Q: Dear Dr. Culp, If I'm collecting unemployment and unable to find a position in my industry that fits my skill set, at what point should I start looking for a getting-by job (like working retail)? How do I respond in interviews when they ask why I'm looking for something completely unrelated to my career path, and why they should trust that I won't jump ship the first opportunity I get (which I will)? Anon
A: Dear Anon, You might think right now that youd return to your field, but you cant possibly be sure. One day into your getting-by job, you might get an offer that would convince you to stay there more than five minutes. Stop flirting with the idea. Snag a getting-by job.
Say that the recession has taught you the importance of looking outside of your field to increase your options and learn new things about people and processes. Mention that the workplace is changing rapidly and that you arent quite certain where it will end up. Thats really true, isnt it?
Without opening yourself up to possibility, youll always look back. Convince people that youre moving forward. Then do. mlc
Q: Dr. Culp, What can I do about the I-give-up syndrome? Ive been out of work for 14 months and I believe Ive tried almost everything. I cant even get an interview. Im 63 years old and pretty sure that the length of my experience is a factor, but what bothers me is that Im good at what Ive done but I cant get a live interview.
Im trying to create a job for myself working on a commission only basis. Should I continue or get back on the high-speed moving belt of networking, board postings, resume submissions and LinkedIn connection-chasing? At an Impasse
A: Dear At, Your supporting materials suggest that youve tried everything. You need a new strategy as the economy tries to turn around. Do something different:
-- Hire someone to improve your telephone pitch. Get in without a resume.
-- Go to the temporaries.
-- Consider recruiting. Because youre good at meeting people, youre different from a lot of people. Youre imaginative about finding avenues to employment. While heavy telephone and sales work could wear you out, it couldnt be worse than your heavy-duty job hunting. The field is growing. Get where the jobs are and place yourself. mlc
Youve probably been on the market for a long time, thanks to the recession. Your answers to interview questions might well have become stale. Freshen-up your responses to get a reaction. David Hottle (milliondollarrecruiters.com) has seen and heard it all -- from employers, anecdotes online and job seekers. These all get first prize in their category.
-- IMAGINATION. Asked about a problem with a co-worker and its resolution, the candidate responded, The resolution was we were both fired.
-- HOT PROSPECT. Can we wrap this up fairly quickly? I have some place I have to go.
-- FULL DISCLOSURE. If I get an offer, how long do I have before I have to take the drug test?
-- GOAL-ORIENTATION. If this doesn't work out can I call you to go out some time?
-- FAR-SIGHTEDNESS. What do you want me to do if I cant walk to work if it's raining? Can you pick me up?
-- CONSCIENTIOUSNESS. How big do the bonuses really get once you make associate? I hear it's some serious cash.
-- CLARITY. I was fired from my last job because they were forcing me to attend anger management classes.
-- INTERVIEW PREP. I dont have a mailing address. I live in a gypsy camp at the airport.
(Dr. Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at email@example.com. Copyright 2009 Passage Media.)