In today’s world of work it’s no longer the exception, but the rule, that individuals will experience one or more periods of time “between engagements” at some point in their career. Performance level aside, the speed and frequency at which corporate-wide change events now take place (e.g. mergers, acquisitions, leadership changes, etc.) suggests that all professionals would be wise to prepare themselves emotionally and financially to go through several or more months of unemployment, on occasion.
As part of this preparation, however, many individuals don’t seem to place much emphasis on how to communicate their unemployed status in a positive way — or on how to minimize the concerns a future employer might have about the reasons behind their availability. Your next employer, after all, will likely have no idea about why you left your last organization and will therefore be duty-bound to make sure you weren’t let go by the company for troubling reasons such as poor performance, theft, substance abuse, and the like. Additionally, they will be paying close attention to the attitude you’re displaying about your layoff or termination, since your perspective of these events will tell them a lot about your personality and how well you’d adjust to their organizational culture, going forward.
All of this being said, if you are currently between jobs, yourself, I’d invite you to review the new article here that I’ve just penned as part of the Conscious Careering series published both on my website, as well as in the Puget Sound Business Journal. This article discusses the communication issue above and offers four tips on how best to explain the circumstances behind a layoff or termination. As you’ll read, there’s a real competitive advantage to be gained by resisting the urge to get defensive around your situation — and to point out, instead, some of the positive aspects of leaving a job that can be carried forward to your next engagement!