The Career Doctor: Career Advice for All
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 (11/18/05):
- Contemplating development of online career portfolio
- Telling current employer about job interview
- Mastering the art of following-up job leads
- Deciding whether to keep 4-month job on resume
|Q:||Keith writes: Dr Hansen I am currently moving up the ladder in my career in the IT world. I have a lot of varied experiences and think my skills are in pretty high demand. I’ve been thinking of putting together an online portfolio to showcase my work experience. Any thoughts? Pros? Cons?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Career portfolios are a hot subject around my office — and among career professionals and recruiters alike.
I think one of the emerging career trends is that of managing your online visibility or presence. We’ve invented a new verb — and I know some of you purists won’t like it — but we’re now ‘googling’ potential job candidates — especially those in mid- to higher-management as well as freelancers and consultants.
Prospective employers want to see some proof of your accomplishments. And traditional print career portfolios are a way to show that proof in a job interview but an online portfolio is a way to have those accomplishments available 24/7 adding to your ‘Google’ rating. Besides an online portfolio articles that quote you and projects that cite you will also add to your rating. By the way it’s also a good idea to check for anything controversial that shows up with your name attached to it.
I don’t see any negatives to developing an online portfolio — unless you don’t put the necessary energy into it. For example if the design is flawed or the content is weak (or becomes outdated). Or if you put unprofessional material in your portfolio. I would think that for an IT professional whether actively or passively job-searching an online portfolio is a great tool.
We also found — according to a recent study titled Career Portfolios: Proof of Performance and conducted by Quintessential Careers — that job-seekers learn more about themselves and their qualifications by preparing a career portfolio thus boosting their confidence and preparing them for job interviews — regardless of how they actually use the portfolio.
Here are some of the things a job-seeker could put in his/her portfolio: resume(s) reference list career goals summary list of accomplishments work samples leadership experience performance reviews awards and honors transcripts degrees and certifications professional-development activities professional memberships and volunteering/community service.
Most of the research participants in our study recognized the value of online portfolios but think that the emphasis is — and should be for the short-term at least — on print portfolios suggesting that job-seekers develop an online portfolio after they have created the print version. Several reinforced however that online portfolios make the most sense for white-collar professionals especially those involved with the Internet.
In a time when many employers are skeptical of the claims many job-seekers make on their resumes concerning their experiences and contributions a career portfolio can be just the tool to use to show rather than tell.
Read more on Quintessential Careers: Proof of Performance: Career Portfolios an Emerging Trend for Both Active and Passive Job-Seekers.
|Q:||Jim writes: What do I tell my current employer when I am scheduled for another interview during business hours?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I was really hoping this question was a hoax but I fear it is not.
The simple answer is this: Do NOT conduct any job-hunting activities while on the clock with your current employer!
You have a couple of options for job interviews and many if not most hiring managers will work with you. You can schedule interviews for early in the morning or after hours. Some will even do it over lunch. And if you have a prospective employer who will only schedule interviews 9-5 take a personal day (or half day). Do not use a sick day.
Part of job-hunting is impression-management. Some stuff you can’t control but most of it you can. And the message a prospective employer gets from an applicant cheating their current company by interviewing for a new job on company time is one you will never recover from.
|Q:|| Janet writes: Thank you for your helpful career advice columns!
I have a question about following up on job leads: If a job posted on the organization’s web site requests 1) that you email in your application and 2) “No phone calls please” I assume I should not *call* a week after emailing in my resume and cover letter. I am assuming it would be better to *email* my follow-up.
What do you think?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: No no no. Yours is a common misconception among most of the job-seekers I talk with. When employers state ‘no phone calls’ they mean they do not want to deal with initial applications or inquiries via the telephone — they want it by mail fax or email.
However follow-up is a totally different issue altogether. I cannot stress enough the importance of follow-up in job-searching.
All job-seekers — if you are really interested in the job — should stay in contact with the prospective employer. It just does not make sense to mail email or fax your application and then just sit back and wait for someone to contact you.
Instead take the initiative and follow-up. Following-up is important for a number of reasons. First to make sure the employer received your entire application. Second to show you interest and enthusiasm for the position. Third to learn more about the timetable for when interview might begin.
I know of very few employers who would be offended by a job-seeker politely contacting them about the status of their application. And those few who do get angry or annoyed? You probably would not want to work for them anyway!
Just remember to be professional ‘ and do not follow-up too often where you become a pest.
Finally remember to always follow-up when you have good news to add to your application such as a certification or degree a promotion or a major accomplishment.
To learn more read this article published on Quintessential Careers: Follow Up All Job Leads: Don’t Wait by the Phone (or Computer).
|Q:||Anonymous writes: I was fired from my last position after only 4 months. I have 4 years of good experience prior to this. I do not want my last employer contacted for a reference. Do I have to include the job on my resume? And what about on an application? Can a prospective employer run a background check using your social security number or by other means that would turn up the omitted job?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: A resume is a marketing document not a complete history of the applicant. You should ONLY include items on your resume that will put you in the most favorable light for the position you are applying.
So no you do NOT need to put this job on your resume. I would not put it on my job application either but that is a little trickier because some applications do ask for a complete work history. As for background checks sure employers can discover your full work history’ but again a resume is not a full work history.
Remember though if you have this four-month gap on your resume at least one interviewer is going to ask you why you have this gap and what have you been doing since your last job. Now the situation becomes trickier. Of course if you have been doing something else during this time such as going to school volunteering consulting etc. then you can simply talk about that. If you don’t then you need to have an explanation about how the job was not the right fit (which is also why you did not put it on your resume).
Also before you ditch this job make sure you don’t have valuable experiences that would enhance your resume — even if your tenure at the job was so short.
Finally being fired can be a traumatic experience so you may not be thinking too clearly. Your ego may be bruised. It’s only natural ‘ and those feelings will subside; the key for you is to not let those feeling cloud your judgment.
Hang in there! You’ll rebound and get a new job soon!
And if you are bothered by being fired read this article: Getting Fired: An Opportunity for Change and Growth.