Q: Three years ago, I was rejected for a job I really wanted. Based only on my resume, they apparently concluded I was overqualified. I understand this position will soon be available again, so this time I would like a chance to interview.
The job is with a nonprofit organization whose mission I strongly support. With 30 years of experience in software development, I believe I could be extremely useful to them. Although the description is for someone much more junior, I have no problem with that.
After three decades in the corporate world, I'm ready to use my talents for a worthy cause. I am also no longer the hard-charger that I used to be, so I would prefer a job in which I already have the required skills. How can I increase my odds of finally getting an interview?
A: When your background doesn't match the stated qualifications, sending in a resume is not the way to go. After a quick review, it will probably wind up in the digital equivalent of the circular file. So to become a serious candidate, you must find a way to make a personal connection.
Accomplishing this goal will require all your networking skills. After making a list of contacts, get in touch with anyone who might help you connect with this organization. Your ultimate objective is to discuss your interest and expertise with someone involved in the hiring process.
Follow up this conversation with a carefully crafted resume and cover letter. On the resume, be sure to highlight the most relevant aspects of your previous experience. After 30 years, consider omitting some of your earliest jobs. Use the cover letter to reiterate your sincere belief in the mission and your desire to contribute.
Finally, when you do get an interview, be prepared for the inevitable question about why you're considering a career reversal. Describe the many reasons for your attraction to this job but avoid any hint of a desire to slow down.
Q: As a new supervisor, I don't know what to do about one of my employees. "Bert" used to be our boss until I replaced him a few months ago. After 20 years, he was forced to step down by the owner of the company. He's been acting like a spiteful 65-year-old child ever since.
Having been a supervisor, Bert knows exactly how to create problems without violating any policies. He undermines my decisions and creates conflict in the group. I've thought about going to human resources, but I don't know if that's appropriate. What do you think?
A: Although Bert's behavior is clearly unacceptable, it's not at all surprising. Being demoted after two decades is tough, and reporting to a former employee makes it even more humiliating. So despite his inappropriate antics, try to have some compassion for his predicament.
Because this problem is too tricky for a novice supervisor to handle, discuss Bert's disruptive actions with your boss and HR manager. They can help you develop a plan for getting him back in line. While Bert's embarrassment may be understandable, it's no excuse for stirring up trouble.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of "Secrets to Winning at Office Politics." Send in questions and get free coaching tips at http://www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter @officecoach.