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Jewish World Review March 26, 2001 / 2 Nissan, 5761

Resumania by Max Messmer

Max Messmer
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Consumer Reports

No need to say why you left -- "REASON FOR LEAVING: I only fly first-class because I'm a first-class kind of guy. My boss disagreed, and we parted company."

There are just two basic reasons for leaving a job. Either you elect to go or are asked to leave. Either way, the reasons you and your former employer parted ways should not be included in a resume or cover letter.

The hiring manager will most likely ask you about your past work history during the interview, and you can use this opportunity to give a brief explanation for leaving previous jobs. Nonetheless, many job seekers seem compelled to include reasons for leaving on their resumes. For example:

"REASON FOR LEAVING: I was replaced in my position because the boss inferred that I was inferior."

Sounds like she did a little more than infer.

"REASON FOR LEAVING: My boss was a Scorpio and that meant we were destined to dislike each other."

Employers born in November need not respond.

This next job seeker had some interesting answers to questions on an employment application.

His reason for leaving his last job was, "Unmade promises."

At least his employer didn't break any promises.

In a space reserved for comments, he wrote, "Rest assured I have the breath and depth to do any job you might give me."

We may have an opening for a lifeguard.

"REASON FOR LEAVING: Company went under due to bad management decisions."

This would not have raised a red flag except that the applicant was senior vice president of said company.

"REASON FOR LEAVING: I prefer to keep it a private matter."

Then why bring it up?

"REASON FOR LEAVING: Merger. My boss married a woman who owned a competitor."

Obviously not a hostile takeover.

And finally, this from a cover letter: "I was the last one to go at my company. I was the one who distinguished the lights."

That's quite an honor.

Max Messmer is chairman and CEO of Robert Half International Inc., a specialized staffing firm, and author of Job Hunting for Dummies. Comment by clicking here.


03/14/01: What not to say when applying for a job
03/05/01: Be smart on the job objective
02/21/01: Corporate warriors
02/14/01: Make sure resume reflects what you actually mean
01/24/01: Don't criticize former boss on resume
01/22/01: Resume bloopers

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