Work Life: Reader Helpline

(Originally published on Wednesday, April 28, 2010)


Questions about your work life, answered here

Thanks for the letters that you’ve been send­ing. As a columnist and HR advocate, it is my pleasure and honor to help you on your journey towards finding and pursuing re­warding careers. Here are excerpts from letters and emails some read­ers have sent, and the answers to their questions.

Rejoining the Workforce After a Break

Q: Hi, I’m an avid reader of the MB Classifieds. I have a question to ask: I’ve been a housewife for 2 years since my last employment in 2006-2007 and I’m planning to look for a job this year, but I don’t know how to list references in my resume because I’m not sure if my previous colleagues can still remember me and if they are still connected with the company right now. What refer­ences can I provide in my resume?


J. Sunga

TO J. SUNGA: First of all, let me congratulate you for deciding to rejoin the workforce, and I wish you luck with your future career. Since you have been away from the scene, I know you are a little ner­vous but excited. Don’t worry; you will get back in the groove of things soon enough and the best way to start is to try to contact your last employer.

Contact the last company you worked for and ask the Human Re­source Department to issue you a Certificate of Employment, as some recruiters require this. While you are at it, ask HR if your previous boss and colleagues are still around. If they are, then you can talk to them, see how they are doing, and ask if you can add them as reference in your resume. In case they are no lon­ger connected with the company and you’ve lost contact with them, try searching in social networking sites (i.e. Facebook, Multiply, Linked In) and reestablish your connection.

You may also put as references professionals you are associated or have worked with, even from social or religious groups—as long as they are willing to vouch for your charac­ter and work ethics.

Meanwhile, if you are in a hurry in sending out resumes, you can simply put “Reference available upon request” while you are still reestablishing connections.


Q: Good day! I am a graphics designer and an avid reader of the Classified Wednesday, especially your column. It’s interesting and a source of very useful informa­tion and inspiration. I have started following your column since Oct. 2009…

Thank you so much for publish­ing the Best Careers in Marketing.

Now, I know where I properly belong—a marketing specialist in graphics design.

I like the “general name” because it has an appeal. In my opinion, the graphics design industry here is ‘low’…which I think, should not be the case.

Sincerely yours,

V. Remigio

TO V. REMIGIO: Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts. I am glad that my three-part article helped clarify certain things about job position, titles, and fields in Marketing.

As you may have already discov­ered, many companies prefer to hire generalists—marketing people who can multitask and do different func­tions. But it’s a big plus if the person has knock-out graphics design skills. So keep on honing your craft. It is a skill that you can take with you forever, whatever industry, business, or career you may be in.

Do keep on reading and sharing your thoughts. It is most welcome.


Can you give me advice? I’m a college graduate, major in manage­ment. After that, I took up my MBA, but I’m not yet finished as I have yet to complete my thesis. Then I de­cided to look for work in Manila and ended up as a courier at an inter­national courier company. What do you think… am I on the right track in my career? What possible options do I have, since I am already in the logistics industry? Do you think I should focus in improving my skills in supply chain management? Should I take short term courses? Do I have a future in my present job right now? I’m already 27 years old, turning 28 this May. Could you please discuss career prospects in supply chain solutions management?

Sincerely yours,

“Mr. Confused”

TO MR. CONFUSED: Some­times, confusion, chaos, and dilem­mas are blessings in disguise as these push us to take a moment to reflect and refocus our work life.

I sincerely wish I had a crystal ball to tell you what the future of your career will be, but since I do not have one, allow me to give you a series of assignments to help shed some light into your current dilemma.

First, you have to ask yourself some soul-searching questions about what you really want and how you see yourself in the future.

Second, consult your HR de­partment. HR people are usually very accommodating and they can provide information on career paths and help you develop yourself pro­fessionally through leadership and skills enhancement programs that your company may already have in place.

Third, you can do research about the logistics industry and supply chain solutions management over the internet and even with the help of your HR department. What you have to look into is the job description for a supply chain manager, if that is what interests you. Check out the skills and qualifications that are required for that career and develop them accordingly by learning from supply chain managers in your company, reading, and attending seminars.

Lastly, talk to your boss or some­one who has influence over promo­tions. Ask what you can do to get to the next level or volunteer for com­pany projects so that you can develop leadership skills and be noticed.

Use your confusion and dilemma as catalysts for change and progress in your life. You have taken the first steps to improving your life by ask­ing questions, so continue on. Good luck to you!

To our letter senders, I hope my tips and answers will guide you in finding and succeeding in your ca­reers, as well as help others who may be going through the same experi­ences and issues. Good luck to you all and have a great work-life!



About the Author: JHOANNA O. GAN-SO is president of Businessmaker Academy and the manag­ing director for HR Club Philippines. Her company conducts seminars on Business Management, Human Resource, Sales and Marketing Courses. They recently launched the Instant HR Toolkit, a ser­vice that provides HR practitioners with over 100 ready-to-use downloadable, customizable, and printable HR manuals, contract, letters forms and templates. To know more about the HR seminars they offer, visit or call (632)6874645. To know more about the Instant HR Toolkit and the HR club, visit You may email comments and questions to

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin and Jhoanna Gan-So 2010. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of copyright holders.)

Posted on April 28, 2010, in Work Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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