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 (12/03/04):
- Seeking advice about changing into non-traditional career
- Older worker with diverse skills seeking new employment
- Dealing with former boss who gives poor recommendations
- Planning a relocation job-search strategy
|Q:|| Greg writes: I’ve got a BS in Business Administration and while I have worked in business for a number of years I have never really enjoyed any of the jobs.
More recently I have become interested in a career in nursing. One of my best friends is a nurse and I have seen first-hand how rewarding her job is to her — something so lacking in mine.
I did well in science classes in college and know that I could do well studying for a nursing certification but I worry about how I will be perceived in my field as well as how my family and friends will react.
After doing some serious reflection I am sure nursing was what I was meant to do. What do you think?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: There are certainly some pros and cons of working in a non-traditional career which I will get to in a minute but I think the most important thing to consider is finding a career that you will enjoy — that you will find personally meaningful and rewarding. I see too many job-seekers who are just not happy in their careers — and are just not sure how to get out of them. Kudos for taking the first steps.
And nursing is certainly a very hot career field right now — with lots of growth and plenty of room for both male and female nurses. Besides your friend — which is a good start — you’ll want to do more research on the field perhaps even do some informational interviewing and job shadowing before making any final decisions.
If you do decide to go into nursing — a non-traditional career for men — you should be prepared for some cons that many men face such as people questioning your sexuality lack of support from family and friends and a lack of mentors of your gender.
But there are also some pros to working in non-traditional careers. First you often get more attention paid to your work. And for men working in non-traditional careers you are often given positions of responsibility sooner — because you are seen as having natural leadership and other key skills. Finally by working in a non-traditional career you are having an impact on society because you are making it easier for the next person of the same gender to break into the field.
Read more in my latest article published on Quintessential Careers: The Pros and Cons of Non-Traditional Careers.
|Q:||Anne writes: As a “mature” woman (57 years of age) being in the position of looking for a new job what advice can you offer me to sell my diverse skills. I have the feeling that while I have management training administrator executive assistant and event planning skills I’m “too old”. My frustration level is very high right now as is my depression level. Any advice?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Even though one of my students just referred to someone in their forties as ‘old’ many employers are slowly coming around to valuing the experience and skills of mature job-seekers. And you on the leading edge of the eldest baby boomers are blazing the trail for a complete re-evaluation of opinions and stereotypes about older workers.
Some of the common mistakes I see with mature job-seekers are the following:
Learn much more about strategies for mature workers in this section of Quintessential Careers: Job and Career Resources for Mature and Older Job-Seekers — Including the Baby Boomers.
|Q:|| Anonymous writes: I am desperate for some assistance!! My former supervisor was recently contacted by one of two persons who interviewed me. After follow-up with the interviewer I was told that my former boss was rude and did not want to answer questions regarding my employment. Needless to say I did not get this job!
What do I do? I have always given very positive responses to interviewers when asked about my former supervisor and I’ve had no reason not to do so until now. Of course I know not to express anything negative about my former job.
You should know that I worked under her supervision for 5+ yrs. and received outstanding evaluations!
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Many job-seekers are under the mistaken view that former bosses and supervisors are the only ones who can provide references when applying for new positions. You simply need someone who can speak of your skills and accomplishments.
My guess is that your former boss feels betrayed that you left — and perhaps in frustration — is acting unprofessionally.
I would look for someone else to list as a reference from your previous employer as well as continue to talk about the positive relationship and evaluations you received from her. But you should be prepared for at least one interviewer to ask why she is not listed as a reference. And I would simply state that she is too busy to — or prefers not to — act as a reference.
But I would also contact the former boss and invite her to lunch or tea and try to rebuild the relationship. You did outstanding work for her — and she should be the one telling prospective employers about how great you are. And if she refuses at least you know you were the better person in trying.
|Q:|| Bernice writes: My husband and I live in Ohio now but we want to relocate back to Florida. We have several resumes out on the internet and responded to several more. Recruiters are telling me to give them a call after we move down there but we were hoping we could find a job first then move.
Do you have any suggestions?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Long-distance job-hunting and relocating are tricky but doable. It’s going to take some planning — and perhaps some sacrifices and some patience — but you can be successful.
Your first step — since you already know the area — is to develop a relocation strategy which should include a relocation fund because you should make at least one trip down to network interview and examine neighborhoods. And while many employers will not fly you down for an interview if you ‘happen’ to be coming to the area anyway it’s more likely you can set-up an interview. If there is simply no way you can afford a travel fund you’re going to have to try and convince some employers to conduct the initial interview by phone.
Your second step is developing job leads — and you must be more proactive than putting your resume on a few job boards. Let everyone in your network — especially those in Florida — know you are looking to return. You should also research the major employers for your professions and consider contacting them directly. You may also want to use a few specialized job sites ‘ niche sites based on location or industry/profession. Finally consider talking with recruiters and temporary agencies in the area.
Your third step is to be diligent about following-up every potential job lead and keeping your network as involved as possible. Send thank-you notes and follow-up with phone calls. You’ll need to be a bit more aggressive with a long-distance job-search than you would with a local one.
Finally remember that a long-distance search — especially for the two of you — is going to take some time so try not to get too discouraged.
For more details and other tips read this article published on Quintessential Careers: New City New Job: How to Conduct a Long-Distance Job Search.