Boulder’s Liz Ryan is a former Fortune 500 human-resources executive, a syndicated columnist and a career adviser. Every Monday, she’ll dish out job-hunting advice for college students.

Q: I got fired from my last job at a restaurant. I have to include it in my jobs history but I can’t use it for a reference, so what do I do?

A: Why do you have to list the restaurant job in your career history? If you were in school, you didn’t have to be working at the same time. If you weren’t in school, you’re still allowed to take a break from working.

If you want to list the job, do it, but there’s no legal requirement to include every past job on your resume. If you want to list the job, find a former co-worker (who’s also left) to be your reference from that place.

Q: Is totally proper grammar and spelling a huge big deal to employers?

A: It is. Here’s how it works: resumes and cover letters with more than one or maybe two tiny typos get tossed in the No Thanks pile after maybe ten seconds’ review. Job-seekers need to rely on spellcheck like no other.

Q: I need some networking practice, and I need some structure for my job search; any tips on where to find either of those things?

A: There’s a Front Range Career Forum networking event this Thursday in Broomfield — you can network your brains out there. Learn more about it at There’s a job-search coaching group starting up April 13 at the Egg & I in Boulder. The details for that group are at

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