Ask Tami #4: Justifying Your Career Gap and Bringing It Up in an Interview

Shruti asks: How do you justify your career gap during your time as a full-time mom, and how do you bring it up during job interviews? Tami: First of all, you don’t need to justify or apologize for taking time to care for your family! When you talk about your time out of the workforce you should be simple and direct, skip any unnecessary details (the interviewer does not need…

Ask Tami #3: Asking for Recommendations From Your Network on LinkedIn

Alexandra asks: How do I ask for recommendations on LinkedIn? I feel awkward reaching out to my network, especially after a long time. Tami: Well, the first thing I would say is that I would not start out by asking for a recommendation after a long time. I’d instead try to re-establish a connection by asking them for a call to reconnect and get advice. People we’ve worked with and…

Ask Tami #2: Countering Ageism and the “Overqualified” Label

Laura asks: As someone with a long career but a sizable break, I worry about facing ageism in interviews. In particular, how should I answer the “overqualified” question? Tami: I get asked about ageism a lot and I wish I could tell you that it doesn’t happen, but it does. A lot. Ageism is a structural issue that we should collectively work to dismantle. And, while I’m on a soapbox,…

Ask Tami: How Do I Stay Motivated During a Tough Job Search?

Gabrielle asks: It can be hard to stay upbeat when you don’t get a job after many attempts and applications submitted. What can I do to stay motivated?  Tami: Oh, wow! I wish I had an easy answer for this one. It is hard! So first of all, know that it’s hard. I think one problem people run into is hoping it will be easy which actually creates a bit…

Telling Your Story When You’ve Been on a Career Break

Every person who steps foot in a job interview has a career story to tell, weaving together the strands of where they’ve worked, what they’re doing now, and where they’re looking to go next. If you’re applying for a job or returnship after a career break, your story is probably going to be a bit different from a traditional candidate’s story. You might think that puts you at a disadvantage,…

Five Ways to Connect and Grow Your Network Virtually

The official Path Forward networking motto is, “who you know is what you know.” Networking is a key part not just to landing a new job, but figuring out what job you’d like to do in the first place. Talking with friends, old colleagues, classmates, and acquaintances can broaden your perspective on what the job market looks like, what skills are in demand, and the different roles that exist in…

Think your skills are outdated? Why COBOL programmers are suddenly in demand

One thing we hear, pretty frequently, is the idea that someone out of the workforce for many years must be “outdated” in terms of their skills. We hear this from returnees themselves. And we hear it, usually formed as a question, from some recruiters. This is especially true because of how many tech companies we work with, many of whom are focused on hiring engineers. If you haven’t worked in…

Path Forward’s 7 Tips for a Successful Video Interview

Video interviews were around long before the COVID-19 era, but for now nearly all companies are relying on phone and video to talk to job applicants. For individuals trying to rejoin the workforce after years away, video conferencing may be unfamiliar, adding stress to an already stressful situation. With that in mind, here is our advice for how to put your best (virtual) foot forward: 1) Find your space and…

Thank You Notes Are Not Optional (And Other Advice for Job Follow Up)

Path Forward is frequently asked about interview follow up — usually something along the lines of “How often is too often to check in?” or “How long can I / should I wait before following up on a job application?” Mostly, candidates seem concerned about being too aggressive in contacting recruiters or hiring managers. But my conversations with recruiters and hiring managers, including my own experiences, that a lack of…

How to Network without feeling icky.

How To Network Without Feeling ‘Icky’

I recently presented a webinar for the American Geological Union on restarting a career in the sciences. We included a poll asking the attendees which part of the job search process they most dreaded — networking, resumes, interviews or “all of it.” The winner, by a pretty wide margin, was networking. I’m not surprised. To most people networking feels smarmy and, well, icky. I think it’s because we fundamentally misunderstand…