One of the most common job seeker dilemmas I hear about these days is how to position a layoff with prospective employers.
My advice – pure and simple – is to mention it directly. Since the subject of how you left your last job will inevitably come up in the context of discussing your recent work experience, I don’t think you can really hide the true story without coming across as insincere or even dishonest.
Nor should you. Consider how many people have been laid off nationwide in the last eighteen months. It’s a lot – and there could be any number of reasons for your termination, including a company bankruptcy or merger or a widespread plan to cut expenditures. Many of these situations have little or nothing to do with job performance, and there’s nothing you could have done to prevent or circumvent the outcome. There’s not an employer out there that hasn’t been negatively impacted by the poor economy, so it’s unlikely that your interviewer will hold a layoff against you.
Here’s the key, though. When discussing your layoff in the interview, you must be careful of your tone. Communicating that you feel sorry for yourself or that you’re experiencing a crisis of confidence will portray you in a bad light even if the layoff itself doesn’t. If you sound certain that it worked out for the best and that you’ll land on your feet, prospective employers will be certain too.