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Handling Objections to Your Background and Experience

By Deborah Arron

You finally got The Big Interview and youre doing your best to make a good impression. Youre also worried that the interviewer is going to ask about that one embarrassing item or gap on your resume. Maybe its that you were fired from your last job, or that you dont have the degree usually associated with this field. Perhaps youre afraid youll be perceived as being too young, too old or too [fill in the blank] for the job.

How do you respond to this delicate situation?

1. DONT TRY TO CONCEAL THE TRUTH, hoping the employer wont care. You may have learned how to hide your feelings in court, but its harder to remain impassive in a job interview. Extra anxiety triggered by a half-truth may be conveyed to the interviewer through body language or voice quality and perceived as deception or dishonesty.

2. DONT WAIT FOR THE INTERVIEWER TO BRING UP THE SUBJECT. Instead, raise the issue yourself as soon as you feel youve developed some rapport. You neednt linger on it though. Simply point out the situation, acknowledge that the employer may be concerned about it, and explain specifically why it will not interfere with your ability to meet the demands of this job.

3. TURN YOUR APPARENT WEAKNESS INTO A STRENGTH. Someone whos been fired can explain what he learned from the experience and how hes a better worker as a result. A new graduate can point out that shes ready to be molded into the type of lawyer the employer needs. Meanwhile, the experienced lawyer can tout his ability to be profitable from the very first hour.

4. APPLY TO DIFFERENT EMPLOYERS if you cant figure out how to sell yourself to your targeted employers. A small entrepreneurial venture may appreciate a jack-of-all-trades more than a large company where functions are sharply defined and separate. A history of providing good results but remaining in jobs for only a short time will make you an appealing candidate for temporary, project, consulting or contract work.

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