Unemployed? Underemployed? Check out the Eastern CT Manufacturing Pipeline – Your Pipeline to Success!

Even if you have no manufacturing experience, you can be earning money in less than 3 months. The Eastern CT Manufacturing Pipeline provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start an advanced career in manufacturing.

Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative is led by the Eastern Workforce Investment Board (EWIB) and Electric Boat (EB), Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA) along with the CT Department of Labor (CTDOL), local community colleges and technical high schools. This program is NO-COST to candidates.

This Customized Job Training program (CJT) includes a 4-12 week intensive training program at community colleges and technical high schools, to qualify adults to apply for immediate employment at EB. This will open up career pathways at EB and other EAMA companies, based on a large number of projected job openings.

The CJT program will deal with basic, vocational, soft, and job-specific skills.
The program is designed to provide a short-term training option to unemployed and under-employed workers unable to attend longer-term training (especially Veterans and Long-Term Unemployed who may exhaust unemployment benefits fairly soon). Electric Boat expects to hire all participants who successfully complete the program.**

EB will need to hire hundreds of new and replacement workers each year, on average, until 2030. New EB trades workers typically earn $38,000 per year, plus benefits packages worth 50% more, and can quickly progress to much higher-wage positions.

To participate in this program, apply on the EWIB portal at www.EWIB.org/pipeline

 

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Start Your New Career Today

Phil: “Do you ever have deja vu, Mrs. Lancaster?”

Mrs. Lancaster: “I don’t think so, but I could check with the kitchen.”

customerservice-groundhog-day

Is your job turning into the same old thing day in and day out? Don’t let your career start feeling like Groundhog Day. Starting a new career can be challenging, but take this inventory to get started.

Do you want a career change?

Answer yes or no to the following questions:

  1. Do you feel comfortable in your position?
  2. Do you feel as though you are using your skills?
  3. Does your education or training match your current position?
  4. Do you wish you were in a position where you faced more challenges?
  5. Do you earn enough on your current salary (including perks and benefits) to meet your needs?
  6. Do you browse jobs openings and “daydream” about having a new career?
  7. Do you feel trapped in your current role?
  8. Is there an ability to move up within the organization?
  9. Is your current organization financially stable?
  10. Is your current organization growing and adding opportunities?

If you answered “yes” to 5 or more of these questions, you may want to consider exploring a new career. Everyone’s situation is different, and experiences can be what you make of them, but if you find yourself wanting a new job, researching what is out there can be the best first step.

Research Resources

Online Assessments

MyNextMove can provide suggestions for careers that may be a good fit. When taking the assessment, you will answer a series of questions. Answer these questions based on what you think you would enjoy doing, not necessarily what may be in your experience. This assessment is especially helpful if you are new to the world of work or may have limited experience.

Are you a veteran? MyNextMove has a Veteran version of this assessment as well to translate military skills into the civilian workforce.

mySkills myFuture assesses your past experience and identifies careers that require your transferable skills. Both assessments provide listings of local schools and training programs that can help you during your career transition. There may even be local job listings at the end of the assessment as well.

For all your occupational and labor market data, review the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This is a nationwide resource. Connecticut Department of Labor has a local occupational handbook, updated annually. (The CTDOL’s Office of Research is temporarily down, otherwise a link would be provided here. This will be updated once the site is available again.)

Local Job Searching Websites

You know all the big name job boards out there, but CTHires is Connecticut’s newest job searching website. The employers are vetted by Connecticut Department of Labor staff to ensure the job openings are legitimate. If you create a job seeker account, you can upload your resume online and have employers find you. You can also use the resume to apply for jobs. With all the customization options, you aren’t limited to Resume Builders from websites of years past.

Bonus tip: You can also use CTHires to explore careers by searching their Career Services page. Career guides, walk-throughs, education and training, and labor market data are all available to you at no cost.

CTJobsChat – LinkedIn Group

CTJobsChat is a LinkedIn networking group comprised of job seekers, recruiters, employers, and American Job Center staff and partners.

We regularly share news about American Job Center recruitment events, training sessions, skill-building workshops, and programs, all available at no cost to the public. Our partners also post job openings and in-person networking event opportunities. Job seekers and other professionals can use this site to build relationships and ask questions. The group members share their advice and experience to assist others in their search for new careers. I welcome you to join today, we’d love to speak with you!

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The American Job Center Network

I can’t speak highly enough about our American Job Centers here in Connecticut. If you’re searching for a new career, the following resources are available to you:

  • No-cost workshops to explore new careers and build skills.
    • Healthcare, construction, science, technology, engineering and math (the STEM careers), check with your local job center to see what career paths are being reviewed in a workshop.
  • Resume critiques from Certified Professional Resume Writers (CPRWs).
    • No matter which office you visit, our collaboration of CT Department of Labor and partnering organizations have many certified resume writers on staff. CPRWs can review your resume so that it stands out from the competition, all while you learn skills on how to market yourself to an employer.
  • One-on-one Career Development Specialists and Career Counselors.
    • If requested, a CDS or counselor can meet with you to discuss career options, review your resume, and identify your transferable skills.
  • Job postings, recruitments, and networking events.
    • Our dedicated team of Business Services Specialists create opportunities in the centers for our job seekers. The Business Services Specialists network with employers and many local employers conduct interviewing and recruitment events for their open positions right at our American Job Center locations. These events are rare in a world of online job postings, and that additional face-time with an employer can give you an edge in this market.
  • Access to the Career Resource Library.
    • Job boards, computers with internet access and Microsoft Word, printers, copiers, faxes, resume paper… All these are available at no cost to the job seeker. Some locations may also have book of resume and cover letter samples, in addition to research materials. There may even be staff available in the libraries to assist with your job search questions.

Surprisingly, the American Job Center offers even more services than this, but to get you started in researching your next career, I recommend you visit one of our locations today. Locations, contact information, and details are available here (just select your location). Connecticut American Job Center Locations.

If you begin using one of these resources and have any questions or comments, be sure to let me know in the comments below. I would love to know what you think!

newcareer

New Years Career Resolution for 2016

 

 

Most people will make personal resolutions, but with the coming new year, there should also be time to think about your career. What do you hope to accomplish in 2016? Do you want a new job? A promotion? Planning career resolutions can help you achieve your goal.

Your goal could include:
– Researching occupations to find your next career.

The Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Research has a website you can use as your resource to learn about new careers. Go to their Job Seeker section to browse careers, research skills in demand, and find employers.

Other national resources that can be very helpful include websites like Glassdoor and O*Net Online. You can find specifics about companies on Glassdoor and reviews from former employees (many features are available at no cost). O*Net is essentially the encyclopedia of careers, and has information comparable to the Office of Research, on a national scale.
– Enrolling in a training program or class at a local university or technical school.

When you research occupations and skills in demand, you may find an opportunity where you could improve. Your goal could be to make yourself more marketable by gaining new skills, increasing your qualifications for your next job or promotion.

For those in Connecticut, the Education and Training Connection compiled by Office of Research can also be a very helpful tool. You can browse classes by provider, courses, and region of Connecticut. You will also get information about how long a course runs and how much it may cost. Some programs range for a few weeks to a few years; find what works best for you.
– Starting or investing more time in a career blog.

Writing about your field can be a great way to connect with like-minded professionals. This can also give you a positive impression online if an employer or colleague were to search for more information about you. There are many free blogging platforms (such this WordPress one!) that can be very easy to use. If you feel intimidated by starting your own blog, I recommend just creating an account. Most sites have very helpful FAQ sections or tutorials, along with many independent websites that can give you tips to start.
– Networking actively in person and online.

You can grow your network by blogging, as suggested above, but there are many more ways you can meet new people. Social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, or Twitter, all have their own versions of groups, forums and chats.

Complement your online efforts with in person networking. Meet up with friends or colleagues for a cup of coffee. Join a professional organization. Use ASAE to find an association relevant to you.
– Utilizing the American Job Center’s team of experts to assist in your job search.

The American Job Centers are nationwide, staffed by resume writers, career coaches, and advisors. In Connecticut, we offer skill-building workshops, resume critiques, mock interviews, and regularly have employers visit our centers to recruit candidates. Find a location near you here.

What do you plan to do for the new year? How will you accomplish your goal? Share below!Show less

6 Resume Tips from Employers

As an Employment Services Specialist, I find it valuable to reference specific employer preferences/concerns when offering job search advice, presenting workshops or justifying resume edits. So, when I had the opportunity to attend a career fair recently I made a point to talk to recruiters, HR personnel and employers about resumes. I wanted to know what they liked and what common mistakes they saw. Here is what I found:

List a professional email address on the resume. I was ready to write this off as a cliché until I heard it cost someone an interview. Employers consistently mentioned this as a common mistake found on resumes! Check your resume, if there is something other than a combination of first/last name take a few minutes and create a new email address.

Customize the resume to each job. Yes, this is tough to do for career fairs since there are many employers and you might not know who is attending. Your best strategy is to try and find an attendees list, identify a few employers from that list to target then build customized resumes accordingly. If you have to use a generic resume, still provide one to the employer but get a business card and tell them you will email a customized resume later in the day (or next day). An added bonus is you’ve created a follow up opportunity.

Headline Statements are awesome. The headline statement is an occupational title geared toward the job you are seeking. On the resume it appears just below your contact information. The Employer likes this because it is easy to identify the candidate’s job target.

Self-serving Objectives are not awesome. Again, kind of a cliché, yet still mentioned as a common mistake. Remember, employers want to see how your skills benefit them not that you want a full time position with opportunities for growth and fulfillment as a…

Don’t fear the applicant tracking system. Applicant tracking systems are tools to help organize the chaos associated with hundreds or thousands of applications. Follow best practices when completing online applications and resumes such as using proper grammar, matching wording to job requirements, etc. Instead of blaming applicant tracking systems for not getting interviews, work on things you can control like having a resume critique and networking.

Print resumes on resume paper. Resume paper enhances the appearance of the document and shows you are willing to go that extra step. Most resumes employers see at job fairs are printed on regular paper which detracts from the quality. Resume paper and printing is available at no cost at American Job Centers across CT (www.ct.gov/dol).

Looking back, I am glad I took advantage of the opportunity to network with hiring personnel and employers at the career fair. I met very nice people who were willing to share their insight on resumes. If you are considering attending a career fair or are searching for work, hopefully these tips will help you land an interview.

Realistic #Networking Advice

By Erica Tew, CPRW

What is networking?

It is introducing yourself to people, forming relationships, and maintaining these relationships through effective communication.

Communication is about making decisions. You decide who you want to approach and how you want to do so.  Factors that can influence these decisions depend on what you know about the other party, their preferred method of communication, and the level of your relationship with that person.

When job seekers ignore these factors and abruptly ask strangers for jobs, or to find jobs for them, they are usually frustrated with the lack of success. This is because the strategy is only focused for the benefit of one person, the job seeker.

Why is networking so difficult?

I think it is because we place extra pressure on ourselves when job seeking. Networking becomes another burdensome task, like writing your resume or blocking away three hours of your day to fill out an online job application. Yet we all know networking does not have to be one of those things. If the terminology is causing you stress, drop it and focus on meeting other real people.

To put networking in perspective, think of your circle: your friends, family, and colleagues. Who, within these circles, actively networks? Your 8 year old niece who leverages social prowess and gets invited to Susan’s sleepover party. Your grandmother who raises funds for her church by hosting events and bake sales, managing to get donations from even the tightest of purses. Fred, the guy you hike with on Saturdays, who just landed a new client to get promoted. Your friend from high school who dropped out of college and now runs a successful online business. Networking is actively done by many parties who may never directly label their actions as “networking.”

How do you network?

Reach out to people you already know- family, friends, colleagues, etc. Provide some basics. When people say, “I need a job, any job,” the sentiment is understandable, but it makes the search so broad and open ended it feels insurmountable. Focusing on a specific job will not only help your own search, but it will help narrow down the focus for your friends who may scout around for you.

Explain what types of skills you have and try not to overuse the word “job.” Although you are looking for work, be open to advice and introductions. This is the development of your career for the long term, not only as a means for your next position. Effective networking continues as you regain employment.

Typically, people are more receptive when you ask for their opinion (as long as you ask politely and make sure they have the time to do so). To illustrate this, compare the two statements below:

  1. “Hi, I’m looking for a job. Can you alert me when there are openings at your company?”
  2. “Hi Mark, Hope you are doing well. I was wondering if I could get a few minutes of your time. I’m currently looking for a position in customer service, and was wondering if you had any advice about starting in the field. …”

Which message would you prefer? Although the first would be easy for a friend, it may be a lot of extra work for a stranger. The second is much more personalized and starts with a conversation, making this option more inviting. When you reach out to contacts, especially those you may not know very well yet, try to personalize the message and not ask too much too soon.

Long-Term Success

As you network, focus on creating lasting relationships. Make your contact attempts without holding high expectations. Don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t respond. Be open to any advice or feedback from your network. Learning one new thing can have the potential to dramatically improve your job search.

Additionally, actively listening is key to a successful relationship and develops more personalized bonds between people. When meeting new people, listen more than you share. This information will gauge your perceptions about how the contact prefers to communicate and if there is a possibility of a mutually-beneficial relationship.

The strategies in networking assist in a job search because the more people that know you well and trust you, the faster you will get responses back regarding feedback, advice, referrals, or job openings. Networking is not about what others can do for you, but about the quality of the relationships you develop.

Different #Generations in the Workplace

generationcomic

What bothers me is that most of these articles take on the tone of “How to deal with ____ generation.”  That tone is the problem.  You’re seeking advice on ways to work with a diverse group of people and the tone of the article is negative from the start.  Our perception of an experience comes from the choices we make, and our mindset going into a situation can define that experience as positive or negative.

image via infinityconcepts.net/

image via infinityconcepts.net

Many times, generations get unfairly labeled.  You can’t label an entire group of people born within X number of years and expect those views to reflect in every workplace.  Stereotypes will always be stereotypes.  A stereotype, by its very definition, is “an oversimplified idea of a particular type of person or thing.”  When we oversimplify each other, we begin to oversimplify the human experience and what it means to really get to know one another.  I don’t think I could morally brush someone off because  I believe I think I know about their work ethic simply because I’ve Googled it.

For example, I saw this picture online that said, “My mom says she’s ‘bad at computers because her generation is bad with them,’ and then I remind her Bill Gates is part of her generation.” There are always exceptions! I feel these articles are creating a passive-aggressive tension between generations and other bloggers and I would like it to stop.

I know anecdotal evidence is a flawed argument but my goal is just to make everyone take all of these “Generational Advice” articles with a grain of salt.  I believe if you like what you do, you work hard, and you develop emotional intelligence to mitigate damage to communications- you will most likely not find difficulty in the workplace.  Humor also has this fantastic way of transcending personal factors. I’ve worked in many offices and everyone has had a great sense of humor… thank goodness. You can’t work with people all day long and not find ways to make one another laugh.  (You physically can’t- don’t try it! It would be bad for your health!)

Please don’t take this post to mean a homogenous workplace could be just as good as a diverse workplace.  Perhaps it could, yes, but I truly believe you need diversity in opinions, levels of experience, and varying specialties for an organization to reach its potential.  When it comes to working in an office with multiple generations, I believe the best advice is to just treat people like people.  If you’re new and looking for advice, here:  take a deep breath, smile, and introduce yourself to your coworkers.  You will get to know everyone in time.

Success and Progress in #JobSearch

work sucess dictionary

Yesterday I was at home, Netflixing a television show I’ve come to love, and I heard this bit of advice, “Life will knock you down more times than you will ever image, so you can’t knock yourself down.”  It came when a high school junior didn’t want to attend college interviews because she felt she always ruined her good opportunities. What seemed at first like depressing reality ended up being motivating wisdom.  If you don’t believe you can do something, or succeed at something, why would anyone else believe you could?

This ties in to job search and any other career struggles we may face.  If you don’t believe you’re the best person for the job, is that same feeling becoming apparent to your boss or the hiring manager conducting the interview?

With all of the troubles life throws at you, don’t have your own negative self-talk be another obstacle. Success comes from trying.  You can’t fail if you don’t try, and sometimes the greatest successes come after what seems like the biggest failures.  I could share the countless times I’ve felt like I completely messed up in my career- some experiences ranged from being too young to understand professionalism with proper communication, and some have just been downright embarrassing- and although it might make some of you laugh, it would detract from my overall message.  The point is it was during those points that I really began to shape who I was.  We have the freedom to make choices; in how we act, what we say, how we treat others- and those choices influence our opportunities.

Routine means both a regular schedule and unsurprising, predictable, and monotonous.  If everything always runs smoothly, there will never be a reason to change or analyze your actions.  How we recover and progress forward from the obstacles in our lives, professional or otherwise, will shape the course for the rest of our lives.  That is why when you’re job searching, it is most advantageous to keep a routine, but vary the ways you job search every day.  If while you were working, you woke up at 8AM every day, continue to wake up at 8AM every day.  If you went for a run every other day at 2PM, keep doing that.  During your job search hours, switch the activities.  Perhaps one day you can complete applications, and another you can work on your resume.  You could take a free workshop on interviewing techniques at a local job center, and later on attend an industry networking event.  Maybe every Friday you attend a job search club as well.  Keep a routine, but don’t make your job search routine.  You have to vary the ways you market yourself to get results, and part of that comes from trying new things, getting out of your comfort zone a bit, and not being afraid to fail.

If networking in person or writing an email to someone you’ve yet to meet gives you some anxiety, then meet with a career advisor or research best practices so you don’t try to “go in cold.”  Education is one of the biggest ways to gain confidence because the more you know about a topic, the more comfortable it is to approach that topic.  If you’ve had a bad experience at a potential networking opportunity, remember that we consider an experience “embarrassing” when we think we are not meeting our own standards of what is acceptable.  There’s no need to over-apologize for embarrassing moments, but try to learn from it or laugh about it.  We are our harshest critics.

It’s okay to be afraid, and you have to put yourself out there to get noticed.  Just don’t let the fear of something going wrong stop you from doing anything you want to do.  Things will go wrong.  Something always does.  The question is, will a failure set you back from progress, or will you keep trying?  Success is temporary, but it makes all the struggles in between worth it.

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Addressing #Education on Your #Resume

education

The Education Section of a resume has many purposes.  It shows the highest level you completed, if you’re a recently graduated student, additional honors or awards, and perhaps a solid GPA.   Regardless, many people must handle this section differently to market themselves effectively.

IF YOU’RE A CURRENT STUDENT OR RECENT GRADUATE…

…without much work experience, have your education precede your work experience on your resume.  Currently, your education is your more marketable offering, as opposed to professional histories.  Students and recent graduates should provide any of their school information that can help replace a lack of experience.  A competitive GPA may attract an employer seeking an intern or new employee (but note the use on GPA for non-students or graduates below.)  There may be networking opportunities if you seek work through an alumni association or student center as well, depending on what your schools career advisory department has to offer.  Any clubs, activities, or committees where you had a role of leadership or assisted in new developments could work here as well, just as long as those groups do not show your political or religious preferences.  If the hiring manager doesn’t hold a similar world view, advertising this information may hurt your chances of obtaining employment.

IF YOU’RE DEGREE ISN’T COMPLETED YET BUT WILL BE…

…in the next couple years, you can note the “Degree Awarded” date as a projection.

EDUCATION

University of Maine

Environmental Science

Projected Graduation Date:  May 2015

IF YOU FINISHED YOUR DEGREE YEARS AGO…

…place this information near the bottom, or on page two of a resume, so it doesn’t waste the valuable space your professional experience will utilize.  The typical standard is to not provide any dates in education unless they were within the last five to ten years.

EDUCATION

University of Massachusetts

Bachelor of Arts Degree – Business

As far as GPAs go, unless it was something outstanding such as a 3.8 or higher, I would leave it off.  This is a cause of contention among other resume writers, but my thought is this:  what is the purpose of showing your GPA?  To show the employer you did well in school?  Employers typically focus more on your professional accomplishments, as they are more relevant to their needs.  GPA’s just show, at the very worst, that you may still crave grade-based approval- which is not helpful in the world of work.

These days I don’t believe it matters so much where you went to school, as long as you attended some of that schooling in person.  Online colleges are a lot more cost effective these days if you work and complete your degree during your off hours.  However, if you’re a current student without any work history, attending school solely online, you will have to join some type of group or volunteer organization to show an ability to work as part of a team.  Essentially, you want your resume to show how you have interacted with coworkers, and hopefully, what positive results came from that interaction.

IF YOU LACK A FOUR YEAR DEGREE…

…but are only missing a few credits, you can label your education as a “Bachelors Candidate.”  Example below.

EDUCATION

University of Rhode Island

Bachelor of Science Candidate – Psychology

Another option would be to state what your major was, but without listing dates or Degrees Awarded.

EDUCATION

University of Connecticut

Major – Spanish

Concentration – Communcation and Language

IF YOU LACK A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR G.E.D…

… one option may be to only list the name of the high school you attended without dates, and list your area of focus.  Such as:

EDUCATION

John Smith High School

Concentration:  Fine Arts

Another option I tend to use more and usually prefer, is foregoing the education section altogether.  Instead, list the relevant industry or management trainings, whether they were work sponsored or not.  Instead of “Education,” this section can be labeled “Professional Development” or “Industry Training and Education”  or any title that fits the courses detailed in the section.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Management training courses sponsored through the American Management Association

  • Business Analysis Essentials
  • Negotiating to Win
  • Leading with Emotional Intelligence
  • Customer Retention
  • Mastering Google Analytics
  • Getting Results without Authority

The goal is to gain a job interview while minimizing any red flags.  If you’re a current student or recent graduate, you need to market your education to minimize the lack of experience.  If you have professional experience, there are various strategies to minimize any potential red flags if there is a degree requirement in the position.  When a specific degree isn’t a direct job requirement, showcasing achievements and quantifying duties can help get your foot in the door to an interview.

Take Your #Job Seriously, but Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

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Personal ownership to success is kind of lonely.  True success doesn’t come from one person being the sole expert in a subject, but rather shaping an idea over time with trusted colleagues.  Collaboration yields greater learning, and the sharing of ideas helps projects progress.  When working alone for too long, you may meet innovation’s biggest enemy: complacency.

Positive feedback is nice, but it doesn’t help us grow or achieve much.  Quality work thrives on constructive feedback.  In art school, we were never allowed to say, “I like it,” or “I don’t like it,” because they were meaningless, cringe-worthy phrases.  Explain why something works or doesn’t work so the project can progress.  Find those familiar with your work’s subject matter so you have a knowledgeable perspective reviewing the work.

“The truth will set you free, but at first it will make you angry.”

As vital as they are, change and collaboration can still be very difficult.  To be honest, not everyone is great at giving feedback, and you may encounter the person that can immediately take the wind out of your sails after weeks of hard work.  If that’s the case, thank them for providing their thoughts and tell them you will consider their suggestions.  Then on your own, objectively weigh all remarks to see if they would improve your work.  This is a discipline and a balancing act.  Trust your own knowledge that has taken you to where you are, but seriously consider the suggestions of others, as abrasive as they may come off at times.  Any review of your work is not a personal attack on your own character, and the sooner this is understood, the stronger you will become.

When facing criticism, there can be two extremes if confidence is lacking.  There can be the person without a backbone, who changes everything they do based on anything anyone says, resulting in some confused end-result that lost its original focus.  The opposite can be one that gets immediately aggravated that the feedback is not all positive, and shuts down, closing the door, and holding a grudge against the person that originally tried to help but did not “sandwich” the criticism around positive reviews.

sandwich

There have been times I spent hours working on a painting, and a critique tells me it would be more effective in a different color palette.  I can’t just click my mouse and change it when we are working with fussy oil paints, so at times I would receive the advice, but then choose to keep my painting as is.  Other times, I would agree with the criticism as I shared the doubts of my work but didn’t know how to articulate it.  Quite literally, I was so close to this painting, that I rarely took a step back to realize I was screwing the whole damn thing up.  I had people around that said it was “good” but I knew myself that it was far from “good.”  Yes, we are typically our harshest critics, but criticism is needed to find the best approach for a project and so that we don’t spend an entire weekend in a room without windows, surrounded by fumes from open canisters of  turpenoid, thinking the quality of work is still going strong.

Moral of the story?  Don’t spend an entire weekend locked in a room with turpenoid fumes.

It’s Over: When Your Last Job Ended Poorly

By George Bernocco, CPRW

boss yellingA common question people bring to me is that they have difficulty selling themselves because their confidence was shaken. Most recently, by their previous employer terminating them, or even tormenting them. The reasons these job seekers bring to me can vary from unfair treatment, they couldn’t stand the work, unreasonable requests from the employer and making a mistake. Whatever the reason may be, you are looking for a new opportunity and you are stuck on what you should disclose to your new potential employer about your last job. I have a few pieces of advice about how to handle this delicate scenario.

It’s not you, it’s me.

No matter how bad things ended, it is best to not go into why you hated your last job at an interview or with anyone you network with. Whether it was the work you had to do, your bosses, coworkers or people you served that drove you away, keeping the emotional aspect out is important. This may be difficult in the middle of the interview or networking event when you are asked the question: “Why did you leave your last job?” So what do you say if you can’t tell the story about your boss being a complete jerk? Let’s step back and look at the larger picture. Employers are well aware people look for jobs, and then move on to look for other jobs. Very few people stick to a one job career, especially in this economy. So why do people transition to new careers, whether willingly or unwillingly? The most general and simple response is that the last job was not a good fit. Now why it wasn’t a good fit varies from person to person, whether it was career goals to disagreeing with the company’s policies and procedures. My advice to you, when asked about what happened at your last job, is to start off about how the company was not a good fit. From this point on, several things can happen:

  1. The interviewer will push for more information about what specifically happened.
  2. The interviewer will ask why it wasn’t a good fit, and from your answer try to determine if the company you are interviewing for IS a good fit for you.
  3. The interviewer will understand and move on to the next question.
  4. The interviewer will push you to bad mouth your last employer.

Number three is ideal, but more than likely number one and two are the most common. If number four occurs, you may want to reconsider working for a company that encourages bad mouthing an employer. If you are asked to give more information, you should keep things general and focus on what you want for your career. A great way to answer is to mention how you are looking for an opportunity that is a better fit, and go into how the position you’re interviewing for is that opportunity. This may come off as avoiding the question the interviewer is asking, but in reality they are looking to disqualify you immediately if you start bad mouthing your last job.

Why can’t we be friends?

Job seekers often make the mistake that professional references are supervisors. They forget about coworkers or even clients they’ve served that can vouch for the work they’ve done. Employers sometimes do want to call your most recent supervisor. Do not make the mistake that they will call them every time. Employers need to verify that you’ve worked at the company you listed on their legal document (job application). To do this, most of the time they contact human resources. Human resources usually states three simple facts to your potential employer:

  1. Date of hire.
  2. Last day of work.
  3. If you are eligible to be rehired.

If you are curious as to what your last employer would tell an employer, I advise you contact your last employer’s human resources department and ask. Some jobs do request if they contact your previous employer on their application. Answering “No” may be problematic in that you may be viewed as you have something to hide. Just remember that when they ask the question, this does not mean references. Usually they will ask for references on a different section of the application, or a different sheet of paper. When you cannot use anybody from your previous employer (coworkers, clients, supervisors), you should utilize other professional references from different employers or volunteer work. You may also use personal references that can attest to your personal attributes.

Letting go is the hardest part.

Your resume is a marketing tool to get you in for the interview. You don’t have to put your entire employment history on this document. Usually you are supposed to put relevant employment history, or any jobs you want them to consider as important, on a resume. The resume is not a life story, and I’ve critiqued my fair share with reasons why the person was let go. Some fast facts as to why to never include separation reasons on your resume:

  1. Putting why you were let go can disqualify you from any jobs.
  2. The conversation about how your last job ended should be at the interview.
  3. It wastes space.

If you choose not to include your job entirely on your resume, that is within your right. There are problems with that, however. You might end up with a large gap in your employment history, and employers will want to know what you have been doing. Just remember that the resume and job application are two separate items. The job application might ask for your most recent employers, in which it is a legal document where you sign it to verify it to be true. Just remember: Resume is a marketing tool, job application is a legal document. Read through the job application carefully, as they may only be asking for employment history you wish to be considered relevant.

Don’t be discouraged as most people are not at one job the rest of their lives. Moving on to a different job could be a great opportunity for you to grow professionally. It can be difficult to accept what you have lost, or there may be feelings still surrounding the departure. Just remember that you can pick up the pieces and move forward. Focusing on your career goals is a way to start the process into your new employment opportunity. Focusing on what you want, and not what happened, will get you into the grove again.

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