Ask Sarah - General Questions
Job search expert Sarah Weinberger has worked with job seekers for years answering their questions and providing them tools by which to succeed. Her analytical mind bridges the gap between the engineering of a career search and individuals.
She welcomes your questions, and encourages you to send them into her. Please use our contact form or connect with her on LinkedIn. She will select questions to answer and post the answer on this site. Below are some of the questions she received and answered.
How do I start my job search, when I do not know what I am looking for?
I would need to know more about your specific situation. Most people, who graduate from college, want a job working in their field of expertise. It is either that. Some people use their bachelor’s degree as a stepping stone to a further degree. For instance, a history major might pursue a legal degree and then get a job as a lawyer. A biology degree can lead to a degree in medicine. Some people get a degree, because the college forces them to get a degree in something, so they choose a field, but that is not really what they want to do.
My advice would be to start working in a field, which 1) you think might interest you the most, 2) has jobs in the field, 3) is outsourcing proof, 4) is recession proof, and lastly 5) where you have the most aptitude. It does not really matter what you choose, the universe will push you in time to the right avenue. You just have to start.
I did not know what I wanted to do, when I first graduated from school. I got a job writing of all things. I was horrible in the field, but I was sent back to school, and liked it. I then got introduced to engineering and recruitment. Later on, I found that I had other interests. The important thing is to just start.
I would recommend scheduling a career coach session, where we can sit down and discuss your specific situation. Life is short and mistakes can cost you.
Does age matter?
Much depends on your specific field of expertise. People expect that the older that you get, the more experience that you have, and as such move into more senior positions, such as management or team lead. Not everything can be done by a college graduate or someone, who is super smart. There are many, many things that you just learn by doing, making the mistakes and not repeating them. There is much value in the School of Hard Knocks.
Yes, as the older that you get, the more expensive your health insurance will be for an employer. You are more set in your ways, so the perspective employer can mold you less. There are upsides. You do not have to worry about children and time off, as you already have a family. You can concentrate more on your career.
Again, like in all things, much depends on your specific situation. I will need to know more. Being younger does not guarantee a job. Just ask all the college graduates, who could not find work. The same is true for older people. The real issue is not age, but sales and marketing of your skill and going after a job, where you fit in the best. In that way, age will matter the least.
Can I ask why I was not hired?
I could give a sarcastic response, but... You should always ask why you were not hired unless there is a very specific reason why you should not. Every little bit of information helps you chip away at the obstacles that block you from getting a job. You will get a job, when you solve 100% of the issues preventing you from doing so. If the person says no or does not know, then you say thank you and move on. You lost only the few seconds asking the question, but you have all the more to gain.
Do not be sad that you did not get hired. There is a position for everyone. You just have to persevere until you find the right position for you. Being hired into the wrong position just hurts everyone.
I would caution you to not play the “I am perfect card”, as I have seen is more common than not. Assume that you are a beginning student. Take the position that the loss was a defect. Try to understand what exactly happened, and then, if needed or warranted, make a correction.
A career coach comes in handy to discuss your specific situation. Like everything else, there is no canned answer that applies to everyone.
Can employers check only what is on your resume?
That is a great question. The answer is we are talking the age of Google, NSA, and Edward Snowden. The European Union past a law forcing Google to remove information, when requested, but we shall see if that is like spitting into the wind. Employers usually want to know who they hire and are at liberty to use LinkedIn or any other site. Usually, employment applications ask for permission to do a professional background check (criminal, drugs, etc.).
This question usually means that you want to keep something secret or wish that your new employer does not know something. Be honest. Lies (an omission is a lie too) always come out sooner or later. If a person wants you, they will be okay with all of you. They will see that you are honest. Honesty is something with which any employer can work.
Information presented on this site is to give possible answers to your question, however each situation is different. Also, Sarah is not an attorney. Each locality has different rules and regulations, which may apply. If you have any legal questions, please consult an attorney. The information here is for informational purposes only.
Back to Ask Sarah
Every person has a unique situation. If you would like to turbo charge your job search and have Sarah not only answer your questions, but coach you, then click here to go to our career coaching page. Schedule an introductory conversation, to see if the two of you are a fit. If so, you will be on your way to a more productive future.