At some point, even the most competent and enthusiastic employee may experience a layoff. Being out of a job is hard enough, but it becomes even more of a challenge when it starts to impact your ability to get hired again.
The first thing to understand about handling a layoff on your resume is that you shouldn’t waste valuable resume real estate explaining what happened. Instead, focus the document on your skills, accomplishments, and experience. If the reason for your departure from your last job comes up in an interview, then it’s time to address it. Otherwise, no need to go into exactly what happened and why.
To prevent a layoff from putting a damper on your career, keep these tips in mind:
Eliminate the months on your resume
There is no rule that says that you must list the months of your employment on your resume. If you don’t want to call attention to an employment gap, just use years when you list past jobs. This avoids making an employment gap glaringly obvious. However, never lie about the months you worked for a particular organization if you are asked. While you don’t need to call attention to the issue, you also don’t want to be dishonest about it.
Focus on your accomplishments
When you make your past successes abundantly clear, it’s likely that an employer will be so focused on these achievements that they barely give an employment gap a second thought. Give real, hard data about how you’ve increased productivity, cut costs, grown revenue, and benefitted the organization as a whole. When you show that you’re able to bring about positive change and meet deadlines, a gap in employment is the least of a hiring manager’s concerns.
Make use of your down time
If you get laid off and then spend the next six months binge-watching shows on Netflix, you will probably find that it’s a challenge to get into the workforce once again. If you do experience a layoff, vow not to let this period render you inactive. Even if you’re not technically working a 9-5, you can still make the most of your time. Learn a new skill, volunteer, or take a class. These activities show a potential employer that you’re enthusiastic and self-motivated, which are extremely valuable traits.
In a tough job market and a strained economy, hiring managers are sympathetic to the idea that even talented employees may be victims of layoffs. This fact alone will not get your resume tossed out. Instead, the hiring manager will look at your resume as a whole. If you’ve spent many years at various organizations, one short stint won’t hurt you. However, if you’re constantly bouncing from company to company, this raises a red flag.