How to Address a Layoff on Your Resume and In Interviews

Aug 31, 2023

Experiencing a layoff is an emotional and challenging experience. Unfortunately, this is an increasingly common occurrence in the current job market. We’ll help you learn to address a layoff as an opportunity to showcase your resilience, adaptability, and continued growth as a professional.


How to Address a Layoff on Your Resume

Potential employers understand that being laid off does not define your professional worth. That said, honesty is paramount! Don’t try to cover up or avoid any gaps in your employment history. Dishonesty will raise red flags with potential employers.

In your work experience section, list all employment dates—including the period during which you were unemployed. Being straightforward about the reason for your layoff (without going into too many details) is the best approach. Focus on your accomplishments and contributions made during your time with the company.

If you think the chronological resume format highlights your employment gap, try a functional approach. This format highlights your skills, accomplishments, and qualifications right at the beginning. (A clear work history section should then follow.) If you pursued any professional development, certifications, or freelance work during your unemployment, this format will also shine the spotlight on your dedication to professional growth.


How to Address a Layoff In Interviews

When you discuss your layoff in a job interview, approach the topic with honesty and confidence. This professional demeanor will set you apart from other candidates who may try to hide their unemployment.

No matter what happened, never speak negatively about your previous employer or any former coworkers. However, do emphasize that this was not a reflection on you or your performance but rather a strategic decision taken by the company.

When asked about the layoff, always focus on the positives. Share the valuable contributions you made and experiences you gained. Highlight the skills you developed and any professional development opportunities you received. Talk about how the layoff taught you how to be resilient and adaptable. Explain how you took this opportunity to determine your career goals and how you are ready to contribute to a new organization.


Stay Positive

Although a layoff can be emotionally draining, it doesn’t define your abilities or potential. Take the positive approach when emphasizing your achievements and the skills you learned. Employers want to see candidates that can take setbacks and turn them into opportunities for growth. Use this experience to showcase your determination, and you will increase your chances of finding a new job quickly.

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