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Do Layoffs Look Bad on a Resume?

If you have been laid off, you’re likely experiencing a whirlwind of emotions from fear to grief.  Keep in mind that employers understand that layoffs are due to circumstances beyond your control.  So if you find yourself asking, “Should I say I’m still employed?”  The answer is, “no.”  You may also be wondering, “Do layoffs look bad on a resume?”  And although the answer is a little more complicated, you have come to the right place for some good advice on navigating the job market.

Does Being Laid Off Look Bad on a Resume?

Lots of people have experienced layoffs at some point in their careers so you’re not the first.  As the job markets continue to evolve, new software and programs begin to replace entire departments, many more will likely experience as well.  When it comes to your resume, focus on transparency, honesty and the integrity you have.  The best thing you can do for your resume is share your skills and experience so future employers know what you bring to the table.  Relax and be yourself, especially if you make it to the interview process.  To answer the question, should I tell the interviewer I was laid off, the answer is yes.  A good company will look at how you are handling this situation rather than the situation itself.  

How to Say You Were Laid Off on an Application

You may notice that some job applications address the issue of layoffs.  Just like we mentioned earlier, transparency is key.  Be honest on the application because if it’s asked there, it’ll likely be addressed in an interview as well.  When asked, if you know the cause of the layoffs, be it due to company restructuring or downsizing, let them know.  You can be truthful about the situation without going into too much detail, especially on the application itself.  Most importantly, focus on your desire to move past this and onto a company that you can grow with.

Can I Say I Was Laid Off Instead of Fired?

Remember there is a big difference between being fired and being laid off.  Although both may seem the same to you, it looks very different to employers. If you are hired and they find out later that you were not truthful about how you left your last position, you may just find yourself unemployed again.  Do not mislead a future employer into thinking a layoff had nothing to do with you, especially if they follow-up with your previous employer.  Share your experience, your desire to embrace change and grow within the company.  You want to build trust from the get-go, not later on.

Do I Have to Disclose That I Was Laid Off?

There’s no rule that says you have to disclose your layoff, however, most people would advise you to be up front about it to avoid any misunderstandings.  You may have wanted to leave this part out but an interviewer may see it as you having something to hide.  Your credibility is on the line when it comes to the questions asked on applications and during interviews.  If the information is public knowledge, they’ll find out.  So why not get ahead of the game and tell them before they even ask.  If you’re forthcoming about this information, discussing it in a positive manner, it will be to your advantage.  You can never go wrong focusing on the good, rather than the bad. 

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