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Old 01-22-2020, 09:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Poor work history because of alcoholism


I have been unemployed since Jan 2019. I never really looked for work in 2019 because of my drinking
​​​​​​
im on day 8 and have been applying for jobs but it's hard with such big gaps on my CV when I was drinking

What are some tips to successfully return to the work force?
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Old 01-22-2020, 10:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You can take some pretty substantial liberties on your resume. You can pump up your skill set and omit some of your work history, and you are not lying. Focus on your positives.
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Old 01-22-2020, 10:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Congratulations on 8, soon to be 9!
Maybe some folks with personnel experience will chime in, but I think "positive effort" is a great start.

Fill out your applications and hand-deliver them. Engage with the people accepting your application, even if it's only for a brief moment. You'll be remembered as the nice guy that took the time to drop by.
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Old 01-22-2020, 10:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 01-23-2020, 01:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by freedomfries View Post
I have been unemployed since Jan 2019. I never really looked for work in 2019 because of my drinking
​​​​​​
im on day 8 and have been applying for jobs but it's hard with such big gaps on my CV when I was drinking

What are some tips to successfully return to the work force?
How great to see your thread upon arising, freedomfries.

I was just thinking, as this laptop was booting up, Maybe I'll ask freedomfries how that job-applying class went yesterday. And then, I log on, and whattaya know, there's ff asking about a job-application issue.

I have a few ideas and suggestions but I won't know exactly what they are until I think about them a little and write them down. So here we go:

Several questions occur to me. The answers in some cases would divulge your private information that you might not want to share on the net. You can decide what to publish here, and what not.

So, did the issue of resume writing come up at the class you took yesterday? Like a couple of the other responders suggested, there are ways to draft a resume so as to gloss over the thin parts and amplify the stronger ones. But how to do that in an individual case depends on the your particular circumstances. But I don't think you want to post your resume here on SR and ask specific questions, so I'll just give one example and see where that goes.

You said you've been unemployed since January 2019. Do you mean the entire year? January 1 through December 31?

The reason I ask is because if your last job ended January 2, 2019, you could still put on your resume something like:

2017-2019 Widget Company / administrative assistant / provided administrative and organization support to senior management team

So on the resume, your last job lasted until 2019. Even though you've been unemployed over a year, your resume doesn't show that. You don't want to lie, and you haven't lied or misrepresented any facts (which is, truth be told, lying).

If your job ended before January 1, 2019 a different strategy might be required. It all depends on your individual circumstances that you might not want to publish here. For example you could reorganize your resume so that it is organized around skill sets rather than focus on a chronological recitation of your job history.

How you might do that, again, depends on the specifics of your situation, skill sets, and job history.

Is it possible, without divulging specific facts about yourself, for you to post a specific question or two about the weak spots in your resume?

You ask for tips about how to return to the work force.

1. This is slightly longer term, but once you've done what you can, without lying, to spiff up your resume, how about this? Could you do some volunteer work? Say you start next week volunteering some sort of services (depending on your skill set and what volunteer opportunities are available where you live). Then you could write something like:

January 2020 to present / Soberland Homeless Shelter / provides administrative and organization support to executive director (volunteer position)

Now there is something on your resume showing you are currently showing up somewhere on a regular basis and performing actual work. Another advantage of volunteering is that it could, possibly, lead to a paid job. Like everything else, it depends on your individual circumstances. If you love animals, you could volunteer at an animal shelter and put that on your resume next week. Maybe an opening for a paid position would happen at the shelter. Let it be known that you are looking for paid work, and if you are dependable and show good judgment as a volunteer, if an opening occurs you might be in just the right spot to be considered for the job.

2. Job fairs. Are there any in your area? Go to them. Dress appropriately, talk to people, ask a lot of questions.

I hope this is a little helpful, ff, to you and maybe someone else reading this. Let me (us) know.

Main focus: Sobriety. Keep doing what you are doing to maintain your sobriety, and sooner or later something will open up.
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Old 01-23-2020, 02:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I would not advise fudging anything or outright lies cos these days CVs can and do get checked, but I agree with jr volunteering works looks good on a resume.

wishing you well freedomefries
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Old 01-23-2020, 04:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If I were completely honest on my CV and sent it off, any hiring manager would take one look at it and come to the conclusion I have serious issues going on with my life. At root of my problems is ADHD, which was undiagnosed until age 35. Throw alcoholism into the mix and you get absolute destruction.

You can't lie anymore because of the thoroughness of the vetting process in this day and age. I've been caught in a lie on my CV before and had my job offer rescinded. I have 4 job offers rescinded. I am essentially unemployable besides menial jobs that don't bother with background checks. I am 43 now and really at a loss about what to do. Volunteering may help people with timeline gaps, however, in my case, wouldn't make difference. The only thing I can do is stay sober and buy lottery tickets. Winning the lottery is the only way I can think of as a solution. If I were a little older, I would be contemplating suicide.
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Old 01-23-2020, 05:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Not to be dismissive but 8 days aint even getting started.
Not to be discouraging but my wife lost her job a few years ago and it took her a little over a year to find another job.

I guess what I am saying is dont give up.
I cant tell where you are on my phone but if in the USA our economy is going well and people cant hire fast enough.

You may have to take something you may not exactly want and keep looking for better employment while working.
Thats what my wife did.

I wish you the best

Focus on the positive, you are sober and breathing.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I was working in the restaurant world as a server and my employment became increasingly spotty. I did start to redo a resume and write truthful if basic story -as I took a job at Chick Fil A. Front counter, lowest on the totem pole. I made about half what I needed to live, but I started being able to put sober, solid work together.

Then I went back to being a server for a year. Then I sought a position with a company I am still with and have worked serving, hosting and in inventory/admin.

Whatever you do, it has to be one foot in front of the other. Now I have the privilege and freeedom to work on a W9 basis on projects important to recovery that the company leads.

I'm almost 4 yrs sober so trust that it takes time to find our footing whether we "just" have jobs or indeed find (or re-up) careers.
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Old 01-23-2020, 12:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I worked as an employment counsellor for 14 years. There's a lot of good advice here.
-you can use a skills based resume where you start by highlighting your work accomplishments. The work history goes at the bottom.
-Most jobs are actually not advertised (at least not where I live). So, in addition to applying for advertised jobs you can develop a list of potential employers (use business directory in your area). I know a manager who hired a girl because she had confident strong handshake! If you're not comfortable or able to go in person the phone works pretty well too (they're called cold calls). You'd write up a little script for yourself and practice it first.
-Volunteering is awesome because it's shows you're presently active.
-Network among acquaintances if you have any...so many jobs are found by word of mouth.
-If you get an interview, you can send them a note afterwards reiterating your interest in working for them...it worked for me.
-Start a job search tracking sheet. It's really easy to lose track if you're not writing things down. Write down every place you applied to and any responses you receive. Being organized will let you know which employers you can follow up with.
-Re following up, If you apply to a job you can give it a little time and then call to follow up. I just say something like "Hi, My name is Sober45 and i'm just calling to follow up to make sure you received my resume". And once they've confirmed I say "oh, that's great I really hope to hear from you soon."
-Commit to how ever many hours per day you think would be good for you. After you punch in that time...let it be.
-deciding how to respond to the employment gap during an interview is something you can figure out before the interview. It's really tricky for sure. From my experience the MAIN thing employers look for is HONESTY.

Like me you're in the early days so go easy on yourself (I know I am). As long as you're clean, clarity will come, and so will the job, when the time is right.
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Old 01-23-2020, 05:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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You can do a resume that focusses on skills, as stated, and kinda disregard the specific years (there's a form on Word for it)

I'd focus on sobriety and get a job at a store or fast food joint.
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Old 01-23-2020, 06:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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A year is not a catastrophe. If you want to return to work, you should just focus on the positive and start right where you are.

I won't lie to you, as someone who has sat in on many, many interviews with potential hires, we do look at gaps in resumes and that will always be asked about. But it's not a deal breaker.

Can you just say because of health reasons? I mean I doubt anyone is going to ask because of health care privacy, they really are not supposed to. You could just say you've recovered and are ready to return to work and not be too specific. Some people might say 'just be honest completely'. But myself, I would not recommend saying 'Well, I was drunk all year, so I couldn't work'. I just don't think that is necessary or even relevant. You had issues, that's enough.

What you might have to do is just accept that you were out of work for a year and you might not be able to just start at the same level you were at a year ago. You might have to take what you can find and just work your way back up.

I was extremely lucky in that I was a highly functional drunk. It was absolutely affecting me and it was getting worse all the time.

Congrats on deciding to quit and work on getting your life back.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Patience.

Most job & career type opportunities develop as a result of people you meet along the way.

Try to get your foot in the door in or around the type of business you think you'd like to do for some time. Don't be picky necessarily about what you start out doing.

Once you are in... show up everyday and take just a little bit of initiative. That alone will separate you from most around you and opportunities will open up....

Stay away from the water cooler gossip and cliques. Do your job, make the company and your boss/ owner money and opportunities will open up.

Mentally, be realistic, but at the same time don't put limits on yourself on what you think you can accomplish.

I started my career literally working in a ditch. 20 years later - just last year - I published a few educational bulletins for national organizations in my industry. I came from nothing.

If people ask me how I did it I tell them- show up, make your boss's job easier, make your company money, and be the best at what you do. It continues to surprise me to this day how simple it is. Serously, even if it's sweeping floors... be the best damn floor sweep there is. Beyond the career & job stuff there's a ton of personal dignity to be had work regardless of what you do.

Good luck.

-B
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Old 01-24-2020, 06:17 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Patience.

Most job & career type opportunities develop as a result of people you meet along the way.

Try to get your foot in the door in or around the type of business you think you'd like to do for some time. Don't be picky necessarily about what you start out doing.

Once you are in... show up everyday and take just a little bit of initiative. That alone will separate you from most around you and opportunities will open up....

Stay away from the water cooler gossip and cliques. Do your job, make the company and your boss/ owner money and opportunities will open up.

Mentally, be realistic, but at the same time don't put limits on yourself on what you think you can accomplish.

I started my career literally working in a ditch. 20 years later - just last year - I published a few educational bulletins for national organizations in my industry. I came from nothing.

If people ask me how I did it I tell them- show up, make your boss's job easier, make your company money, and be the best at what you do. It continues to surprise me to this day how simple it is. Serously, even if it's sweeping floors... be the best damn floor sweep there is. Beyond the career & job stuff there's a ton of personal dignity to be had work regardless of what you do.

Good luck.

-B

Once you get in the door this is exactly what you do.

I started as unskilled labor myself. When I retired last year I was in charge of asset inventory and life cycle replacement planning as well as overseeing trade specific quality control on multi million dollar construction jobs.

You can do it
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