Sunday, December 21, 2014

How to Get a job after 1 year not working

I interviewed at 4 companies while pregnant, all leading to 2nd and sometimes 3rd rounds but no offers.

I stopped looking for jobs 7 months pregnant and when Baby was 4 months I decided to job search again--by then it was 10 months of unemployment.

After two months of commencing the job search, I had interviews with 3 more companies resulting in 2 job offers offering 25% more increase in pay than my previous position.

This is what I did to get a job, no matter how long I had been out of work.

I did not apply for any and all jobs  Primarily because it had to be worth my time and resources going back to work with kids.  I only applied to jobs where I knew I could grow and succeed in the role.  And only to jobs within a 15 minute commute or less---I value my time to what I get paid and did not want to waste 3 hours of my day commuting.

I applied as soon as as I could for interested jobs.  Most of the time, employers need to start looking for someone right away.  I would look at least once week for new postings. is my go-to for job searching and prefer it over  I also looked at company websites and enrolled in email alerts and checked out Craigslist.

I made sure that my resume addressed the items listed on the job description.   Most companies today use programs to pick out key words and employment dates from resumes and rank applicants by best match to the job posting.  On top of downloading a .pdf copy of my resume to my application, I also pasted and copied my work experience in the .txt section of the application.  It takes longer to do but the chance to be picked up by the system to get noticed increases.

I submitted cover letters If the hiring manager does not look at resumes, they look at cover letters.   The goal of a cover letter is to prove why you would be a good fit for the position and request an interview at closing.

I went to a head hunter.   It doesn't cost a thing for job applicants to go to one.  Here's a secret: Head hunters are much better than college career counselors giving feedback on your resume, because they are in the real world and know what works for all sorts of applicants to get noticed by employers.   College career counselors do not.

The head hunter told me to change two things on my resume.  The average resume read is TEN SECONDS before dumping or move on for an interview.  Because of my gap, the head hunter recommended to (1) put skills toward the top of the resume and (2) re-format the chronology of one of my jobs to highlight the promotion, which wasn't apparent at a quick glance from my previous resumes.  Making these changes to my resume, I was able to get more interviews.  In fact, only one interview was from a head hunter referral, the rest I found all on my own.

I used this magic word that helped me while filling my applications, on the part where I need to  explain why I left my previous positions, particularly the one that had a gap.
     First job: internal promotion
     Second: left for external position
     Third: Personal Reasons

People have all sorts of reasons for leaving their jobs and Personal Reasons is one of them.  Plus it sounds better than saying "Had Kids" or "Harassment at Work " or "Death of Loved One" or "Moved for Spouse's Job" or "Was Hospitalized" and anything else that is personal.

It is important during interviews when asked "Why did you Leave Your Job" to say you left for Personal Reasons....AND LEAVE IT AT THAT.  Good managers respect your privacy and more interested in knowing why you're the best person for the job.  Bad managers are the complete opposite and you don't want to work for one!

If you're looking for a job, you need to keep applying when job openings pop up, keep yourself busy during the job search, and accept the reality that you have no control in hiring decisions upon submitting your application.

When you do get a call back for an interview, show up and prove you are the best person for the job.