Putting a positive spin on a job that ended under less-than-positive circumstances can be a challenge. However, depending on the circumstances, it can be presented in a way that minimizes speculation and possible questions. Jobs that end because of a reduction in force (commonly known as a layoff or downsizing) should be addressed in the description of the position. For example, being let go because the company closed its local office could be expressed as follows: “Position eliminated in regional structuring of upstate New York sales headquarters.”
Jobs that end due to a mismatch between what the employer wanted and the incumbent’s performance should also be addressed in the body copy of the resume. For example, someone who just “didn’t work out” should not attempt to sugar coat the outcome. People leave jobs every day and nearly all of them manage to get other jobs eventually. It’s better to say “Left position to pursue opportunity more in line with career goals.” It’s important to account for why you changed jobs or left, lest you leave the reader to speculate (i.e. assume the worst).
A carefully worded statement is far superior to allowing the reader to speculate.