I Was Fired for Stealing. Should I Leave that Job off My Resume?

by Evil HR Lady on May 18, 2017

From 2012 to 2015 I worked in a hotel doing almost everything back of the house. I was fired in 2015 right before Christmas for basically trying to take money. Times were very hard (although I know that’s not an excuse) at the time I was the only one working while my husband stayed home to care for our daughter who has a chronic health condition. Since then I’ve had interviews here and there but nothing ever really stuck mostly because of them finding out about the fire. So my question is should I take them off my resume and lie about them entirely? I’ve thought about this but my dilemma would be that that’s where I have most if not all of my experience in the food and beverage industry. I have a manager who used to work there as well who is willing to vouch for me if need be as a reference and I have been using him since, but I’m very conflicted on my next steps as I need to find a job now to help my husband pay bills. I would greatly appreciate your opinion. Thank you and look forward to your response.

There’s no easy way around this. You tried to steal (it doesn’t sound like you were successful), and you got caught and fired, and now it’s been more than a  year since you’ve worked. All of this adds up to a big mess. But if you leave off this job, you’ve got to explain what you were doing from 2012 to the present, which is a long time.

Since you have a child, if he was born in 2012 or earlier you can say, “I was home with my child, and now I’m ready to hit the work force!” But, since all your experience is during this time and that’s a lie, you’re likely to get busted. Also, I’m not advocating lying.

Please note, a resume is a marketing document and you don’t have to put jobs on there that don’t make you look good, but leaving 3 years off your life off will raise questions and then you have to answer them honestly and then it’s worse. So, I recommend leaving it on your resume.

I also recommend not waiting for them to find out about the firing but be up front. “I was in a bad situation financially and I made a huge mistake. Clearly, I was in the wrong and I would never, ever do such a thing again. It was the worst decision of my life. But, I’ve learned from it and I’m willing to move on. My former manager is happy to be a reference and will tell you that this was not typical of me.”

The thing is, there will be a lot of people that still won’t hire you because of that. Can you blame them? But someone will.

Additionally, here is where you need to put your network to the test. The manager who will give you a reference–can you ask her for advice on where to apply? Is her current company hiring? What about other former co-workers who know your work? Can you connect with them?

While we all make mistakes in life, career mistakes often hit us the hardest because hiring managers aren’t willing to forgive past errors. Being honest and upfront about these errors tends to be the best way to get over them.

If anyone has any success stories, I’d love to hear them!

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