Is Son’s Omission of Survival Job from Resume Hurting Him?

Glenis writes:
I read your blog regularly but recently it has become of more interest
to me because my son is job-hunting. He has been a financial-aid counselor
at two universities having moved to take the position at the last one
because it was a career advancement. Unfortunately his position was
eliminated due to budget cuts.
After being unemployed for a 6 months he decided to take whatever
employment he could get just to help pay the bills which happened to be
at minimal pay. He has not included this employment history on his resume
because he feels it would not look good. He has interviewed with 2-3
universities but so far no offer of employment.
Do you think the lack of employment information for the last year is affecting
his chances of being hired?

The Career Doctor responds:
I hope by the time you are reading this column that your son has a
new job in his career field but if not let me make a few observations.
I think three possibilities may be occurring here and your son
needs to address them.
First the stigma of being fired. We can call it something prettier — his job
was eliminated — but the bottom line is that he was forced to leave his place
of employment. He needs to focus on this issue and make sure he is totally
over the trauma of the experience — especially since he was let go through
no fault of his own. He obviously has valuable skills since he was able to
move forward in his career.
Second he needs to deal with his resume — and the reality he is living. A
lot of displaced job-seekers in this current economy have been forced to
take survival jobs so that they don t end up homeless and bankrupt. Most
prospective employers would rather see an applicant that has been doing
something productive — even if outside his or her field — than a large gap on
the resume. Of course if he has been doing any kind of consulting or
volunteer work in his field he should put that on his resume.
Third perfect interviewing skills. If he has gotten a few interviews then at
least some of the colleges are not bothered by the gap on his resume
enough to not interview him so if he is not having success in the interview
then he is either not interviewing well or not following-up his interviews. He
may want to conduct a mock interview with a career professional to judge
the quality of his interviewing skills.
I suggest he read Getting
Fired: An Opportunity for Change and Growth
published on Quintessential Careers.
He may also want to read this article on Quintessential Careers:
The Pros
and Cons of Taking a Survival Job. What Should You Do?
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