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I am 29 with a degree in Marketing and I come from Romania. I graduated when I was 24, then I started to work abroad. I had an internship in the UK for 6 months, then one in Germany for another 6 months, and after that I got a full time position and I stayed there for 1 year more (I was 26). Then I received an amazing offer from France, so I went there and stayed for 2 years. I had an amazing job in a really famous company, my career was great, I was receiving a lot of offers.

Then I had the opportunity to go home, to Romania, to my country, because I received an offer from a company there. After 4 years abroad I was really happy to go home with my family, actually that was my plan, gain experience and go back for something good. I signed the contract in November 2013 with the new company, quit the job and went home.

But then a guy from HR, one week before I was to start, called me to tell me that the company had a financial crisis and that they couldn't afford to hire me any more. So I was fired before I started.

After that, since January, for 11 months now, I am unemployed, I couldn't and can't find another job, I can't find anyone that believes my story. Here we don't have any jobs, so I sent around 200-250 resumes abroad, and I had around 80 telephone interviews, but during the interviews someone always asks me "You had an excellent career, and you were working also for FAMOUSCOMPANY what happened then in November? Why did you leave?" When I say that I quit the job to go back to Romania to work for another company that then couldn't hire me anymore they don't believe me. They mumble something and they always tell me "okay, I will let you know soon" and then I get the rejection emails.

I have said that they can call my previous company in France and confirm that I was not fired there, that I decided to quit, but nothing, they don't care.

How can I get hired despite employers distrusting why I quit a big name company and moved back to my country?

closed as off-topic by gnat, Jan Doggen, Jim G., Michael Grubey, Garrison Neely Dec 1 '14 at 19:22

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

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  • 43
    Your life is not over. We work to live, not the other way around. Career is just one part of life. If it's not going great right now, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy the other things in life. And it certainly doesn't mean that your life is over. – Radu Murzea Nov 27 '14 at 21:10
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    Why wouldn't you try to go back to where you worked in France? That company liked your work and thus would be my suggestion. – JB King Nov 27 '14 at 21:23
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    Are you sure that they don't believe you? They might completely believe you, and be thinking that you'll leave them at the first job opportunity that lets you move back to Romania after they hire you. Your job history sounds like it is full of short stints, which makes this seem even more likely. They may just not want to take the risk of losing you shortly after they train you. – atk Nov 28 '14 at 14:51
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    You say you signed a contract. Bring the signed contract. – paparazzo Nov 28 '14 at 19:53
  • Imi pare rau sa aud de circumstantele tale :( Ai primit niste raspunsuri destul de bune, sper ca te ajuta. Succes! I would like to point out one thing, however. You never seem to stick around with one company for very long. That, along with moving from country to country might raise some red flags for employers. – AndreiROM Jun 16 '16 at 13:32
108

I would start listing the Romanian company you signed with on your resume. Instead of listing what you did there, list what you were hired to do, and then add that you were laid off the same month you were hired. Something like this:

November 2013: ABC Corp, Romania
Hired as a [job title] to [duties you were hired to do.] Responsible for [whatever.] Laid off the month I was hired due to financial crisis at ABC Corp.

In your cover letter, address this directly. Say that you are based in Romania now since returning for the job with ABC Corp, but are willing to relocate to wherever they are.

In the interview, clarify that you were never able to start with ABC Corp even though you signed an employment contract. You should also address the possible worry in some out-of-country employers' minds that you would again leave them for Romania if you got the chance. If it's true, a comment like "I've learned my lesson for sure; never again will I leave a great job for a chance to return to Romania; the economy just can't be counted on" is one way to address that. IF the truth is not quite that strong, perhaps "All in all it was a real letdown and one I won't forget in a hurry; it's unlikely any Romanian job offers can lure me back here again" will be as good.

Basically, don't make them wonder and guess why you left FamousCompany. Give your story for that in the resume and there's a chance they'll believe it. The way it's happening now, they already made up their own story for why you left. They ask you, but your story isn't managing to dislodge the one they made up. So get yours in there first!

  • 30
    This. You have to preempt questions before they get in your way. – corsiKa Nov 27 '14 at 23:12
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    This is a very good answer, but it might need different wording because the job was cancelled before it started ("one week before I was to start, called me to tell me ... they couldn't afford to hire me any more"). Maybe "Employment cancelled due to financial crisis at ABC Corp"? – user568458 Nov 28 '14 at 0:28
  • I love the idea. But "laid off the month I was hired" might be stretching the truth a bit - didn't OP say that the job offer was rescinded before they actually started work? – starsplusplus Nov 28 '14 at 10:22
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    The OP signed an employment contract. That is being hired. Yes, my wording implies "hired, started Nov 1st, laid off Nov 30th" but that can be true if you were hired Nov 1st, start date Nov 15th, laid off Nov 7th. The OP can clarify in interviews that actually coming in to work never happened, but on the resume this sentence is not a lie. – Kate Gregory Nov 28 '14 at 11:12
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    Before an interview? I don't have time for that. After an interview I may check references, but by that time the OP has explained the details of the job-that-never-was – Kate Gregory Nov 28 '14 at 14:05
29

As a fellow Romanian who now lives in a different country, this hits close to home. Let me share a personal story about what my family went through and explain how we dealt with it, along with some tips we learned from personal experience.

When I was a child my family and I moved from Romania to Canada for better job opportunities. Both my parents had university degrees and successful previous careers in Romania with good salaries and benefits, but the word was that Canada was better. My father picked up a fantastic job in Canada - so good in fact that he was happily telling my mother that she wouldn't need to look for a job again, that he was earning enough for all of us. My mother however decided it would be best for both of them to work, but she had a lot of difficulty getting a job. In the end, despite her job history, she took a job that paid very little and involved doing "grunt work" that she was certainly over-qualified for. It wasn't great, but my father had a better job, so it wasn't a big deal.

Then my father suddenly got laid off when his company's financial situation worsened. Suddenly he was unemployed, and my mother had to try to support all of us on a low salary. To make things worse, my father couldn't find another job. He tried and tried, sending resumes to hundreds of companies, but nothing ever materialized out of it. He got desperate enough that he picked up low-salary assembly line & janitorial jobs completely unrelated to his field, though none of these lasted long either.

But then things got better. Both my parents went back to school to enhance their education. My father switched to a different field that was more in demand and still paid well, and he soon had a new job that he has stayed at for many years. My mother, through her network of other Romanians living in the area, picked up a much better job than she had in Romania after she finished another college diploma. Now they're both happy and hold stable jobs despite being either unemployed or working in low-end jobs for a long time. Things DO get better. You just have to work at it.

So, you'll be wondering what you should do. Here are the tips that my family learned over the years about working in a foreign country:

  1. Your network is very important. A lot of people get hired through the people they know. It's very important that you meet and stay in contact with people in your relevant field, even if you don't think they can help you right away, because you never know when you might need them. This doesn't mean contacting people solely to look for work though. It's an ongoing process of staying in touch with people and being willing to help them back. It's particularly useful to find other Romanians living abroad, because they may have similar experiences and their own tips on overcoming challenges that come up. If you currently know some people from your previous work abroad, contact them, ask them how they are doing, and tell them about your situation. You may be surprised at how many will be willing to help you. Just don't push them too hard to find you a job right away, since their time is valuable too and you want to remain connected in the long run.
  2. The language barrier is real. If you plan to work in a foreign country, make sure you know its primary language very well. It's okay to have an accent, but just make sure it isn't a strong enough one that people won't understand you when you're speaking. If they can't understand you, you won't be able to make a successful case to them on why they should hire you, and they will think that hiring you will make it difficult for them to communicate work tasks. This all applies to writing as well, not just reading.
  3. Find something else to build your resume. While you're unemployed, it's a good idea to find something to do that can make your resume even better. In particular, consider going back to school, taking on a project relevant to your field, volunteering, or even starting your own business. All of these will show a prospective employer that you were still busy during this period and haven't "forgotten" how to do things. If you have a long gap between your last job and now, it will raise a huge red flag to prospective employers. Find something to plug it.
  4. Consider switching fields. If the job opportunities for a particular field just aren't there, try somewhere else, even if only temporarily. It's better to have a job in a different field than no job at all. This may involve going back to school first though.
  5. Don't lose hope. This may seem like a silly thing to say, but a lot of people fall into depression after not being able to find relevant work for a long time and simply give up. This doesn't mean that the work is out there, it just means that you still have more searching to do. Be determined, and be willing to send lots of tailored resumes/CVs to many different companies over and over again. Make sure each resume specifically shows how you can add value to that business, rather than sending the same generic thing that will immediately get thrown out by a hiring manager.

And lastly, when it comes to interviewing and explaining why you were unemployed for a long time, be honest. You are certainly qualified, you had some great opportunities, then you thought you had a better one back in Romania that was also close to your family. The opportunity didn't materialize because of the company's financial situation, and you have since been looking for another one. Make it clear that you have every intention of moving to the new country and staying there for work and that you don't see Romania as a place to build your career due to the economic situation there, in case employers think you'll just run back to Romania at every opportunity. And if you follow point number 3 above, you will have other things to talk about to take the interviewer's mind off the unemployment. Above all, show that you can make a meaningful contribution to their business in a way that other applicants cannot.

Hopefully all this information helps. Again, don't ever give up. You will find something.

  • Un raspuns excelent :) – AndreiROM Jun 16 '16 at 13:35
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In my opinion you should give less detail about why you left. By taking a much less prestigious job because it is closer to family you would appear as a bit of a flight risk to potential employers who aren't in Romania. By simply saying "I was offered a job that I felt was a better fit for me but the company hit hard times between offering me the job and my start date so it fell through" you make it sound less like you will leave for the first Romanian opportunity that comes up.

  • 2
    +1 It is the vital thing to show any prospective employer that you are not going to leave soon (or, better, ever leave). Even the best pro costs fortune to get started and every employeee needs to pay herself off for the company. So in your position I'd stop telling companies that you left your amazing job, voluntarily, to move home. – Pavel Nov 28 '14 at 13:34
  • Agree with giving some reassurance, don't agree that companies should feel that new hires will stay with a single position or even a single company forever. I suggest informing prospective employers about length of time you do intend to commit - in the summary section of resume/CV or cover letter or anytime before the conversation about leaving comes up. Depends on the specific situation, but perhaps asking for a 1 year contract would assure them that you will make significant contributions after an initial ramp up period. – Stan Kurdziel Nov 30 '14 at 9:17
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Perhaps you can get a previous boss from the company in France to write you a reference stating that you left for personal reasons?


I spent 6 months out of work this year, and also had difficulties explaining that I quit because my wife got a good job offer somewhere far away. I asked my previous boss for a reference, and he was happy to give me one - I was actually a bit flattered by what he wrote. In the last paragraph he also added something like: "We are sorry Mr. Cichocki decided to go, he was a valuable colleague. We wish him the best of luck for the future."

And use the time to do things you normally wouldn't. For example I learned to cook, did a lot of sports and music, learned some new things about my job, and supported my wife wherever I could.

  • 2
    "We are sorry Mr. [...] decided to go, he was a valuable colleague. We wish him the best of luck for the future." -- At least in Germany this is the standard phrase that is expected at the end of a reference statement. If it is not there that is perceived as a strong indication that something did not go well toward the end of the employment, i.e. it probably wasn't the employee's decision to leave afterall, and the former employer was actually glad to see him leave. – JimmyB Nov 28 '14 at 14:32
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    So, for the OP's situation, it's a good thing to have in a reference letter, along with other more task-specific praise : ) – Rafael Emshoff Nov 28 '14 at 21:26
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A year gap isn't that bad. Your life isn't over, you have a lot to offer potential employers by way of your experience, knowledge and work history. This is going to be a minor unpleasant memory in the not too distant future for you.

I would assume most understand the situation in Romania which shouldn't make your story so hard to believe, but if you are experiencing issues of disbelief then I would personally say that you took time off to spend time with your family (which is partially true as it was a reason why you accepted this job offer) and now you're looking to get back to work. I think this should be mostly an acceptable answer to whoever you offer it. If they ask why you're now looking to move out of Romania, give them the same reason you otherwise would - the trouble of finding work locally.

The important thing to remember is that a lot of people have gaps in their resumes, most employers should understand how difficult it can be to find a job and so long as you do not project yourself as desperate most will not be all that concerned with it. I have a 9 month gap in my employment history that no one ever mentions.

  • 3
    A year's gap is already officially (national statistics) classified as long-term unemployment in Finland. The ramification is that very few employers will consider you anymore. Is it different in other countries? – Juha Untinen Nov 28 '14 at 9:05
6

I have voted for Kate Gregory's answer about listing the job you left France for. The other answers are also good. There is a bit of a psychological twist though, that I thought deserved a separate answer.

What I have found in similar situations in the past is that as unbelievable as it may initially sound, there is a high likelihood that the hesitation expressed by prospective employers initiates with you. If, in hindsight, you are thinking of your decision to leave France as a (serious) mistake, then it will likely come off that way - no matter what words you say. I've seen two people say almost identical things regarding previous positions during interviews and I interpret it almost completely opposite. Another way to phrase this is that if you expect them to not believe you, there's a good chance they will pick up on that.

My recommendation is that you need to convince yourself that an employer has nothing to be worried about now, as well as the fact that it was a reasonable thing to do to leave France at the time you did. How you express yourself is definitely more important than exactly what the resume says.

From what you have told us in the question, there shouldn't be any need to lie. A big danger in making things up is that interviewers will sense that you aren't being truthful. That is not a good way to start an important relationship. It's important for them to be able to trust you and vise-versa. If I were in your shoes, I would ask them questions to build trust that their company will not fold during your intended period of commitment. That is valuable information for anyone moving to a new country for an employer, as well as lending extra credibility to your work history.

Here are three potentially helpful points to keep in mind for how to answer the question. And for each one, it's important to internalize it so that it comes across naturally.

  • Brevity: When asked "Why did you leave your last employer?" a short, confident, believable answer might be along the lines "Another opportunity presented itself that I couldn't pass up."
  • If they then query further, remember that family means more than career to most people. Once again keep it short and truthful. I'll make something up, but the idea is to add some more detail: "I needed to return to Romania for a few months to help with my sister's wedding, so it made sense to take employment nearby." Or, "It was a great opportunity for me to return home and mentor a cousin looking to follow in my footsteps to university."
  • Another thing to think about is what are you excited about doing next? (aside from being closer to family?). Switching from a negative tone on why you left one company to a positive tone on what you are excited about in the prospective opportunity could help move the conversation along and away from the sensitive topic.

Best of luck!

  • Good advice, Stan! – AndreiROM Jun 16 '16 at 13:38
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Get a letter from the previous company AS WELL AS from the company you were not able to start with. Only use them if needed. Be confident and give as little detail as possible when asked.You may be giving off anxiety when trying to justify. Try to go back to the company you left if possible.

  • 1
    Hey Joe, welcome to The Workplace. This answer might be a bit more useful if you could provide context for the advice. Have you encountered similar situations in the past, or is there some other reason you provide this specific advice? – yochannah Nov 29 '14 at 12:20

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