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Tuesday, December 15, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
with a min-
imum of seven (7) years of work experience in industrial instru-
mentation and controls and a B.Sc. Instrumentation and Control
System Engineering is required. He/she must be able to develop,
design and evaluate control systems architecture and instrument
and control systems engineering deliverables; such as instrument
index, P&IDs, control narrative, loop diagram, instrument
datasheet, procurement specifications, preparing tender packages
and scheduling using Primavera, sizing calculations for instrument
& low voltage electrical circuits, reviewing process packages for
fertilizer plant controls. In addition, the position requires experi-
ence with configuration & commissioning of Honeywell EPKS
DCS, ESD, PLC, SCADA system, Sixnet RTU - IPm, VPm con-
I am constantly telling unemployed job seekers
that having the unemployed stamp on their resume
these days is more of a "Badge of Courage" than
a "Scarlet Letter."
Most employers realise that it is hard to have a career
path that doesn t hit a bump in the road somewhere
along the way. The key to overcoming the bias associated
with being unemployed is to paint the picture with the
brightest colours possible.
Hopefully, your termination from your last job was
not due to any negative actions on your part. If there
was a layoff, reorganisation or the job was shipped
overseas, hiring managers are likely to give you a chance
to tell your story. Whether in the interview, resume, or
just networking, there are key approaches to keep in
START WITH THE FACTS
When asked, present your situation factually. If you
were fired, you ll need to share what you ve learned
from the experience and how it has shaped your career
decisions going forward.
If it was a bad fit, then explain what a good fit for
you looks like (it should match the job you re interviewing
for, if you re doing your homework).
And if you were laid off, realise this is not uncommon
right now. You might be asked what prompted the layoff
and/or why you were included. If many were involved,
you should mention this, too.
HIGHLIGHT THE POSITIVES OF
YOUR LAST EMPLOYMENT
Certainly if your tenure was long and filled with
achievements, you should be able to give a positive
description of your experience at your last employer.
Stick to the accomplishments and give very little back-
ground to the separation details.
The idea is to move on and don t dwell on the topic.
Some candidates get a little tongue-tied when talking
Don t wing it---have a practiced response ready. If
the hiring manager is comfortable with your response,
all your other information will have more merit.
One way to solidify your reputation with the last
company is to have a written recommendation from
your last boss. You need not necessarily present the
recommendation when the topic comes up. Simply
saying you have a letter of recommendation is often
enough to convince an interviewer that you were a good
FILL THE VOID ON YOUR RESUME
I agree that looking for a job IS a full time job. But
you must do something else, part time, to have something
on your resume after the last job. Yes, it is all about
marketing and you are marketing yourself. Having the
best promotional documentation (your resume, LinkedIn
profile, etc.) is part of most every sale. Especially when
you can t sell yourself in person.
To fill the void on your resume, volunteer, do con-
sulting work, help friends with their business (you won t
necessarily be asked if it was a paid position), go to a
class, or be active in professional associations (which
also helps with networking). Showing that you are taking
advantage of the time available to you shows you are
assertive, keeping your "saw sharp," and like to be busy.
ALWAYS SHOW CONFIDENCE
Employers can smell desperation. They don t like
hiring a candidate who "wants any job."
They want candidates who really feel they are a perfect
fit for their job. When they have dozens of qualified
candidates to choose from, they are going to pick the
one who best fits the needs they have. If they feel you
are the best fit and they don t see any risk in hiring
you, you get the job. Risk to them can mean someone
else thinks you are not the ideal employee.
You need to convince them that you are risk-free
and being unemployed has nothing to do with your
ability to do the job well. Showing confidence includes
telling a compelling story. What are the special qualities,
training, and experiences you have that may separate
you from the rest of the candidates? The more value
you attach to your name, the less important your employ-
ment status is.
CRANK UP THE NETWORKING
Going through traditional channels (job boards, want-
ads, career fairs, employer web sites) can be a challenge
when unemployed since there often is not human contact
with the hiring manager.
You have heard time and time again how important
networking is. There is a reason for this.
If a friend or colleague walks your resume down the
hall to the hiring manager (or makes a phone call), they
are putting their reputation on the line. Good recruiters
feel the same way. This "investment of reputation equity"
on their part balances out the unemployment bias.
Statements like this one go a long way to getting an
"Check out Jim. I ve known him for years, and he s
a go-getter and really smart. I think you d like him.
He s been doing some freelance work between jobs as
he was caught up in a huge layoff that was all about
One other note on networking: leverage your social
network. Whether on the Internet or neighbourhood
party, people need to know you re looking. Make sure
you re approachable about the subject, too. You might
also consider starting a blog. I ve recommended this to
unemployed CIOs in the past. One of them got noticed
by the online Wall Street Journal and blogged for them.
Soon after, he landed a new job.
I just placed a candidate this week for a contractor
position as a Business Analyst. She would have preferred
a permanent role, but she now has a chance to show
off her talents from within. Resumes saying you re great
are one thing. Actually showing them great work is
another. I ve asked the supervisor to keep an eye on
her for potential long-term work if she deserves it, and
he agreed he would.
SOME GOOD NEWS
In the last several years, I have had very few of my
clients ask job seekers about their employment status.
And when they do, the explanation of a layoff is suf-
Don t forget the smaller companies in your search.
They sometimes are harder to network into, but they
tend to hire more quickly and have fewer candidates to
choose from. They often have identified a need and
want to fill it right away. An unemployed candidate
sometimes looks more appealing to the potential employ-
er because the unemployed candidate can start imme-
diately, and the employer has no risk of being faced
with a counter-offer from an existing employer and
As they say, "perception is reality." By approaching
your job search and self-marketing correctly you can
overcome the "unemployed perception" with "well-
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