Michael Davis is a career counselor with more than 25 years of experience in private practice. Here he gives TheEmployable 8 of his top tips on dealing with layoffs on your resume..
Thousands of workers are laid off each year. The good news is that a past blemish doesn’t have to ruin your future prospects. If you’ve been downsized, laid off or let go from your previous place of employment, here are eight tips for lessening their impact on your resume.
1: Watch Your Dates
If you were only recently laid off, you can avoid questions entirely by using years instead of months with your dates of employment. For example, you’d say “2010-2014” instead of “July 2010 – February 2014.” You’ll still have to explain why you aren’t with your previous company anymore, but that will be in the interview where you can soften the blow.
2: Fill The Gaps
If you do have a large blank space between your past and present, add some color to it with classes, workshops or training programs that will prove you haven’t been idle during your unemployment. Professional or industry-related activities are best, but even volunteer work in an appropriate field will show that you’ve kept busy.
3: Include Your Freelancing
Even better than tangential experience is any real work you’ve been doing since you were laid off. It doesn’t matter if it was only on a temporary or freelance basis. For example, have you consulted with any companies or built any software to assist your industry? Have you published any articles? Have you temped, interned or worked as an assistant?
4: Emphasize Your Past Achievements
Most employees are laid off for financial reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance. Hiring managers know this, so don’t be afraid to talk about all the ways you improved revenue, boosted sales or decreased deficits at your last company. Even if the brass realizes that you were let go, it doesn’t invalidate how you helped the company while you were still there.
5: Never Mention Layoffs
It may sound obvious, but never use the words “laid off” or “fired” in your resume. They’ll attach negative connotations to you as an employee. If you absolutely have to address it, like if the job listing demands an explanation for previous terminations, simply say that they were “restructuring” or that you wanted to “explore opportunities elsewhere.”
6: Avoid Negativity
It’s easy to be bitter about unemployment, but it’s absolutely essential that you don’t allow these feelings to leak into your resume. People aren’t going to give you a job out of pity or commiseration. They want someone who brings benefit to their company on their dime, so sell yourself as someone bright-eyed and eager to face new challenges.
7: Have Good References
Ask your previous boss if they’d be willing to serve as a character reference for you during your job hunt. Not only will this show potential employers that you don’t burn bridges, it will prove that you really were let go during extenuating circumstances that had nothing to do with your value as an employee.
8: Include A Cover Letter
Were you laid off during a very public downsizing? Did your organization go out of business in a way that’s impossible to hide or dance around? Use a cover letter to explain your circumstances in a brief, forward-facing way. Don’t dwell on it, but acknowledge it and move on.
These are just eight tips for dealing with layoffs on your resume. If you play your cards right, they won’t matter to your future job prospects at all.
Michael Davis is a career counselor with more than 25 years of experience in private practice. He is internationally certified as a Master Career Development Professional (MCDP) and have been recognized as a Global Career Development Facilitator(GCDF). You can check out his site at ResumeSamples.net.