It’s wee answer Wednesday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. Coworker’s husband is doing our schedule
My boss gave a coworker the task of scheduling my coworkers because he felt she was more qualified for the task. I just found out that she has her husband doing the scheduling. I have two questions for you: First, should I tell my boss that her husband is doing the scheduling, not her? Second, could this be a privacy issue?
I don’t see a privacy issue here in a legal sense, but I’d tell the manager that her husband is doing the schedule because that’s so incredibly bizarre that your manager would almost surely want to know about it. (However, that assumes that you really know this is the case. Has she told you that herself, and if not, how did you find out? I’d want to be confident about that first, or at least be able to explain to your manager why you think it’s the case.)
2. Is it essential to include an address on your resume?
Do you think that it is imperative that I include my address on my resume? To be honest, I’ve been a bit of a nomad for the past 6 years or so, due to having various commitments that were up to two hours away in either direction from the central location of my childhood. Basically, I have several friends who I stay with most of the time up and down the coast (in Australia) but I wouldn’t feel comfortable listing any of their addresses as my own. If I were to land a job, I would definitely would settle down and have my own place in that area (and not consider it relocating). I can list my parent’s address but it is not at all in the area that I’m looking for work, and I feel like it may hinder my job prospects by listing it. I have read that not including your address makes it look like your hiding something (which maybe I am, although I would be willing to explain my situation in an interview).
It’s not essential, but hiring managers do sometimes wonder why it’s not on a resume, and suspect that you’re not local, etc. No good hiring manager is going to pass up a great candidate over it though. However, be prepared to be asked in phone interviews if you’re local, and if you’re not, to encounter the same difficulties that non-local candidates often encounter.
3. References when your most recent manager isn’t responsive
I have a question about how to put together a strong list of references based off my resume. I am currently looking for a new job after having been with my current organization for 2.5 years. Prior to that I was in graduate school (2 years) and prior to that I had 2 jobs, the first as a full-time research assistant for 2 years, and prior to that another job at the same hospital, somewhat less related to what I want to do now. I have one of those bosses/work environments where talking about looking for a new job and asking for a reference is impossible.
My boss from my time as a research assistant does not answer any attempts that I have made to contact him. He gave me a reference in the two years after I left, but nothing in response to any attempts since then. I do still have a good relationship with a reference from the job I had prior, which at this point is six and a half years ago.
In my current position, I work on a number of project grants and proposals with people outside my organization and who I trust and who I could ask to serve as a reference. However, none of these people can speak to me day in and out in an office, so I question how valuable it is to have all of my references be “outside the office” professional relationships, even if they’re current. Prior to my job and while as a student, I did have a three-month internship and my supervisor at that internship is happy to provide a reference for me — but I don’t know how strong the value of that reference is. Basically, when you are in a situation where “recent former boss” is not really possible, what are the strongest types of replacement references that I can provide?
I’d do all that you can to track down the most recent former boss. Is it possible that he’s changed jobs or moved or otherwise has different contact info? I’d check LinkedIn, Google him, and check with your former workplace to see if anyone has clues that can help you locate him. But if that fails — or if he’s in the same place, just not responding to you — then I’d explain the situation to reference-checkers and offer everyone else who you can: the internship supervisor, the reference from the much older job, and a couple of people who you work on projects with in your current job (pick the two who will give you the most glowing references). Employers understand this kind of thing happens. They might want to make you an eventual offer contingent on being allowed to talk to your current manager at that point, but this should at least get you up to that point.
4. I think I’m about to be fired — should I resign?
I think I will be fired/let go soon(!): My hours were changed and then cut; a new person was hired to take on some of the responsibilities I was supposed to have; and I am micromanaged on some things (commonsense, routine stuff) but expected to already be proficient with areas of responsibility for which I indicated I needed training.
I’ve begun looking for another job. When applying, do I even need to mention this job? I have another part-time, contract job and freelance work, so there’s no gap in my employment history. Or, because I’ve been at this new job for such a short time, I wonder if it would be better to resign (instead of waiting to be let go). The less time I stay there, the less I need to mention it in my job history, right? Or, wrong? And, I wouldn’t have to say I was fired on applications that ask for everything. I want to resolve this situation as professionally as possible, and any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I’d leave it off your resume entirely, especially since you won’t have a gap, thanks to the contract work and freelancing. As for whether to resign so that you won’t have to answer “yes” to future questions about whether you’ve ever been fired, it’s unlikely to come out that you were fired from a job that’s not on your resume unless you’re undergoing a check for a security clearance or something like that in the future, so do what you will with that piece of information. One option, though, would be to take the steps described in this very old column I wrote for U.S. News column in 2008 — which basically recommends an honest conversation with your manager about what’s going on.
5. Explaining why I’m leaving a dysfunctional job after four months
I am a supervisor at a nonprofit agency. i began this job only four months ago; my last job had staff layoffs due to finances, and my position was dissolved. I have never been so miserable in my life. I inherited a staff that the the director describes as “dysfunctional and unprofessional.” She herself is intimidated by them and does nothing about the situation. They are disrespectful, temper tantrums have taken place both in my office and in our weekly staff meetings, and some downright refuse to do as I direct them to do. This is the first time in my 13 years of my career that I HATE my job.
I am therefore actively interviewing. My resume shows that I do not hop around, spending four years at one clinic, three years at another before they had their layoffs, and two years at my most recent previous job, before their layoffs. How do I explain on an interview why I am looking to leave this job after only four months?
You might consider leaving it off entirely, but if you decide to include it, you could certainly explain that you inherited an extremely dysfunctional staff and that you haven’t been given the authority to manage the situation — such as setting and consequences for the performance and behavior problems — and that you feel you can’t effectively perform the role you were hired for in that environment. (You need to say this with no rancor or negativity, of course.) The right employers will see this as plus, not a minus.
(Also, are you sure that you’re not allowed to take action to deal with the staff? I’m assuming it in the answer above, but if that’s not the case, then holy crap, I’d swing into action on that immediately and see if that salvages the situation.)
6. How can I help my daughter fix this mistake?
I am trying to help my daughter overcome a huge error in judgment. She quit her job a year ago, which I believe was emotionally driven and resulted in her choosing poorly. She was a nationaly certified medical assistant and hasn’t been able to get interviews, which I know is the result of the prior employment check prospective employers are making. During a recent appointment I had at the office she worked at, the doctor asked me how my daughter was doing and I explained the difficulties she was having. He stated he wished he could hire her back because she was the best employee he ever had, but that he is not able to rehire because of the company policy. He stated that the company is indicating they would not rehire her and that of course is the death knell.
I know that she has learned from this mistake and that she is quite prepared to explain how and what she has learned from the poor choice she made, but she can’t get to the interview step. Besides going back to school in another medical branch and “start over,” do you have any suggestions on what she might work toward to change the situation?
Hmmm. I wouldn’t assume that the reason she’s not getting interviews is because of her record at her old job. Most employers don’t check references until much later in the process, after interviews. If she’s not getting interviews, the problem is much more likely to be her resume and cover letter. I’d start there, unless she has evidence that indeed these employers are all doing pre-interview reference checks (which would be unusual for one, let alone all of them).
7. How should I use LinkedIn in this situation?
I graduated from college this past May. Before I left, I had taken a seminar on transitioning into the “real world,” which emphasized the importance of LinkedIn. Now seven months later and still unemployed, I really don’t see the value in LinkedIn. I have done everything that they claimed would help me get hired (updating often, making connections, etc.) and it just hasn’t seemed to live up to the hype. (I should note I have not been job searching only on LinkedIn, I have been using it as a supplement.)
Last week, I applied to a position, and the next evening, the hiring manager had added me on LinkedIn. I haven’t made any contact besides accepting his request (which was the generic “I would like to add you to my professional network”) and he has not contacted me further regarding the position. I haven’t worried too much, especially as this was a holiday period, but I’m wondering, should I contact him again (perhaps message him through LinkedIn?) and if so, what do I say? If not, should I just wait and hope he eventually follows up to my application?
If he’d just looked at your profile and not connected, I would tell you not to do anything — that the ball is still in his court to contact you. But he connected with you, and that’s arguably opening the door to further contact. Send him a message through LinkedIn and tell him that you appreciated him connecting, that you recently applied for the XYZ position with him, and that you’d love to talk if he thinks you might be a good fit.
About the value of LinkedIn in general, in my experience it’s best for finding connections in your network to jobs that interest you. For instance, if you’re applying for a job with company X, you might discover on LinkedIn that your former coworker’s friend works there and can reach out to see if she’s wiling to give you the inside scoop — something you’d probably never know without the site. But it’s not so helpful in terms of jobs just coming to you, especially if you’re right out of school and don’t have a desirable job history that would attract recruiters.