Burned Bridges DO Impact Your Resume

by Brian Skory

Have you ever been reluctant to include a company on your resume because of a negative experience at that company? If so, have you considered the cost of that avoidance? Employment gaps never look good on a resume. In addition to that, perhaps it was a notable company where you had achieved some degree of success, and now neither are featured on your resume.

A Real Life Example

I was speaking with a fellow recruiter who was dealing with just such a situation. A talented developer, when younger and less mature, had become frustrated with a fellow co-worker. In a temporary moment of "brain lapse," he threw an object against the wall. Despite his notable accomplishments and contributions to the company, he was immediately terminated. As is so often the case with major life lessons, this one taught him very quickly what a foolish thing it was to give in to his childish desires to make a cinematic statement in such a fashion. Truth be told, he said, he hasn’t thrown so much as a baseball since.

Two Tips in One Issue!

My first tip is the obvious one: whenever possible, don't burn your bridges—no matter how good you think it will feel at the time! For reasons already stated above, that brief moment of satisfaction generally comes at a price.

You Want Me to do What?

My second tip addresses those situations where the deed was already done. For our candidate above, we still have the sticky problem of how to best deal with this past tarnish on his otherwise sterling career. The advice my recruiter friend gave him was to consider that maybe enough time had gone by and enough personal growth had taken place that it might be opportune to go back to the previous employer and fix that burned bridge by addressing and repairing their previous relationship. Yes, direct and probably uncomfortable, and certainly without guarantees—but I have to believe that most employers would thoroughly respect such an effort.

If it makes sense to do so, consider turning that burned bridge into a career asset by tackling it head-on. You might be surprise how it could positively impact your career.

As always, we're interested in hearing how your job search is going. Feel free to contact us.

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