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Was I “Let Go” or “Fired?”

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‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com.

Dear J.T. & Dale: I was offered a job with a hotel chain taking inbound calls for reservations. During training, I passed every test easily. I was told we were expected to have a sales conversion rate of at least 28 percent. Two weeks into the job, my sales conversion was 23 percent, and the company let me go. Is it fair, and is this considered being fired? Also, should I put this job on my resume? — Ella

Dale: Fair? Well, at least you had a quantifiable goal, which makes it more fair than a lot of firings we hear about, ones where employees are axed for violating mysterious, arbitrary or highly subjective criteria. If there’s anything that seems unfair, it’s that they gave up on you so quickly.

J.T.: And while maybe you weren’t “fired,” you definitely were “let go.” In interviews, you simply can state that the company had conversion rates that new hires needed to maintain and that you weren’t able to get there in the first two weeks. That’s all you need to share.

Dale: I’d add that you were determined to reach the goal and felt you would have, given the chance. This suggests that the company shortchanged you and your great attitude, rather than that you weren’t up to the task.

J.T.: As for your resume, I wouldn’t list the job under “Work Experience” — you weren’t there long enough to gain any experience. Instead, list it as a single line under “Additional Information,” as follows: Customer Care Trainee, XYZ Company (2010). This will cover your bases if a future employer does a background check. By the way, an “Additional Information” section is a great place to include accomplishments such as certifications and volunteer work, and doing so will give your trainee time the borrowed gloss of positive learning.

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Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, jtodonnell.com, and of the blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com.

Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.

© 2010 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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