Career Transition Support

Your Guide to Dealing with Being Laid Off, Navigating Unemployment, and Successfully Landing a New Role.

Welcome to TSI’s Career Transition Services Toolkit! We designed this toolkit to support you in successfully navigating the path to your next job.

Our goal is to provide you with the key information you need to take the next step in your career, whether it has been 6 months or 30 years since you last looked for employment.

This toolkit includes everything from how to cope with the initial shock of losing your job, to understanding your separation benefits and state unemployment compensation program.

Check out our tips and best practices on how to write a great resume, and how to prepare for and nail your interviews; and take advantage of our handy resources, including templates and links to curated information to support you in your transition towards new employment.

Toolkit modules include:

  • How to Collect Your Separation Benefits
  • How to Deal with Being Unemployed
  • Resume Writing Tips and Guidelines
  • Interview Tips and Guidelines

How to Collect Your Separation Benefits with TSI

In this video, we go through the steps for collecting your separation benefits. Please also refer to your Participant Kit for additional information with the specifics of your company’s plan.

Dealing with Being Unemployed

In this video, we discuss how to deal with various aspects of being unemployed, and what you can do to take your next step forward toward finding your next job opportunity.

Resume Writing Tips & Guidelines


Writing or updating a resume can be challenging, especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve dusted it off. Here are some universal tools and tips to help you get started. Remember to take your time writing your resume to set yourself up for success in your job search.

Job Posting Research & Keywords

Before you dive into writing your resume, do some research on what jobs are out there that appeal to you. Look through lots of different job descriptions to find out what prospective employers are looking for. Knowing the specifics about what employers are looking for will help you tailor your resume to be a fit for your desired role.

Use job search engines, like,, or, to search for jobs using keywords like job title, salary level, company, job type, location, and experience level.

Read through the results of your search and pay attention to the qualifications and keywords in the postings that you’re interested in, and could qualify for. Job sites and recruiters often use keywords to sort through resumes to find candidates with the most relevant experience. Start a list of keywords that come up frequently in these postings and try to incorporate these keywords into your resume. The closer your resume phrases match the verb phrases in the job description, the more likely your resume is to be looked at and considered.

Future Focus

Your resume is a representation of your professional accomplishments, but also a statement about where you want to go, and your goals for the future.

Write your resume from the vantage point of the future you, in your next role and beyond. Highlight skills and experience that speak to the aspects of your ideal new role.

For example, if you have experience in customer service and managing a small team, and loved customer service but management was not your cup of tea – emphasize your passion for customer service and leave management out. Just because you performed a duty or task in the past, does not mean you are required to put it in your resume.

Results based

Your resume should not be a laundry list of job activities, but rather a statement of results and accomplishments. Use results-based language to emphasize that you did more than simply perform routine tasks. Show that you performed your duties with skill produced tangible results for your former employer. No matter what your experience is, find a way to quantify your results.

Which of these candidates would you hire if you were the hiring manager?

Candidate 1:

  • I am an experienced data entry clerk.
  • I am proficient with Microsoft Excel.

Candidate 2:

  • Strong data entry skills; track record of 100% accuracy processing 4000 records during 2017.
  • Microsoft Excel proficiency; Created model used to track team’s revenue growth; management implemented my model across all other teams.

I hope you said Candidate #2! Candidate #2 uses strong action-verbs and shows a clear correlation between the task they performed and a corresponding result. Also, note that Candidate #2 stays away from using the word “I” or other pronouns, which can weaken a resume’s effect.


Generally speaking, your resume should fit on one page. However, there is no “correct” format for organizing the information. Depending on which aspects of your qualifications you want to emphasize, there are three main categories of resume formats that you can choose to follow.

Reverse Chronological Format


A Reverse-Chronological Format resume (also called Chronological Resume) is the traditional and most common format for writing a resume. It gets its name because in this format, the Work and Related Experience section lists the person’s experience in reverse-chronological order.

  • Highlights work experience.
  • Demonstrates career progression.
  • Is the most common type of resume, and the one potential employers will be most familiar with.
  • Highlights any gaps in employment.
  • Highlights any frequent job changes.
  • Not ideal if you are trying to change industries, since your experience will not be very relevant to your new direction.

A Reverse-Chronological Resume is ideal for when your work history is very closely related to your desired job, as your relevant experience is featured front and center, and will be highly applicable to the description of the desired job.

  • More information on writing a Reverse Chronological Resume samples-writing-guide
  • Download Microsoft Word’s Reverse Chronological Resume Template
  • Pinterest is full of great sample Functional Resumes

Functional / Skills Format


A functional resume puts the focus on your skills and abilities, rather than your chronological job history by including a Summary of Skills and Qualifications section before (or instead of) Work and Related Experience.

You can organize a Functional Format Resume by theme or skill, and can mention relevant projects (personal or professional) that are related to the job description you are responding to. You can still include your employment history in a Functional Resume, but at the bottom so that it is not the most featured component.

  • Opportunity to highlight specific skills and capabilities rather than former titles and time in previous roles.
  • Downplay gaps in work history or history of changing jobs frequently.
  • Hiring managers may be suspicious that you could be trying to hide something.
  • Functional Resumes may not be accepted by some job sites or recruiters.

A Functional Format Resume is idea for people who have gaps in their work history, who have changed jobs often, who are looking to change jobs or industry, or who are applying for jobs requiring specific skillsets.

  • More information on writing a Functional Resume
  • Download Microsoft Word’s Functional Resume Template
  • Pinterest is full of great sample Functional Resumes lp=true

Combination Format


The Combination Format is a combination of the Reverse-Chronological Format and the Functional Format. A Combination Format resume will typically begin with a Summary of Skills and Qualifications and will be followed by your Reverse-Chronological Work and Related Experience. This format offers an opportunity to showcase your skills up front, while also providing the details of your employment history.

  • Emphasizes your skills while also showing solid work experience.
  • If you have an extensive employment history, this is a great format for emphasizing the highlights of your career and drawing focus to your greatest accomplishments in the Summary of Skills and Qualifications, without the risk of them getting lost in your Experience section.
  • Including both the Summary of Skills and Work History could end up being repetitive. Be sure to watch for this.
  • May be longer than the other formats. If you choose this format, make sure you can still fit everything on one page.

A Combination Format Resume is useful for a range of different candidates, including:

  • Someone with a great deal experience who is applying for a job requiring a high level of technical skill or expertise.
  • Someone looking to change industries or job type. Skills are featured over work history, giving the candidate an opportunity to showcase relevant skills that translate well to the new industry or job type.
  • Someone who has held several jobs that were all very similar, allowing them to highlight the key skills and duties up-front to avoid a repetitive list in the Experience section.
  • More information on writing a Combination Resume samples
  • Download Template Net’s Combination Resume Template in Microsoft word resume/combination-resume/
  • Pinterest is full of great sample Combination Resumes template/?lp=true

Resume Elements

Listed below are the most common elements of a resume. The order of this information will vary depending on what type of format you are following.


Your contact information should be easily visible, and should generally be at the top of your resume. Include your name, mailing address, telephone number, email address, link to your LinkedIn Profile, and if applicable, links to your portfolio or resume website.


Including an Introduction and/or Objective Statement in your resume is optional, but is a great way to let your potential employer know what you want to do, how you can add value to the company, and why you are a good fit for the role. This is an especially useful resume component if you are changing job types or industries, as it gives you chance to elaborate on why you are a good fit, even if you don’t have a lot of experience.


If you are using a Functional Format or Combination Format for your resume, you will include a Summary of Skills and Qualifications. This should be towards the top of your resume, spotlighting your skills and qualifications. Remember, these should be related to the job posting you are responding to, and include relevant keywords from the posting.

Things to incorporate in your Summary of Skills and Qualifications include relevant education and coursework, mastery with certain software or hardware, language fluency, and honors and awards you have received. This is a great tool to catch the eye of your potential new employer, so make this section strong!


The Work and Related Experience section should list your work history in reverse chronological order. For each of your past jobs, include the name of the company where you worked, along with the city and state, the dates of your employment (Month/Year – Month/Year), and the positions and titles you held. If you were promoted during your employment with a company, list the last position you held – you can talk all about your promotion when you are at the interview! For each of your past jobs, write a brief description or bulleted list (3-4 bullets) of your job duties and responsibilities (See Results Based section of this article for tips). Write efficiently and avoid being wordy. Remember – you only have one page!

Make sure to refer to the job description to which you are responding to make sure the experience you list is relevant. If you have a varied work history, you can separate your work history into two sections; Relevant Professional Experience Summary and Other Experience. Employing this trick will help focus your resume and make it seem more relevant to the desired job.

If possible, try to avoid drawing attention to any major gaps in your work history. If you had a period of unemployment, list community service, education, or volunteer work that you did during this period in the Other Experience or Education sections.


In the Education section, include the name and location of your school(s) and the type of degree you earned and your field of study. You should also include the year of your graduation and your GPA if it was above 3.5/4.0

This section should generally be below the Work and Related Experience Section. However, if you are a working professional who has been back to school recently, you should put your education at the top of your resume.


Adding an Additional Information section to your resume is a nice way to round out your experience and show a bit of your personality, but it is not required. If you choose to add this section, carefully consider the information you select, and make sure it adds to the overall resume and doesn’t clutter it. Whatever you include should reinforce your qualifications and enhance your candidacy for your desired job.

Additional information can include your hobbies, additional skills, publications, awards, volunteering, technical skills, speaking engagements, affiliations, and more.


You should only list references on your resume if the job posting specifically requests that you do so. Most employers do not require references up front, and will ask you to provide them at the appropriate time in the hiring process.

Even though you don’t need to include the references in your resume, it’s a good idea to plan your reference list at the same time as writing your resume so you have it ready when needed.

Remember, if you are going to give someone’s name as a reference, be sure that you have their permission and inform them that they might be contacted. Giving your references a heads-up will allow them to be more prepared to be a stellar reference for you.

Other Considerations

  • Limit your resume to one page!
  • Look through the application materials for each job you apply to. Some companies have specific guidelines that you’ll need to adhere to for your resume to be considered.
  • Ask a friend or family member to proof-read your work. Often, Employers will not consider a resume that has typos.
  • Stick with a simple font that is easy to read. Size 10-12 is typically a good size for body copy. Headers and titles may be larger.
  • If you are printing your resume, use high quality paper. Office supply stores have special resume paper that you can purchase.
  • Do not include personal details like your social security number or birthdate.

Interview Tips & Guidelines


So you got an interview… Congratulations!

Many people feel like they are in the hot seat at an interview, but the meeting is just as much about you interviewing them as them interviewing you. Ask questions and get a good feel for the culture. Is this company somewhere you want to work? Are you comfortable there? Are the company’s values a good match for your own values? Think about what matters to you most at work, and do your due diligence to help yourself land somewhere where you can thrive.

Research the Company

Before you go on an interview, do some research on the company. Find out as much as you can about the products and services it offers, its mission and values, and its corporate culture. Perusing the company website is a great place to start. If they have a blog or other social media accounts, read through the posts and try to pick up on the tone. Are these communications formal and business-like? Or are playfulness and humor used? Picking up on these cues will help you prepare for the atmosphere you’ll encounter at your interview.

Another great way to research a company is to look at external review sites like Glassdoor or Indeed to see what employees of the company say about their own experience. Review your LinkedIn connections to see if you know anyone who has, or currently works at the company. If you feel comfortable, reach out to your connection and ask them about the company and what it’s like to work there. Who knows – they may even offer to put in a recommendation for you!

Review the Job Description

Go through each line of the job description and be prepared to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills to perform the job well. For each of the key job requirements, come up with an example of an experience you have had, which illustrates your ability, and be prepared to discuss this with the hiring manager.

Practice Interviewing

Interview questions come in all shapes and sizes – from case studies to brain teasers, from opinion to behavioral questions. Become familiar with the different question formats so you don’t get caught off guard, and practice your responses out loud. Prepare some responses that could work well for a variety of questions, so that all you need to do is tailor your response to the specific question asked in the interview, rather than try to come up with answers on the fly. Having a general idea of what you are going to say will help you stay composed and confident and avoid getting flustered. Perhaps discuss your answers with a friend to get some practice and feedback.

If possible, try to get a sense of the type of questions you will be faced with at the interview. When you’re scheduling the interview, go ahead and ask what format will be used. The more prepared you can be, the better! You can also check out company review sites like GlassDoor, Fairygodboss, and Indeed to glean additional information about the company’s interviewing practices.

 How to Dress

We all know that first impressions count, and the way you present yourself at an interview is a big part of your potential employer’s first impression of you. As a rule of thumb, you should dress appropriately for the position you are applying for. For a corporate interview, a suit is usually a safe option. If the workplace is more casual, your interview attire can be less formal. If you’re in doubt about what to wear, it’s perfectly ok to ask the person who schedules the interview. If you’re uncomfortable asking, better to dress up than dress down.

Whatever the level of formality, always dress neatly and modestly. Take the extra time to iron your clothes and choose conservative shoes. Makeup and hairstyles should be simple and professional and accessories should be kept to a minimum and not draw attention.

Some jobs may ask you back for multiple interviews, so prepare by designating a few different outfits for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd interviews.

For additional tips on dressing for your interview, check out the following link:

What to bring

Arrive at your interview with a Portfolio containing extra copies of your resume, your list of references, any questions that you plan to ask the interviewer, and a notebook and pen to jot down any important information. If you need to bring a small bag or briefcase, that’s fine, but don’t bring anything else beyond what is absolutely necessary. Be sure to turn off your cell phone, and ditch the chewing gum and coffee.

Arrive Early

Being late is one of the worst mistakes you could make at a job interview and should be avoided at all costs. If you show up late for an interview, who’s to say you wouldn’t show up late for work or meetings with clients?

Make sure to arrive 10-15 minutes early to show that you are serious about the job.

It’s a good practice to visit the interview site the day before your interview to familiarize yourself with the area so you don’t get hung up or delayed on the day of your interview. Familiarize yourself with the area and whether there is parking available nearby, or if you will need to park further away from the site and therefor leave yourself extra time to walk.

If you find yourself in a position where being late is unavoidable, make sure to call ahead and give them a heads-up. Be respectful of the interviewer’s time and offer some alternative times for the interview in case it is necessary to reschedule.


When you arrive at the interview, greet the receptionist in a friendly, polite manner and tell them who you are and who you will be meeting with.

When the interviewer comes to meet you, offer a firm handshake and address them as Mr. or Ms. as a sign of respect. They will likely tell you to call them by their first name, but this professionalism will not go unnoticed.

Watch your body language during the interview. Sit up straight and lean in slightly to show that you are listening to the interviewer and interested in what they have to say. Avoid crossing your arms in front of your chest or leaning back in your chair, which can make you seem closed-off or bored. Try to avoid any nervous habits you might have, like twirling your hair or fidgeting, and maintain composure and appropriate eye contact during the conversation.

You may take notes during the interview and jot down any additional questions or comments to bring up at the right time, and don’t forget to smile!

For additional tips and tricks for interview etiquette, check out the following resources:


After your interview, send a thank you note restating your interest in the job. Handwritten and mailed is preferable, but if you don’t think it will reach them in time or it is more consistent with their company culture, you can send your thank you note via email. Your note can be short and sweet, and you need not reiterate the conversation you had in the interview. The purpose of the note is to show that you have good manners, professionalism, and to keep your name in front of the hiring manager. Most important is that your note be well written and typo free!

For sample thank you notes and additional information about thank you letters, check out the following link;