Category Archives: Personal

What If I Do Not Remember the Dates of a Previous Job?


The best way to get the exact date of your employment is to call the human resources department of your previous employer, if the company is still in business. If not, call the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration; they keep records of your work history. Look for old tax returns or call your accountant if you used one to file your returns. You could also try applying for a credit check, as those companies sometimes provide a record of your history of employment with their reports.

Work on Your Memory

Jog your memory by trying to connect the job with other events that would have occurred at the same time. For example, if you remember that the tragedy of 9/11 occurred while you were at the job, this may remind you of the time period you worked there. Reconcile significant life cycle or family events with the job you held at the time. For example, was it when your youngest child started preschool? The year your sister got married? Perhaps you remember a major snowstorm when you starting working there and can determine the season.

Pick the Brains of Friends and Co-Workers

Call friends, family and former co-workers to help you. Perhaps a friend will recall conversations you had about your job while he held a position elsewhere. If he knows the dates he was working, it could help you get closer to the dates you are seeking. Did you get lifts to work with a neighbour? Maybe she can help pinpoint the dates she remembers driving you.

Reformat Your Resume

If all your attempts to get the exact dates of your employment fail, consider using a format for your resume that highlights skills over employment history. If you only know the months or years you worked, but not the exact start and end days of your employment, just record what you do know.


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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Personal


How to Explain Leaving a Job in a Cover Letter

The reason you give for leaving a previous job in a cover letter to a prospective employer can say a lot about you. Make sure any information you volunteer paints you in the most positive light possible. You needn’t mention why you left a past position when applying for a job unless you are specifically asked to do so; when asked, use your past departure as a way to sell yourself to a company’s selection panel.

Step 1

Don’t mention the details of your departure from a job if you were fired. You should look to keep your cover letter as positive as possible throughout. You may have to discuss the reason you left a job if you’re called in for an interview. This gives you the opportunity to explain delicate situations in person and put your own spin on any problems you experienced with a past employer. Be completely honest if this issue arises at the interview. You could face disciplinary action or termination if your employer finds out you lied.

Step 2

Include information about your reasons for leaving a past job only if it shows you in a good light. Stating that you left a job because you didn’t like a company’s culture or strategic vision could make you come across as a bit of a troublemaker. Writing that you were unhappy with your daily commute or the number of hours you had to work could also make you appear negative. Mentioning that you moved on to accept a more senior role at another firm or wanted to further your career by acquiring new skills and experiences are two examples of how to use job changes effectively in a cover letter.

Step 3

State that you left a job to pursue further study if this is the case. Having taken time out of your career to earn a degree, take a vocational course or acquire a professional qualification could improve your chances of landing an interview, especially if the study you undertook relates to the position you seek.

Step 4

Write that you took time out to raise a family if you left a job to stay at home with your children. Any large gaps in your resume should be explained. If your resume shows a five-year hiatus between jobs, a prospective employer will want to know what you were doing. A break of a couple of months doesn’t need to be explained, but anything more than this could raise eyebrows if not explained properly. If applicable, state in your cover letter if you took time out to go traveling. This can be viewed in a positive light by employers.



Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Personal


What to Tell an Employer About Leaving a Previous Job

Work History

During your interview, focus your discussion on your work history and accomplishments. Refrain from giving lengthy explanations about why you left each job. Instead, talk about your responsibilities and job duties for each position in chronological order. State your position or title, give a brief description of your job duties and provide one or two examples of your achievements during your previous job. Take the attention off why you left and direct it toward what you did while you were there.

Smooth Transition

Use simple phrases such as “I left” and “I joined another company” to explain your transition from one job to the next. For example, say: “From 1996 until 2000, I was the lead technician for ABC Parts, a computer parts manufacturer. While there, I developed a system for recalling defective parts. In 2000, I left ABC to join XYZ Systems as a parts supervisor, where I supervised 12 employees. During that time, my department had zero turnover between 2000 and 2004.”


If the interviewer asks if you’ve ever been fired or asked to resign in lieu of being fired, give an honest answer and don’t try to justify why you shouldn’t have been fired. If you’re eligible for rehire, say that. Recruiters understand why terminations happen; however, they could be more interested in whether your former employer will rehire you. For example, say: “I was asked to resign from XYZ Systems eight years ago in lieu of being terminated. It was based on violating a policy that resulted in sales being charged back to the company. When I started this job search, I called XYZ to confirm that I am eligible for rehire.”


Refrain from criticizing your former boss if you resigned because you didn’t get along with her. Recruiters and hiring managers who ask questions about an employee’s departure generally can read between the lines. They’ll be able to tell that you might have had differences with your former employer based on your reason for leaving. Explain that you left the company because you felt there were philosophical differences between you and the company that couldn’t be resolved. In this case, consider providing a reference from the company who can substantiate your performance and work ethic.

Professional Growth

When you’re interviewing for a higher level position with another company while you’re employed, you can explain that you’re seeking professional growth and challenges with a new company. The fact that you’re seeking a position that would be a promotion from the job you currently have justifies a candid response about your career aspirations. However, don’t focus on what your current employer doesn’t offer you; stick to what you can offer a new employer.



Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Personal


Reasons for Leaving a Job Other Than Getting Fired


After dedicating several years to a company, some employees choose to retire. Many workers begin to consider retirement once they turn 65. Although the age at which the Social Security Administration considers as full retirement changes according to a retiree’s birth year, the usual age is around the mid-60s. Another form of retirement for some workers is to accept a buyout for early retirement, or retirement before the employee reaches the standard age for receiving retirement benefits. When an employee retires, it may coincide with application for pension or Social Security benefits, or disbursement of the employee’s retirement savings.

Career Move

Employees may leave a job to look for a new career opportunity, better working conditions or higher wages. Typically, an employee finds another job before tendering her resignation with the intent to join another company. Standard procedure is to provide two weeks’ notice to the current employer, wrap up current projects and finalize the resignation.

Forced Resignation

When an employee resigns in lieu of termination, it’s difficult to say whether it’s truly a voluntary or involuntary resignation. When an employer asks an employee to resign before he’s fired, it could mean that there’s a policy violation for which the company wants the employee to take responsibility or an admission of wrongdoing the company wants the employee to own. In this type of resignation, the employee may be entitled to benefits, just as if he were terminated involuntarily.

Trailing Spouse

An employee may quit his job because his spouse’s job requires relocation. In some cases, the trailing spouse may be able to arrange a job transfer, if the employer has multiple work sites. However, the option many trailing spouses choose is to resign and look for work in a new location. This kind of resignation is handled like any other resignation, including processing continuation of benefits, rollover options for retirement savings, and issuance of final paycheck and vacation time payout, when required.


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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Personal


Reasons for Leaving a Higher Paying Job for a Lower One

Career Change

If you decide that you no longer want to stay in the career field you are in, your next step is to make a career change. If you have no experience in the field you are changing to, you will likely experience a drop in compensation. For instance, a successful realtor may be tired of the fierce competition and the long hours in her field and decide to become a teacher. The realtor may experience a significant drop in salary when entering the teaching profession, because teacher salary scales are often based on experience.


Unfortunately, sometimes employers decide to demote employees based on performance or other factors. If you are not in a position to move, such as if you have a spouse with a well-paying job or a family that you can’t uproot easily, you may have to accept the demotion at the lower pay rate. That doesn’t mean that you have to stay in the job forever, of course. You can keep the job while you work towards finding a better opportunity without a total loss of income.

Benefits and Perks

Sometimes leaving a higher-paying job for one that pays less makes sense if the benefits and perks outweigh the pay. For instance, if you work in the restaurant business as a general manager with a healthy salary, but you work 80 to 90 hours per week and have no health insurance or retirement benefits, you may decide to take a lower paying job that offers you health insurance, a 401(k) and a 40-hour work week. In many cases, the lower salary works out to a higher hourly rate. Working less with more benefits may be worth more to you than the extra money each year.


If you move from an area that has a high cost of living to one that has a much lower cost of living, you can afford to take a lower-paying job. Your money will go further because things such as housing, groceries, transportation, healthcare and utilities won’t cost as much. Use cost of living calculator to estimate how much your current salary is worth in another city or state. The calculations will give you a good idea of whether you can live your expected lifestyle on a lower salary in another location.


Your well-paying job may not be worth it if you are unhappy and stressed and your current job is taking a toll on you and those around you. A higher salary can’t make up for the loss of quality time spent with children and loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or simply sleeping right and exercising to keep up your health.

You Need a Job

When a company you work for closes it doors or downsizes, you can find yourself out of a job. Depending on the industry in which you work and the area in which you live, you may have to take whatever job or jobs you can get to pay you bills. There may not be any available jobs in your industry unless you move to another location, which may not be a feasible solution at the time.


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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Personal


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Points to Remember When Leaving a Job

Part with Poise

You may want to tell your boss and coworkers where they can put your job, but refrain from doing so. Such scenes are fantasies that belong only in your mind but when acted upon can come back to bite you. The world is a small place, and news of your show-stopping departure can get around. Worse, in a few years, you may find yourself in position with some of those same colleagues. Make your transition out as calm and seamless as possible. Check your employee handbook for the company requirements, such as how much notice, to whom your resignation must be tendered and what to do with items left in your care: special equipment, work IDs, security passes, keys, etc. Go above and beyond by giving more notice than requested, offer to train your replacement or be available for calls after you’re gone. Leave detailed notes about the status and history of projects you’ve had.

Keep It Simple and Expect a Reaction

Just as you should avoid telling your boss off, you should also be careful about how many details you offer about why you’re leaving and where you’re going. You want to avoid allowing your emotions to get involved in an already stressful time. Don’t blame your boss’s bad attitude or lazy coworkers for your departure. Simply tell your boss that you’ve accepted an offer and when you’ll be leaving. Unless it’s your first job out of college, he’s bound to take it personally to a certain extent while at the same time knowing departures are a routine part of doing business. Resignations are still, after all, often seen as indictments of direct supervisors. Your job is to remain courteous and fully perform your duties until you exit.

Handle the Counter-Offer

Be resolute before accepting a new position and before handing in your resignation. You’ll need this resolve in case your current company extends a counter-offer to keep you. Every case is different, but there are plenty of reasons to never accept a counter-offer. In the first place, if you’re offered more money, you’d wonder why you weren’t worth that money before departing. It will also be clear that you were unhappy and willingly disloyal. You will likely be treated differently if you stay, and any time you take off a day or two, suspicions about your interviewing will rise. In addition, you will have burned a bridge with your waiting employer.

Show Appreciation and Say Farewell

Thank your boss and colleagues for the time you’ve spent with them, for past training, mentoring and other opportunities you’ve had. Send a goodbye email and make the rounds to say it in person with all of the people you’ve worked with in your time there. The point is to ensure you leave on a positive note and the last memory of you is a good one.

Personal Points

Resignation should be treated as a transition. Have your signed offer in hand and a firm starting date before tendering your resignation. Make sure all contingencies, such as reference and background checks are completed. You must also remember you are coming out of one work culture and moving to another. Strive to take off a couple weeks to relax and be refreshed before starting a new job. Take care of money issues, too. Transitioning from the pay schedule of one company to another can have you go longer between paychecks. Be sure to also review the status of your retirement accounts, insurance, vacation benefits and any other ongoing recurring expenses you may have with your organization, including phones, tablets, credit cards, etc. Also, compile your personal and professional contacts to take them with you. Disable your voicemail and place an appropriate out-of-office message on your email until it’s taken down.


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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Personal


Things to Remember When You Quit Your Job

Work Ethics

Many employers request an advance notice with a resignation. After you’ve informed your employer of your plans, maintain professional behavior such as arriving and leaving work on time. You’re still being paid by your employer and you’re expected to uphold your part of the bargain. When you take shortcuts, you look unprofessional. It may also come back to bite you if you need help from the employer in the future. For instance, your supervisor may be less likely to offer a positive review when you need a referral, and any potential future opportunities together may be slimmer.

Handoff Responsibilities

When you quit your job, it usually means the employer will have to find a replacement for you — someone who will take over your responsibilities and uncompleted projects. To ease the process, “leave thorough documentation of how you do your job, contacts, passwords, and so forth,” says “U.S. News & World Report.” If your replacement is already known and available, offer to train her. For instance, detail particular processes required, deadlines coming up and followup needed on projects you leave unfinished. You don’t want to leave a mess for the person taking over for you. This will also eliminate the chance of your employer or coworkers calling on you after you’ve left the job to clarify unfinished business.

Exit Interview

Exit interviews are commonly used by employers to help them understand why you’re leaving and what kind of experience you had as an employee. It’s important to be honest, but also judicious. According to “Good Housekeeping” magazine, “Sounding off about everything that’s wrong with the company” is risky. You do not know if your feedback will remain confidential, which puts you at risk of burning bridges with specific contacts you may need later on. The best thing to do is discuss your positive experiences and also point out things you feel could be improved. For instance, you may want to say that the company’s professional development workshops have helped improve skills needed on the job, but add that you feel performance reviews were incomplete because they didn’t include feedback from people you worked with directly.

Contact Information

Keep communication open with people at your workplace and with clients, vendors and other contacts you have made on the job. This can be as simple as sending an email from your personal address to notify them of your departure. This type of communication can help bring closure on a positive note, and it leaves the door open for “innumerable unseen opportunities that will likely present themselves over the next 10, 20, or 30 years,” according to a “Harvard Business Review” article on how to quit a job.


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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Personal