5 Tips to Enhance Your Job Search

Autumn is finally settling in again, but before you start laughing and pointing fingers at all those young children who still have years of school and torment ahead of them, just think about what YOU get to do.  That’s right, school may be out forever, baby, but check out what’s in store now:  the job search.  So tighten those backpack straps, throw on a bicycle helmet, and off we go!

Don’t Even Think About Cutting Class

Make sure to hold yourself to a schedule.  Wake up at a reasonable hour and park yourself at your desk for a generous period of time, giving yourself an opportunity to really focus on your job search.  You may feel inclined to soak up these last few weeks of sunshine, but make it a priority to devote a good chunk of your day to researching opportunities, sending out resumes, and networking.

Keep Your Homework Out of the Dog’s Reach

While you’re looking for a job, it’s important to set goals for yourself.  Assign yourself tasks such as applying for a minimum of five jobs a day, reading one book a week that will educate you in an industry that interests you, or perhaps creating an updated draft of your resume.  Homework is almost never fun, but it’s where we make a lot of our progress – so no slacking!

Get There Before the Final Bell

No one likes getting marked off for tardiness, so avoid the hassle altogether and get there early!  Be mindful of any application deadlines you have coming up, and plan your schedule accordingly.  And instead of sliding into your seat right as the bell rings, try to show up a few minutes ahead of time.  Hiring managers often look favorably upon candidates who turn in their materials promptly – and it’s also quite possible that they’ll make a decision before they close off the position, so stay on top of things and apply as early as you can.

Don’t Forget Your Friends

The best part about school is getting to suffer through it with all your best buds.  So find a few pals who are also treading along in this perilous world of job hunting, and share your woes, tips, and contacts with each other.  Having a support group while you look for a job can invigorate you when you’re down, expose you to new opportunities, and make you realize that you’re not alone.

RECESS

Sometimes when you’re starting to fidget in your seat and can’t peel your eyes off the clock, the best thing to do is to throw open the classroom door, fling your arms out into the air, and just run around outside.  Few of us can sit through an entire day pounding out a bunch of work, so don’t feel shy about taking a break every once in a while to de-stress.  Ultimately, it’ll help your productivity when you get back to the grind with a clear mind and a fresh outlook.

Happy job hunting!

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Overcoming the “Under-Qualified” Stigma

Investment Banking Analyst, Chicago, IL
Marketing & PR Internship, Miami, FL
Vice President, Philadelphia, PA
Sr. Consultant, Boston, MA
Quantitative Analyst Intern, New York, NY

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It’s happened to everyone: you come across a job description for a position that’s right up your alley. The job is interesting and looks like something that you are completely capable of and excited to do. And then your eyes wander to the “Qualifications” section… You don’t have a Masters degree, 5+ years of experience, or a Series 7 license. So what do you do? Scrap it and move on? If you’re lacking many of the key qualifications that appear mandatory, then indeed you’re probably better off allocating your time and effort applying elsewhere. But if you’re only a few qualifications away from that ideal candidate description, you might be selling yourself short if you give up before even trying. Read on for a list of tips on overcoming the “under-qualified candidate” stigma.

Emphasize Your Skills

Ok, so maybe you don’t hit every bullet point with your qualifications. But don’t give up hope just yet. For many positions, the “Qualifications” section is merely a list of attributes of the ideal candidate. This doesn’t mean that they’re unwilling to consider someone who meets only some of the requirements. So instead of dwelling on what you haven’t done, focus on what you’re great at. Many skills that you acquire throughout school, volunteer work, or another job are transferable to other positions, and can be used to replace any prerequisites that you might not meet. Highlight these skills or experiences in your cover letter, and explain how they will help you excel in that specific job. One important caveat: don’t waste your time applying for jobs that you’re completely unqualified for – for example, if you’re looking at a position for an Associate Attorney at a top law firm, you better have a law degree.

Go the Extra Mile

If you come up short on knowledge or experience, emphasize to an employer that you are willing to work harder than any other candidate to brush up on your skills and become well versed in the subject matter. Don’t underestimate the value that hiring managers place on a strong work ethic. Include in your resume and cover letter examples of your ability to learn quickly. If you possess many of the other qualities of the ideal candidate, you may find that your enthusiasm to learn and contribute may very well land you the position.

Network

Networking is a great way to gain introductions into a company. Networking can also help you establish someone on the inside as an individual who can vouch for you. When you come across that tricky job description, mention to your contact that you’re planning on applying, and explain why. Be honest, and address any points that might weaken your application. Companies want to hire individuals they can trust. If someone with a good history at the company is able to put in a good word for you, it will further bolster that company’s confidence in bringing you on.

Volunteer or Intern

If you find that no matter how you try to spin it, you just can’t land the position you want based on your qualifications, offer to volunteer your services for free. This isn’t to say that you should ever allow a company or an individual to take advantage of you. But if you volunteer or intern for a company, you’ll gain valuable experience that you can parlay into a future opportunity at the company. Get in, work hard, and show them that they need you. Even if doing so doesn’t lead to another prospect within that company, you’ll gain important knowledge and skills that will qualify you for a position similar to the job you had hoped for at the outset.

It’s easy to look at a job description, think, “There’s someone out there who’s better,” and quickly abandon the effort. But have a little faith in yourself – play to your strengths and commit to working even harder than the next guy, and you may find yourself more qualified than you think. So take a chance – you’ve got nothing to lose – and you may find yourself one step closer to your dream job!

All the best,
The Doostang Team

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Doostang Success — Taking the Next Step in My Career

Rob

Marist College ’94
Chief Information Officer – 1st Global

Doostang has been an extremely successful and rewarding experience. Originally, when I was sent an email with the name ‘Doostang’ I laughed, couldn’t figure out why anyone would choose that name, and what, if any, significance it retained. However, I had just had a really bad day at the office and decided to click on the website because I needed a good laugh (original thought).

To my amazement, the site was professionally organized, easy to navigate and enticing when I landed on the home page. What was more important to me was the types of jobs listed on the front page, as they seemed almost targeted towards my career without having me fill anything out. Now I have used other sites (theLadders, Indeed, eFinancial Careers, Finbox) and executive search firms, but have always had to do more prep work and spend more time respectively.

However, when I decided to try Doostang, I received relevant hits almost instantly. Kudos to your algorithm!

More importantly, as I read through one of the first job recommendations that matched my criteria, I found that my experience qualified me for approximately 85% of the job’s listed responsibilities. So I decided to apply.

The rest as they say, ‘is History.’ I am now the new CIO of a Financial Services company and have taken the next step in my 20+ year career.

Simply put, Doostang did a better job of (1) posting only high-quality jobs, (2) enabling me to search by relevant/specific key terms, and (3) providing a clean application interface that allowed me to save more time searching than any other resource that I have used.

So if you are looking for opportunities in the areas of investment banking, finance, technology, hedge funds, or private equity, I would highly recommend Doostang. I know that it turned out to be a perfect match for my needs (one search – one application – one job)!

Finally, I have a few tips for current job seekers:

1. Go Premium on Doostang.

2. There is no such thing as luck, actively search with vigor.

3. Apply for each job as if it’s the only job you are applying to and customize your efforts.

4. Do not waste time on applying for positions where you are reaching to meet minimum qualifications.

5. Your time is valuable so act accordingly.

Best Wishes!”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Associate of Private Equity – Premier Equity Investment Company, Washington, DC

Project Manager – Asset Control Firm, San Francisco, CA

Research Intern – Top Wealth Management Firm, New York, NY

Management Development Manager – Leading Industry Firm, Cleveland, OH

Financial Intern – Leading Real Estate Investment Company, Clifton, NJ

Search jobs on Doostang

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Tips for Relocating without a Job

Investment Analyst, Colorado Springs, CO
Administrative Intern, New York, NY
Research Analyst Intern, SF Bay Area, CA
Marketing Manager, Charlotte, NC
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Simply picking up and leaving is romantic when you’re young, but as you come into your own and have bills to pay and mouths to feed, it’s a lot more difficult to work out the logistics of a move. At Doostang, we advise you to always look before you leap! However, we also recognize that sometimes circumstances may dictate that you have to leave on short notice, and without a job lined up.  If you thought finding a job in your own hometown was difficult, finding employment in a new one is even tougher.  You won’t know as many people and you will have a myriad of other things to juggle with the move.  Here’s some advice on how to lessen the burden of finding a job in a new town:

Do Your Research

Before you pack up and leave, try to do as much research as you can about the city where you are moving.  Figure out what the hot industries are, which companies call the shots, and whom you might be able to contact to help get you in the door.  The more you get to know your new city, the less likely you are to feel like a deer in headlights once you get there.  Try to gain your bearings prematurely, and you’ll be primed to hit the ground running.

Grow Your Network

Yes, networking is tricky enough from the comfort of your hometown, but it’s important to reach out a little bit before your big move. Try to leverage the network you have to help you meet people in your new city.  Make it a goal to get in touch with a short list of new people, so that when you get to your destination you can immediately start to grow your social network. The more people you know, the more opportunities you will have access to, and the more individuals you will have on your side looking out for your best interests.

Reach Out to College Career Centers

Oftentimes, college career centers will be happy to help recent graduates who have moved to a new city.  Check to see which ones are around you, and stop by for an informational meeting.  Your own college may also have a reciprocity program with another school in your new area, so look into that as well.

Consider Temporary Work

If nothing seems to pan out, don’t be afraid to take on temporary work.  This is another great way to establish connections and get your foot in the door with your new city’s job industry.  Don’t take just any old job out of desperation, but find something for the interim that keeps you busy, gives you face time with people, and perhaps teaches you a few new skills.

Have a Solid Plan

You should put together a plan for your new life in the new city, including your living expenses and how far your money will take you while you don’t have a job.  It’s also important to bear in mind an exit strategy if worse comes to worst.

Making a big move is exciting and presents a multitude of opportunities.  It can be stressful as well, but do your best to plan ahead and do the leg work before – as well as after – you get to your destination, and you will certainly lighten your load.

Bon voyage,

The Doostang Team

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Tech-Savvy Resume Strategies

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Healthcare Equity Research Analyst, New York, NY
Chief Technical Officer, Cambridge, MA
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Increase the effectiveness of your resume through the productive use of technology. While being tech-savvy with your resume definitely includes posting to job websites, successful job candidates go far beyond the basics. Knowledge of leading edge uses of technology, in addition to basic Internet posting procedures, will help set your resume apart from the competition!

Resume Submission

Most job applicants submit resumes electronically by sending an email or posting to corporate or job search websites. In doing so, you still want to be certain that your resume is appropriately formatted, has a professional appearance, and is appealing to the reader.

When attaching your resume to an email, you typically want to save it as a Word document, which will preserve the formatting and professional appearance. If posting to a job search site, it may be necessary to save the resume in a plain text format. Though this file type will eliminate most of the formatting, it will enable your document to retain its basic professional appearance online.

Scannable Resumes

Many companies use computers or scanners to input large numbers of resumes and selectively screen for industry specific keywords. It is critical in these cases to be certain that your resume is current in terms of how your job skills and work experiences are described. If you are uncertain about the keywords in your resume, compare your resume with the latest job descriptions to be certain your resume contains the right language to catch the attention of both human eyes and computer scanners.

Electronic resumes or e-versions are typically formatted for computer scanners instead of human eyes. This electronic resume format is specially designed to be successfully scanned by computers. The typical formatting that makes a resume appealing to the human eye may create obstacles that cause a computer scanner to reject your documents. It is often best to submit both Word and scannable versions to increase your likelihood of a successful submission.

Personal Websites

Regardless of how sophisticated or plain your website may be, it can still be a positive resource for you to use during your job search. The key is to remember that a personal website needs to be professional when included in your job search. Be sure to edit any unprofessional photos or offhand postings before directing a potential employer to your site. When using your website as part of your job search, be cautious about including your entire resume. You don’t want to make yourself vulnerable to identity theft by posting your entire work history and personal address online. This can also be risky if you are currently employed and trying to keep your job search quiet around the office.

A personal website can become an asset in your job search if you post relevant articles you have written or outline special projects, such as software you developed or community projects in which you have been involved. Highlighting any experience as a Board member or a key organizer demonstrates your leadership abilities.

Online/Electronic Portfolios

Whether you have your own website or not, you can use the power of technology to showcase work samples using video, PowerPoint presentations, or white papers. Although you don’t want to include excessive links in your resume, you can organize a portfolio of key work products to add important details that your resume alone cannot convey.

For an online portfolio to add critical value to your application, include a slide show of specific accomplishments, such as photos of job sites, video snippets of presentations, or even statistics of outstanding achievements that go beyond the basics in your resume and you can add critical value to your application. Another alternative is to copy all your materials onto a CD and carry it along to present during the interview or leave for the hiring manager to review.

Online Networking

Professional associations often include discussion boards and may have job posting sites as well. Explore the sites of all professional organizations with which you are associated or may be interested in joining to determine what kind of networking opportunities may be available. In addition to message boards and online forums at professional organization websites, you may also investigate sites that include professional networking as part of their mission.

Even though thinking outside the box has become a trite phrase, the concept still carries value. If you shift your thinking away from the traditional resume format, you are likely to set yourself apart from the competition and create opportunities for yourself. Brainstorm a few tech-savvy strategies to gain results from your resume!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Doostang Success — Business Consulting Job within 1 Month of Beginning My Search

Alison

Wofford College, 2007
Senior Business Consultant – Perficient

“Initially, I was weary of looking for a new job. I had a stable job that was unfulfilling, but due to all the rumors about how hard it was to find a job, I was afraid to even look. I checked out listing on other job sites and became more disheartened after wading through hundreds of jobs that sounded like scams to find one possibly interesting position.

Then I tried Doostang! After spending a little time on Doostang, I found a number of opportunities that I found interesting and decided to submit my resume.

Within 1 month of beginning my job search with Doostang, I found a position as a Senior Business Consultant with Perficient (formerly Exervio) in Charlotte, NC.”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Private Equity Intern – Progressive Investment Company, New York, NY

Consultant – Top-Notch Consulting Company, Washington, DC

Pre-MBA Associate – Top Private Equity Firm, Los Angeles, CA

Simulation Analyst – Rapidly Growing Boston Area Robotics Company, Boston, MA

Investment Banking Associate – National Securities Company, New York, NY

Search jobs on Doostang

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Adding Pleasure to Your Business Trip

IB Analyst, New York, NY
Advertising Copywriter, Atlanta, GA
Analyst, Washington, DC
Strategy Consultant, SF Bay Area
Fund Accountant, New York, NY

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Oftentimes, the people who travel most for work are ironically the ones who have the most difficult time finding time to travel for personal purposes.  Perhaps it’s hard to find a good chunk of time to get away; or maybe the typical hassle that comes with airports and hotels is the last thing they want to deal with on their time off.  Whether or not this is the case, adding a little pleasure to a business trip can make constant traveling a lot more bearable.  And now that it’s summer and vacation is on everyone’s mind, a strategically planned business trip might actually double into that quick getaway you’ve been yearning for.  Here are some tips for spicing up those trips meant solely for work:

Plan Ahead

It’s hard to take advantage of what a new city has to offer if you’re doing it at the last minute.  However, if you do some research before your trip and figure out when you will have some spare time, you can plan to do a little sightseeing or fine dining on your own.  Not to mention, you’ll be more likely to stick with your plans if you think them through beforehand.

Spice up the Client Meetings

Wining and dining your clients is an expense that usually falls on your company’s tab, which is really nice.  But how many salmon dinners or rounds of golf can you take?  Try to plan some more interesting outings or explore unique restaurants in the area, so long as they allow you to maintain a professional environment.  Consider asking those local clients for suggestions on what they might like to do.

Squeeze in an Extra Day

Consider showing up a day beforehand or leaving a day after, especially if your business trip falls near a weekend.  It’s definitely possible to squeeze in personal activities between meetings, but it’s a lot less stressful if you have a day to yourself.  If you decide to do this, make sure to inform your boss of your plans, and to show him or her that you will be keeping business and personal expenses separate.

Bring Along Your Significant Other

Maybe your significant other has the flexibility and willingness to travel with you and spend time with you when you aren’t stuck in meetings.  If so, you can turn parts of your business trip into a small getaway, and explore the city and some nice restaurants together.  Again, be sure to keep your personal expenses separate, and to stay focused on work when you need to be. 

Traveling for work doesn’t have to be a drag.  All you need to do is find some creative ways to spend your down time, and a boring business trip can all of a sudden become a fun escape.

Happy traveling,

The Doostang Team

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Get Paid for Your Work – Negotiating a Freelance Contract

Associate, Dallas, TX
Analyst, Cambridge, MA
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During a time of unemployment, some individuals make finding a full-time job into their main pursuit. After putting in long hours and hard work, something ultimately comes through and the task is done. Then there are those people who work for themselves. While freelancing allows great latitude and more control over what you do and the time you spend doing it, it also confines you within the realm of constantly seeking out work and renegotiating your terms of employment. There is more job security, as you control your own destiny, so to speak, being your own boss and in charge of seeking out new projects. And yet, there is less security, for there is no way of telling how long that lag between the end of a project and the beginning of a new one will be. Read on for a list of negotiating tips, so that you can ensure you get the most out of your freelancing experience.

Write it Down

First and foremost, whenever you negotiate a contract with an employer, be absolutely sure to put all terms down in writing. If you instead opt to commit to something verbally, you run the risk of having an employer change the terms on you, or conveniently remembering them in a different way. Write it down, and should troubles arise, you can take your documents to a third party and settle the problem accordingly.

Agree to a Price Upfront

When you discuss project details with an employer, it’s important to discuss compensation at the outset. Don’t wait until you’re halfway through the job to bring it up – by that point you might already be too embroiled in the work to easily get out of it if an employer refuses to compensate you properly. And never, under any circumstances, hand over work without first agreeing on the value of your efforts. If you turn over your work without first setting a price, you turn over all power.

Set a Date

Negotiate a date on which you will be paid in full – and write this down in the original contract. That way, you hold an employer accountable, and if they fail to hold up their end of the bargain, you can pursue the next necessary course of action. If you don’t set a date, you give the employer the opportunity to continue pushing off payment later and later, which keeps you in a state of limbo and prolongs an already unhealthy business relationship.

Procure a Retainer Fee

After you have set a price and a pay date, require that your employer pay you a retainer fee. This is an amount of money that an employer pays you upfront in order to secure your services. Even once you draw up a contract with an employer, you can still run into a tricky situation at the end of your business relationship: your employer may claim that you did not live up to the terms of your end of the bargain, or may lack the finances to pay out to you in the end. A retainer fee ensures that you do see at least some of the money for your work, regardless of your employer’s funds or their opinion on the quality of your work.

Understand the Time Commitment

It’s important to have as thorough understanding of the project as possible, at least to a point where you know how much time you will be spending on it. Why? Several reasons. Some people may wish to negotiate pay based on an hourly rate. If you originally underestimate how much time a project will take you, it may be difficult to go back and convince your employer of the time that the work actually took, and of how much you truly deserve to be paid. It’s also imperative to know how much time you need to devote to the project so that you manage your time well. Getting the work in on time is built into your part of the contract, and failure to do so may delay or nullify payment. Finally, understanding time constraints can be helpful so that you can convey this information to the employer. If you establish exactly how long you will be spending on a project with an employer beforehand, you can avoid having them demand superfluous work or hours from you throughout the process.

Understand the Project

A nice segue from the discussion on time commitment, you must understand the project you are undertaking, and so should your employer. If you are asked to complete one thing, make sure that this is the thing that you deliver in the end. This will help keep you on track, as well as lessen the likelihood that an employer will claim that you did not provide the work you were supposed to, thus ensuring that you don’t run into unnecessary issues when it comes to getting your paycheck.

Freelancing can be tricky – more often than not, you don’t have someone else advocating on your behalf, and there are many uncertainties that you run into working for a new employer every few days, weeks, or months. But freelancing can also be a lot of fun. Who doesn’t like being their own boss and changing the scenery every now and then? Just follow these simple guidelines and enjoy the ride!

Until next time,
The Doostang Team

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Doostang Success — My Dream Job after Just One Week

Crystal

Georgetown University ’10
Financial Analytics Generalist – Bloomberg L.P.

“For me, Doostang was an amazing resource because it offered two critical factors that helped me propel a successful job search: credibility and visibility.

I wanted to make my job search as efficient as possible, and I chose Doostang because it was recommended to me by a trusted and highly accomplished friend from a leading university and career, who was also a site member. So credibility was a big piece that got me started.

Every few days or so, for about a month, I re-ran a search based on my criteria, shortlisted promising jobs and companies, and took the time to apply at the end of each week.

Ultimately, I was contacted back by a great company for a cool role, and offered a job just one week later after several interviews. I realized throughout the interview process that this was a dream company for me.

That said – what I also loved about Doostang is that it let me manage my entire job search from a single online location, and its extensive database of high quality jobs enabled me to consider opportunities I wouldn’t have thought of applying to otherwise (including the one that I ultimately obtained).

I would particularly recommend Doostang to people who are in a similar situation I was recently in: open to a range of types of opportunities that will propel your career, and wanting immediate and efficient access to a tried and true job board and resource recommended by top graduates and professionals.

Doostang really opened up my eyes to the wide variety of opportunities out there, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome!”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Research Analyst – Powerful Financial Firm, New York, NY

Sales & Marketing Intern – Renowned Internet Company, San Francisco, CA

Investment Manager – International Private Equity Firm, Italy

Contract Consultant – Preeminent Research/Advisory Company, San Francisco, CA

Legal Administrative Analyst – Renowned Investment Firm, Chicago, IL

Search jobs on Doostang

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The Best Way to Answer “YES” to “Have You Ever Been Fired?”

Investment Banking Analyst, New York, NY
Marketing Internship, San Francisco, CA
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For some, the question “Have you ever been fired?” can inspire a pit in the stomach when the answer to that question is “Yes”.  You may be among an unfortunate bunch who had a horrific experience at a company (or with a certain coworker or boss), ending in a not so ideal ending.  And whether your termination was your fault or not, it can continue to haunt you in your search for future prospects.  So what is the best way to field this tough issue?

Be Honest

First things first:  don’t lie.  It may be tempting to dismiss the topic altogether, hoping that the company you’re interviewing with never finds out – but what happens if they do?  If they find out during the interview process, you’re certain not to get the job.  And if they find out a few years down the line, no matter how great an employee you are, they may still decide to let you go.  A second termination is not what you want on your record, so do yourself a favor and be upfront and honest from the get go.  It’s much safer, and you’ll stress about if far less in the long run.

Provide Some Context

Explain the circumstances surrounding the incident.  If it was a conflict of interest, let the interviewer know.  If it happened 15 years ago, tell them that you now have a lot of distance from the incident and that your stellar work performance since then speaks for itself.  If it occurred in the more recent past, explain that you have learned quite a bit from the incident, but don’t spend your time making excuses.  Lay down the facts, and focus on what you’ve done since and will do in the future to demonstrate that you are a valuable employee who understands what it takes to be an asset to a company.

Don’t Give Away Too Much

While it’s important to be forthcoming in your response to this question, you also don’t want to spend too much time addressing the matter.  Keep the focus of the interview on what makes you the ideal person to hire, and spend as little time as you can conveying what the interviewer needs to know about that particular incident.  People who feel the need to defend themselves tend to over-explain, and this can portray lack of confidence and lead you down the wrong road.  Certainly stray away from speaking ill of your former boss or company, remaining as objective and succinct as possible.

No one likes getting fired and everyone wants to find a new job.  Don’t let one obstacle in your past set the tone for the rest of your career.  Concentrate on what you need to do to land your next job and on the reasons you’re a perfect fit for it, and the rest will follow.

Have a wonderful day,

The Doostang Team

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