Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Job Hoppers, this is for you!

So you've had more jobs than you can count or you've been out of work for a long time?  Here are some tips I've seen candidates use to overcome these obstacles.

In every step of the job interview (and even the application process), potential employers are sizing you up and determining whether you are going to be a good asset to the company.  This includes reviewing your skills, education and work history. If your work history isn’t the best, then you could be at a disadvantage compared to other applicants. But don’t be discouraged just because of that, you can use the interview as a way to explain your work history to the interviewer.

Step 1
Never lie when giving your employment history to a potential employer. Fill out all employment history paperwork accurately and honestly. If you fudge or omit any of the details, you run the risk of your potential employer finding out the truth through a reference check. Even if the matter is small, the hiring manager may begin to have doubts about your overall honesty and integrity.

Step 2
Tailor your resume toward your skills. This type of resume is known as a functional resume. Your skills are broken down into categories and are placed at the top of the page. This will place your skills and qualities at the forefront of the hiring manager's mind. Once the skills are in place, list your job history by company and date.  Although functional resumes often silently scream "my work history isn't that stable", at least it gives you a chance to show some skills (and hopefully some big accomplishments that may make some employers overlook the job hopping, etc..) prior to job history.

Step 3
Wait for your potential employer to ask about any gaps in your work history. Some hiring managers are more concerned the applicant had the job and not that she was fired from her last position. Many employers expect some gaps in employment history and will accept most reasonable explanations. Often it is not why you took time off from working, it is how you explain this gap to a potential employer that will make the difference.

Step 4
Answer the questions honestly, explaining how each issue has positively added to your skills as a worker and overall work ethic. For example, if you took time off for children, you may want to explain that you did this to spend with your kids while they were young because you will never get that time back, but now that they are older, you are ready to embrace the next chapter in your life. If you were fired, tell the employer what you were fired for and explain how that has changed you and why that issue will no longer affect your work ethic.  Do NOT speak ill of the company or manager who fired you.  Instead, ensure that you have learned something from this and speak to what you've learned and how you've grown.

Remember to be confident, no matter what reason you had for taking time off, and be prepared to answer more detailed questions about your reason.  Emphasize why you want to rejoin the workforce and why this particular position or company is the right place to do so.  Turn your employment history into an asset, not a hindrance.

Step 5
Continue to talk up your skills. Don't let the interviewer run the conversation if they begin to get obsessed with your history. Keep the tone light and discuss why you believe you can do this job by describing your background and experience to sell yourself.  Whatever you do, try not to get defensive.  This will only sour the interview.  Stay goes a long way!

Don’t forget:
-     Some employers will only focus on work history, and therefore if you get that feeling during the interview, don’t be upset if you don’t get the job. Rather, look at the perspective that this employer wasn’t interested in knowing the great skills and education you could bring to the table.
-     Never get angry with an interviewer. An interview can sometimes bring up emotions or anger if you feel you are being judged in regards to your work history.

-     One thing that I’ve seen on a few resumes that I personally like is this…if you have a few shorter term positions, and there are good reasons for doing so ( closed, layoffs, you moved across country, went back to school, etc..) it is a good practice to include this on your resume.  This way, the person scanning/reviewing your resume will take note that although you only worked at a place briefly, you have a reason for doing so.

Remember, ALWAYS be honest, focus on the positive and until next time, continued success in your job search and career endeavors!!

1 comment: