1

How do you talk about a layoff on your resume?

I'm sure there are plenty of people out there dealing with the unfortunate circumstance of company layoffs. It can feel devastating at first and navigating the interview process after can be frustrating. Curious how people have navigated this in the past when seeking new opportunities and how they talk about it in interviews?

  • Sign in
    Comment
    • 0
      Profile picture of Kendra Fortmeyer
      @kendra-fortmeyer
      ( 2k POINTS )
      2 weeks, 5 days ago

      This is a GREAT question.

      Richard Harris & Kevin Gaither recently did a webinar for Sales Hacker about job searches and they had some great advice on this topic.

      You can see the replay here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT7h9JUW3fA

    • 0
      Profile picture of Tess Brown
      @tessbrown
      ( 2.7k POINTS )
      2 weeks, 5 days ago

      Hi @jturgeon thank you so much for this vulnerable and very important question.

      I’d love to share my thoughts! As someone who has sat on either side of the table during an interview, I can say confidently that the majority of folks truly understand & express empathy for candidates impacted by layoffs. I hope this knowledge reiterates to anyone in this position that your opportunities are not stifled because of this! Especially in today’s world (meaning, in this COVID & post-COVID world), there has been such a shift in how employment (and likewise, unemployment) is viewed!

      Now – on to how to talk about it. For some (and this was the case for me… so I’ll need to be a little careful here!), sometimes legal contracts can actually impact what you can/cannot say about the terms of your release from the company. If you’ve signed any kind of NDA or legally binding agreement, make sure you review the legalese so that you don’t get yourself into any kind of trouble. I know it sounds silly, but it’s important to be aware of this! You never know whose hands your resume can fall into and it’s best to err on the side of caution. If the legal jargon is daunting, it truly may be worthwhile to consult outside council for 1-2hrs to get a really good grasp of this. It’ll pay off in the end!

      Because of this, I personally chose not to disclose the terms of my unemployment on my resume or in a cover letter. Regardless, I was very fortunate to get opportunities to speak with recruiters or hiring managers despite refraining from having any further details about it on my resume. I believe it’s best not to shy away from the fact that this happened, and I was forthright when I talked any interviewer through my resume aloud while being mindful about what I could say. As I said above, it seems increasingly common for hiring managers/recruiters to hear from applicants who have experienced at least 1 lay off in the duration of their professional career and they meet that with understanding. They are aware layoffs are not a direct representation of your skillset.

      Of course, this is simply my personal take & experience. My advice – it’s important to be cautious with what you can/cannot say if you’ve signed any legal paperwork…

      If you’re not bound by a contract, I’d love to hear from others on their experience and how they’ve managed to articulate the complexities of this on their resumes or in interviews!

      • 0
        Profile picture of Tess Brown
        @tessbrown
        ( 2.7k POINTS )
        2 weeks, 5 days ago

        I’d also love to add – I did not navigate through this process on my own. I was very fortunate that I had an existing relationship with a career coach. This coach was instrumental in helping me nail down exactly what I wanted in my next role… It went beyond how much money I wanted to earn (although this is very important too!), we discussed team structure, growth opportunities, benefits & leave policies, cross-functional opportunities & more. We looked at how to devise a plan for the next 30-60-90 days (YES! Even unemployed folks should do this, it’s not just limited to the beginning of your employment!!!!) & the next 5 years! This coach was a great motivator for me, helped me navigate the tough & frustrating days, and gave me a lot of clarity on how I could make this situation work better for me & my family at the end of the day. I truly believe I would not be where I am today if it was not for having someone like this in my corner.

        I am extremely aware, this is a luxury and something that is not common or readily available to most. The great thing is that right now we have the support of one another in this community. We have brilliant minds and folks who are hiring posting job listings in here literally every day. Let’s do better to support each other, to troubleshoot, and to have the hard conversations!

        And of course, I’d encourage anyone to do some of the exercises I went through with my coach.

        1) What are 10 non-negotiables you’d like to see/have in your next role? When interviewing, you should aim to achieve at least 8/10 of these. This should include things like: base salary, title, management style, benefits & policies (i.e., at least 8 weeks paid parental leave), etc.

        2) What is your 30-60-90 day plan for your unemployment? Set goals for each one of these. I’d also encourage you to set daily goals. Maybe that daily goal is 1 new conversation with a LinkedIn connection or applying to at least 1 role per day.

        3) Then start looking at a 5 year plan. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years and how does this next step help you get there? Be strategic and think of this as a really important time for you to either pivot OR continue on your course.

        4) Visualize who you want to be when you show up to interviews… This one is a little more abstract, but it’s important to practice speaking & understanding how you come across. Record yourself talking through your experience or write down a few lines of talk tracks to give yourself some guard rails. Make sure it feels like it’s in the voice of the employee you wish to be! To give you an example, I visualized myself in the role of the “connector” – connecting people together (aka, why I’m a community person!), connecting ideas together, connecting teams together & more. I love bringing people together and I love to be the metaphorical bridge! Others may visualize themselves as the team leader or the devils advocate… just to give some examples! 😉

      • 0
        Profile picture of Jack Turgeon
        @jturgeon
        ( 355 POINTS )
        2 weeks, 4 days ago

        @tessbrown This is all super helpful and I love the suggestions you shared from your life coach! I am definitely going to go through this exercise as I am considering my next move. I also have a luxury in that I have help from others and time to consider my next move rather than rushing into something. And thank you for re-iterating what I had assumed in that most people are understanding and can appreciate honesty in a candidate. Thanks for the help!

    • 0
      Profile picture of angelo
      @angelo
      ( 290 POINTS )
      2 weeks, 4 days ago

      This is an absolutely great question, Jack. And I can totally relate to this too because 2 months ago I was laid off from my job as an Account Specialist just after 1 month into the job.

      Apparently, the company was burning way too much money and as one of the new hires, the decision was too easy.

      Right now, as you mentioned, I am actually going through all these interview processes with several rounds. I am not sure where you are located, but as someone here in the Netherlands, its starts with a phone call, then another 1 hr virtual call, later an office visit, and finally an office, and honestly, it’s a long process.

      And most often, in the interview process, Hr asks me what happened at the previous company. And my strategy and advice are, to be honest about it. Just be honest about why you get laid off.

      I mean it’s not a result based on your performance or your character. As far as I am concerned and experienced, most of the time people feel empathetic for you and there isn’t much of a judgemental. It’s all about how you handle and represent that layoff to others. If you are interviewing for a sales job and showcase that you can take a major blow or hit and still talk and smile about it, businesses need that.

      Hope this helps.

      • 0
        Profile picture of Jack Turgeon
        @jturgeon
        ( 355 POINTS )
        2 weeks, 4 days ago

        @angelo Thank you for the feedback! And the theme I have picked up on from this post and through my network is that honesty and transparency is the best path forward. I had a similar situation with a company who was burning too much money and couldn’t continue to investment in a sales team. It always good to hear we are still humans who show empathy in sales, you sometimes forget that when we are so results driven 🙂

New Report

Close