Put a positive spin on it

When you’ve been out of work for six months or more, interviewers are going to ask, “What have you been doing for the last six months?” You need to explain reasons why you haven’t been working.

You can’t very well answer, “Well…duh…I’ve been looking for work you jerk!” You need to prepare a logical response for why you’ve been out of work for so long. How? By giving your absence from the workforce a positive spin. To this end, you might say, “Yes, it has been awhile. And I’m looking forward to getting back to work at the right company.”

When you’re taking classes, your answer can be straight forward: “Since I’ve been downsized, I’ve been taking courses to pick up more computer skills that I’m now offering to my next employer.”

But let’s say that you’ve been sitting on the sidelines for a few months, idling away your time, or working through a bucket list of accumulated things that had to be done around the house or apartment. The best approach is to be honest. Say, “After twenty-five years as a working stiff, I treated myself to some well deserved time off. Now I’m refreshed and ready for work.”

If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines for just a few months—no sweat. But when you’ve been unemployed for more than that, you need to explain the reason why by putting a positive spin on it.

“Are you still working?” is one of the tough interview questions you could be asked. Click here to read how to answer the “are you still working” question.

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RANDY PLACE is a career strategist and author of Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach, the perfect companion for both job hunters and careerists.

About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of yourcareerservice.com. For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.