Poor work history

Monday, February 1st, 2010 - career transition, CV Help, CV Tips, Employment, recruitment, unemployment

Poor work history

shadow of the colossus

One of the more serious problems faced when seeking employment is that of poor work history, most commonly with either gaps or a succession of terminated/dismissed reasons.

Termination or dismissal is easy to cope with in future job applications. The simple rules are:

  • What does your reference say: if in doubt, ask for a copy
  • Don’t get into the detail of anything: except what you learnt
  • Know what you learnt: and therefore why this job is really right for you

Poor work history options

A poor work history where you have large gaps in employment is more difficult to cope with, as the employer doesn’t have any recent evidence of your ability or application. There are three basic ways to over come this, I would suggest in the following preference order:

  • Volunteer: often dismissed, but if its unpaid it doesn’t affect your benefits
  • Job Centres: when what you need is training over recent work history or application
  • Self referencing: doing something yourself, such as a blog or similar. If that’s your choice, go and have a look at freelance websites such as People Per Hour, where at least you will get paid and have another party say how good your were

Employment with poor work history

James, a job seeker with a poor work history, asks: How can I secure decent employment with a very poor CV history and no-one for references? I haven’t much to show for on a CV over the last five years and I have so many gaps that I would have to explain. Basically it brings me out in a cold sweat thinking about it and I would have to lie big time which is a very insecure thing and I’m not very good at. I don’t have any decent employment referees or any one else who isn’t ‘a friend’ or ‘related.’ Sometimes I think I should fake my own death and start again. Maybe not.
In answer:
You are faced with three options:

  1. Apply and lie: don’t do it – the moment you are found out, you can be dismissed instantly with no notice or redundancy
  2. Training: your best route will be via the JobCentre. There are lots of retraining programs they offer, and subsidies on college schemes. You only need one certificate and a reference from a college – both of which can be achieved in less than 3months – for a real job
  3. Volunteer: it is something the Americans are more aware of, but 12weeks of voluntary work will give you a solid base of experience and a reference.

Combine the last two, with a bit of self planning. Take three sheets of paper: on the first where you are now with your strengths and experiences; sheet two where you want to be in five years time – pictures give more magnetism; sheet three – how to get between sheets 1 and 2!

Take them down to the JobCentre, and have a discussion. Go down without some thought or planning, and you might end up somewhere you don’t want to to or regret later. They really can help you, and have the money (before 6th May) to do so.

Good Luck!


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One Response to “Poor work history”

  1. Tweets that mention Poor work history | Professional CV Writing - CV4.biz -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ian R McAllister, Ian R McAllister, cv4biz, cv4biz, Deborah osbourn and others. Deborah osbourn said: RT @ianrmcallister: Ajiri – Poor work history: Poor work history One of the more serious problems faced when seeking employment is tha… http://bit.ly/cRFCfM […]

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