Dealing with a Layoff in Your Job History

By: Ryan Stewart


If you look at the history of employees, you’ll see that they change companies every few years or so. They simply don’t work at the same company for years and years anymore. Many times, they are often forced to find a new job due to downsizing or a company layoff. In fact, with so much economic uncertainty, there is a strong possibility that anyone can be laid off at any time. Whether the layoff ranges from a couple of months to a couple of years, you have to be prepared. You have to learn how to deal with it and how to explain it to future employees. In this article, we’ll tell you exactly how you can deal with this unfortunate but common issue.

Layoffs and Résumés

First off all, you have to realize that layoffs happen and they are not something to be ashamed of. If you’ve been laid off in the past, you can’t hold your head in the sand. You have to use the experience as a learning opportunity and realize that everything happens for a reason. In essence, you have to begin again.

Second, you shouldn’t hide the fact that you’ve been laid off in your resume. A gap due to a layoff does not take anything away from your experience and capabilities. Although some people may look at this negatively, most won’t and will rather concentrate on your stellar work history and unique qualifications. If you run into a company that does not understand that layoffs happen and aren’t willing to look past this fact, then you likely don’t want to work with this company anyway!

Third, be creative about the layoff and put a positive spin on it, if possible. For instance, if your past position was terminated, you don’t have to say on your resume “Job terminated.” Instead you can say that you worked for XYZ Company for X amount of years and leave it at that. You should then fill in any time gaps with any freelance, consulting, volunteer or part time work that you completed during your layoff period. If you don’t have any such experience, don’t make it up. Simply leave time gaps and you can explain it later.

Fourth, always highlights the positives in your resume. For instance, make sure that you strategically mention your achievements, skills, accomplishments and experience. Talk about the skills and you gained and any awards that you previously won. Mention any accolades that were administered by past supervisors, etc. The key here is to be honest and not exaggerate. After all, recruiters and prospective employers do verify facts before offering you a job so it is to your advantage to be truthful.

Fifth, be open and receptive to discussing the situation during the interview. Never be embarrassed to discuss what happened. However, you should always talk about your employer in a positive way. For instance, say, “Yes, I was laid off due to a termination but I learned so much during my X years of work there. I improved my analytical skills tremendously and know that I’ll be a great asset to your firm now. “

Sixth, if you have some reservations about not mentioning the termination in your resume, you can also briefly address any gaps in your cover letter. Although you shouldn’t take up valuable space cluttering up your résumé with an explanation, you can briefly explain the situation and move on. Be careful not to ramble however. Instead “keep it short smartie” and leave the impression that you would be willing to talk it over during the interview.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to explain your situation. Lay-offs happen to everyone and although they can be life changing experiencing, they are merely the beginning of something new. When handling them on yoru resume, be truthful and positive.

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Ryan Stewart has coached hundreds to pharma sales success(and he's done it all for free). To jump-start your pharmaceutical sales career go to pharmaceutical-sales-representative.com

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