The answers that most people give to the question of, “why have you been out of work so long” Are usually pretty poor. The reason they are for answers is because candidates don’t think about, “how does a prospective employer in vision me and my work ethic with this answer?” They answer the question from their Point of view instead of the hiring authority’s point of view. The biggest fear hiring authority has is that, if a candidate can afford, even though they say they can’t, to be out of work for six months or so, if they get hired and they wake up one morning and don’t like the job, they will take another six months off and the employer will have to start all over in looking for someone.
So, here are some of the do’s and don’ts regarding the answers that most candidates give:
Well, I hadn’t taken a vacation in a number of years, so I decided to take some time off. (DON’T EVER, EVER SAY SOMETHING THIS STUPID…EVER! An employer imagines that if you can take six months off for a “vacation” you don’t need to work very much and you could turn around and take another “vacation” six months into their job.
Well, I had the money to do it so I figured I may never get a chance to do it again, so I took the time off. This is just a stupid as the previous answer for the same reason.
I got laid off and had a great severance package so I took some time off to see the world. (ditto)
I decided to start my own business. It didn’t work out so now I have to find a job. (The answer here has to be more Specific and positive as well as a benefit to a prospective employer. Something like: “I decided to start my own business. It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be and I simply ran out of money. But boy did I learn a lot. And here is what I would learned and how it would apply to your job here………………………….”
I’ve been looking for a job for six months… No one will even interview me. I’m being discriminated against because of my age. (Quit whining! Quit being a victim! Employers absolutely hate to hear statements like this!)
I spent the last two years: Taking care of children, taking care of my elderly parents, recovering from an illness, dealing with personal issues..(With every one of these statements you need to make sure that you communicate the employer that the issues have been RESOLVED. You need to say something like: “I’ve been raising children up until now, but they are grown and out of the house… Or on their own… Or they can now take care of themselves after school, etc. and I am now free to work as early or late as I need to.” Or, “my parents have passed away”… Or, “we’ve hired full-time help for my parent… And it will allow me to work as early as late as I need to without interfering.”
When it comes to recovering from an illness you absolutely have to tell the hiring authority what the illness was and it has been RESOLVED. Some authors will tell you that you legally don’t have to tell a hiring authority what your illness was. That may be true but it’s first-class stupid if you don’t. The reason is, if you don’t tell them exactly what it is and that you have fully recovered, they are going to assume it’s something that is going to recur six months after you are hired and you will become ill again and will have to leave your job. So don’t pay any attention to the people that claim you don’t need to tell them what you are recovering from. If you want to go to work you need to present your illness and COMPLETE RECOVERY just this way.
The bottom line lesson is that if you’ve been out of work for any length of time close to six months or more you need to give a hiring authority a very good reason you’re still a very good employee and that hiring you is not a risk.