It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. Networking contacts keep sending me job leads that are too senior for me
I’ve been looking for an intern / entry-level engineering position for a long time and I’ve spoken with a lot of people about my job search (former classmates, professional engineers, hiring managers, neighbors who work with engineers, etc.). I noticed a recurring pattern that happens a lot and I was wondering if you had some insight on it.
Sometimes I get referrals to job openings or direct input to HR about certain positions. The problem, though, is that those positions are never entry-level. Example: I ran into an engineering director at a conference and he knew that a client he was working with wanted four junior level engineers. He asked for my resume, but told me honestly that they’re looking for people with 2+ years experience and it was very unlikely I’d get a call back. Occasionally, a neighborhood engineer (or friend of the family that works with engineers) offers to see my resume (some straight up, some after an informational interview) and show it to someone in hiring, but then later hear back from the person that “they’re not looking for entry-level candidates and are looking for people with more experience.”
Do you have any advice regarding this conundrum? There isn’t a lot of information about this “networking entry level” problem out there, and I’m wondering if you have any strategies for networking with respect to this issue?
It’s not really an entry-level networking problem; it just comes with asking other people for help. It’s pretty common for people who are trying to help you in your job search to send you leads about jobs that just aren’t quite right for you (and sometimes are incredibly wrong); it happens because no one really knows your professional history or positioning like you do.
When someone sends you something that’s not the right level, it’s fine to just thank them and politely explain that it’s more senior than what you’re currently qualified for, but that you really appreciate them keeping an eye out for you. And know that this is going to happen at all levels of your career, and don’t be thrown off when it does.
2. Surgery right after starting a new job
At my previous job, I had everything thing aligned for a surgery I am planning on having. It takes 6 months to complete all of the requirements for surgery, due to various pre-doctor visits, tests, etc. and recovery time is about 2 weeks. Once I complete all the requirements, I can then schedule surgery. Although this is an elective surgery it is medically necessary for me in the long run. After much deliberation, I decided to leave that job for several reasons, despite the fact it was approved by insurance and management.
I recently started a new position at a great nonprofit. During my second round interview with my now boss’s boss, I was asked if I had any plans for time off and I mentioned that I was planning on having surgery in the new uear (depending on benefits) and he didn’t seem to have an issue with this. Nothing else was mentioned as part of the interview process. I accepted the new job about a month ago. The new job is now cyclical, and much of our work won’t ramp up until March. I recently talked to my boss about completing the remaining steps I have to get surgery scheduled, and she didn’t have a problem with me talking the time off for surgery. In fact, she told me that I shouldn’t put my life on hold because of the job.
I was then talking to my mom (who religiously reads your blog) about everything and she was concerned about me taking time off after just starting a new position. I’m now afraid that even though my boss said it would be fine, there could be negativity surrounding the situation in the long run. I don’t want to be negatively dinged in the future for deciding to follow through with my plans. Are my mom’s concerns justified? Should I follow through with surgery?
Follow through with the surgery! For one thing, this is for medical reasons, and for another thing, you already discussed it during the hiring process. Your mom is right that it’s not great to ask for two weeks off right after starting a new job if it’s for vacation, but medical stuff is different. Believe your boss when she says it’s okay!
3. Would following up with this interviewer be overkill?
I had an interview that went well. A week later, the manager left me a voicemail while I was on vacation for the New Year and my phone was down. Because I didn’t want to keep him waiting, I called back as soon as I received the message (the very evening), even though I had just come back from my trip, was really tired and hadn’t thought about what I was going to say.
He asked me if I was still so motivated as I had seemed to be during the interview and explained that he was still set on my application but was facing huge administrative hurdles, so the process would take some time. I thanked him and assured him I was still enthusiastic about the job. I can’t remember how I sounded over the phone or the exact words I used.
I was wondering if it’d be worth sending him a quick note to reiterate my interest or if it’d smack of “overeager.”
Note that in the meantime I sent him a postcard for the new year, but that was not strictly related to the interview.
I was about to say “yes, that would be smart to do” until I got to your last line. If you sent him a postcard for new year’s that wasn’t an interview follow-up, I’m hesitant to tell you to send something else now. In general, I wouldn’t recommend sending interviewers general greetings or postcards. Sending something like a news article that you think they’d be interested in is fine, but a new year’s postcard is a bit outside interviewing norms.
So now I’m torn, and I think I’m coming down on the side of just checking in with him in a few weeks. Keep it job-focused this time!
4. I can’t remember my former managers’ names
I’m almost finished with an application for what appears to be my dream job. But I’ve run into an odd snag. The work history section requires detailed info on the past 10 years (e.g., pay rate, weekly hours, supervisors), but I can’t remember the last names of two of my former supervisors! To make matters worse, those jobs were three years ago, through a temp agency, and lasted 1) six weeks and 2) three months. Even if I knew the supervisors’ last names, they might not remember me if they’re called. I’ve searched the companies’ websites, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google, all to no avail. My next step is to call the companies (or the temp agency) and say something like, “I used to work there and I’m applying for a job that requires [supervisor’s first name]’s last name on the application,” but to me that seems so intrusive. I would be mortified if I didn’t get an interview simply because I said my supervisors were “Satchel” and “Bucky” instead of “Satchel Pooch” and “Bucky Katt.”
I’d just write “uncertain” or “info no longer accessible.” It’s not ideal, but sometimes this happens — you’re certainly not the only one to run into this — and reasonable employers will understand, as long as you give them some way to verify the employment (which in this case would be the temp agency contact info) and have other references. (And actually, because these jobs were through a temp agency, it’s probably better to just put down the name of your contact at the agency — since the company where you were placed probably has no record of you, which is normal with temp work.)
5. How should my resume show that a job was to cover for a short-term vacancy?
I would like to list a short-term position on my resume. I was promoted from an internship to provide temporary cover for an NGO’s public affairs officer when she was suddenly fired. I took on most of her duties during the six months that it took to find a replacement. Although I am sure that I did not perform at the same level (my official title was public affairs assistant), this job was a huge step up in responsibility for me and I achieved a lot in those six months.
How can I concisely convey that I left this job because they found a replacement with the required level of expertise, not because I was job-hopping?
List it like this:
Public Affairs Assistant (interim)
* short-term position to cover while organization searched for a Public Affairs Officer
That’ll make it clear right up-front that it was always intended to be temporary. Job-hopping really only applies when you’re quickly leaving jobs that were never intended to be short-term, but this one was — so as long as you explain it like this, it shouldn’t be a concern!