On the Injured Reserve List

Suri writes in:

I’ve been off sick from my job with two separate knee injuries for the past 18 months. (These were work-related injuries, covered by workman’s comp.)

My question is: how open should I be about everything to potential employers? While my resume states I’ve worked with [Show Title] for 3 years, I’ve only completed close to 8 months actual work with them. Do I tell them about my previous injury and that I’ve been off sick for nearly two years?

Nobody is going to hire me against a person who has been in steady work the past two years. I don’t want to lie about my situation, but I also don’t want to be passed over just because I’ve had a knee injury and been out of work for so long.

That’s a tough situation.

The first thing is, there’s no reason to leave a “gap” in your resume, because you shouldn’t have dates on your resume, anyway.1

More generally, you should never mention any possible negatives in either your resume or your interview. And being out of work for that long is definitely a negative.

When they ask you about your previous job, tell them about your experiences there; you did actually work there for some time. Focus on the positives, talk about your accomplishments and performance.

Other negatives to avoid, even if you haven’t been on disability for 18 months:

  • Don’t bad-mouth your former employer; you’ll sound like a whiner.
  • Don’t complain about the workload; you’ll sound lazy.
  • Don’t bitch about the commute; it’s Los Angeles; everyone has a shitty commute.
  • Don’t criticize the quality of the show itself; that doesn’t matter.

Basically, when you’re interviewing for a job, you should come in singing this:

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. If you’re new to the blog, I offer a resume and cover letter review service, where I’ll re-write your cover letter and completely revamp the look of your resume.
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