Q: I am a librarian of 12 years. I was at my last job for 10 years. However, I have been unemployed for a little over a year. I left my previous position on rather bad terms. I am trying to look to the future and move forward. I have gotten only four interviews over the past year. I have been wondering if I am doing something wrong, or if something is wrong with me. I even had a friend call previous employers and references pretending to be a prospective employer. Everything seemed to check out. If my resume is faulty, I was wondering who could evaluate it. I would like somebody reputable. I also need to know what I am doing wrong.
TA: Wow. I know times are hard, but having a friend fake a reference call is entirely unprofessional. I can’t help but think that if you condone (encourage?) this type of behavior that it also permeates your approach to job hunting as well. You say that you left your previous employment “on rather bad terms” and that is unfortunate because it certainly complicates the job search process. Nonetheless, you need to correct your course here and take a more productive and ethical approach to this process. I would recommend a few things. First, use your professional association memberships to find a mentor. Build a productive relationship with this mentor and seek his or her professional counsel. By having this relationship, you could also build the opportunity for the mentor to serve as a professional reference. Additionally, seek cover letter and resume review assistance from your mentor and from the services provided by your professional association. Your graduate program may also provide these services to alumni. And finally, find a position where you can start anew, to rebuild your professional career and your credibility.