Dealing with a recent workplace reverse

Q: I started work with a company two months ago. Very early in my time there, I realised the job I was being asked to do wasn’t the job I felt I had been hired for – it didn’t really use my skills (I am a computer programmer) and was very underwhelming in terms of challenging me. I had given up a good job to take on this role, so, as you can appreciate, I was very angry. However, rather than sit around become more and more bitter, I left the role two weeks ago. I am now back on the job-searching trail. On my CV, should I mention the six-week stint at this company? (Valerie S, email)

A. To provide as broad an answer as possible to this question, I canvassed the opinion of a Human Resources specialist, and I quote his answer here:

“This is very tricky for the candidate, but, ultimately it is best that she is honest with potential employers. The likelihood is that the six-week role will come to light anyway, so it’s always better to ‘front up’ rather than have to admit it on the back foot, so to speak.

Valerie can mention – in a positive way –  that the job was different to the one that she signed up for and that this is a unique situation for her. Employers don’t really expect your CV to be absolutely free from incident or blemish, and what matters is the extent to which she has shown her ability to process, or get over, what has occurred.

Her words need to be chosen carefully and she also needs to emphasise that she is a flexible person. Employers are always a bit wary if they feel that an employee will make a fuss if they ask them to complete a job outside of their spec. So while she wasn’t happy with the work she was asked to do here, she needs to portray herself as someone who will do ‘whatever needs to be done’ from time to time.

It’s a shame that this recent workplace reverse has to be the basis of any conversations that she has with recruiters/employers, as she will want to start off on a completely positive footing, but, in this case, it can’t be avoided. And better to deal with it early and transparently, rather than having to ‘fess up at a later stage.

In any subsequent interview, she also needs to show herself as someone who is focused on the future, rather than the past. Don’t carry any negative baggage from what has gone before.

In time, her achievements will hopefully diminish the impact of the recent negativity and employers and recruiters will take less and less notice of the six-week stint.”

 Sli Nua Careers top tip

Are you doing enough on the job-searching front? Have you registered with job sites? Have you met with recruitment people? Have you told people in your various networks that you are looking for a job? Quite often people do ‘just so much’ and don’t realise the importance of looking in every corner. It’s a topic we will return to in the near future, but, for now, take a fresh look at your job-searching and see if you are doing all that you can.

Is your CV ticking enough boxes? To obtain the free Sli Nua Careers CV checklist and our special CV how-to video, email with CV Checklist in the subject line. Contact Sli Nua Careers for CVs, Interview Preparation and Mock Interviews – tel. 094 95 42965 / 091 528 88/01 902 0123.