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Coaches Corner: The Handel Group

Explaining Why You Got Laid Off

My colleagues and I at the Handel Group will be answering your questions about job-search and career-related issues at the Coaches Corner at BusinessWeek. Please e-mail us so we can help you find solutions. (Read our previous Q&A about staying inspired in your job search.

How do I explain why I got laid off?

The business climate has changed, and unfortunately not everyone—or every company—was ahead of the curve. In this economic climate you have to address that change is happening (and you have to remember that in the long run, it may even be a good thing, for your career and for any company you could end up working for). The recession caused the bar to get raised, and the company you were in may not have been prepared for the long haul.

Tell the truth to your future employer: "My company had to lay off X people based on the following failings..." Let them know what you've learned from this experience and how you are going to bring innovation to their company. A vision for the future is more important than getting mired in the past.
Lauren Zander is the co-founder and chairman of the Handel Group, an executive coaching and personal life coaching company based in New York City. Lauren has developed and is currently in her third year teaching a popular and groundbreaking course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called Designing Your Life. The Education Division of Handel Group will soon be implementing similar courses at New York University and Rutgers University.

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