Thursday, August 25, 2011

The single most important question and the best answer

Every day, we ask people the question, "Why have you been out of work for so long?" or "What have you been doing since you were laid off?" The single most common answer to that question is, "I have been looking for work." As the market becomes more and more saturated with available candidates, this answer is no longer acceptable to most hiring managers. If you do not pre-plan any other interview question, be prepared to answer this one.

The Ladders, a website for job advice and job seekers offer this article by Tanjia M. Coleman: Why Have You Been Out of Work So Long?
Whatever you do, have an answer to the question — why have you been out of work so long? Whatever you say, don't answer, 'Looking for a job.'

Coleman offers a lot of great advice and some great ideas to tweak for your own answers.

■ I decided to start a business
■ I am an officer of XYZ organization
■ I took some college courses to stay current in my career
■ I am currently researching XYZ subject (ensure that it has business relevance)
■ I volunteer at a local mission
■ I started a networking organization to help those out of work
■ I decided to coach a season of my child’s baseball league

There is something you've done in your period of unemployment that you can talk that will be more impressive to the hiring manager than simply "looking for work."

Check out the entire article for more great ideas.