Resume Help/The challenge re-entering after 13 years
I have a resume and have even gotten a few interviews; no winners yet. I haven't been employed for 13 years I do have a few volunteering jobs. I am not sure who to put as a reference as I have no clue where my ex-boss's are. I haven't volunteered since 2011. Reason's for absence, are children and taking care of my elderly/blind Gram. I am seeking social service type jobs as I am B.S.W. Thank you!
Your situation is, unfortunately, not unusual. In the midst of the economic downturn a year or two ago, a large majority of employers I surveyed told me they would not even consider hiring a person who had been unemployed for more than six months. I know that isn't exactly good news but it might explain why you haven't gotten hired yet. The fact that you have gotten some interviews suggests that at least some employers are willing to consider you, and that is a good sign.
I usually tell my clients that if (1) they are not getting interviews, the problem is usually with their resume; but, if (2) they are not getting call backs after interviewing, it could be that you are not interviewing as strongly as you might. That could be a larger problem (if true) than not having recent references.
But since your question is about references, the best advice I can give you is to think of individuals who have the most recent knowledge of your work skills and qualifications. They don't necessarily need to be previous supervisors, but they should be someone who has first-hand knowledge of your work. How about co-workers? Did you stay in touch with any of them? What about people in the volunteer positions from a couple of years ago? Would any of them make credible references? If there are simply no people who are familiar with your work habits and history, you may just have to explain that fact when you interview (as I am guessing you have been doing).
If you want to consider it, you can write me at the address below and tell me about a couple of the interviews you have had. The more information you can give me, the better. What were some of the questions? How did you respond? Tell me everything you can ... how did you dress for the interview? Try to recall your body language and the body language of the interviewer(s) as best you can. Any questions give you trouble? Do you recall if you had a serious "brain freeze" on anything?
When I have interviewed in the past (covering a longer time span than I care to think about) I can almost always trace my failure to get a job back to a single moment; usually that moment came when I did not respond as I should have to an interview question. Over the years I learned a lot from those failures and that is part of what I incorporate into my workshops, my consultations with individual clients, and what I use in my writing.
Normally when I do workshops for job seekers (a large part of my activity) we have mock interview sessions where I ask individual members typical job questions and then critique their responses. Since I have no way to do that with you, whatever you can tell me about your experience might help me to give you a better insight on the process as you have experienced it.
Hope this helps; I'll look forward to your email.