how to address a bad employerThink twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another” –Napoleon Hill

Do you have a career blemish on your resume? Are you wondering if you should include it in your resume or how to talk about it if your interviewer brings it up? You’re not alone. Most candidates have employers they’d rather leave out or forget altogether. Rest assured, the following tips will help you to avoid sounding negative and, hopefully, land the job!

1. Have a Strategy in Place

You will be asked about your previous employment during your job interview. Don’t let the question catch you off guard. Analyze the overall work experience and jot done a few notes about your duties, responsibilities, accolades, etc. Confirm your start and end date as well.

2. Do Not Omit the Employer on Your Resume

Although it can be tempting, do not leave the employer from hell off your resume. Depending on the industry you’re in, or city you reside in, it’s a small world and people talk. Additionally, leaving an employer out can leave a huge gap in your resume that your interviewer will probably ask you about.

3. Refrain from Insulting Your Former Boss/Employer in Any Way

Never make insults or display negativity about your former employer. The person who is interviewing you might draw conclusions about how you’re likely to talk about their firm based on how you’re speaking right now. Exercise diplomacy and tact.

4. Is There Anything Nice You Can Say About Your Former Employer?

Was there anything positive you can say about your former employer? This can be tough but there might be something you enjoyed. Did you have excellent colleagues? A good work/life balance? Training seminars? Find a way to speak highly of your previous boss.

5. Discuss Your Progress

An easy way to turn a negative job experience into a positive job experience is to focus on your personal progress. What did you accomplish at the company? Did you lead any new projects or implement useful systems? Did you bring any new clients to the firm? These are all positive experiences that your interviewer will be happy to hear about.

6. Answer the Questions You Are Asked

Do not volunteer information. If you are the type of person who gets carried away in conversation, keep your mouth in check. Answer the questions you are asked, especially when it comes to references about your previous employer. Your interviewer may start to ask more questions if you bring up a bad situation.

7. Explain Your Departure

Be honest about why you left your previous employer. Interviewers are well trained to spot fibbers so it’s important to explain your departure truthfully. As I mentioned above, almost everyone has a blemish on his or her resume so it’s better to be upfront about it. Try and steer the conversation back to your positives whenever possible.

A bad experience with a previous boss or work environment is something most of us have experienced at one point or another. Don’t let your past define your future. You are a an experienced professional who has a lot to offer and your negative experience may have taught you a thing or two about office relationships. Draw on that prospective when preparing for your job interview. Your interviewer will most likely think of you as honest, thoughtful and gracious afterwards.