Between December 2007 and June 2009, the U.S. economy spiraled (ok, crashed), and almost everybody suffered some fallout from the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression (why they call it the “Great Recession” is beyond me – there wasn’t anything “great” about it). During that downward spiral, the unemployment rate more than doubled from 4.9 percent to 10.1 percent, even higher in some states. If you experienced a layoff or were negatively effected by the recent economic downturn, you were – for all intents and purposes (technically speaking) – “Off the Grid”. There’s no need to be ashamed or to try and hide your job-world absence; it is what it is, and you’re not alone. In the U.S., most employers are small businesses, and they took a heck of a hit – 146,000 employers gone – but my hope is that at least some of those owners have now hung out a new shingle and started over.
In an effort to distance themselves from what actually happened, many of the candidates we interview try to mask the obvious. My advice? STOP! Any employer or hiring manager with a brain knows how tough those times were (and still are in some industries), so you shouldn’t feel ashamed if you were off the Grid for awhile. Take this subject on in the best possible light. Maybe you learned some new skills, or found multiple part-time roles, or even started a small business. If your resume has gaps anywhere from 2007-2009 (or even longer), you were likely off the Grid – so now go deal with it!
Many of us know that tough times never last, but tough (resilient) people do. We’re born to survive, and for many of us, this was a real test of survival under circumstances that were totally out of your control (unless there’s another story about why you were off the Grid). Tell the interviewer what happened, why it happened, and more importantly, what you learned and how that experience makes you a better employee today.
Tell your story and be proud you survived! I certainly am!!! It’s time to get back on that horse, dip your toes into the water – the temperature is perfect! A very famous motivational speaker and author once wrote “Every adversity you meet carries with it a seed of equivalent or greater benefit”. This is the time to find yours and move on. Ready – Set – Go!!!!!