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Dear J.T. & DALE: I left my job five months ago, moving from the corporate world to a local company. I thought it was the perfect job, but, unfortunately, it didn't work out. After a month, I had to travel back home because of a death in the family, and I left the new job. Recruiters have advised me to not include this one-month job on my resume. In interviews, when asked what happened at my last job, should I just not mention the short-term job? - J.R. J.T.: I see why recruiters are suggesting that you not list the job: It could raise questions and cause some companies to pass on you. DALE: Yes, but this isn't a case of "no one will ever know." When a prospective new employer contacts references, your old employer may mention that you left to take a new job. J.T.: So, when you get to that point in interviews, tell them that you accepted a new job only to depart after a month due to an unexpected family matter. If they ask why you didn't put it on your resume, simply say that you weren't there long enough to have any major accomplishments to list, and therefore felt it should be left off. The honesty and sincerity will put their minds to rest. DALE: I'd suggest one small change: Don't wait to be asked why it wasn't on your resume. Say that you left it off on the advice of recruiters and a pair of beloved newspaper columnists. You even might say: "I felt funny about leaving it off, but that was the advice I got. Do you think I should have put it on there?" That way, you are demonstrating respect for the opinions of interviewers while letting them know that you wrestled with the decision. That's impressive candor and openness. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale at advice@jtanddale.com or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Dear J.T. & Dale: I loved my last job as a teller at a bank. I was there for four years when they brought in a new manager. Instantly, I could tell I wasn't going to last long. Nothing I did made him happy, and I went home in tears most nights. Finally, I made a mistake he could use, and he terminated me. Do you know how to explain being fired? No matter what I come up with, it makes me look bad. - Jessica DALE: First off, let's put being fired in perspective. Harvey Mackay, best known for his book Swim With The Sharks, devoted a later book, Fired Up!, to stories of people bouncing back from being axed. He writes, "If you're under 30, the likelihood you'll be fired in the next 20 years is 90 percent." That sounds a tad high, but the point is that the person interviewing you probably has gone through the experience. Remember that, and you'll relax into the topic. J.T.: However, why you left your last job remains a crucial question, one that could determine the outcome of the interview. You need to highlight what you loved about the job and then be objective about what ended it. Something like this: "For four years I loved my job as a teller. In the final months, a new manager was brought in. I'm not sure why, but we didn't connect. I did my best to support him, but nothing seemed to work. Eventually, I was let go. In hindsight, I should've realized we weren't meshing and looked for a new job. I held on in the hopes that I could fix it. Now, I want to find a place where I can get back to doing what I love - caring for customers." DALE: Well said. Resist the temptation, Jessica, to say more. Just be so positive and upbeat that your attitude says: "Hey, it happens. No big deal. Not a problem." © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale at advice@jtanddale.com or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock