Come clean about your background

Aug 30, 2010 - 5:02 pm

As an employed professional, recruiters may be actively seeking you out, calling your work phone or trying to contact you on LinkedIn. Ex-colleagues want your recommendation and hope you can forward their resume to HR, and new graduates at your Alma mater are looking for informational interviews. You’re a valuable hub in someone else’s network.

Then you got laid off. Down-sized. The recruiters aren’t calling any more, and now you are asking for help. The trouble is that employers have an uncanny ability to smell your desperation. Changing jobs when your employed is all about a power play; higher salary, better benefits, work-life- balance, what can you do for me? You’re a mercenary, and your smiling the whole time. But looking for a job when your out of work is a desperate play. It’s a survival.

The hard part is trying to maintain that swagger, that game face during the interviews and the rest of the hiring process. You may be tempted to claim you are still employed. Yeah, you only got laid off last week, perhaps you can still submit that resume with “2006 to current” for your last job. The thing is, employers will uncover the truth during a background check. It’s better to be truthful upfront and avoid any exaggerations, especially easily verifiable ones. Exaggerating your sales numbers might be easily concealed, and only discovered during a reference call with your former boss, but your employment status is easily checked with Human Resources. Be smart, and be honest. You can get that job, just get because of your merits, your real skills.

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