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April 3, 2009
Career Kama Sutra (or, Positioning Yourself)
A lot of you reading this are out of work. For that I am truly sorry. If you were employed, I would be busier recruiting you and we would both make more money. But for the time being, positioning your situation is important.
It’s a well known fact that when layoffs occur, they often cut deeper than the actual reduction needs to take advantage of the situation and eliminate weak performers. If you have been laid off, it’s important to show that you weren’t fat being trimmed but an honest victim of the times. A few ways you can achieve this:
  • Obtain reference letters from your former employer that clearly state you were a good performer but fell victim to circumstance 
  •  Explain the layoff situation in detail in a cover letter
  •  Insert reasons for leaving all jobs on your resume beside the date (eg: Recruited by former manager; Team was eliminated after account loss)
In addition, it’s still a good idea to list what you’re doing to keep your skills honed while not traditionally employed. For the most part this means taking on consulting projects- even pro bono for local charities you support (theaters, nonprofit orgs, etc.) Staying busy not only helps your peace of mind but also shows initiative to potential employers and that you haven’t been sitting around on Facebook all day. You can likely find a family member or friend that might need a logo makeover or help with a marketing plan for a new business – anything you can honestly say you consulted in some fashion. Then, list your current position as an Independent Consultant and provide client names so you appear legit and not simply looking for filler on your resume. 
When the employment sector is thriving again (it will, I promise) everyone will remember what these times were like and you shouldn’t be penalized for a gap in fulltime employment on your resume in 2008 or 2009, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something to minimize its impact right now.

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Amy Hoover has been with Talent Zoo for more than 12 years. Considered an industry expert in employment practices and trends, she speaks often at events and is frequently interviewed by industry publications.

Amy was also widely read as the premier blogger on Hiring-Revolution for many years where she earned a reputation for wit, entertainment, information, and no bull. You can find her on Linked, friend her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
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