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How to Get a Job With a Bad Work History

In a job interview, a potential employer will be determining whether you will be good asset to the company. This means that the hiring manager will be examining all of your skills, education and work history. If your work history isn't the best, you may have a bit of a disadvantage compared to other applicants. Luckily, a work history that is not one of the best can be compensated for during the interview process.

Tailor your resume toward your skills. This type of resume is known as a functional resume. Your skills are broken down into categories and are placed at the top of the page. This will place your skills and qualities at the forefront of the hiring manager's mind. Once the skills are in place, list your job history by company and date 1.

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Fill out all employment history paperwork accurately and honestly. If you fudge or omit any of the details, you run the risk of your potential employer finding out the truth through a reference check. Even if the matter is small, the hiring manager may begin to have doubts about your overall honesty and integrity.

Wait for your potential employer to ask about any issues with your work history. This is the only way to know for sure if your employer is interested in what has happened in your career thus far. Some hiring managers are more concerned the applicant had the job and not that she was fired from her last position.

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Answer the questions honestly, explaining how each issue has positively added to your skills as a worker and overall work ethic. For example, if you took time off for children, you may want to explain that you did this to spend with your kids while they were young because you will never get that time back, but now that they are older, you are ready to embrace the next chapter in your life. If you were fired, tell the employer what you were fired for and explain how that has changed you and why that issue will no longer affect your work ethic.

Continue to talk up your skills. Don't let the interviewer run the conversation if they begin to get obsessed with your history. Keep the tone light and discuss why you believe you can do this job by describing your background and experience to sell yourself.


Some employers will only want to hire someone based on work history. If this is the case, it will be readily apparent in an interview. Do your best, but know that if you don't get the job, it was not a reflection on your skills or your ability to perform the job.


Never get into an argument with the interviewer. Sometimes work history can be a touchy subject. Don't lose your temper and be as positive as possible.