Friday, June 5, 2009

Should I Lie?

No!  Obviously the answer is no.  Well, at least I thought it was obvious...  

A number of people have asked me variations of this question in the past few months.  For some, it's a more subtle version, "how should I hide the fact that I've been unemployed for two years?"  

The simple answer is don't.

Focus on what you want the prospective employer to focus on.  Why should someone hire you?  What do you have to offer?  What experiences and expertise do you bring to the table?

And... it's also good to be prepared to address the break in your professional experience.  Get involved - volunteer and stay up to date with industry groups and publications (great ways to network and uncover job opportunities too).  Demonstrate that you can take initiative and add value.

It's important to focus on your value as you prepare as well.  If I tell you "don't think about bananas," what immediately comes to mind?  Bananas!  That's what will happen to you too, and it will shift your focus to "making up for" instead of all the skills and experiences you bring and ways the prospective employer can benefit by hiring you.

Most of all, be honest.  It takes seconds for someone to verify your history, and people are looking for reasons to eliminate candidates.  Don't make their job so easy.  Make use of your "free" time, leverage what you have, and be confident.