One of the emptier feelings a person can experience is the feeling of losing a job. The suddenness of working today, but not tomorrow can be a very trying experience. The sudden loss of income is one of the most gut-wrenching and nerve-wracking experiences a person can deal with when it comes to losing their job.
Of course in addition to the loss of income, another challenge in losing a job is keeping a resume updated. When you are looking for a new job while still employed, your resume displays that you are currently employed. Once you are let go from a job, that last employer is now the last item on your resume. As the days and weeks stretch into months, your end-date on your resume begins to take on a major void in your professional experience.
As recruiters and hiring managers shift through the piles of electronic resumes that come through their inbox each week, holes in people’s resumes become a major red flag to prospective employers. By “holes in resumes” I am referring to the dates between starting a new job and the ending date in the previous job. If there are a number of holes between employments, it may give the impression to prospective employers that you are unreliable, or not a good worker. Without even interviewing you, you may immediately be cast into a “not interested” category.
If you were let go in your last job, the same will hold true. The longer the time period goes without you gaining employment, the larger a void your end-date with your last employer will become. You may have been laid-off or let go because of downsizing, or outsourcing, or any other reason which was outside of your control, but that empty void on your resume may be perceived as you not being a good candidate. Even without you uttering a word in an interview, your resume may find itself filed in the trash bin.
Being laid-off or let-go are circumstances outside of your control of course, but the void in your resume is not. Prospective employers do not want to see gaps of time between jobs. From your perspective, the best thing for you to do is get some activity going that you can add to your resume which will eliminate the gaps.
Volunteer work is a great example of work to do while in-between jobs. It is also something that fits in well with your resume. A recruiter or hiring manager will look much more favorably on you and your resume if they see you were laid-off but spent the last three months volunteering at the YMCA, or a shelter, or at your local community center, in addition to looking for new employment.
The volunteer work looks pretty good on you as well in the eyes of prospective employers. They will see a person who stepped up while times were bad and volunteered their time to help others.
Volunteer work is fine for your resume too, no matter what type of position or level you hold. It also looks a lot more favorably on you then some gaps in time between jobs, or since your last job.
While there may not be much you can do as far as being laid-off, there is certainly quite a bit you can do to ensure this doesn’t look bad on you with your next employer. There is a saying about lemons and lemonade that fits well right here. Be sure your resume shows off the lemonade, not the lemons.