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  • Hi Eric,
    I have a question for you. How does a person go back to work after not being in the work field for 14 years ? I have been a full time mom for the last 14 years and have put my career on hold to raise the most important individuals in my life, my two beautiful boys. I consider myself a Domestic engineer! I became a jack of all traits.
    I am 53 years old now and I want to get back into designing kitchens. I have my associates degree in interior design specializing in kitchen and bath design. The problem is I am having a hard time deciding on apply for a big corporate home improvement store or a family owned business.
    My oldest son is graduating next year and going to collage and my younger son is a freshman so I am ready to fly back into my career again! How can I get back into my career.
    I have my resume all ready to go and then I see this big gap.
    My priority are my sons and I am blessed that I have a wonderful Husband who was ok with me staying home. How do I explain this to the professionals in my field? Being a full time mom is a job all on its own yet I feel that I have to down play it on my resume.
    So where do I go from here?
    Please let me know your thoughts on this matter for I so appreciated this amazing article you have written. So much has changed since I last applied for a job.
    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give to me.
    ( A mom looking forward to her next chapter in her book of life)

    • Any hiring manager with a family knows that being a mom is a full-time job so just be honest and transparent about it and don’t sweat it. You may want to apply for both big store and family company jobs and see where it leads. Let them show you what they’ve got:)

  • In filling out job applications, I am often asked, “is it okay to contact current employer.” I have been saying “no” as I do not want my current employer to know that I am looking. Does it raise any red flags when I do this?

  • Hi Eric,
    I would like your help with something.
    I am currently working for a bank and so far I have been there for 21 years. I am ready to move on to a different job so I can grow and learn new things. Can you give me some pointers on how to land a new job?

    • Hi hope! I too worked for a bank and wanted to get out. I started pursuing a CPA studying at night but halfway through decided it wasn’t for me. Instead I quit and got an MBA (after traveling for a year) – that’s a great way to meet people and create new opportunities for yourself. I realize it could be impractical depending on your life circumstances. Starting a business or consulting practice is also a good way to change directions. Before you leave the bank, perhaps you can try new things by volunteering in areas that may interest you… having steady employment is a great advantage, gives you breathing room to make the right move!

  • Eric,

    I find your blog very helpful. Thank you for sharing your advice! I was wondering if you or your readers could answer some questions I have regarding single-parenting and full-time employment. Any input is appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    I’m a single mom of a 2-year-old and am currently looking for a full-time job. Normally I pick up my son at 3 pm from school/daycare, which, if I find a typical 8 am – 5 pm job, would make me unavailable during part of those hours. I can still work from home later in the day after he goes to bed (~ 8 pm) so I can still put in an eight-hour-day, but I wonder several things about this arrangement:

    1. Is this reasonable to ask from an employer who does not know me or my work ethic and who therefore does not, understandably, trust me? What are, if any, reasonable expectations to have for someone in my situation?

    2. How do most people deal with this type of situation, given that a lot of employees have young children and/or are single parents?

    3. And how do I bring this up tactfully and professionally, and when is the right time to bring it up? Is it appropriate to hint at it during the interview so that they know beforehand? Or after a job offer has been made?

    • I think the shortest path to finding what you’re looking for might be through freelance sites like elance.com, guru.com and flexjobs.com. It’s never unreasonable to ask for what you need or want but the reality is, it may take a long time to find someone who says yes… I believe most people in that situation either start their own business or work online.

      The right time is probably before the interview, sorry to say!

      best wishes,

  • I have always wish to work for an Oil company before i started college. Am now studying Chemical Engineering in a University in NC. I have realized some few oil companies come to my school for job fair. What do you think i should do to get the chance to work for one of these oil companies after graduation? Thanks

  • How will you advise a job seeker to position himself/herself after being laid off because of redundancy? What do you think about employer’s perception of such job seeker?

    • That’s a difficult situation… the best solution is to tell the truth if you can find a way to frame it in a positive light. Did you learn something from the experience that will change how you work or manage relationships going forward? Do you know anything about how the decision was made as to why you were let go and not someone else?

  • Hey there, Eric. I was wondering how soon after applying to a job should I wait to follow up with a phone call. I’ve got those pesky student loans to pay back and need to find something soon.


  • Fully agree that it’s much easier (or look better) to find a job when we are employed. Under the circumstances that we have to job-seach during unemployment, what would suggest our response/ reply regarding this blank period, to not to be perceived negatively/ unfavourably?

    • What I like to hear is “I’ve been using the time to study/learn/volunteer xyz”. It would really help also if you have something to show me such as a blog, website etc. and possibly a related reference I can talk to about what you’ve been doing… would help also if you’re excited about related books you’ve read etc!

      • Thanks Eric. I will stay alert and equip myself for any opportunity that may arise. BTW, I found lots of helpful tips and warnings from the site. More importantly, you deliver them with fun and humor, which is much needed during the search. Thanks a bunch!

  • On my scholarship application I listed my GPA as 2.33 but it is really 3.33
    Can you please correct it for me?

  • I am currently at a job that i love and hate; sound very contradicting by i love what I do i guess I just don’t like the departments environment. The problem is I have a very negative supervisor. Everything thing from complaints to simply comments are all negative. I’ve realized it is very draining and I an always emotionally exhausted by the end of the day; because all I am trying to do is learn every there needs to be taught to me but at the same time while doing that i am trying to tune out all of the negativity.

    What would you do? How can I turn this love hate feeling around…


    • Dary, the first step is to discuss the negative feedback with your supervisor – focus on your feelings. Use “I statements” to keep the discussion nonconfrontational. For example, “Can we talk about my performance? I feel you’re unhappy with me and I want to see if there’s something I can dp to turn it around… when I hear negative feedback, it realy lets the air out of my tires and I enjoy the work less. I crave positive feedback and I feel like it’s affecting my performance.”

      In my experience, it’s really important to have the issues out in the open, even if you are one hundred percent certain your supervisor won’t change and there’s no solution. Then, if the problem can’t be resolved mutually, you can feel good about taking the next step, whatever that is. You did your best to face the problem head-on.

      If being direct and honest with your supervisor doesn’t lead to any significant improvement, I’d move on to another department in the same company or to a similar job in a different company. Remember, it’s much easier to find a job while you are currently employed, so don’t quit your job before lining up another, and be careful to keep your search confidential.

      If you really like the company you’re working for, you might try to negotiate a slightly different situation once you’ve received an offer from another company. Perhaps a different department or different supervisor…

      Finally, I’ll say that in my experience, people that drain energy from others do it habitually and are unlikely to change. When it’s practical, get them out of your life!

      Here’s a little more about asking for feedback: http://academy.justjobs.com/ask-for-feedback/

    • Wow, that could really have been me about 4 months ago! I was ready to walk out the door. I requested a reference for a job from my boss’ superior, which led to an hour discussion about the situation.

      A few days later, she confronted me about the meeting – I told her that I had not initiated it, I told her superiors that she had in the past actually “written me up” (like a teenager at McDonald’s) when I had met with previous superiors about the tension, and that I did not, nor would I, lodge a formal complaint.

      After a few meetings without me, the four of us met – she became fully aware that I felt the environment was toxic – and I was left to decide whether I wanted to pursue alternate employment.

      After a weekend of thought, she returned to apologize and promise to stop the attitude. I think she realized that I was invaluable to the operation of the office and she would be in a very bad situation to lose me.

      She has been much better since then, but it’s happened before, so we shall see how long it lasts.

  • Hi Eric,

    I am 56 years old and unhappy in my current job. I have an opportunity to take another job that matches my skills better, the hours are better and there is less job security.  I would take a big step back in pay – from 60k to 40k.  At my age, does it make more sense to stick with a job that I don’t really like, has long hours, and is relatively secure, or to strike out in a new direction, with dramatically lower pay, less job security and higher job satisfaction?  My 401k is not enough to sustain me and I still have another 13 years left on my mortgage.



    • Wow Anita, thanks for posing such a challenging question. If it were me, I would probably look for ways to reduce my living expenses before deciding – I might sell my house and move to a less expensive area or less expensive smaller home. I might also look for ways of making up the difference in income with some kind of part time, work from home activity.

      Two books I have found very relevant and engaging on this subject are “The Man Who Quit Money” and “What Should I Do with My Life” – I’d probably start by reading those if you haven’t already.

      You’ll find links to those two on http://academy.justjobs.com/know-yourself-follow-your-bliss/

      Having experienced chronic illness, I can also say that access to good health care would be on my mind making this decision, but it’s really a catch-22 because you are likely to be healthier in a job that gives you more satisfaction! I thought about that a lot while reading “The Man Who Quit Money”

      Warm regards,

  • When is it appropriate to contact an HR person we have never met before? If I’m trying to land a job at a great company and don’t know anyone there, would I be better off having an informational interview with a current employer or by contacting someone from HR? Thanks!

    • Unless you are looking for a position in the HR department, you’ll want to pursue your informational interviews in other parts of the company. The HR department is just going to want to channel you into the company’s formal recruiting channels. In a big company that means that your resume is going into an Applicant Tracking System or ATS which we fondly nickname “Avoid Talented Seekers”. Most likely you never hear back from the company again after that and you have learned nothing and built no relationship…

      • Eric,
        Thank you for the reply and for putting the Job Search Guide together and for free! I’ve been finding it very helpful. Thank you so much!