Etiquette

NWR: HR/interview advice

Linda long.... read if you like and give me feedback.  Esp if you work in HR :-)

So I've been out of work for about a year now.  I was laid off from a very good IT job in the public sector so with my severance/weekly unemployment/savings/Hs job etc I was not desperate to take the first low paying job that came along.  I've applied to other good paying jobs (when I can find them) but just haven't had any luck.

Now I'm feeling the urge to go back to work asap.  I still have unemployment for a number of months, and my state's rules actually say I don't have to apply to jobs that pay less than 80% of my previous wage but I'm wanting to anyway.  DD is almost starting preschool, I go kind of stir crazy not using my job experience and education, there's a fear that if I wait til I absolutely need to find a job it will be too late etc etc

Soooo question is, how do I explain in a cover letter and/or interview "Oh well I haven't found a job yet because I'm kind of a job snob and was not willing to work for anything less than X amount of money but now I am because I'm bored/anxious."

I mean, if I was an HR person, I would wonder what was off about someone who hadn't worked in a year- even if they had stayed active in other ways, but maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe with this economy its more common than I think??

Thoughts...
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Re: NWR: HR/interview advice

  • I don't think it looks bad that you haven't worked in a year. A year isn't that long to be out of work, especially in this economy.
    I also don't think you should write too much information in the cover letter. A detailed cover letter with your qualifications and some info about the company you are applying to work for should suffice.
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  • Get a part-time job in your field, so you can make contacts and network and learn all the new stuff that's happened in workplaces in the past year that you have now worked.  This will position you perfectly to apply for full-time jobs next year when DD goes to preschool.

    Oh and what to do with the rest of your time while working only part-time?  Take DD to the library and to the park and to play dates, and have tea parties in her bedroom, and dig deep to find the kind of contentedness that a SAHM feels, esp in comparison with so many other mothers who can't stay off work for a year and who can't work part-time either...
  • In Response to Re: NWR: HR/interview advice:
    Get a part-time job in your field, so you can make contacts and network and learn all the new stuff that's happened in workplaces in the past year that you have now worked.  This will position you perfectly to apply for full-time jobs next year when DD goes to preschool. Oh and what to do with the rest of your time while working only part-time?  Take DD to the library and to the park and to play dates, and have tea parties in her bedroom, and dig deep to find the kind of contentedness that a SAHM feels, esp in comparison with so many other mothers who can't stay off work for a year and who can't work part-time either...
    Posted by Kristin789

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  • I agree with PPs... in this economy, it's not uncommon to see good people who are off work for a year or longer. But if you wanted to address the gap in your resume in the cover letter, there's nothing wrong with that. (A good HR person will ask you what you've been doing during that time anyway.)

    You don't necessarily need to say you've been "holding out" for a good job. All you need to say is that you've been searching for a new position since you were laid off, and have also used the time off to stay at home with your child. That's a nice blanket statement but it covers your bases.
  • i'm in hr, and i tend to view a year of no work in a somewhat negative light.

    sure, you can make more money on unemployment than you can in a pt job or a minimum wage type job.  but i look at it as work ethic.  i personally couldnt sit back and collect knowing that i could be working somewhere doing something, even though i might make less.  there are jobs out there, even in this economy.  they just might not be the job you want.  a simple search on hot jobs or monster pulls up tons. 

    now in your case, you do have a child.  you could simply state that once you got laid off, you figured it was a good time to be a stay at home mom for awhile.  there's no shame in that.  a good friend of mine (male) got laid off about 2 months before his kid was born.  he opted to stay home for a year, although he did do some pt work on the side in the evenings, etc.
  • I'm also in HR, but in Canada, so the economy didn't hit quite as bad in my area.

    I would absolutely advise against saying anything related to holding out for a higher paying job. Regardless of the laws in your state, I would expect anyone to take any job they can find, even if it's working at a coffee shop for a while. As PP mentioned, it's a work ethic thing.

    That said, I also agree that you should frame it as a good time to stay home with your daughter. That's why you stayed home, not because you couldn't find a position that paid enough.. No respectable HR person or recruiter would find fault with staying at home with your kids.

    I think you should mention it briefly in your cover letter as well. If a recruiter looks at your resume, sees the gap, and there's no hint of an explanation in your cover letter, that's not good. I wouldn't call that person for an interview unless their other experience is stellar - sometimes it doesn't mean anything, but sometimes it's a huge red flag. Just keep the explanation to one sentence, though. Any longer and it can come across as babbling and possibly dishonest..

    Good luck!
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