Q. I know you should not say negative things about your managers or your old company when you are applying for a job. But how else can I mention these two bad work experiences on my resume? Right now, I want to leave my job because a new manager is basically forcing me out after I worked there for 5 years. I think he wants to hire a friend of his for the position and so he keeps complaining about me and ridiculing me. In my previous job, the company I worked for failed. Even though I accomplished good things, the company went out of business. There is no other way to say it. So what do I say on my resume?
A. You raise two interesting examples of bad work experiences. When I talk about removing negative information from a resume, I am concerned about a resume that is filled with “excuses” for poor results. You have good results despite bad experiences. Concentrate on what you accomplished; that is what hiring managers and recruiters really want to hear.
Let me take the first case, where a new manager is on your case. Your personal relationships at work have no bearing on your skills and accomplishments. Keep your resume focused on what you have accomplished during the best years you worked at the company. All that a recruiter or hiring manager needs to know is that you are ready to move on to new experiences; they do not need to know why. However, do not use that unpleasant manager as a reference! Most companies will not expect to interview your current manager. Either use a former manager as a reference or someone you work with closely who will give you a good review.
In the second case, the company went out of business. That is not your fault. Plenty of companies go out of business—in fact, I have worked for a few myself. Again, focus your resume on what you accomplished, not on the company’s failure. You might mention the failure if it involved a learning experience; for example, you helped search for funding or purchasers, or the failed company inspired you to launch your own business.
If you need help writing your resume after some bad work experiences, please contact me today.