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Working Around Bad Luck on the Resume?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the explaining-your-experiences dept.

Businesses 698

Dodger asks: "A year ago I was laid off from my job after 2 1/2 years, shortly after the product I was working on shipped. Later that year, a company moved me 1500 miles from Texas to California, to start working on a promising project, just to have the plug pulled by the corporation that funded it five weeks later, which resulted in another layoff. Now, there's a period of job seeking followed by a five week period of employment, followed by the current job seeking period on my resume. When the companies I interview with ask about that situation I simply explain, while trying not to whine or complain. What do other Slashdot readers do to make 'bad luck' (or bad employer choices) look less bad on their resume, and sound less bad in interviews?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.


CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322071)

where's your faggoty internet grassroots campaign now? Hows that for an ask slashdot?

Re:HEY DEAN FAGGOTS: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322087)

I pity the fool who doesn't like BUSH!

HEY BUSH FAGGOTS!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322146)

You're going down!! FUCK YOU BUSH!!! See him drunk off his ass!! []


TAYBtroll (748201) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322175)


Yes that's right, THINK ABOUT YOUR BREATHING. Why you might ask? Well it's simple!

Your brain usually takes care of breathing FOR you, but whenever you remember this, YOU MUST MANUALLY BREATH! If you don't you will DIE.

There are also MANY variations of this. For example, think about:




In conclusion, the THINK ABOUT YOUR BREATHING troll is simply unbeatable. These 4 words can be thrown randomly into article text trolls, into sigs, into anything, and once seen, WILL FORCE THE VICTIM TO TAKE CARE OF HIS BREATHING MANUALLY! This goes far beyond the simple annoying or insulting trolls of yesteryear.

In fact, by EVEN RESPONDING to this troll, you are proving that IT HAS CLAIMED ANOTHER VICTIM -- YOU!

ps: bush will win in 2004


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322211)

You're going down!! FUCK YOU BUSH!!! See him drunk off his ass!! [] .

Re:FUCK YOU BUSH FAGGOTS: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322272)

How would one become intoxicated by a donkey?

fake it (1, Offtopic)

MichaelPierce (694181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322080)

fake a longer period

Re:fake it (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322090)

Hell, that's what my wife does!

Re:fake it (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322295)

Yah i know, could you talk to her about that?

First Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322083)

Having never worked, this really isn't a problem for me...

Quick and Dirty (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322085)

If the person interviewing you is a white coder who reads Slashdot tell them your job was outsourced.

Malibu Stacy touched my junk (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322103)

I was delivering the morning paper to Malibu Stacy's Dream House, when Stacy came out and asked me if I knew anything about electronics. She led me to the garage, on the pretense that I would help her program the radio stations on her car stereo. With one quick motion she removed my Member's Only jacket, and ripped the buttons off my blue J.C. Penny oxford, exposing my hairless chest. As I started to squirm, she handcuffed me to the gear shift in her Dream Car, and then unbuttoned my pants. Since her hands were on my zipper, I sat motionless as she removed my Toughskins. Now fully exposed, my dick stood straight up as if it was expecting a flag to be raised on it.

As a show of women's equality, it seems that my hands had no moveable parts, but SHE had the Kung-Fu Grip. She wrapped the rubbery hand, already in a masturbatory position, and proceeded to touch my junk liberally. Since she was over forty I felt quite dirty while she was stroking my junk as if she was awaiting a prize. After 2 minutes of this, I shot my load but it just dribbled out of the end of my cock. My nervousness had hampered my shooting ability. As my cum drizzled onto her Kung-Fu Grip, it started to harden, and she no longer had the ability to release The Grip.

Four hours later an emergency room doctor applied a solvent to our conjoined body parts that released her grip on my junk. Unfortunately, the extended period of time stuck in this position has rendered my cock to its "erected length" even when I am not hard. Well, I guess at least I look impressive in the showers.

Hey, if they read slashdot, you're trouble is over (5, Funny)

i)ave (716746) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322226)

... just tell them, " I'm glad you brought this up, and even happier you read /., because they actually posted my submission on this very topic and an hour later I had excellent karma "

Re:Quick and Dirty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322259)

Invite your future employer to a cockfight [] !

If anyone knew (4, Funny)

smccurry (572146) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322089)

If anyone knew, they would probably be working rather than reading slashdot.

Take a gun to the interview with you... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322094)

.. when asked about the short periods just point it at the interviewer and tell him you don't like people prying into your personal life.

Re:Take a gun to the interview with you... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322117)

Bring a Desert Eagle .50

OMG OMG deagle on teh spoke!!!111111~~~

Lie! (0, Troll)

haRDon (712926) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322096)

Just falsify it! Every other bastard does...

Or omit the records (5, Informative)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322155)

A lot of people have had jobs that they don't talk about. Pick one or two jobs that have you had good references from put them on. Then say that you were studying in the gaps.

If your referees can confirm you have the skills required for the job, you'll have a solid chance.

Just put down the job experience (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322097)

And during interview tell the truth that you were laid off. People understand the situation

Simple (-1, Troll)

jonfromspace (179394) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322100)

Blame it on Microsoft!

Or just tell them you needed the time off to compile a kernel.

Nigger Owner's Manual (GPL) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322101)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your nigger will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.


You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately on unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.


Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat


Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.


Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.


Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 55 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.


Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include:

1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing.

2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one).

3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit.

4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood.

5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.


Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.



Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?


They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.


Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).


Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.


A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".


What you have there is a "wigger".


They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it.


And you were expecting what?


This is normal.


Where are we, Wonderland? You'll have a lot of trouble getting it to fornicate with *other* niggers.


I don't really understand the question ("better quality of nigger"...?WTF?)

Re:Nigger Owner's Manual (GPL) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322137)

Holy shit that is offensive.

Why does the Slashdot staff allow things like this to be posted?

Surely it should be deleted and the poster banned (or even reported)?

Moderator - please delete the racist post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322237)

It is bad...

Re:Moderator - please delete the racist post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322289)

There should be restrictions on free speech.

Simple Solution. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322104)

Tell them there was some "unpleasantness", then spit on the floor. Then say, "Make with another question, jackhole."

This should do the trick every time.

Be honest, tell the truth (5, Insightful)

fembots (753724) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322105)

I believe every employer appreciates a bit of honesty.

Re:Be honest, tell the truth (3, Insightful)

MSBob (307239) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322261)

If that were the truth we wouldn't have deceptive marketing brochures, features promised but never delivered and salesmen hiding scratches on cars they sell.

The truth (no pun intended) is that marketing is about telling half truths and remember that a half truth is a full blown lie.

When you are in an interview your job is to make the other side believe you are more valuable than you yourself believe you are. If you sell yourself short in an interview you are doing yourself a bid disservice because everyone expects you to exaggerate your claims. It's the norm in business these days and applies the same way to selling products (like cars) and services (which is what job interviewing is).

One word: (5, Insightful)

ZxCv (6138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322108)


No, really, just be honest like you already have been. The people interviewing you are human too, and they can understand bad luck like anyone else. Just put your best qualities far enough out there and layoffs like this shouldn't even be a factor to the interviewer.

Re:One word: (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322185)

As someone who is watching his four female managers hire two candidates to help him out, I can say for sure that this is not true. They'll disqualify you for any reason they want. They rejected one perfectly suitable resume because his last job was as a magician at kids' parties; they said that it indicated that he didn't want the position as a career. I'd say your best bet is to say that it's been a bad economy, and that you spent that time looking, unless you gained experience that you'd like to use. Then again, they might misinterpret that, too.

Re:One word: (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322297)

-1, Oddly Sexist

CowboyNeal Defense (5, Funny)

Bishop, Martin (695163) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322112)

When they ask questions of prior jobs that were unsatisfactory, simply yell "That's none of your concern, you insensative clod!"

Re:CowboyNeal Defense (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322159)

Even better, yell: '-1 Troll' or '-1 Flamebait'

Forget the five weeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322113)

Its not worth explaining it.....

In the interview (2, Insightful)

elvum (9344) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322115)

Shrug and laugh about it. Attitude counts for a lot.

Re:In the interview (1)

Gherald (682277) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322219)

Nah, you don't want to appear uncaring || unmotivated.

Whatever you do end up saying, make CERTAIN you are pleasant and calm about it. As the submitter said, you don't want to sound like you are whinning || complaining.

Shit happens (3, Interesting)

NineNine (235196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322120)

Just tell the interviewer that "shit happens". They'll understand. Worked for me!

Be honest (5, Informative)

RedHatLinux (453603) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322125)

but be positive ... Don't whine or pout. Just explain the situation, highlight any positives and then try to steer the focus back on the better parts of your resume.

You're doing fine. (2, Funny)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322127)

If they ask about it, just do what you're doing now. Explain the situation to them and they'll probably understand, if they don't well you probably wouldn't want to work their anyway (well actually if they don't understand then they probably don't layoff people and I guess you would want to work their, oh well.)

I just needed some personal time... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322128) bond with my fellow inmates.

-1 Troll, but: (3, Troll)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322129)

You shouldn't just be sit around while you are unemployed. You should always be keeping your skills polished and up-to-date. Then you will have something to tell them. It is best if you can account for all of your time while unemployed.

Re:-1 Troll, but: (5, Funny)

LearnToSpell (694184) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322189)

It is best if you can account for all of your time while unemployed.

What if you can account for most of it, barring some minor blackout periods where you wake up in the back of a hardware store, naked from the waist down lying in a pool of your own vomit? Theoretically speaking, I mean.

Re:-1 Troll, but: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322223)

Is that you Filthy? I guess you could tell them you were reviewing movies.

Been there, done that.. (4, Informative)

JoeLinux (20366) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322136)

Step #1:

Get a job. ANY JOB. Showing you have a job indicates that you are a "go getter", willing to do what it takes. Trust me.

Step #2:

Hit the Pavement. When a job in your field opens up, even if it is a step down from your current pay grade, take it.

Step #3:

If your field is networking, start doing networks for churches/schools/etc. for free. Include it on your resume. If coding, get into an open source project. If business or law, go to hell. ;)

Those will drastically help you reinforce the idea that you are not lazy, just unfortunate.

Re:Been there, done that.. (3, Informative)

compactable (714182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322290)

Too too true - if anything, showing that you're willing to work for a few weeks on something shows you're aggressive at looking. And good at getting hired.

I'd rather hire someone who has a spotty employment record over the past year than someone that has none. People know it's tough - I took a new position in Nortel 2 weeks before they declared a hiring freeze & mass layoffs.

Unless the job dictates ESP as a requirement, getting laid off frequently isn't the worst thing. Honest.

This shouldn't even be a question (5, Insightful)

buckeyeguy (525140) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322138)

Don't dodge, hedge, or otherwise try to avoid your real work experiences. It's just not worth it. And if you've worked in the same geographical area for awhile, you will find that everyone in IT knows everyone else in IT (maybe 5 times removed, like the Kevin Bacon thing), and your history will be known anyway.

Besides, so what if a project fell flat because someone else pulled the plug? You took a chance on being part of it; sounds like a good resume item to me.

Re:This shouldn't even be a question (2, Interesting)

M. Silver (141590) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322292)

everyone in IT knows everyone else in IT

Especially true in the AS/400 world. My boss (for a very short while) was an accountant-prematurely-turned SVP, and was more-than-slightly intimidated by IT people. When I hired a new manager and, in quick succession, one contract cabler and two IBM CE's came in and said "Steve! Howinnahecka you doin!" the accountant started giving him some really weird looks. "You know Steve?" The cabler (who'd been brought in by the builder, not me) pointed out that he'd known not only Steve but me as well, and the accountant started to look worried. I gave him my best surprised look and said didn't all *accountants* know each other and have secret handshakes and stuff?

Poor guy. He may have been qualified to deal with the company books and stuff, but he was definitely not prepared for rambunctious IT personnel.

Keeping it on-topic, that's one of the anecdotes you generally *don't* want to share in an interview. It's often a fine line between giving a legitimate reason for leaving a company, and trash-talking them. You need to do the former, but doing the latter (or giving the appearance of doing so) is generally a sign you're not going to get the job.

The reason you were dismissed (4, Interesting)

MSBob (307239) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322139)

You weren't dismissed in spite of your project successfully shipping. You were disposed of because your project shipped. It's not uncommmon where moronic managers treat developers like construction crews. Hire when the work picks up and let go when the work is done. Most managers are too dim to understand the difference between skilled and unskilled labour.

Just don't tell them the truth... (4, Funny)

beni1207 (603012) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322140)

...that you got fired for looking at goatse at work

Dogbert (5, Funny)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322141)

Reminds me of a funny Dogbert strip:

Always put impressive but impossible to verify jobs on your resume.

Employer: So Mr. Dogbert, it says here that you worked as a senior spy for the CIA.

Dogbert: Yes, and I was told to kill anyone who asks for details about it.

just tell the truth (3, Insightful)

^chuck^ (131444) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322142)

You won't sound like whining, and trust me, a lot of people here will tell a lot worse horror stories. Probably the people interviewing you have worse horror stories than that. Even I do, and mine aren't nearly that bad.

So, don't sweat it. If they ask tell the truth. It helps if the truth is "well, during my periods of unemployment I have been keeping my skills up to date, and have been working on X projects to keep me busy".

That's it dude, trust me. ;)

Impress them (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322144)

With your "knowledge" of 50 programming languages and dozen operating systems, not to mention your ability to network 60 Xbox's, which ironically, are their prerequisites anyways. :p

easy (1)

treat (84622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322145)

If you are good, and will be able to prove you are highly qualified in the interview, you can tell the truth. If you're only so-so, lie.

They're dead, Jim (3, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322150)

Looking over my resume (thirty years of it) I find that over two-thirds of the companies there no longer exist. Your best answer is to list the contact information for each tango-uniform employer with [defunct] or something similar.

Employers want to know how to get hold of your previous management, too, and pointing out that they're also not there any more tends to help.

Re:They're dead, Jim (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322296)

...Employers want to know how to get hold of your previous management, too, and pointing out that they're also not there any more tends to help...

Unless of course you're the reason why they're no longer around...

Re:They're dead, Jim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322301)

Remind me not to hire you...:)

blame canada! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322152)

robin williams did it, so shall u. power into your hands!

Simple. Be honest... (4, Insightful)

ThogScully (589935) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322157)

It'll be worth it in the end. Just doin't hesitate to tell the truth and when/if you get the job, you'll be far better off. Lying will only make them question you and give them a good reason not to employ you.

Re:Simple. Be honest... (5, Insightful)

ChartBoy (626444) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322239)

Lying can also give them grounds to fire you at a later date.

Creative (3, Funny)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322160)

From plausible to absurd:

I was spending time with my family
Extended vacation
Self-education/Wanted to learn something new
I was writing a book
Home renovation/improvment
Spiritual retreat in the desert
Creating and failing with dot-com startup
Using exfoliation to remove tattoo
Hunted down Steve Bartman to "express my feelings"

Take your pick.

I'd guess they're used to it... (2, Insightful)

twocoasttb (601290) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322163)

I'd be frank about it. It's a fact of life in today's market place that employment comes and goes quickly. While brief stints of employment may have counted against you three or more years ago, a reasonable hiring manager will recognize that you're a victim of the current economic situation. Just don't present yourself as a victim; being positive about it is the best course.

My Resume Looks Much Worse -- How I Deal (5, Insightful)

philovivero (321158) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322165)

I've had literally three companies go out of business on me, and one company I ethically could not work for (owner was trying to bilk millionaires out of investment cash) in the last 3.5 years. So 3.5 years, 4 companies.

One recruiter I talked to started the conversation saying "I know the job market recently is what's to blame for your spotty employment" and then only ten minutes later said "My client is looking for someone who doesn't jump from job to job so much," so even someone who acknowledges the reason for your problems can very quickly forget it and start thinking you're a job jumper.

So how did I solve this problem? I simply grouped all the jobs I worked for in the past 3.5 years as bullet items under a single 3.5-year job of Database Architect Consultant.

This helps a lot, because consultants are supposed to have multiple employers (it doesn't hurt that I've also done some consulting work during this time).

The problem then is that when you talk to companies, they assume you want to continue consulting. So begin the interview with "I've been doing W-2 consulting, and I really want the stability and long-term relationships I can get with a full-time job."

It's really an interesting perception that people get when they look at a resume with many short-term jobs on it. They just can't get over the fact that it may be completely not your fault and they still somehow blame you.

You need to understand this psychology and then mask that fact from them (for their own good!). Otherwise they will end up hiring some lamer who happened to work for a company that lasted a lot longer than your companies even though said lamer isn't as qualified as you.

Just tell the truth (5, Insightful)

Saanvik (155780) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322168)

It sounds like you're doing the right thing.

As a hiring manager in a software company let me tell you, you're situation doesn't look bad, assuming it's exactly as you tell it. If I bring someone in for an interview, and they tell me what you've been through, I'd be more likely to empathize with their situatition rather than hold it against them. So, just tell the truth.

The one thing that might be a problem is getting to the interview. You may need to do a bit of work on your cover letter to make it plain that the funding was cut rather than you losing the job because of cause.

One other thing - you may not want to include a 5 week job on your resume. Unless you gained a lot of important job experience in 5 weeks, I'd be likely to write the entire thing off. Since resume space is limited, you may want to include a former job that is more relevant to the position you are applying to.

Tell them to fuck a duck (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322174)

Works for me?
"Wats yur name?"


What to say? (0)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322176)

"I was basically unlucky. I got two jobs on the cusp of the companies shutting down, one of which moved me out of state. Neither had anything to do with my job performance; note that the companies disappear on the same date. Instead, please look at my resume from before the dot com bubble made hiring practices frequently unethical."

You're already ahead of the game... (5, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322177)

... by getting interviews in the first place.

Expand your portfolio ? (1)

rhino_badlands (449954) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322179)

I think the best thing that you could do is to expand your portfolio in any way posible. If your an artist do some medium sized projects that show of the range of work you can do. A programer work on some usefull applications, shareware, or even freeware. You should also update and work on your resume and cover letter constantly.

I have had some people swear that online job seach engines work great, but most management would rather have you show up on their door step with your resume and portfolio, of course in a suite and tie.

And if you can acomplish all with out your thumb up you ass while crying about not having a job then everything should work out.

And if that fails work at the local tanning salon like i do !

Why is it a big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322182)

If they ask, explain why. It shouldn't be a big problem - if you don't make anything of it and calmly explain it, they shouldn't either. If it still worries you that much, make your resume self-explanitory, so that it's easy for employers to pick up on the reasons. Even if it's as simple as:

"Project cancelled, entire team (~20 people) laid off!"

Contact information for somebody else who was there (or is still there) should give them a reference to check if they otherwise don't believe you.

Qualifications Brief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322186)

Instead of a resume, write a qualifications brief, basically a resume in reverse. You list the skills you have followed by the experience you have doing it, then round dates to nearest year i.e.:

Code Monkey--Typing C+ at random to make code. Microsoft, 1997-99
Comment Proofreader--Read and corrected comments written in UNIX code, IMB, 1992-2000
Caffine Supervisor--etc, etc, etc ...

You Already Said It... (1)

Embedded Geek (532893) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322187)

"Bad Luck"

If you open your answer with this phrase and also indicate that you have good references from your leads/managers, you won't need to go into greater detail unless asked. This allows you to accentuate the positive and also lets you lead into your stronger qualifications:

"The gap's there because the company had bad luck and the contract disappeared. I can give you references from my ex-boss telling you more about it. He was also the guy managing me when I came up with improvement ABC that saved the company XYZ dollars. Let me tell you more about how we tested it..."

Try this (2, Funny)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322188)

Now, there's a period of job seeking followed by a five week period of employment, followed by the current job seeking period on my resume.

Shrug sheepishly and say, "My 'acting' career just didn't pan out."

What is the US obsession with gaps on your resume (4, Interesting)

rogerbo (74443) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322190)

I don't understand why in the US it is such an issue with having a gap in your resume? When I was 25 I quit my job in Australia and spent a full year travelling, living off my savings going through Asia/India/Europe. I told this to people from the US and they were horrified? How will you explain this to employers, they said? I tell them the truth, I decided to take a year off and travel.

Here in Australia this is quite common and perfectly acceptable, also in europe it's no big deal many people over there do this.

So if I lived in the US and I say I decided I didn't want to work because I had saved enough money to live on and I wanted to travel/write the american novel/sit at home and play video games/whatever, exactly why should an employer care?

Same applies for periods of unemployment, why does a gap matter?

Re:What is the US obsession with gaps on your resu (1)

jay-oh-eee! (750468) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322256)

Skills get stale when you take a long leave. Or some people may see it as flaky.

Re:What is the US obsession with gaps on your resu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322275)

Have you been to America?

It's all about conformity, brother!

Why would you "work around" it? (2, Informative)

joto (134244) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322194)

Just tell it as it is. You are currently unemployed, due to layoffs in your previous company. A rational employer should thus be able to deduce that you might still be talented, as corporate layoffs are often somewhat random. If your potential employer is not rational, you don't want to work there anyway. Being unemployed even has a bonus when applying for jobs. You can start at once, and you are desperate...

Just be honest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322195)

Just include a line in your resume under your 5.5 weeks employment. E.g.

That's really o.k. Employers will understand and will look to your previous experience.

Honesty is always good.

Works for me every time. (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322197)

Tell them you had to take an extended leave of absence due to a death in your family. If they try to verify this, kill a family member.

My advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322200)

I would take the first 2 sentences you wrote and speak those words as a response if the question comes up during the interview.

Interesting you ask (0)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322201)

I am about to face unemployment starting next Monday and have something similar on my resume.

I had 2 years of QA experience with increasingly technical and detailed responsibilities followed by a move into development for a year, then I transferred to the Japanese office to provide technical assistance here. I was placed in the QA department and essentially became the technical backbone of a technically inept QA group. As QA is very low priority in Japan, these groups are typically staffed with people who may not have any technical experience. Also, the QA procedural requirements in this group (company-wide) is not as technically deep as the QA group in which I performed the first two years of my employment.

As the years passed, I eventually moved into the role of QA manager, but QA manager is still considered to be far below the rank of even a beginning junior developer. This means that in my future job search, I have to prove that not only am I not technically stymied by my QA label, nor am I to be pigeonholed into a QA management role. I am interested in moving back into development or even an FAE-type role interfacing with customers.

I'm doing what I can, passing the Level-2 Japanese Language Proficiency Test and brushing up on my assembly programming, not to mention setting up a heterogeneous wireless 802.11g network consisting of a Win2000, Linux, and FreeBSD machines.

In interviews I try to highlight these technical things. But I also try to start out the interview by asking the interviewers what they are looking for and write down those points. I then repeat those requirements back to them with a description of my experience that is appropriate to the requirement.

Consult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322202)

I've been both employed and done consulting off and on over the past several years, so when I'm not employed I just say that I'm between engagements. My consulting 'engagements' (often for undisclosed clients) extends over the entire period, so I don't have periods of unemployment. I may be working, I may not - who's to know.

The best thing to do... (5, Funny)

jay-oh-eee! (750468) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322205)

The best thing to do would to simply explain to them that the man's trying to hold you down. Also, that you'll program for food.

Explain it on the resume or leave it off (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322206)

Include on your resume a notation that the position was eliminated due to unfavorable market conditions or whatever. Be truthful, though; but that doesn't seem like a problem in this instance.

Five weeks though is really short, and such a stint doesn't really contribute to your knowledge, skill, attitude or temperament. Nor would it give time for that employer to get to know you, so using them as a reference wouldn't really be optimal. You might consider just leaving it off. If during an interview you're asked what you did during your time off, you can bring it up (or not) as a short term project you worked on (still being accurate though).

And you're not alone having such experiences, or looking for work at the moment.

Good luck!!

Or this: (2, Funny)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322222)

Now, there's a period of job seeking followed by a five week period of employment, followed by the current job seeking period on my resume.

Explain, candidly: "Who knew you couldn't support yourself by bloging and posting comments to Slashdot wouldn't pay? By the way, I have another Slashdot comment coming up soon, stay tuned. Subscribe now and I'll let you read it! :)"

What are you doing wrong? (1)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322233)

It sounds like you are handling it fine. Just rehearse your response so that it doesn't sound rehearsed, or something.

I avoided the whole dotcom thing and stuck with my current uber-employer. As a result, they worship the ground upon which I walk, pay me accordingly and my resume glows in the dark like a diamond.

What do you mean diamonds don't glow in the dark?

OK, OK. Radioactive diamonds, or something.

Leave it off (1)

mroch (715318) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322234)

When we were interviewing for a new Computer Services manager at school, we liked to see that people had held jobs for long periods of time. 5 weeks is not that incredibly long to be unemployed in the IT field, so if you just left it off, I don't think most employers would care too much. If they ask what you did, tell them about the other stuff you did during that time while you weren't working (you do have hobbies, don't you??).

Honesty is the best policy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322235)

I'm in the process of trying to hire some developers, right now, and I've hired lots in the past. From my perspective, telling the truth is the best strategy for you to use; most people who are hiring right now understand how turbulent the market has been in the past few years and won't hold this against you. It's still a tough market though and the best thing that you can do is work your hardest to be the absolute BEST you can be. Spend your time that you're unemployed studying in your field and preparing to really blow people away when you do land an interview. Don't waste time feeling sorry for yourself or worrying about little things like some gaps in employment - just go out and kick ass as best you can and you'll do just fine.

hard to get (5, Insightful)

DarkSkiesAhead (562955) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322247)

One technique that can be applied to many job interviews is to turn the situation around and make them try to sell the job to you. If you have a history of being let go by former employers stress that it's important that your next job be with a stable, successful company and ask pointed questions about the new company. Let them try to convince you that the new company is respectable and trustworthy. Then they'll feel like they've invested something in you by convincing you.

Don't lie (3, Insightful)

Dalroth (85450) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322252)

Don't lie, period. Just tell the truth. Employers are looking for hard working, intelligient, and honest people.


Be honest (5, Insightful)

merodach (630402) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322257)

If the layoffs are not your fault then the employer won't care as long as you are honest regarding the reasons. Don't sound bitter, and above all, DON'T make it sound as though the layoffs were a result of poor management. If pressed for details be very discreet and non-judgemental in the response - a "The company decided that they could no longer provide work for me" sounds MUCH better than "they canned me as soon as they finished using me". I as a manager don't mind seeing a period of unemployment if it is not a result of the person's actions and with the collapse of IT jobs that's unfortunately become common.

Don''t mention it. (1)

litewoheat (179018) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322262)

Don't mention it. If your previous emplouers are called all that they can legally say is that you did indeed work there. They can't say anything else.

Resume is more important (4, Insightful)

originalhack (142366) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322263)

The key is getting past people who might toss your resume because of the short stint. If they took the trouble to even have a conversation, you are past that.

I'd suggest you list the dates as... "10/2003-11/2003 (project cancelled)" to prevent the quick discard. After that, just be honest about your history and show no bitterness.

I've hired over 100 engineers. One short hop (less than 2 or 3 years) requires explaining. Two short hops get the resume tossed.

Tell them it was a temporary job (1)

Pop69 (700500) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322267)

If it isn't one where a prospective employer is likely to ask for a reference then just say you were temping.

don't worry (4, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322273)

The fact that you were able to get hired twice in your proffession during the down economy is an asset not a burdon.

The fact that you were moved to CA either means you are desperate or worth a big investment. Make sure it spins good (even if it was desperation).

If the out of work periods are short enough I would take it as a good sign that you are being snapped up, not bad that you were layed off.

Don't lie. If you do anyone that has a personal reason for not liking you could possibly get HR to look into it and you could be fired for lieing on your resume.

Just remember that your against people who were likly under-employed or out of work with no short projects inbetween.

None of this is expierience (except the lieing thing) but it is what maked personal sense to me. So if someoen with actual expierence in your shoes disagrees they may be more correct then me.

Or this: (0, Offtopic)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322278)

Now, there's a period of job seeking followed by a five week period of employment, followed by the current job seeking period on my resume.

Get the interviewer to empathize with you, by noting that we all make mistakes, now and then: "Who'd have guessed those hippies wouldn't pay me $699 for something they could get a better implementation of for free? But hey-hey, honest mistake, right?

"I mean, we expected everybody to settle out of court, just to get us to go away. Imagine my surprise when David explained that IBM has so many lawyers on retainer. Really, who'da thunk it? Honest mistake, right?"

welcome (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322280)

welcome to my world. i do not have college. i am cisco certified, but still can not find any job. i can blow the doors off any college educated person. i just can not program. what is a person to do.

Don't rely on a job (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322281)

to make your resume impressive. Do stuff on your own time that you can show off regardless of the way the employment winds blow. I've had a lot of good jobs that look good on a resume, but it's the work I've done on my own that sells me to a potential employer every time.

Tell'em you're freelancing (2, Funny)

sandbagger (654585) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322291)

Okay, so you're months between clients.

So it goes.

It's all relative (1)

magusxxx (751600) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322300)

Tell them, "At least I had a longer run than Stephen King's "Carrie: The Musical"?


Be Honest, offer to Contract (1)

Veridium (752431) | more than 10 years ago | (#8322311)

I went through a bump just like that. I couldn't get hired for 7 months, thanks to a 5 month stint at a company that eventually went belly up a year after laying me off. After 6 months of interviewing for jobs(I was also volunteering for non-profits in my area, in order to have something on my resume for that time), I realized that I was at a disadvantage to the MANY who also were looking for work but didn't have a short stint on their resume.

So when I was asked about that time, I explained it honestly, and offered to come in as a contractor if they had any concerns about my work ethic or ability to do the job, pointing out that they'd be able to fire me at any time, and could pay me less at first. My 4th interview using this strategy, got me in as a contractor. They kept me there for 6 months(no health benefits, and not really good pay), but then they hired me full time.

So this worked for me.

Drop it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8322312)

A resume should not contain any irrelevant information. Your five-week job is irrelevant. You did not gain any experience there, and the reasons you were laid off have no bearing on your future job performance.

Call that section of the resume "Related Experience" as opposed to "Employment History".

You shouldn't include your high school summer job at McDonald's on a professional resume. A job that evaporated before it really started is in the same category. Drop it.
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