Here's how to quickly turn things around if you've recently been let go

There are few in life things as stressful as losing a job. If you're laid off or fired unexpectedly, it's natural to worry about the future. While you may be itching to get back to work and find your next big role, there's one thing that holds people back. Yes, you're wondering how to explain the sudden end of your employment. Within this snappy little guide, we'll take a look at how to include your most recent job role on your CV, despite the fact that you lost your job. 

How can I write a CV when I've lost my job?

Ready to start working on your CV? If you're up for the challenge, we've got a few expert tips to get things moving. The fact that you've lost your job shouldn't deter you from finding a new role. By creating an interview-winning CV, you can turn things around fast. Here's how:

1. Don't put the reason a job ended on your CV

First things first - you don't need to put a reason for leaving any job on your CV. When you're writing this formal document, you only need to include baseline information about the role. That includes your job title, the company, the dates of employment, your duties, and achievements. Whether you lost your job, were made redundant, or were fired doesn't matter. It's not vital information. 

The catch comes when people lose their job and feel the urge to over-explain. It's natural to be worried that an employer will see you as a “rotten apple” when you've been fired. However, that is simply not the case. You don't have to disclose the fact that you were let go as part of your CV. There's no need to add a line about your untimely departure from the company. 

Instead, it's important to stick to the facts. While an interviewer may ask “why did you leave your last job?”, this information is not relevant to your CV. When you're writing your application, be sure to focus on your strengths and your passion for the industry. The experience you have – regardless of why it came to an end – will be of value in a new role. 

2. List the start and end dates of your employment 

While you shouldn't put the reason you lost your job on your CV, you do need to include the start and end dates of your employment. When you're still working for a business, you would show this fact by putting the start date until the present – e.g. “July 2017 - present”. However, the same rules don't apply when you've already left the position. 

In that case, you need to put the dates of employment exactly. That might look something like this – “July 2017 - May 2022”. Needless to say, it will be obvious to a recruiter that you have already left the role. You cannot (and should not!) try to hide that. 

However, that doesn't necessarily mean that they will overlook you as a candidate. Keep in mind that there are plenty of reasons that someone may have ended their employment with a company including: 

  • The end of a fixed-term contract 

  • Mass redundancies in the workplace due to cuts

  • Change of circumstances (e.g. moving home or family commitments) 

  • Taking a career break or travelling

  • Being “let go” or getting fired from the position

You shouldn't presume that a gap on your CV will be a red flag for employers. Long gone are the days when employers expect you to stay in one job for your whole career. Modern-day workers move around, change careers, take breaks, and retrain. All of these are valid and potentially valuable to your next job position. Reframe your departure in a positive light. 

3. Include your highest achievements in the role 

It shouldn't be all doom and gloom. Forget talking about why you left your last job. Your professional CV should focus on the achievements you gained during that time. Whether you were fired or made redundant, the chances are you still made a valuable imprint on the company. That's where you need to start. Beneath the job title, company, and dates, you can bullet point the core duties, awards, and achievements you gathered during your employment. 

Shine a spotlight on your strengths. What did you learn in the position? What duties did you take on? What training did you gain when you were on the job? What special achievements did you gather? Answering these questions – in neat, bullet point form – will take the focus off the fact that you are no longer employed. What matters here is the lessons that you learnt while you were in your previous role and how you can take another business forward.

4. Don't include any references

Worried about putting references on your CV if you've been let go? Don't be. As a general rule, you don't need to include references on your CV at all. You should leave this section out. So, even if you did leave on poor terms with your last employer, there's no stress.

Of course, there's a chance that recruiters will ask for references during the hiring process. Be selective if this happens. Contrary to popular belief, it's not illegal for employers to give bad references. So, if you were fired and there was bad blood, you may not want to ask them.

According to UK law, a reference “must be fair and accurate - and can include details about a workers' performance and if they were sacked”. That means that they can say why they fired you or let you go. While you can dispute this and even take them to court if you think it's inaccurate, it pays to take extra precautions. Should you be worried about getting a negative reference from your last boss, consider asking other previous employers to be referees.


While losing your job can be worrying, it shouldn't hold you back. In this guide, we've covered what you need to include if you've suddenly been laid off. Of course, it can be hard to get this right if you're not an expert CV writer but there are ways to frame your situation positively.  

Should you need some help along the way, our CV writing services will give you a competitive edge. Take the hassle out of applying for new jobs by letting the professionals work their magic. Good luck and happy job hunting! 

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