Q: Even though Im a senior manager, no one outside my department seems to know I exist. Whenever people need information related to my group, they always contact my boss. Instead of referring them to me, she will either answer the question herself or go to my employees for assistance. I am left completely out of the loop.
I dont want to give the wrong impression, because I really like my manager. In fact, shes the best boss Ive ever had. I just feel that if these inquiries were directed to me, I could begin to establish my credibility. After two years in this position, I would like to be more visible, but I dont know how to bring this up in a respectful way.
A: Given that your boss is otherwise a good manager, her interference is almost certainly unintentional. If she typically demonstrates a preference for quick action, then providing an immediate response may simply be her natural instinct. The unfortunate result is that you are pushed into the background.
Since the two of you have a good relationship, engaging in a productive, non-defensive discussion of this issue should not be difficult. The key is to avoid critiquing your managers behavior and to focus instead on increasing your own effectiveness.
For example: One of my personal goals is to develop more relationships outside our department. Youre a terrific role model for this, because almost everyone seems to know you. However, since youre so well-known, people tend to contact you with questions related to my group. If you wouldnt mind referring some of these folks to me, that would help to expand my network.
This will hopefully lead to an agreement about which issues should be routed to you and which should be handled by your boss. But if nothing changes, start looking for other ways to increase your visibility. Once people know who you are, questions are more likely to come your way.
Q: After being laid off, I took a part-time job just to get by. This position, however, has absolutely no relationship to my career. Should I include it on my resume or leave it off?
A: Barring disreputable activities, almost any temporary job looks better than an employment gap. The fact that you are working not only conveys motivation and initiative, but also shows that someone wanted to hire you. Additionally, this employer can serve as a reference for your character and work ethic.
To clearly convey your professional identity, start your resume with a specific objective statement and a list of skills. When describing the stop-gap job, dont waste valuable space explaining all your duties. Instead, just provide a brief overview, then give a detailed description of your more relevant positions. If you have an established background in your field, interviewers should easily recognize that this part-time position was just the quickest path to a paycheck.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of Secrets to Winning at Office Politics. Send in questions and get free coaching tips at www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter @officecoach.