Q: I’ve enjoyed a very successful career with extended periods of employment and promotions. Recently I accepted a new position with another employer, as I believed it offered a great opportunity to make a difference. However, it quickly became apparent that my new employer was not truly committed to change. I was not able to do the work I planned, and just as I was thinking of leaving, I was asked to leave – all within a few months of arriving. As I launch a search for a new job, how do I address this issue on my resume and the interviews that will hopefully follow?

A: (Elizabeth B. Hanckel, Senior VP) I am sorry this happened to you, but I hear similar tales all too often. There are two issues to address here: how to explain your brief stint in your last position during upcoming job interviews; and, most importantly, how to secure a new opportunity that doesn’t lead to the same outcome.

Let’s start with the second issue as tackling that will make the first issue easier to handle. Formulate a distinct vision for your career to aid in targeting and evaluating individual job opportunities along the way. Specifically, you need to have a clear picture of whom you are, what you want to do, and how your skill set can benefit an employer.

This seems like an onerous task, but it’s  not difficult to accomplish. Besides simple reflection, you can utilize testing (such as the DiSC or other assessment methodologies), and talk with friends and colleagues (peers and former superiors and subordinates) to gain a better understanding of your work style.

Now back to the first issue. Through the exercise of establishing your career vision, you should discover why your last position didn’t work out. As you said, sometimes you’re hired to make changes, but when transformations start, the organization finds it really isn’t ready. Tell potential employers this story in a way that doesn’t criticize your former employer. After all, the experience served as a milestone in your career-assessment process.  

Armed with a vision for your career and a better awareness of yourself, i.e. your work style/personality, you’re ready to manage a new job search that will lead you to making the best choices for your career. Make sure you can articulate your career goals as well as everything you can bring to a potential employer.

Reach Elizabeth B. Hanckel, Senior VP, at +1 970 948 8190 orehanckel@tylerandco.com.