Keeping Your Poise
- The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service
Interviewing requires poise even in ideal situations. When you face
additional psychological obstacles due to difficult circumstances,
staying poised requires perspective. Without suggesting that you
look yourself in the mirror every morning and say, "you're worth
it," there are useful tools for maintaining a clear and positive
sense of direction and potential. These tools bolster your confidence
as you search for a job. They also provide you a strategy for addressing
vulnerable topics during interviews.
Laid Off or Fired |
Prolonged Search | Lack of Experience
Laid off or fired:
Losing a job disrupts a worker's sense of stability and career plans.
For those people whose work is a source of personal pride and value,
the sudden loss can be disorienting. When Jim was skimmed from his
pharmaceutical company in order to reduce costs, he suddenly felt
disoriented. Despite his understanding of the financial reasons
for eliminating his position, it seemed to him as if his company
had rejected him. Since he had managed multiple teams and thrived
on the ability to influence others, he felt frustrated by his loss
of power and the sense of significance that it had brought him.
Jim knew that he was staving off a depression only through the encouragement
of his family and friends. He did not feel that he exuded the confidence
he needed to successfully pursue other jobs.
Then Jim refocused. After all, the layoff was not the culmination
of his professional history or the exhaustive evaluation of his
merit. Instead of dwelling on his loss, Jim made a list of his professional
and personal accomplishments. For example, he had successfully launched
a new drug, taking it from experimental testing through marketing.
He had initiated and developed a new employee mentoring program
in his company, effectively training other mentors to provide guidance
to employees. As a result, the morale of the office and communication
flows improved. After highlighting several other accomplishments,
Jim made a list of the constructive feedback he received from his
team, colleagues, and managers. Several people had noted his initiative
and his organizational abilities, others had thanked him for his
encouragement and accessibility. Still others saw him as an excellent
negotiator. Two of his managers had commented on his attention to
detail in quality standards. He could see on paper that his colleagues
As Jim considered his career at the pharmaceutical company, he began
to gain an appreciation for his experience and contribution there.
In addition to helping him feel better, the process refined his
goals. Jim saw more clearly what kind of position enabled him to
flourish. With a renewed sense of confidence in his objective achievements
and value, Jim launched himself into the search.
Prolonged job search:
Jim searched for an extended period. His layoff had occurred during
an economic downturn that dampened the entire industry, and now
he found himself networking, searching job databases, and dragging
himself to job fairs. Discouragement began to seep into his psyche,
and his enthusiasm for his skills and achievements began to dissolve.
Knowing that he had previously overcome sapped confidence, Jim pulled
back from his immediate emotions to reflect on his overall situation.
Jim identified the facts: he had usable skills and qualities and
had a proven history of adding value to his company. He wanted a
job that would challenge and grow with him, enabling him to build
his career. He knew himself well enough to realize that he thrived
in large companies rather than small ones and in positions in which
he was able to assume significant responsibility for outcomes and
people. He also had specific salary goals and minimum requirements.
He did not want to settle for any open position. His circumstances
would have been discouraging for anyone, but he needed to find the
right fit. His extended search did not reflect upon his worth as
a viable candidate or person.
Eventually, an attractive company invited Jim for an interview.
Since his resume indicated that he had stopped working at his previous
company five months prior, he anticipated that the interviewers
would question him about this gap in employment. He carefully prepared
an answer, focusing on his desire to find a job that matches his
specific abilities and goals. He could guarantee his skills, but
he could not control the availability of positions.
Lack of experience:
Gwen had a formidable obstacle to overcome as well: she had little
professional experience in her area of interest. A recent graduate
from college, Gwen majored in English Literature and Political Science.
Now she wanted to break into the marketing field. She was confident
that she could learn the job quickly and contribute creative ideas.
Her friends envied her ability to anticipate and ride trends. As
a child, she used to make up commercials and present them to her
family in the living room. She was sure that she had raw, untapped
talent on which she could capitalize. Still, she would have to convince
the Marketing Manager that her inexperience as compared with other
candidates was trivial.
This task seemed impossible-Gwen did not have a portfolio to share
or raw numbers to reveal her success. But she did have abilities,
and she began to focus on describing these. Making a list of her
transferable skills and personal qualities, Gwen referenced things
that she had accomplished in school and through part-time jobs:
||Attentive to Detail
Reflecting on the tangible things that Gwen could
offer an employer, she realized that she could excel if given an
opportunity. Still, competitors for positions probably had many
of these skills and qualities as well. But what was she going to
do, pretend to act out a commercial the way she had in her living
room dozens of times? Perhaps the idea was not farfetched. During
an interview, she could request an audition. The employer could
test her and her competitors' abilities by giving them an assignment
to complete. Using this method, she could demonstrate her creative
potential in a tangible way. Instead of dwelling on her history,
Gwen strategically encouraged the employer to dwell on her future.