, BC Transit, Vancouver

Story continues below advertisement

Let’s start with what not to do. I would strongly advise against striking the termination from your employment history. The issue is that if a future employer finds out that you lied on your resume, you can be fired on the spot and you would also likely forfeit employment insurance benefits. You don’t need that hanging over your head. Also, a background check, which more and more employers are using, would show that period of employment even if you didn’t.

So what to do? Since your termination was without cause, it was more likely a case of “fit” and so your application should just say the job ended. Your cover letter is always critical and that is what gets you to the interview stage, so focus on your skills and experience, along with why the role you are applying for would be a great fit for you and the organization. There’s no need to mention the termination at that point.

It is very likely that in the interview stage they will ask about the brief period of employment, so be prepared to talk about what happened and what you learned from it. Keep it short and as positive as you can. I really think that most of us know when a job isn’t going well and it is not always your fault, so remember to focus on that. I would assume you have good references from previous employers – rely on them and know that there is a perfect fit out there for you.

The Second Answer

Colleen Clarke, career specialist, Toronto

I am sorry your probation period didn’t work out for you. There are no absolutes in life. Sometimes jobs do not work out and companies worth working for understand this. Be transparent and tell it like it is. Leaving out a job is not a crime or a lie, but it does not put you in the best light should it be unveiled. On your resume, state the name of the company, your title and the year on one line. Do not put months next to any years of employment for continuity. Do not use any accomplishment statements under that job.

In an interview, you can say the job ended, period. Be sure to prepare an explanation of why the job didn’t work out, to the best of your ability. When asked for references in an interview, provide tried and true references from previous companies.

Don’t make this a covert situation. Be as upfront as you need to be in your next interview. Your ability to exude trust and honesty is paramount. Be quick to mention what you have been doing while between positions with your IT training.

Story continues below advertisement

In the future, do more due diligence on the company before accepting a new job. Move on with determination. I always advise clients to take more into a new position than they left their last job with, and it sounds like you are doing just that.

Have a question for our experts? Send an e-mail to NineToFive@globeandmail.com

Stay ahead in your career. We have a weekly Careers newsletter to give you guidance and tips on career management, leadership, business education and more. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter