Dear Joan, I have over ten years experience in business human resource teaching. Seven of those years as a Corporate Training Director. Inaddition to my training experience I also have over fifteen years in sales and marketing. I have enclosed sample copies of my resumesand cover letters, which I tailor each time to fit the company needs.
I was in a severe automobile accident and had to spend two and a half years in either a bed, wheelchair, or walking with crutches orcanes. After seven surgeries and much rehabilitation, I am back to normal. I was just released by my doctor, (letter enclosed) and amnow functioning fine. However, I am finding employment very difficult to obtain, even with all my job experience and good workrecord. While I was rehabilitating, I obtained my insurance license in accident and health and life. I figured I would be a natural for sellingdisability insurance. To date, I have had no success.
I get interviews but when they ask me if I'm employed I say no. Then I have to tell them I haven't worked for three years. When they askwhy, the interview goes downhill. I tell them about the accident and give them the doctor's letter (as a last resort, when it looks like theyhave lost interest).
I could really use your advice. Thank you.
It sounds as though you've been through hell and back. It's no wonder you're frustrated! After reviewing your cover letters and resumes andspeaking with you by phone, I think there are a few techniques that could help you. In fact, I've seen many people with a problem intheir past who have found themselves in the same spot.
The most important advice I can give you is to find a way to use your negative experience and turn it into a positive aSet. Manymotivational speakers have done this and made millions. You have probably heard a speaker talk about how he overcame some physicalhandicap or life-threatening experience. You'll notice that they use their trauma to build on a common theme: "You can do anything ifyou try" or "Live each day to the fullest because day-to-day problems are small by comparison." Getting your insurance license was one wayto make lemonade out of lemons but you also need to build on that positive attitude in your interviews.
The point here is that you are trying so hard to convince them that you are healthy (with a lengthy description of all you've beenthrough and how the doctor says you're fine) you scare them off with the explanation. You'll appear obsessed by your circumstances, eventhough what you are trying to do is minimize the situation. For example, have you ever heard a recently divorced friend tell youthey are ready to date and get on with their lives but then they spend the next two hours complaining about their former spouse? Allthe while you're thinking, "He isn't ready to move forward until he can leave this in the past."
I suggest that you rehearse a short script that tells the real story from a positive viewpoint. Tell them how this experience gave youpowerful, motivating material to draw from when training others in the power of positive thinking, persistence, determination and anyother human resources topic. Use your story about overcoming physical difficulties to get your insurance license as evidence thatyou didn't sit idle or feel sorry for yourself. Instead of describing the ordeal itself, focus on how it has changed you for the better and willgive you unique experiences to bring to the position. Above all, you must be positive and enthusiastic about your "new" self.
I recently talked to an ex-convict who spent his time in prison learning about the law. While incarcerated, he became soknowledgeable he built a good reputation with some attorneys and judges who came in contact with his work. After he was released, hewas able to sell his skills to a law firm. He, too, had to overcome tremendous barriers in the minds of his interviewers. He did it bysounding upbeat, positive, confident, and by selling his background as a unique aSet.
On your resumes, I noticed you applied to fairly entry-level jobs such as "Training Coordinator" but then listed all of your powerful pasttitles and experience: Director of Corporate Sales Training, National Sales Manager, etc. Your credentials are overpowering for anentry-level job and will scare off a potential employer. I realize you are trying to re-enter the job market and are willing to take less butperhaps with a more positive attitude you could re-enter at a higher level. Your accident hasn't caused you to lose any of your trainingskills. In fact, you may have gained some.
If you don't act like you can get anything better than entry level, they will be nervous about hiring you. You will look like damaged goods.They will also be afraid you will use their job as a stepping stone to a more appropriate one within a year or two. You may appearthreatening to a less experienced training manager who you could out-shine.
Pack your resume with specific results. It's not enough to say you developed and delivered training. You need to say how well itworked, how much in demand it was and how you impacted product sales, employee boss relationships or whatever you were teaching.You have to look so good they will want you to do the same things for their company. I'd also suggest that you do some public speakingfor training, marketing and sales professional groups. It would be smart to approach university outreach programs and small businessassociations to do some human resources training for their clients on a consulting basis. This will not only rebuild your confidence, it willexpose you to potential employers while building current job experience on your resume. Good luck!
I have over ten years experience in business human resource teaching. Seven of those years as a Corporate Training Director. Inaddition to my training experience I also have over fifteen years in sales and marketing. I have enclosed sample copies of my resumesand cover letters, which I tailor each time to fit the company needs.
JoanLloyd has a solid track record of excellent results. Her firm, JoanLloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding. This includes executive coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, customized leadership training, conflict resolution between teams or individuals, internal consulting skills training for HR professionals and retreat facilitation. Clients report results such as: behavior change in leaders, improved team performance and a more committedworkforce.
JoanLloyd has earned her C.S.P. (certified speaking professional) designation from the National Speakers Association and speaks to corporate audiences, as well as trade & professional associations across the country. Reach her at (800) 348-1944, mailto:email@example.com, orwww.JoanLloyd.com
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