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Jewish World Review April 20, 2001 / 27 Nissan, 5761

Getting Hired By Marvin Walberg

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Consumer Reports

Layoff not the same as getting fired -- DEAR MR. WALBERG: My resume includes three jobs and one business I was part owner of since graduation from college in 1995. New opportunities came my way, and I believed I owed it to my wife and me to move forward. This philosophy apparently backfired when I was fired in September due to territory realignment after only four months with my last employer. Do you have any advice on how to overcome this negative experience and the number of jobs I've had in such a short period of time? -M.J. in Arkansas

DEAR M.J.: I think you have explained, very properly, why you had four jobs. You believed you owed it to yourself and your wife to move forward when new opportunities came your way.

It's unfortunate that your last employer decided to "realign" territories, but the only real negative I read in your letter was the use of the word "fired" when it sounds like you were "terminated" or "realigned" due to what your employer considered a necessary economic change.

What does the word "fired" suggest, and should you ever use it in a job search?

The word "fired" has a very negative connotation, suggesting a person either did not perform up to standards or something dishonest took place that necessitated a quick removal.

The answer to the second part of that question is "no," you should never use the word "fired."

In your case, M.J., you weren't "fired," you were terminated, realigned, eliminated, offered severance or whatever word you choose to use that means your employer changed the way things were done.

That wasn't your fault and shouldn't be viewed as a negative.

Even if you did get "fired" don't lie about what happened, complicating your situation even more, but call it something else.

When you're selling yourself to a new employer, you must remain positive and upbeat. Selling your skills and abilities requires the use of positive action words that suggest a profitable future. Don't offer negative glances at what appear as past mistakes. That suggests they might reappear in the future.

Marvin Walberg is a job search consultant and the author of ''About Getting Hired: the Job Search.'' Comment by clicking here.


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03/08/01: Know thy boss
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02/15/01: Good vibes with employer, less with recruiter
02/08/01: Ten tips that deal with job loss
02/02/01: Include cover letter even if ad says 'resume only'
01/26/01: 'Greatest accomplishment' answer can be relevant; recover from stupid interviewers

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