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Leaving the job from hell?

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“Why did you leave your last position?”

For an admin who has just quit an intolerable job or who has been fired, this is perhaps the toughest interview question. Here are three ways to handle it:

1. Explain that it was “not a good fit.” Using neutral language is better than saying the job or boss was nightmarish, which may lead interviewers to wonder what role you played in things. If even a hint of those negative feelings show during an interview, you risk leaving a negative impression.

2. Avoid language that sounds like you’re making excuses, if you’re asked for more details. Bad: “They never had enough for me to do.” Better: “I enjoyed the work but ultimately felt underutilized.”

3. Don’t even include the last job on your résumé. If you held a position for only a few months, write it off as a misstep and don’t include it. Caveat: If leaving it off creates a big gap, don’t do it. It may lead to even more questions.

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