Paralegal with Sketchy Job History

Lucy writes:
I am currently unemployed. I am a certified paralegal as well as graduate from a
major university. My BA is in English and I pursued my paralegal degree having
failed to find a job with my English degree. I am now laid off and I need to find a
way to make my very sketchy work history look better. How can I improve my
chances? I am definitely getting interviews but no one is interested in hiring me.

The Career Doctor responds:
One of the first things I evaluate when working with a job-seeker who is
having troubles finding a new job is to examine whether the person is
getting no interviews or no job offers. If you’re not getting any interviews
then the problem probably deals with your job-search strategy or your job-search correspondence (cover letter and resume). If you’re getting interviews but not
getting any offers then the problem usually resides with your interviewing skills.
What kind of jobs are you seeking? What kinds of jobs are you interviewing for?
Even though you are getting interviews I really question whether you have taken
the time to develop a strong job-search strategy. If you haven’t yet done so take
the time now to figure out what you want to accomplish next; that is what types
of jobs interest you and what types of jobs do you qualify for. Take the time to
examine your accomplishments and key transferable skills. Conduct some
job-specific research and then develop a plan for finding a new job.
I believe a good part of your problem is with the job interview but if you take the
time to be sure of the type of job you want you’ll appear more confident in the
interview — and that confidence can only help you. How comfortable are you in job
interviews? Are you always prepared? Do you ask questions? Have you done your
employer research? You must be completely prepared for each job interview — it’s
your final chance to sell your potential to the prospective employer. Go to our
Guide to Job Interviewing
to learn more about interviewing and to practice answering common
job interview questions.
How can you be sure of where your problem lies? If you had strong rapport with one of
your recent interviewers make a phone call and ask if he or she would critique your
job-hunting/interviewing skills. If you’re not comfortable with that situation see if you
can find a local career organization college career center or job-hunting club that
can offer assistance.


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