It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. What to say if I’m going to resign because of homesickness
In May, I began my first full-time contract position in my field with a small organization whose mission I am passionate about. I get along well with my coworkers and I’m gaining experience I never would have dreamed of having right after graduating university. It’s a one-year contract that will almost certainly be renewed next year.
The problem? My field is very limited and competitive, so I ended up moving over eight hours away from my hometown to take this job, and I never expected to be as homesick as I am. Though I am generally fine now, my first few weeks at work I would cry when I was alone and had this feeling of a huge hole in my heart. Moving from a mid-sized city to a small town didn’t help (I’m close to my family and I have a small group of dear friends who I also miss very much). So as much as I truly love my job, I am keeping an eye out for another job closer to home.
I would never leave this job without another one lined-up and I plan on telling prospective employers the reason I’m looking to leave my current position is because my contract is ending and I’m looking for more challenges and opportunities, as I don’t think they’d be interested in hearing their location appealed to me. But what would I give for the reason when/if I resign? Despite this being a contract position I know they’re looking for someone who will commit long-term, and I would feel disingenuous saying I was leaving for another great opportunity when the one I have here is one of the best someone my age and at my level of experience could ask for.
I just think everyone will think this reason for leaving is incredibly dumb, and I know being closer to home won’t guarantee I’ll be happier at work or in life (the grass isn’t always greener). I know to some people I must sound incredibly inexperienced and naïve for wanting to leave a great job simply because of location, and I know many people have had to leave their home state or even country just to find a job. Any advice?
People won’t think it’s a silly reason at all! Wanting to live closer to family and friends, and especially in your hometown, is very, very normal and something a lot of people can relate to. You can simply say, “I’ve realized that I want to return to my hometown, where my family and friends are.” Seriously, people will get it; it’s actually one of the most easily understandable explanations for wanting to relocate!
2. Job was supposed to include anchor work, but now it doesn’t
I recently moved across the continent to take on a job as a news reporter. In the job interview via Skype and in emails with a producer, it was indicated that I would be anchoring news as well as reporting. As anchoring is the direction that I would like my career to go in, I accepted the job on this basis.
However, when I arrived and inquired about anchoring, they looked at me blankly as if I was crazy. I produced the emails from the senior producer who had made the decision to hire me. However, just before I arrived, a new news director came on board. She has told me that it won’t be possible for me to anchor and said that I should not have been told that I would be. She said I should embrace the skills I will gain as a reporter. There is nothing about doing anchor work in my contract. What can I do?
Not much, unfortunately. They’re not legally bound to offer you anchor work if it’s not in your contract. You can certainly explain that you took the job because of that agreement if you haven’t already, and/or you can ask if there’s a path to eventually moving into anchoring, but from what she’s said so far, she doesn’t sound open to it. If that’s the case, all you can really do is decide if you still want the job under these terms. I’m sorry — that sucks. (And in the future, be really careful about getting any agreements in your contract. You’re in one of the few industries in the U.S. that regularly use contracts — take advantage of that!)
3. How should my resume address old tasks that aren’t still part of my current job?
I work as an administration assistant in the registry department of a large university. Due to a lengthy restructure, some of my colleagues and areas which the department was previously responsible for have moved to another part of the university, which means I no longer carry out administrative duties in these areas. Let’s say that when I started the job, I did Tasks A, B and C, but now I only do A and B (and occasionally D), with B looking as if it might also be moved out of the department in the next year.
I am starting to job search for a similar role at the same or other universities where experience of doing Tasks B and C might be essential or desirable, but I don’t know how I would mention this in a cover letter or my CV (as well as LinkedIn and other places that want detailed information on your employment history). Since these tasks do not fall under my role presently, how do I go about mentioning my experience in them where relevant, without confusing hiring managers or making it seem like I’m lying?
It’s not going to seem like you’re lying; it’s totally fine for your current job on your resume to include things you did at one point in that job but don’t currently do. You don’t even really need to specifically explain that, although — depending on the context — it might make sense to list them in past tense rather than present tense.
Also, keep in mind that your resume shouldn’t just be a list of activities you were responsible for carrying out, but rather should focus on accomplishments you had in the role. So ideally you’d be talking about results that you achieved by doing Task B rather than just the fact that you did Task B.
4. Leaving a job soon after turning permanent
I’ve held a contract position for two years and took the opportunity to turn permanent after my contract was up. If I change jobs six months after turning perm, does that look bad? Or is it okay because technically I’ve worked there for two and half years?
Yeah, I’d count that as two and a half years, and wouldn’t worry about it at all.
5. Update: Should I reach back out about a job I was rejected for?
Here’s an update from the person who was wondering if she should reach back out to an employer about a job she had already been rejected for:
I thought of sending you this update today because I just received a note from the HR manager at the organization where I applied, where they have AGAIN re-posted for this same position – it must be cursed or something! So, I did end up reaching out again to the HR manager at Organization A, who told me they had just closed interviews for that position but she would keep me in mind if something opened up. Around then I started a graduate internship at Organization B, which happens to partner with Org A. I casually asked people at Org B their opinion about Org A and heard some negative things, including issues regarding staff retention, and that the specific hiring manager I had interviewed with was a little crazy. Since I was only a few months from finishing my grad degree I was still looking around a lot, while keeping Org A on my radar.
Fast forward a few months, I finished my grad program and Org B offered me a full-time position, which I turned down because Org C, where I had been doing some consulting at the same time, also offered me a position doing exactly the kind of work that I wanted! I’ve been in this role for about 8 months and I’m confident I ended up in the right place. I’m not a huge believer in fate, but this happy end to a very long job search was a good reminder that sometimes things really do work out the way they should when you have patience, put effort into networking, and commit to being excellent at whatever you are doing (even if you feel silly working as an intern at age 40!)