Interview Advice for the Laid Off

Dear Alex: How should I approach the topic of having been laid off in a job interview?

I would mention it directly in the context of talking about your most recent work experience.  In the context of the economic downturn, your company may have decided to terminate you because they were being bought or trying to cut expenditures – both these situations were beyond your control, and had little to do with your job performance.

Employers are well aware of recent job market horrors and will rarely hold a layoff against you. In fact, many of your interviewers probably have found themselves in the same position.  What’s key here is that you don’t allow your confidence in the interview to dwindle when talking about the layoff, and don’t sound sorry for yourself.  If you sound certain that it worked out for the best and that you’ll land on your feet, they’ll be certain too.

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Alexandra Levit

Alexandra Levit’s goal is to help people find meaningful jobs - quickly and simply - and to succeed beyond measure once they get there. A former nationally syndicated columnist for the Wall Street Journal and a current contributor for Fortune and Metro US, Alexandra has authored several books, including the bestselling They Don't Teach Corporate in College, How'd You Score That Gig?, Success for Hire, MillennialTweet, and New Job, New You. Her book on the top myths of business success is due out from Penguin/Berkley in the fall of 2011. Since serving as a member of Business Roundtable's Springboard Project, which advised the Obama administration on current workplace issues, Alexandra produced the critically acclaimed JobSTART 101 (, a free online course that better prepares college students and graduates for the challenges of the workplace. She is a frequent national media spokesperson and has been featured in thousands of outlets including the New York Times, USA Today, National Public Radio, ABC News, Fox News, CNBC, the Associated Press, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. In 2010, she was named Money Magazine's Online Career Expert of the Year and the author of one of Forbes' best websites for women. Known as one of the premiere spokespeople of her generation, Alexandra regularly speaks at conferences, universities, and corporations around the world including the American Society for Training and Development, Campbell's Soup, McDonalds, and Whirlpool — on issues facing modern employees such as how to communicate effectively between generations.

  • Trade4Target

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