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talking about your job history

Since the recent recession, the lack of jobs in the American economy has created a new problem for jobseekers. Losing a job during a recession and spending months or years seeking a new position creates an undesirable gap in your job history. Other factors may complicate your situation. For instance, your work history shows that your most recent jobs included a lower level of responsibility, a lower salary, a part-time position, or working in a different field.

Regardless of the scenario, decide how to discuss a resume that does not show recent job stability, earning power, and experience. Gaps in your employment history are a temporary setback. Here are a few things you can do to discuss these gaps during job interviews:

1. Don’t blame your last employer or the recession for a lack of work. You want to focus the employer’s attention on your desirable characteristics as a prospective employee. Avoiding negative talk means that the conversation stays focused on the positive.

2. Describe non-paid activities completed during unemployment. This is the time to talk about going back to school, volunteering, starting a business, or performing other projects that require a considerable time investment. For instance, some people remodel their whole house by teaching themselves home improvement.

3. Discuss how you’ve sharpened your knowledge in your professional field. Not everyone goes back to school or volunteers when out of work. They continue networking in their field, participating in online communities, attending annual meetings, contributing to publications, reading the latest research, and engaging in other professional development opportunities.

4. Explain how your experience would benefit a prospective employer following a brief response to the question about job history. Change the subject by asking a question or taking your interview response in a different direction. Talk about the time you weren’t working full-time as an opportunity to develop as a person. Skillful treatment of the work history question requires assertive communication.

Your work history is not the only reason an employer will decide to hire you. When you get the interview, you receive a one-time opportunity to sell yourself as a top choice. You can work with a professional job coach to acquire assertive interviewing techniques. You can talk about ways to discuss your work history and qualifications.

If you believe in yourself as a person worthy of the job, your prospective boss can believe it too. Sell yourself as a whole package. Be prepared to live up to the image you’ve created if you get the position.

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