Is Son's Omission of Survival Job from His Resume Hurting Him?


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: Glenis writes: I read your blog regularly, but recently it has become of more interest to me because my son is job-hunting. He has been a financial-aid counselor at two universities, having moved to take the position at the last one because it was a career advancement. Unfortunately his position was eliminated due to budget cuts. After being unemployed for a 6 months, he decided to take whatever employment he could get just to help pay the bills, which happened to be at minimal pay. He has not included this employment history on his resume because he feels it would not look good. He has interviewed with 2-3 universities but so far no offer of employment. Do you think the lack of employment information for the last year is affecting his chances of being hired?
The Career Doctor responds: I hope by the time you are reading this column that your son has a new job in his career field, but if not, let me make a few observations. I think there is a possibility of three things happening here that your son needs to address. First, the stigma of being fired. We can call it something prettier — his job was eliminated — but the bottom line is that he was forced to leave his place of employment. He needs to focus on this issue and make sure he is totally over the trauma of the experience — especially since he was let go through no fault of his own. He obviously has valuable skills since he was able to move forward in his career. Second, he needs to deal with his resume — and the reality he is living. A lot of displaced job-seekers in this current economy have been forced to take survival jobs so that they don t end up homeless and bankrupt. Most prospective employers would rather see an applicant that has been doing something productive — even if outside his or her field — than a large gap on the resume. Of course, if he has been doing any kind of consulting or volunteer work in his field, he should put that on his resume. Third, perfect interviewing skills. If he has gotten a few interviews, then at least some of the colleges are not bothered by the gap on his resume enough to not interview him, so if he is not having success in the interview, then he is either not interviewing well or not following-up his interviews. He may want to conduct a mock interview with a career professional to judge the quality of his interviewing skills. I suggest he read, Getting Fired: An Opportunity for Change and Growth, published on Quintessential Careers. He may also want to read this article on Quintessential Careers: The Pros and Cons of Taking a Survival Job. What Should You Do?