A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home of The Career Doctor.
If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis.
Note: Readers can find other columns from this year in Current Year Archives of The Career Doctor Q&A.
In This Issue (07/02/04):
- Using a temporary job to get foot in the door
- Finding job opportunities for younger teens
- Handling the issue of getting fired in job-search
- Changing careers — breaking into pharmaceutical sales
|Q:||Catherine writes: I am unemployed and trying to get temporary work to stay marketable and pay my bills until the right full time position is offered to me! I am going to attend a career fair for sales/marketing jobs and want your input on how to sell myself as a potential temp part timer freelancer to get my foot in the door for full time employment How do I come across as not desperate when my unemployment will be running out in a month or so and I need to start a job right away?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: First let me reinforce the positive steps you are taking. You are attending career fairs talking to temporary staffing agencies and are flexible about taking a temporary job as a stepping stone to a career change and a more permanent position.
When you work for a temp agency you are assigned to go out and do various kinds of work at client companies for varying lengths of time — as short as a few hours a few days a couple of weeks all the way up to several months or longer.
Job-hunting is tough. The current job market is still quite frustrating. We’ve seen a lot of new job creation but many of them are lower-wage positions. But guess where the other new jobs are? They are temporary positions as businesses hedge their bets on whether they need to re(hire) more full-time permanent employees or meet the increase in demand with temporary positions.
Not only do you need a job to pay your bills but you also need the necessary experience to make your career change into marketing and sales’ so the key is finding the temp agency that has the types of clients and jobs that fit your needs. Most communities have numerous staffing firms so call around and find the one that best fits you.
And when you attend career fairs or go on interviews the key is to sell yourself — your unique mix of education accomplishments and (transferable) skills. Don’t think about your benefits running out don’t think about whether there could be more qualified job-seekers out there. Instead focus on the positive. If you are desperate employers will spot it a mile away.
Once you get placed on a temporary assignment that you enjoy your next step is working your way to a full-time offer from the employer. You can attempt to accomplish this feat by becoming invaluable by networking with co-workers and bosses and by taking advantage of every opportunity (to shine) that comes your way.
Find lots of great resources including several articles on temping in this section of Quintessential Careers: Temping Resources for Job-Seekers.
|Q:||Chrissy writes: I am 13 and my best friend is 14 and we love cleaning people’s houses and babysitting’ but the problem is no one needs us. We just need your advice on how to help us.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I think it’s great that you and your friend like working. Especially during the summer months when school is out gaining work experience is not only invaluable for teens but of course it’s also a way to make money. Younger teens such as you two have it a bit harder because most states have laws about minimum ages for working so you have to become independent contractors offering your services to neighbors and family friends in your community.
No one needs a dependable babysitter? While I find that hard to believe I find it even more unlikely that folks have spotless houses that couldn’t use a little help from two industrious teens.
So how can you get the word out? How can you get more jobs? It’s going to take a little creativity a little marketing genius and a little help from your families. I suggest you develop a flyer touting your availability. If possible include some testimonials from previous customers.
Give copies of the flyers to your family friends and neighbors. See if your folks and adult relatives will take some flyers to their work to hang or handout.
Remember to always have your parent’s approval to do these jobs and I would also suggest you have them screen potential new customers to protect you.
Find more key rules – as well as some other great ideas for jobs — for younger teens in this article published on Quintessential Careers: Job Ideas for Teens 15 and Younger: Beyond Babysitting and Lemonade Stands.
|Q:||Vicki writes: I was fired from my office manager/accounting job without being given a specific reason. The management position was then eliminated. I am now unemployed and seeking a new job. How should I state this to my best advantage on applications and in interviews when asked why I am no longer employed with my previous company?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Being fired is certainly never a pleasant experience and the faster you can put it behind you the better. But before you do please do one thing for me. You say you were not fired for a specific reason but was there some reason? I only ask because I think it is vital that job-seekers learn from all experiences good and bad. It’s also important because of the possibility that your previous employer will be contacted by a prospective employer — and you need to have an idea of what might be said about you.
Assuming the position was eliminated in close proximity to your dismissal I would simply state — but only when the issue arises — that your position was downsized. Don’t offer any other information and quickly move on to how you can make a contribution with the prospective employer. The key is never offering any negative information — and never dwelling on it. Also don’t blame yourself your boss or your former company for the dismissal.
I don’t know how long ago you were dismissed but if it was longer than a few months a bigger issue may revolve around what you’ve been doing in the interim’ so be sure you have something positive (and truthful) to say about the time such as getting additional training freelancing/consulting/volunteering or gaining new (and invaluable) skills.
And if you have been out of the job-market for a while be sure to sharpen your resume-writing and interviewing skills. You should also talk with folks in your network to learn of new opportunities — as well as look for opportunities to expand your network.
Finally while you don’t sound defensive or negative you might want to conduct a mock interview with a trusted associate to see if any negative feelings are bubbling near the surface. Getting fired is traumatic — and big hit on our egos — and sometimes it’s not as easy to let go as we might think.
Get more tips and suggestions in this article published on Quintessential Careers: Getting Fired: An Opportunity for Change and Growth.
|Q:||Sharon writes: I desperately want to jump into a new career. I am a Licensed Practical Nurse with some college in business management. I am looking for a career in pharmaceutical sales. My question is how can I get my foot in the door.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Who doesn’t want a career in pharmaceutical sales? Over the last couple of years as pharmaceutical companies changed marketing tactics and increased the number of lifestyle drugs the need for sales representatives soared. And as job-seekers heard of the potential income interest in these jobs also jumped dramatically. Pharmaceutical sales is the job — by far — I am asked about most which is pretty amazing given the plethora of jobs and careers available to job-seekers.
Acknowledging the stiff competition for these jobs — especially from younger job-seekers — how can you break into the field? You certainly have the medical expertise and know-how to handle the technical side of the job — and how to interact with doctors but what about the sales side? Do you have any experience in sales?
My best advice for you is a two-part strategy — both designed to help you learn more about the field and expand your network. The first part is to begin networking with the pharmaceutical reps that call on your workplace. The second part is contacting your former college and getting a list of alums who work in pharmaceutical sales — and network with them. Hopefully your get friendly enough with a few of them so that you can go further in depth by conducting informational interviews and ideally going with them for a day as they make their sales calls.
Learn more about networking in this section of Quintessential Careers: The Art of Networking.
I also recommend using our job board where you can search for pharmaceutical jobs — as well as post your resume.