New boss might evaluate differently

April 16, 2006|By MARIE G. McINTYRE - Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service

Q. For eight years, I received "outstanding" performance reviews. Two months ago, I got a new boss who doesn't seem to like me. When she did my annual evaluation, I got low ratings with no suggestions for improvement. Now I have no idea what to do. Before I had this boss, I really enjoyed this job.

- Not Appreciated

A. No question that your boss didn't handle this very well.

An "annual" evaluation after only two months as your manager? With no helpful feedback? Sounds like someone needs performance appraisal training.

Although the sudden dip in your ratings is upsetting, it doesn't necessarily mean that your stock has fallen. Different managers often use rating scales differently. Some give many high scores, others hardly any. If your previous manager was an "easy grader," then everyone probably has lower evaluations now.

But if this new boss seems particularly unhappy with you, then you must try to fix the situation. Protesting this appraisal is probably counterproductive, so your goal should be to get a better one next time.


First, you need to understand what this manager expects. Management changes often bring shifts in goals, priorities and leadership style.

Instead of just trying to puzzle this out, ask for her view of the objectives and responsibilities of your position.

Although you might never like her as well as your old boss, look for her positive traits. She surely must have some strengths. If you can change the way you think about her, she may respond by changing her opinion of you.

You should try to be cooperative, pleasant and helpful. And before your next evaluation, ask for a mid-year review to see how things are going.

Q. I have applied for many jobs, but no one calls me for an interview.

For 10 years, I have worked in call centers for tech support and customer service. My rsum has been professionally written, but I am not getting any bites at all. What am I to do?

- Feeling Hopeless

A. Because many call center jobs are being outsourced overseas, you have a lot of competition. To get an interview, you have to stand out from the crowd. And to stand out, you need personal contacts and a first-class rsum.

After 10 years, you must know a lot people in your field. Use these networking contacts to locate openings and connect with interviewers.

With many qualified applicants available, interviewers often give first priority to those referred by someone they know.

Despite being professionally prepared, your resume may not be as powerful as possible. A resume is a sales tool with one single purpose: to convince an employer to interview you instead of someone else. If your contacts include managers or HR people, ask them for feedback on your resume. Here are some questions to consider:

-Do you customize your resume for each job? For every position, you need to highlight the most relevant parts of your background. A generic resume will often get you a generic response: no interest.

-Have you included everything that might attract an interviewer's attention? Training, certifications, projects, special assignments - even volunteer work - can all help to get you noticed.

-When you send your resume electronically, do you know how it looks on the receiving end? One applicant found that during transmission, all her fancy bullets had turned into tiny little lips! No kidding.

-Have you double-checked for mistakes or misspellings? Even one slip-up can make you appear careless and cost you an interview. (Not to be picky, but your e-mail to us had two spelling errors.)

Looking for work is just not fun. Job seekers face constant rejection and have no idea when it will end. So consider joining a job search group where you and your fellow sufferers can share frustrations. The emotional support will help keep your spirits up, and you may also get some job leads.

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

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