A reader writes:
I was told by a career counselor that if asked in an interview why I left my previous job I should answer that I was laid off. I was actually fired, but the company did not dispute my claim for unemployment so I am now collecting. I feel to tell an interviewer that I was laid off is misleading, but this career counselor stated that in the eyes of the government since I am collecting it is ok to say I was laid off, since technically you cannot collect if you are fired.
That career counselor, unfortunately, is an idiot. I hope you weren't paying this person.
First of all, you can indeed collect unemployment if you were fired, at least in most states -- as long as you weren't fired for gross or deliberate misconduct. If you were fired for mere incompetence, bad fit, etc., you can get unemployment.
Second, prospective employers don't care if the government has deemed you eligible to collect unemployment or not. You can't lie and say you were laid off when you weren't. What's going to happen when they call your employer to check references and are told you were fired? When they come back to you to ask about the disparity (if they even bother), are you going to say, "Well, they didn't challenge my unemployment so I've decided to call it a lay-off"?
This "career counselor" is giving you wrong facts and really bad advice. Run.