How to NOT talk yourself out of a job
Finding a job is hard enough as it is, but what many of you don’t realize is that you are often making it harder for yourself. Many of you probably have a great value statement that is catching the Hiring Manager’s attention and they are reading through your resume… but then they see something that makes them toss your resume to the “NO” pile. You have no idea, but this is why you’re not getting called for interviews, you are turning the Hiring Managers away.
For many others, you are getting the calls for interviews, but somehow that second or third interview never comes around. Even when it does, it just doesn’t turn into a new job opportunity. You’re constantly left in dead ends, and you don’t know what you’re saying in those interviews to scare these companies off.
One key thing to remember is if you are not succeeding in your job search – it’s your fault. You’re either not putting in the effort, not getting the credentials, not applying to the right roles, or simply talking yourself out of the job.
So it’s time to take accountability for your actions, and figure out how to NOT talk yourself out of a job.
We’re not saying that entrepreneurs can’t become great employees, we’re saying that identifying as an entrepreneur is not favourable on a resume. When a Hiring Manager reads “Entrepreneur” or “Owner Operator” or “Founder” or “President” – what they really read is “I prefer to work for myself, not for other people”.
This probably isn’t the case, you genuinely want to close down or sell your personal business and obtain gainful employment within a company, but the Hiring Manager will doubt your intentions and your ability to take orders from your superiors when you’re used to running the show.
What to do instead?
Change your title – If you were running a business where you contracted out your services to other companies, call yourself a “Contractor” or “Consultant”. If you oversaw all operations for your company, call yourself an “Operations Manager”. You need this title change to get you past the resume review stage, and then you can clarify your role as an Entrepreneur when you’re in the interview stage. During an in-person interview, you can show the Hiring Manager how genuine you are about joining the company, and explain why you no longer want to work for yourself.
Address Employment Gaps
Everyone knows that employment gaps on a resume are never a good thing. However, many people believe that if they just ignore the gap altogether, it will not become obvious to the Hiring Manager. They are so terribly wrong. An employment gap will always be a red flag bursting off the page of your resume, and if it is within the last five years of your work experience, you have to do something about it.
What to do?
If you took a leave of absence for personal reasons such as a Maternity Leave, Medical Sabbatical or Personal Sabbatical to tend to family circumstances or anything of the like – state it on the resume. It is far more understandable for a Hiring Manager if you are up front about the time you’ve taken off work, rather than trying to hide it.
If you’ve simply been unemployed most recently and haven’t found a new position, there are two ways to illustrate this in the resume.
One – If you’ve completed any personal projects for colleagues, friends or family in this time period, you can include it on your resume and call yourself an “Independent Contractor”. This tells the Hiring Manager that you’ve been out of work, but while looking for a position you have kept busy by completing small projects.
Two – Take a course, any course. Upgrade your skills by taking courses at your local community centre, or go back to school part-time or full-time if you have the option. This way, you can move your education section to the top of your resume and show the Hiring Manager that, most recently, you’ve been upgrading your skills. This looks much better on a resume than saying you’ve been doing absolutely nothing since leaving your last position.
Never ever say anything negative about a role or a former employer. You want your resume to convey positivity, and you want the interview to be a positive experience. Therefore, all negative remarks or experiences are forbidden. Only focus on the positive, and spin everything in a positive direction.
It goes back to the famous interview question, “What would you say is your biggest weakness?” and we all know that the correct answer is to pick a weakness that can also be viewed as a positive attribute. Enforce the same idea in everything that you write on your resume and say in an interview, everything must remain positive in one way or another.
If you are able to remain positive, the Hiring Manager will see a certain level of maturity in your character when you do not complain or rant about former employers or the work ethic of former colleagues. This positivity will also show the employer that you will add positivity to their team atmosphere and maintain a healthy working environment.
Remove Reason for Dismissal
If you are not currently employed, but are currently looking for work, chances are that you were dismissed from your last position, or resigned under negative circumstances. Whatever the reason may have been, don’t talk about it in your interview, and definitely don’t mention it on your resume.
Back track to the point on positivity – dismissals and resignations are not positive experiences. You don’t want to shift the focus onto why you left your position, you want the focus to remain on the contributions and benefits you provided while in the role.
This is also true for dismissals that were out of your control. If your company downsized, you are telling the Hiring Manager that you were not valuable enough to keep. If the management team changed, you are telling the Hiring Manager that you were not adaptable enough to conform to the new corporate culture. If the company was bought out, you are telling the Hiring Manager that you are easily replaced.
In all instances, reasons for dismissal or resignations will hurt you more than help you. Eliminate them from your resume, and don’t mention them in the interview.
What if you’re directly asked about your reason for leaving in the interview?
This is a valid question; many Hiring Managers will ask this question in the interview. They may also ask those who are currently employed why they are seeking a new position. Our advice is to briefly state the reason, and follow it up with a positive remark about how grateful you are for the experience you obtained with the company and what you were able to offer them in your time there.
If you are currently employed, you can explain to the Hiring Manager that you are looking for a new challenge within a company where you can grow. Also mention that you would prefer to give your current employer as much notice as possible so that you are able to tie up all loose ends and leave under good terms. When you are proactive about maintaining a positive relationship with your former employer, it tells your prospective employer that you will treat them with the same respect.
Now carefully scan your resume and pinpoint the problems that are preventing you from getting call-backs. Take our advice, and you’ll see the results!