Here is a terrific set of examples about how to explain a situation that does seem to shed the best light on you. This blogger takes ten questions an interviewer might ask, for which you have a less-than-stellar answer.
“Why do you want relatively low-paying, entry-level job?” “So my parents (landlord, significant other...) will quit nagging me to get a job.”
Well—I’m sure you know better than to say that!
If you look at the “before” (bad) and “after” (much improved) answers you might give to these questions, you’ll see a pattern. That pattern is one of changed perspective. Rather than focusing on what you don’t like, what you didn’t do well—you focus on what you will do next, on what your ideal situation looks like, on where you want to go from here.
I’m not sure I agree with the tone of this article’s headline, though: “It’s not lying, it’s marketing.” The word “marketing” has increasingly become a synonym for sleazy, dishonest practices. If you really think it’s lying to say something positive, something that will sound attractive to an employer—well, maybe you need to do more soul-searching. That is, I’m sure you do want your parents (landlord, significant other...) to stop nagging. But is all you can think about really avoiding pain? What positives do you want from your life—and how can you rephrase a negative answer so that you actually can endorse what you are telling a prospective employer?
Extra bonus points: consider that attitude adjustment, and apply it to your resume and cover letter, too!
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