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Resume Help/Job application question


Recently I was let go from my most recent job of the last 4 years where I worked as a cashier, so I'm now back on the job hunt. The reason I was let go was because my register came up short over a certain amount and company policy called for termination for this.

How would I go about describing this on job applications (not resumes, of course) where it asks for my "Reason for Leaving"?

I should also note that is the very first time in my job history that I was ever fired. Plus as a cashier I had a great record of having a balanced register with rarely any shortages which I really don't know how I came up short so much it left me unemployed.

Any help would be appreciated.

Hi Hamish,

Your question has a lot to do with company policy which, of course, I cannot address.  However, I'll tell you what I have told others who have had the same experience you have had.

The one thing you don't want to do is be evasive about this.  That will only give you additional problems down the road since any new employer is likely to call your previous place of work.  If there was anyone else who may have had access to your register, this could be a possible explanation.  Another could be that you mistakenly made incorrect change for one or more customers.  A third possibility is that the beginning cash count going into your shift was incorrect.  If you believe any of these are possibilities, you should include that information in your application.  For example, you might write that "I was terminated because my register count was short due to, I believe, an error in customer transaction" or something along those lines.

You probably don't want to simply put "terminated" in the "reason for leaving" part of the form.  You need to provide a plausible explanation, so I encourage you to think back on the circumstances surrounding the day of the register shortage and come up with the most logical reason for the problem.

Best of luck,

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Ralph D. Converse, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about general job searches, resume construction, crafting an effective cover letter, and how to prepare for, and conduct, a winning interview. My speciality is the field of education, but I also have extensive background in business and administration. I know what works and what doesn't work and I can make your application package stand out from the rest ... because that is what you have to do.


I have interviewed for, and held, dozens of jobs in a career going back more than 42 years. I have taught at all educational levels including middle school, high school, community college, and university. In more than 42 years of experience on both sides of the job-search process, I have interviewed hundreds of applicants and have reviewed literally tens of thousands of job application packages. I am the author of 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them! I conduct workshops for job seekers in a variety of locations every year.

Music Educator's Journal, Teaching Music, Music and American Culture (forthcoming, 2013), Last Teacher Standing: The Job is Yours Now! and 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them!

B.A. New Mexico State University; M.Mus. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D. University of California and University of North Texas

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