A layoff can create gaps on your resume, however, there are a few things you can do to address the layoff, so that prospective companies do not penalize you for any gaps in employment. During the period of transition when you are looking for a job after a layoff, it is the perfect opportunity to update your skills and to use your time off in productive ways. Consider doing some of the following activities.
Be open to other employment options such as part-time work, working on projects, temporary assignments, or consulting in areas where you have experience and expertise. Volunteering for an organization where you can gain new skills and experience is another option. If you decide to volunteer, don’t forget to add the new information in the Experience section of your resume. This is especially helpful if you are looking to switch careers. Additionally, look for organizations that offer internships for adults.
Related to the point above, during your time off, consider investing in your career by going back to school and taking classes to update your skills. This will demonstrate to prospective employers that lifelong learning is important to you, and that you are someone who capitalizes on opportunities. Include your professional development activities on your resume.
Use a functional resume to direct the hiring manager’s attention to the results you delivered in the past, your industry-related strengths, achievements and expertise, your transferable skills, your updated skills and experience acquired while off work. You can consider using only years and not months on your functional resume, but if you decide to go this route, be consistent, using years for other previous positions held.
Although these activities will enable you to address layoffs on your resume when you spend your time off productively, you should be thoughtful about the process, because every step that you take, should lead you closer to securing a new job. And in the event that you have to explain a layoff in a job interview, be honest about what happened, but present it in a positive light. For instance, “My competencies and expertise were not the right fit for my previous employer’s needs, but it looks like they’d be a good fit in your organization.” And if they are concerned about how long you have been unemployed, simply say that you took time to reflect on what’s next for you, and that you are also being selective about your next move. Then without missing a beat, describe how the position aligns perfectly with your expertise.