Did you ever think about what a potential employer is really looking for in all openings, no matter what the job description is?
No matter what that job description is, and on top of any skills listed as requirements, their foundational need is a worker who shows up on time consistently and does the job responsibly every time they are expected to do so. Sometimes an unforeseen crisis may prevent a perfect attendance record, but an employee who is reliable is a better investment than hiring a brilliant whiz kid who doesn’t show up or goofs off most days.
This need for reliability is why references are so important. Your references are people who testify to the way you are to work with, the kind of person you are, and ultimately how reliable you will be. And that promise of being able to rely on you for a job well done is what an employer is putting their faith in when they hire you. So, how do you go about getting a good reference…regardless of the circumstance that discolors a dubious job history? Sometimes the work situation was not your fault but affects your record. If this is the case, choose your reference providers with care.
If you can, do some volunteer work that will show you are reliable. You want to make a case for your potential reliability by showing how you have been reliable in the past and proving it with the testimony of those who worked with you in the project. If you must address the issue during your interview, avoid disparaging remarks about your previous employer and be professional in your representation. Point out your best accomplishments and the fact that you look forward to being more productive.
Diplomacy is professional and always impressive. You are showing in real time that you can be relied upon to do the best you can in any circumstance, and that puts you ahead of the pack.