Everyone loves a winner, so the cliché goes. And, financial services executives need to be especially concerned with the air of authority that the industry demands. So, how do you give off the sweet smell of confidence in a job interview when you’ve been out of work for some time?
David Denaro, vice president and Boston site leader for Keystone Associates, a career management and transition services firm, admits that losing a job can certainly be soul crushing, particularly for experienced mid-career professionals. In speaking with eFinancialCareers, Denaro says that having a clear focus and an enthusiastic attitude can go a long way in giving off the right vibe.
While Denaro says that getting together a strong resume is important, for laid-off professionals, that’s the least of their worries.
“You have to be able to express your enthusiasm for your work," he says. "Most hiring is for a pressing need.”
So, when you get to the interview, make it clear that your skills align with those of the current job. Denaro reminds unemployed job seekers to make sure they pay close attention to their physical well-being while they are out of work.
“It’s hard to be enthusiastic when you aren’t taking care of yourself,” he says. Good grooming—a fresh haircut and a stylish suit—can also help you get into the right mood for the interview. Says Denaro, “When you look good, you usually feel confident.”
The Power of Positive Thinking
It’s also important to avoid negative talk in your interview, even when asked about your layoff. If your entire department or division was cut, mention that quickly and in a matter of fact manner. Then, quickly switch to the positive and emphasize the functional and soft skills you learned in your old post.
But also try to stay positive after the interview. It helps to be realistic and remember that not every employer will contact you back.
Finance execs exist in a very structured environment, so when you’re laid off, it’s essential to maintain some sort of structure. Denaro recommends developing a daily plan and put together milestones.
“You have to acknowledge that some things are out of your control, but some aren’t,” he says. Whether it’s networking, volunteering or managing your job search, once you’ve completed your mission, make sure to give yourself small rewards, he says.
It’s also important to keep your brain active, especially when you’re out of work for some time, says Denaro.
“You can consult or even do pro-bono work for a nonprofit or charity—take the time to do something that’s meaningful to you,” he suggests. It helps to have something to fill in the gaps, so you can make it clear to the prospective employer that you were gainfully occupied during your time out of work.
“If you can find volunteer work that relies on skills you used at work, all the better,” he says. If you can afford it, you can take the time to get a critical industry certification or get up to speed on some other aspect of the industry by going back to school.