As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/

[Solved] Applying For Work After Long Layoff

milathmilath Registered User regular
edited September 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
The Backstory

About 7 years ago, I was happily living my life, working, going to college, etc. Then my Grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She had already been forgetting things like turning off the stove and whatnot and the doctor said it would only get worse.

My family basically consisted of my mom, my grandmother and myself, and for reasons I'd rather not go into here, my mom was unable to care for my grandmother. We didn't have the money for any kind of full-time care, though we were able to find a county help place to come and check in with her medically and a nurse to do some of the things I couldn't really do, like bathe her.

Anyway, it fell to me to do something. So I dropped out of school, quit my job and moved in with my grandmother.

At first, it wasn't too difficult. I was able to find a long term contract job here (a rather small town in Central Florida) through a Temp. Agency as a Customer Service Rep. After a couple years, however, she began getting really bad. Started wandering out of the house and such. When the contract expired, I decided to stop working to take care of her fulltime.



Now

About 6 months ago, Grandma passed away. I've since moved in with mom and have been looking for work.

I didn't think it would be difficult to find a job after my earlier experience, but I've applied to a few different temp agencies in the last 6 months but received absolutely no leads on jobs whatsoever. What's worse is I have no friends in the immediate area who might have a lead or two.

So, here's the heart of the matter.

I'm mainly looking for clerical work. Some simple file clerk-type entry level job that would give me enough to help with rent and eventually let me move out again and get back to school. I'm a smart guy and my job history (which was consistent before this recent issue) has both clerical and tech. support/CSR work in it.

I recently spoke with a friend of mine who works in human resources at a small company explained that it was possible I wasn't getting any job leads from the agencies because I have such a long gap in my resume. Honestly, I thought a temp agency would be the best route to go in this case to get started again.

This same friend has offered to help me fill said gap by basically lying and saying I worked for her company...



Questions:

Would this long gap be the main reason I haven't gotten work from the temp agencies? Just how bad is this sort of thing?

Would taking my friend up on her offer of helping me fill said gap in employment be as bad an idea as I think it would be? I don't like the idea of lying on a job application, but she seems to think that it wouldn't be that big of a deal.

But if lying would be a bad idea, how can I fix this honestly and get back into the workforce? Am I stuck having to start over completely at McDonalds or something like I'm 16 again?

Help?



tl;dr - Haven't worked in 5 years due to taking care of ailing grandmother. Need help figuring out how to get back into workforce.

steam_sig.png
"No.. I was wrong. This must be what going mad feels like."

milath on

Posts

  • rfaliasrfalias Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I would think if you explain the gap that they could sympathize. Seems a noble cause for a work gap to me. Aside from that I unfortunately can't offer any more.

    rfalias on
  • starmanbrandstarmanbrand Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Most places that will care about your break in work (Low level data entry and stuff might not) will ask why the long break.

    Don't go into a bunch of sob story details, but just mention that you had to take off to care for your grandmother who has Alzheimer.

    starmanbrand on
    camo_sig2.png
  • milathmilath Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    rfalias wrote: »
    I would think if you explain the gap that they could sympathize. Seems a noble cause for a work gap to me. Aside from that I unfortunately can't offer any more.

    Explain how? As in a cover letter of some kind? Or actually on the resume itself?

    Unfortunately, I have yet to hear back from any employer at all regarding a resume I sent out. I'd happily explain this in an interview of some sort, but I'm not even getting that far in the selection process.

    I had been chalking it up to a small selection of clerical jobs in my area plus the current economy, but going this long without any kind of callback aroused my suspicions.
    Most places that will care about your break in work (Low level data entry and stuff might not) will ask why the long break.

    Don't go into a bunch of sob story details, but just mention that you had to take off to care for your grandmother who has Alzheimer.

    I wish someone had asked why. As I mentioned above, I'm not even getting callbacks to explain.

    I probably should've added that I didn't just apply to Temp. Agencies.
    More recently in the last couple months, I've sent out resumes/applications to local businesses hiring. The lack of callbacks from both the agencies and the more recent standard job apps made me question why I haven't been getting callbacks at all.

    Which is when I spoke with my friend I mentioned in the OP.

    Thanks to both of you for the advice, regardless.

    milath on
    steam_sig.png
    "No.. I was wrong. This must be what going mad feels like."

  • SarcastroSarcastro Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    You could fill in the gap with what happened: In-Home Caregiver, From When to When, and list a few details. Dont put on a company name or pretend its something its not, but you were doing the same thing consistantly, gained a level of experience in that field, and all of those challenges are worth something.

    Better than the gap, and still tells the truth.

    Sarcastro on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Sarcastro wrote: »
    You could fill in the gap with what happened: In-Home Caregiver, From When to When, and list a few details. Dont put on a company name or pretend its something its not, but you were doing the same thing consistantly, gained a level of experience in that field, and all of those challenges are worth something.

    Better than the gap, and still tells the truth.
    Don't even mention it was for your grandmother. This is the way to go.

    Thanatos on
  • milathmilath Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Sarcastro wrote: »
    You could fill in the gap with what happened: In-Home Caregiver, From When to When, and list a few details. Dont put on a company name or pretend its something its not, but you were doing the same thing consistantly, gained a level of experience in that field, and all of those challenges are worth something.

    Better than the gap, and still tells the truth.

    This sounds like a very good plan and definitely feels like the best possible solution at the moment. I will try this for now. Hopefully it will at least get me to an interview where I can explain in more detail if necessary.

    Thanks much!

    I don't want to say 'Solved!' just yet though, cause I'm still interested in hearing potential additional alternatives, if there are any.

    I'm especially interested, if anyone out there is involved in the hiring process at a company somewhere, in the inside scoop on what someone in a hiring position would like to see done in a situation like mine.

    milath on
    steam_sig.png
    "No.. I was wrong. This must be what going mad feels like."

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I am not a hiring person, but I think your problem may be just that you left a gap in your resume. If there is a gap, employers tend to assume the worst - that you were in jail or playing WOW for 5 years. Since you've got a good reason, why not be honest about it? Caring for your sick grandmother makes you sound like a good, dutiful person of the type that can be very employable.

    CelestialBadger on
  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Sarcastro's advice is quite good - it will certainly help fill in the gap on paper.

    When you're interviewed, I would advise against offering any explanation until they ask you to elaborate. I would thank your friend for the offer, but I would caution you against depending on any untruths, as those things have a way of coming back to you down the road.

    Also, for what it's worth, don't get discouraged! It's a fairly bad time for many business to be hiring, so don't think you're alone in having a hard time getting callbacks.

    I personally feel that looking for a job should be treated as a job, so just give it your all and you'll be rewarded. Good luck and keep at it!

    firewaterword on
    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
  • Fleck0Fleck0 Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Wow it's so eerie I could swear I made that OP. I.e. I dropped out of school, was a live-in caretaker for grandmother, having trouble finding a job with my large employment gap.

    Lots of good advice in here, will definitely help me as well :^:

    Fleck0 on
    steam_sig.png
  • shugaraeshugarae Phoenix, AZRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    The only other thing I would add/ask - why not go back to school? Even taking a couple of classes at community college may help. Network with the people in class, arrange your resume to put your education info at the top, and learn some new stuff while you're at it. :^:

    shugarae on
    Omeganaut class of '08. Fuck Peggle. Omeganaut class of '17 West. Fuck Rainbow Road.
    The Best in Terms of Pants on JCCC3
  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Sarcastro wrote: »
    You could fill in the gap with what happened: In-Home Caregiver, From When to When, and list a few details. Dont put on a company name or pretend its something its not, but you were doing the same thing consistantly, gained a level of experience in that field, and all of those challenges are worth something.

    Better than the gap, and still tells the truth.
    Don't even mention it was for your grandmother. This is the way to go.

    I can speak from experience that this works. I was in a very similar situation, and handled it in exactly the fashion Sarcastro advises. "Personal Care Aid" is another job title you could use.

    And if anyone thinks that taking care of a seriously ill family member isn't a job, resist the urge to kick them in the groin repeatedly!

    Corvus on
    :so_raven:
  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    shugarae wrote: »
    The only other thing I would add/ask - why not go back to school? Even taking a couple of classes at community college may help. Network with the people in class, arrange your resume to put your education info at the top, and learn some new stuff while you're at it. :^:

    While also good advice, gaps in a resume are like kryptonite to your chances of getting to the interview stage, let alone getting a job. You need to find someway to explain what you were doing in years you weren't working or going to school.

    Also, OP, you should think about applying to temp agencies as a way to get your feet wet. Apply to several.

    Corvus on
    :so_raven:
  • milathmilath Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Sarcastro's advice is quite good - it will certainly help fill in the gap on paper.

    When you're interviewed, I would advise against offering any explanation until they ask you to elaborate. I would thank your friend for the offer, but I would caution you against depending on any untruths, as those things have a way of coming back to you down the road.

    Also, for what it's worth, don't get discouraged! It's a fairly bad time for many business to be hiring, so don't think you're alone in having a hard time getting callbacks.

    I personally feel that looking for a job should be treated as a job, so just give it your all and you'll be rewarded. Good luck and keep at it!

    Thanks! I agree about the untruths. It didn't feel right, which is kinda why I posted looking for a more truthful option. I'll definitely be going with the above advice. Hopefully that'll make the difference.
    Fleck0 wrote: »
    Wow it's so eerie I could swear I made that OP. I.e. I dropped out of school, was a live-in caretaker for grandmother, having trouble finding a job with my large employment gap.

    Lots of good advice in here, will definitely help me as well :^:

    It's tough, and really this isn't where I thought I'd be at this point in my life, but I don't regret it at all. I think it made her much happier in her last years. I'm sure it's the same on your end.

    Good luck to you!
    shugarae wrote: »
    The only other thing I would add/ask - why not go back to school? Even taking a couple of classes at community college may help. Network with the people in class, arrange your resume to put your education info at the top, and learn some new stuff while you're at it. :^:

    I wish I could do this. I'd prefer it really.

    Unfortunately, there's a pretty serious monetary concern at the moment. My mom is retired now, has medical problems and just doesn't make enough to pay for both of us. So it's imperative that I bring in a paycheck while I'm here.

    I do plan on returning to school once I have a job though.

    milath on
    steam_sig.png
    "No.. I was wrong. This must be what going mad feels like."

  • milathmilath Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Corvus wrote: »
    Also, OP, you should think about applying to temp agencies as a way to get your feet wet. Apply to several.

    I actually did apply to temp agencies months ago. Thought that would be the best way to get something on my resume. But the few I applied to (and the rather small town where I live there are only a few) never called back with anything, even though I called them weekly to let them know I was available and ask if there was anything available yet.

    That's what lead to this post. I couldn't understand why I wasn't getting some kind of work, even single day temping. My friend said it could be because of the gap, etc.. and well, here I am.

    If I need to apply to a new temp agency I'll have to go to the nearest large city, which is a long hour commute at minimum. Gas prices being what they are, I'm trying to avoid this scenario.

    milath on
    steam_sig.png
    "No.. I was wrong. This must be what going mad feels like."

  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Not that it counts for much, but I'm really proud of you. Caring for your grandma was a wonderful thing to do. You will have made a massive difference to the quality of her life.

    Definitely put it in your resume - not only because its a big chunk of time, but because of the many skills you will have developed - not just in the practical caring of your grandma, but in working with the other agencies involved in her care, negotiating with them, sharing information, managing and prioritising her needs. They are all good skills to have. You're in the position many women find themselves in after staying at home to care for their children/parents, its hard to get back into work, you ofter have to start lower down the chain than you were before, but if you can use what you've learnt whilst caring for someone else, it adds to your resume. Also, from an employer's point of view, if you lie to me about what you've been doing, I can sack you if I find out, so its a really bad idea to lie on your resume.

    Chase up any and everyone you've given your resume to - including the agencies you've been to - its the people who pester you that you notice more. Make follow-up calls, drop in to see how things are, specially if employment is hard to find, keep going back, keep yourself at the front of people's minds so that when that job does come in, they will automatically think of you. Stay positive, and work at getting that job, it is a full-time job in itself.

    LewieP's Mummy on
    For all the top UK Gaming Bargains, check out SavyGamer

    For paintings in progress, check out canvas and paints

    "The power of the weirdness compels me."
  • PaperPrittPaperPritt Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    If I need to apply to a new temp agency I'll have to go to the nearest large city, which is a long hour commute at minimum. Gas prices being what they are, I'm trying to avoid this scenario.

    I'm afraid you will eventually have to go this way. It is entirely possible that small temp agencies actually don't have any low-entry jobs.

    Another thing to do (i've got years of experience dealing with those blasted agencies) is to check their online site, which should normally list all jobs avaiable, and send your résumé from there. I found this actually works waaaay better than calling and asking for updates.

    By the way, from my experience they all tend to work like this. So you can completely avoid the trip by just checking which agencies are near, and apply online. Only go if you get called.

    One more thing, do not hesitate to send multiples résumés to the same agency. As you have perhaps already noticed, there are usually 6 or 7 different 'consultants' who handle where the applicants go. And (trust me on this one) they don't really cooperate with each other.

    I sincerly wish you the best of luck

    PaperPritt on
  • PuddingSenatorPuddingSenator Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Don't forget about online job sites either. I'm currently working in a CSR/Data Entry position while going to college and the way I got it was the company finding my resume on CareerBuilder.

    Post your resume on CareerBuilder, Monster, and any local job sites you can find (for example, here in Maryland we have WorkBaltimore.com). For positions like this, companies often run searches on these type of sites. You will also be able to find local job listings there.

    I would urge though that you be careful when browsing the listings, as scam companies use these sites as well. Avoid Work from Home schemes, and any company that asks you to pay for "training materials."

    PuddingSenator on
  • milathmilath Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    So I just wanted to update this to solved and give a big "thanks again" to everyone who responded for the advice and encouragement.

    I admit I was a bit wary of posting what amounts to my recent life story as I'm usually a pretty private person when it comes to the internet. But you folks have really responded with some incredibly kind words (Especially LewiePs Mummy! Thanks!).

    If the thread isn't locked, I'll update at some point in the future with my experiences so anyone else in a similar situation will have another first-hand account on the advice given here.

    milath on
    steam_sig.png
    "No.. I was wrong. This must be what going mad feels like."

  • LerageLerage Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I know it's solved, but have you considered going into care work full time? This "gap" in your resume will be golddust to the right places, you've probably got all the right experience and qualities.

    Lerage on
  • milathmilath Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Lerage wrote: »
    I know it's solved, but have you considered going into care work full time? This "gap" in your resume will be golddust to the right places, you've probably got all the right experience and qualities.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I did consider it briefly. However, there are two major reasons I couldn't do this professionally.

    First is that a registered nursing certification is pretty much required to do anything more than change bedpans for someone you're not related to.

    Second, and most importantly, I'm a very empathic person and I'd likely just end up getting too emotionally involved. The toll I suspect it would take is just too high for me to do as a full-time job again.

    milath on
    steam_sig.png
    "No.. I was wrong. This must be what going mad feels like."

Sign In or Register to comment.