Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Is bankruptcy a huge factor in hiring? No one knows the reasons behind mine or the financial distress. I have over 10 years of banking experience, but the weather or lack of work keeps my wife from working and my daughter has had unexpected surgeries. I can handle my finances, but things out of control I can’t. Bankrupt
A: Dear Bankrupt, The stigma against bankruptcy is stronger in financial services and organizations where employees handle money. For this reason, you might want to consider leaving banking.
You have the key to your success in your statement about being competent at handling your own finances. When an employer says he’ll be conducting a background check, tell him about the bankruptcy issue, that it resulted from lack of work. Leave your daughter out of it, because employers might discriminate against you because of potential benefits costs.
Bankruptcy counselors will tell you to explain to employers what you’ve been doing to take control of your finances, from cutting out extras to paying a little on your credit cards. Calculate the percentage by which you’ve cut your bills. Showing that you’re responsible will help. mlc
Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I’ve been working in the medical field. It’s declining in my market. Every time I walk in for an interview, I notice how different the surroundings are from the antiseptic environment I’ve been working in. That doesn’t bother me, but it reminds me that I’m an outsider.
How do I convince employers that the skills and experience I have transfer to their industry and will benefit their company? Relevance Needed
A: Dear Relevance Needed, Communicating relevance is easier than you think, because businesses have a lot in common, even when they’re in completely different industries.
Take your most important accomplishments and cut out any medical terminology, such as patient, physician and doctor, to make it easier for employers to understand how you’d fit. If you know which industries interest you, integrate some of the language they use.
Focus on what you did that made you stand out, from helping make or save money to increasing efficiency, improving customer service or communication, and increasing accuracy in reports. Ask one or two friends outside of the medical field to look at what you’ve written to make certain you’ve made the language as relevant as possible to new industries. Speak the same way.