Paper and Pen We all have things that we fear may negatively influence a potential employer. Negative information, like being fired from your last job, lacking proper education or having a criminal record, must be addressed in your job search process. If you learn ways to deal with this negative information appropriately, you can minimize its impact when seeking employment.

How to deal with negative information

On job applications:
You have three options:
1. Avoid applications altogether; seek jobs where they’re not required, or:
2. Leave the offending question blank and explain the issue if you get an interview, or:
3. Tell the truth and trust that it will not eliminate you from consideration.

On resumes:
1. Select the form of resume that will downplay your negatives.  For example, if you have little employment history, choose a format that emphasizes your transferable skills or your education.
2. If you have large gaps in employment or if you are an older worker consider leaving dates off your employment history.
3. Do not list jobs of very short duration (less than three months) to downplay an unstable work history.
4. Under no circumstances should you voluntarily put negative information such as an arrest or dishonorable discharge on your resume.  Never list your age or a disability.  Negative information can wait for the interview, if it ever needs to come up at all.

During the interview:
1.  If a negative subject comes up, assure the interviewer that the problem is in the past or that it will not affect your performance on the job.
2. Before you go to the interview prepare yourself to handle issues that might come up.  Be ready to do damage control.

Remember this:  DO NOT LIE.  Do not lie about your past or about negative issues.  If the interviewer discovers you are lying, or even suspects it, you will almost certainly not get the job.  If you do get the job, you could be fired at any time for lying to your employer.