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Karen James Chopra, LPC, MCC, NCC, has been counseling career clients since 1999 and has helped hundreds of clients change careers, find new jobs and deal more effectively with workplace challenges.
In addition to her private practice, she has worked for two national corporate outplacement firms: Lee Hecht Harrison and Resource Careers. These are the organizations that help people who have experienced a layoff or downsizing to find new jobs, and their programs are usually considered the gold-standard of job search technique.
Ms Chopra is a regular presenter on career issues, having taught career theory at the graduate level, designed and delivered numerous workshops, and served as a regular guest commentator on WMAL’s career radio show “Your Career Life.”
She is a career-changer herself. Before entering the counseling field, she worked for nearly a decade as a trade negotiator for the United States Government, first at the Department of Commerce and then at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Ms. Chopra holds a number of relevant licenses and certifications: licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the District of Columbia; Master Career Counselor (MCC), a designation of the National Career Development Association (NCDA); and National Certified Counselor (NCC), a designation of the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). She belongs to all of the relevant national and local associations involved in career counseling, including the American Counseling Association (ACA), the National Employment Counselors Association (NECA), the National Career Development Association (NCDA) and the Washington Metropolitan Area Career-Life Planning Network (MAC-LPN).
Her B.A. is from the University of Virginia, and she received a masters of science in foreign service from Georgetown University, and a masters in community counseling from George Washington University.
What should I say when asked why I left my last job?
Career counselor Karen Chopra advises focusing on the positives when explaining why you left your previous employment.
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Host: What should I say when asked why I left my last job?
Karen James Chopra: This can be a challenging question if you left your last job under a cloud or you left your last job because the boss was difficult and what we are looking for here is an answer that is truthful and doesn't have any conflicts with the facts, but at the same time, doesn't provide lots of information about how difficult it was working in your previous company and most specifically, you don't want to say anything negative about the last company. So you may say, "I have run out of running room at that company. I have been there for 10 years and I had a wonderful experience and there is no room for me to grow any longer and so I decided to move on.
" Or the company offered a buyout and it was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up. It gave me an opportunity to think a little bit about what I wanted to do next and that's what I have been doing for the last six months.
" It maybe because of personal reasons, "I left to take care of an elderly parent," or "I left to take care of the child and now I am returning to the world of work.
"What you are looking for here is a pretty short answer that just answers the question but doesn't provide a lot of detail. You are not obligated to justify why you left your last company. They are just looking to see if there is a problem here. So with your answer indicate that there is not, smile and move on.