Dear J.T. & Dale: You recently wrote that people who’ve been out of work a month or longer are discriminated against when looking for new jobs. Due to cost-cutting, I was let go last April, despite having a great year. I wonder how I can level the playing field and get interviews. For example, should I play dumb and “forget” to update my LinkedIn profile so it shows that I’m still employed? – Rob
DALE: First, Rob, let us take a moment to consider your story as a cautionary tale. You were having a tremendous year… right up to the point where you got laid off. We hear that a lot. No wonder J.T. started saying, “Every job is a temporary job.” That means that we are perpetually in the job market, forever – so we need to constantly be improving marketable skills, expanding networks, keeping a list of target employers and otherwise doing all the things you would do if you were in a job search.
J.T.: One of the worst things about being let go despite having been doing great work is trying to explain it to hiring managers – they look at you like you must be crazy. That’s why you need to back up your story with third-party credibility. For starters, instead of “forgetting” to update your LinkedIn profile, work on getting plenty of endorsements and recommendations from former colleagues. Use this to showcase yourself to hiring managers, proving that you were greatly appreciated in your last job.
That way, your explanation about being let go because of cost-cutting makes sense. Secondly, third-party credibility also means using your network to connect with hiring managers. If they first hear about you from a colleague, before seeing your resume or profile, they will actually listen to the reason you were out of work. It’s a tough battle when you’re fighting the unemployment stigma, but after years of coaching, I can tell you that people who leverage third-party credibility get hired faster.
© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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