If you left your last job under less-than-ideal circumstances, you probably dread the "Why did you leave?" question that almost always comes up at job interviews. Here's how to handle it.
First and most important, never lie. If you were fired, don't say you quit. It's very easy for companies to do background checks that will reveal this lie; it will probably come back to haunt you. Besides, you don't want to start off your relationship with your next employer with a lie, do you?
KISS. No, I'm not referring to the ancient rock band or kissing up to the interviewer. Keep It Short and Simple. Tell what happened--you were terminated, you quit, your job was eliminated--whatever. Do not go into detail unless asked.
Don't say anything negative. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your departure, don't say anything negative about your former boss, coworkers or company. Any negativity, frustration or anger you express will only reflect negatively on you. Stay positive!
Tell what you learned. If they want more details about why you left, tell them what happened and what you learned from the experience. This will give you the opportunity to say how you turned a negative into a positive, and how you will handle similar situations differently in the future. For example, if you were fired for violating a company policy, you could say something like, "I was terminated for violating a company policy that I feel wasn't communicated to me clearly. I should have taken the responsibility to read all of the company policies and ask questions about those I didn't fully understand. That will be the first thing I do in my next job." Employers love to hear stories about how employees take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes.
Practice your answer. You should do this with every anticipated interview question. Develop your answer and practice, practice, practice!
Offer proof of your abilities. Confidently tell them that you can provide references or letters of recommendation to verify that your job performance is normally above par, that you usually get along great with your supervisors, etc. Make sure they understand that what happened to cause you to leave your last job was the exception, not the rule.
By Bonnie Lowe
Rabu, 16 Juli 2008
If you left your last job under less-than-ideal circumstances, you probably dread the "Why did you leave?" question that almost always comes up at job interviews. Here's how to handle it.
Seeing your job as an honorable job, adds more meaning and peace to your life. Also, seeing the honor in what you do now, creates an ideal foundation upon which a career change can be built.
At fifteen, my first job was that of a waitress at a local truck stop. One day, back then, I happened to meet the elementary principal of my past. She mentioned she had heard I was working part time and wondered at what.
Shamefacedly I mumbled, "Oh, I am just a waitress." That wise, old, stern headmistress said to me, "Teresa, any job is an honorable job. Don't you ever forget it!" And I never have.
Of course, seeing the honor in our job is not always an easy task.
Societal Values Demean our Work & Worth
Our societal values make it difficult to honor so-called menial jobs. Our sick societal values esteem big bank accounts, fancy houses, new cars, extended paid vacations, prestigious jobs, beautiful, youthful looks, and perfectly cloned behaviors. These societal values wring the worth from the vast majority of hard-working folk.
Create your own values by looking for the honor and worth in your work now. Any honest day's work is honorable and worthy. Finding the honor and goodness in everything you do builds dignity and honor within you.
Even if you wanted to career change but instead returned to the field you had hoped to leave, remember, there is huge honor and courage in this. Taking care of your family and responsibilities does not mean you are a failure. It means you are a responsible, caring human being.
If you cannot find any worth in your current job, that lack of worth will likely haunt your career change. Before jumping jobs, seeking fulfillment elsewhere, consider your current job as sacred work.
Your Job as Sacred Work
Monastic writers have described their day-to-day, menial work as the path to holiness. Your job is much more than a means to pay bills. Try envisioning your job as your ministry.
I have a very health conscious, spiritual friend who, at this moment in her life, sells lottery tickets, liquor and cigarettes in a liquor store to help pay her bills. Rather than bitterly resent her position, she has made it her ministry to create a positive atmosphere, giving kindness and care to every human being that passes through those doors. Not surprisingly, wonderful little miracles occur often. (And yes, she is also doing the groundwork to create new employment.)
Rarely are things what they seem to be on the surface. In every relationship, in every job, and in every life experience there is much more going on than meets the eye.
"The three foundations of spirituality:
hearth as altar,
work as worship and
service as sacrament."
A Compilation of Triads, Volume I John F. Wright
We are always being called to see the bigger picture and to grow nearer to our soul. To find more meaning within the work you do now, query your soul as to the larger view.
Ask Your Soul
Try sitting quietly for awhile. Practice letting go of passing thoughts while lightly noticing your breath coming in and going out. Relax your body and mind. Ask your soul, "What is my work really about. What work am I really doing here?"
When I had grown weary of facilitating the same career assessment program for nine years, I sat and asked my soul this same question. Within the whisper of my small, still voice I heard the truth, "You are bringing light and hope to people."
The work I was doing was not about self assessment tools or job search but about bringing light and hope to people. From that day onward the program was no longer repetitive for me and as I gained more depth and meaning in my work, so did the program.
When we see our work as sacred and honorable, we feel good about what we are doing and who we are. This goodness spins off into our family, workplace and ultimately the world. This also, builds an ideal foundation for career change, if we so desire. From honoring ourselves and our current work we can then successfully begin taking small steps towards change.
By Teresa Proudlove
Is your job search sagging? Are you still looking for that ideal next job? Or are you about to begin looking for new work and are not sure of the best way to go about it? What you need is a way to evaluate your job search strategies to see whether or not they are working effectively for you.
Ready to get started? Here are 12 building blocks to a successful job search and the goals that will help you get to where you really want to be in the world of work:
1.) Making networking phone calls: Effective job searches begin and end with networking. Start by making a list of everyone you know: family members, extended family, friends, present & past co-workers, faith community colleagues, barber/hairdresser, dog groomer, neighbors. Even list the clerks who work in your favorite grocery or video store, bank tellers and gas station attendants. Everyone! Call or talk to each person on your list (most people can easily produce a list of 50-100 people). Target: Make 3-5 new networking phone calls weekly.
2.) Contacting employers before openings occur: The process of applying for a job before an opening is known to be present is referred to as "accessing the hidden job market" - and doing so is critical for job search success. By using a great on-line tool such as Reference USA to access employer information, you can mail targeted resumes and cover letters to companies that match your size, focus and sales criteria. Target: Mail 5-10 targeted but unsolicited resumes with cover letters weekly.
3.) Responding to online postings: There are literally hundreds of sites like Monster.com, and you can pour hours and hours into searching them for job opportunities. Remember to search on multiple titles or portions of titles and to post your resume at every opportunity. Target: respond to 3-5 postings weekly.
4.) Responding to newspaper help wanted ads: This is the favorite job seeking strategy of searchers everywhere, but guess what? Out of every 100 resumes an employer receives, they will throw away 92-95! Target: Submit only 3-5 resumes and cover letters weekly in response to help wanted ads.
5.) Identifying new employers to contact: Find employers the old-fashioned way: in phone books, through networking leads, through word-of-mouth, in reference sources and online databases (such as Reference USA, mentioned above), through articles in local papers and through the Yellow Pages of your local phone directory. Target: Identify and research 5 new employers weekly and use them to fill your quota for #2, above.
6.) Contacting recruiters and employment agencies: It's not appropriate for every job seeker to contact recruiters and employment agencies, but if this strategy makes sense for you, then by all means make use of them. Target: Contact 1 new recruiter or agency weekly.
7.) Making follow-up phone calls & sending thank you letters/cards: Sending out resumes and cover letters is only the first step in the process of developing relationships with employers. About 1 ½ to 2 weeks afterward, call them to verify they received your materials and to inquire about next steps. Always follow-up on interviews and make is a habit to send thank you letters or cards afterward as well. Target: Make 5-10 follow-up phone calls weekly and send a thank you letter or card for every job interview or informational interview you participate in each week.
8.) Managing your references: How do you "manage" references? Supply each one with a copy of each version of your resume. Keep them up-to-date on what is happening in your job search. You don't need to call them weekly, but you should generate news every few weeks at least. Give your references a copy of all the references you're using so each one can refer an employer on to someone else on the list if asked. Prepare your references by giving them background information, adjectives and descriptive words that "sell" your best stuff. Target: Contact each reference at least once per month during your active job search and contact everyone when that perfect opportunity comes along to prepare them.
9.) Practicing interview answers: Don't just practice the night before an interview. Target: Practice your interview answers and questions at least 1 time per week.
10.) Practicing the salary negotiations process: Ditto with salary negotiations. Target: Practice your strategies and responses at least 1-2 times per week.
11.) Staying socially connected with employed others: Job searching is extremely lonely, so make sure you stay socially involved with family and friends. Target: Get out of the house at least 2 times weekly to see friends or extended family.
12.) Managing your attitude and energy: This is the most important building block of all, because without a positive attitude and high, focused energy, you won't achieve the result you want. Targets: Do at least 1 fun and creative thing outside your house weekly.
Why not take Fridays off (if you're unemployed) and enjoy! Absolutely, categorically don't job search on weekends. Exercise, take care of your body, and journal. Feed your mind good books and your spirit hope.
Strengthen or do more of what works. Adapt, replace or fix what does not work. Reevaluate your search progress every 30 days for as long as it takes for you to find the work you really want. And, if your job search results do not markedly improve within 45 days, see a career search professional for individualized assistance.
By Cheryl Lynch Simpson
My first job was secretary to Moses. Having to transcribe and make 2,430 copies of the Ten Commandments convinced me I was on the wrong career path! OK, maybe I'm not quite THAT old. But I did start out as a secretary. While I didn't mind the work, eventually I decided it wasn't very satisfying. I often felt like a "tool" that helped others contribute to the organization's success. I wanted to make my own contributions, to find creative ways to make a difference. It took me about 12 year to come to that conclusion, decide to do something about it, and change my life.
If you are not happy in your current job, perhaps it's time to think about making a change yourself. Here's what you should do:
1. Determine why you're not happy. Are you really unhappy with the work you do, or just upset with your salary, boss, coworkers, or the office environment? There's a difference between hating your job and hating your work, and realizing that will help you decide what course to take.
2. Find your passion. What do you love doing more than anything else? List your top three favorite activities. Try to be a bit realistic here and choose activites that you might be able to earn a living with. For instance, if your three favorite activities are sleeping, eating and watching TV, your career options are somewhat limited. But do include hobbies and activities one doesn't always associate with work.
3. Evaluate your strengths. What are you good at? Consider more than just your technical skills. For example, do your prefer leading or following; analyzing or simplifying; working alone or with a group?
4. Do research. What career fields would allow you to use your passions and strengths to earn a reasonable living? There are some great online resources (such as www.jvis.com) that offer tools to help you do a self-assessment and then find careers that match your interests and skills:
5. Consider alternatives to jobs. Some people go into business for themselves when they become fed up with their jobs. If you think simply switching careers isn't enough, look into that alternative and others, such as... marrying a millionaire, becoming a beach bum, winning the lottery, writing children's books, painting and selling pictures, doing consulting work... the sky's the limit!
6. Create a plan. Once you know where you want to go, figure out what steps you must take to get there. Determine exactly what you need to do, how much time it will take, and what it will cost. It's probably best not to leave your current job until you're ready and able to start earning money with your new job/venture.
7. Get help. You'll be amazed at how helpful people will be when you tell them your plans. Talk with family, friends, professional associates, club members; participate in topic-related online forums; NETWORK as much as possible! Achieving great goals is always easier when you have others cheering you on and helping you out.
By Bonnie Lowe
Are you a new graduate with little or no work experience? Sometimes it can be tough to get a job without experience, and how do you get more experience if you can't get a job?
Well, your chances are better than you think. Even if your work experience is a little weak, you've probably got life experience that will help you. After all, it's not really your job history that employers are interested in -- it's your talents, abilities, knowledge, work ethic and attitude. It's likely that you've developed and fine-tuned these traits through your school work, volunteer activities, and interactions with people throughout your entire life.
The key is to identify your best attributes from your life experience and promote these to potential employers in the right way.
Make a detailed list of all your talents, skills, knowledge and personal qualities. Think about all you've done in your life and what you've gained from it. For example, if you earned extra money by babysitting or mowing lawns, you gained experience in promoting your services, obtaining customers, negotiating payment, and accomplishing the required tasks while demonstrating self-motivation, punctuality, responsibility and customer service! If you've participated in a sport, you've shown commitment, discipline and teamwork! And don't forget to list what you've learned in school: computer skills, software applications, math, science, communication, etc.
Once your list is complete, you'll see that you really do have experience and can offer potential employers the talents, abilities, knowledge, work ethic and attitude they need in their ideal candidate! All you have to do is convince them of that. You can do it... you've convinced people of things all your life! Your parents, siblings, friends, teachers -- think of all the times you were able to convince them to see things your way. It's one of your talents, so use it during your job search and you'll be gaining work experience in no time!
By Bonnie Lowe
Man is a social animal and survival is his major need. There are needs that he needs be fulfill. The needs can be physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. A common thread that connects all the above need is a means to sustain physically. He can barter his skills to sustain himself.
If the urge to contribute physically arises then he can do physical labor, like bringing about movement on the physical level. If there is an urge to contribute mentally, he can choose to be an organizer, one who can overlap events and schedule activities. An emotional urge will be satisfied if he chooses to be a mentor. Spiritual urge can be addressed by spreading the word of the infinite.
The choice of his work mainly depends on his current frame of mind. Normally, a person chooses his profession depending on the market feasibility and the highest financial benefits. Though this seems to be the most obvious choice of choosing a profession but surely will lead him to be utterly frustrated and mentally unstable as time passes by if this is not in alignment with his life's purpose.
Time waits for nobody and later on in life there is the time for retrospection the most obvious question that would come up are: "How did I spend my time? Was I of any help to anybody? Will I every be remembered when I'm bygone?" These are very common questions anybody would have encountered. These questions arise at different phases in our life. A student towards the end of his vocation will be encountered with these questions. A lawyer at the conclusion of a case would be questioned by his conscience. And almost all of us on the last day of our professional life.
The question now one would ask is, "I have now realized that this is not a profession of my choice and I have taken it up just to sustain my physical and social needs, but this is not the profession that I would give my life for. What do I do now? I possibly can't abandon my present commitments? The only alternative I see now is abandon the profession of my life and make my self believe that there is more to life than your job." Its very comfortable to be part of the rut and postpone the most dreaded questions till you retires.
One can't afford to abandon one's current profession and create an internal civil war. One would prefer to look at his job differently. Suppose you realize there is an inert pull towards writing. You would want to hang around with people who have a similar bend. If there is an urge to teach then you would want to volunteer your time at a night school. One common thing that would stand out is your commitment to have a fulfilling life. The initial infatuation will always wither out and you would yet again be stranded with the same dreadful questions. But one's commitment towards finding a job one loves will help one see through this turbulence.
One can look at an alternative approach to discover the job of his life. Start with the end result in mind. For example you would want to be of some help to the people around you. How would you possibly contribute? You would have a wealth of experience that you would have accumulated in your professional life. You would want to mentor the new comers with your experience. You would never have someone come to you and say "Hey I want you to mentor so many people" Though not impossible this may seem a remote possibility. You need to reach out and let people know that you are willing to contribute. You need to take the first step. This is what most people fret. They fret to ask. First and foremost one needs to be more social and approachable. Secondly, one needs to be focussed on the reality that this is an opportunity that one is working towards.
It is very important that one reads and listens a lot during this phase. You would have accumulated a wealth of experience during your career but there is a difference between knowing and the ability to articulate one's thoughts. Reading and listening helps one to have a uniform stream of thoughts.
Let then the knowledge flow through you. An element of doership normally creeps in when one thinks that one is doing something noble. Your experience is a gift of nature. It was an opportunity that was given to you at that point in time. This knowledge will just flow through you where it is needed the most. In most instances you would be surprised by yourself at the impact that your experience has created on people around you.
By Altaf Merchant
Getting along with your co-workers is critical to your
happiness and success at work. You may find yourself
spending more time with your co-workers than with your
spouse and family. Each individual in an organization is
just a small cog in a big wheel. Without the assistance of
co-workers, you will find your assignments much more
The first step toward getting the assistance of your
co-workers is to accept others uniqueness and
idiosyncrasies. People come from many different national
origins, races, genders, and ages. Corporate America calls
You may think an individual with a different race or
national origin is peculiar or has strange habits. I find
that all people, regardless of race, national origin,
gender, or age, want the same things. All people want a
safe place to live and employment that gives them the
ability to provide for themselves and their family. What
a boring world this would be if we all dressed the same,
acted the same, and had the same ideas.
If you have an attitude of discrimination against a
co-worker because of their national origin, race, gender,
or age, I'm not going to try to change your mind. I WILL
advise you that if you want to succeed at work, you better
at least act like you are on the diversity bandwagon.
The real difficulty in relating to fellow employees comes
from differences in emotional maturity, intelligence, and
level of dedication to the job. Emotionally immature people
may not want to cooperate with you because they feel
threatened. They feel that if they help you or reveal any
aspect of their job function they may lose job security.
Other symptoms of emotional immaturity are the inability
to accept criticism, feeling that the company should do
things the way that makes THEIR job the easiest, and just
plain bossiness. Other people's emotional maturity is one
of the most difficult things to deal with on the job.
It's also difficult to deal with co-workers who don't have,
or don't want to have, the intelligence required to do the
job. Sometimes people fain ignorance in order to avoid work
or responsibility. Sometimes an individual is in a job
position that they are not suited for.
Your job may provide your life with meaning and purpose.
Professionalism and pride in your work may be important to
you. But don't expect everyone to have those same values.
Some people are more focused on friends, family, or other
preoccupations outside of work. They come to work only for
the paycheck. They want to make the least amount of effort
required to get the paycheck.
Your happiness and success at work requires you to accept
and embrace the uniqueness of other individuals. You need
to form good relationships with any co-worker whose
cooperation you need in order to perform your tasks. The
best way to do that is to care about them. Engage in small
talk and learn what their interests are and what motivates
them. Approach them with an optimistic attitude, praise,
and compliments. People gravitate towards other people who
make them feel good.
You must impress upon them that you are not a threat. You
will not criticize them, nor threaten their job security.
Help them understand that cooperation would be mutually
advantageous. Let others in the company compete and vie
against one another, while you team up with your co-workers
for your mutual success at work.