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Work for fruitful employers

Q: I work in an engineering department in a good firm. It’s small, but people here are decent. I’ve been going to school for my engineering degree so I can get out of support and into engineering. This spring I’ll have my degree.

March 03, 2013 12:00 am

If your heart isn't in it, don't interview

Q: It’s time to reinvent myself, because the field I’m in is contracting. Another field where I have experience seems to offer a great deal of opportunity; so I’ve been updating my skills, reading about it and speaking with people about it.

February 24, 2013 12:00 am

Flexibility to move forward

Q: It's a bit ironic: I'm afraid I won't be able to interview; so I've not sent out resumes!

February 17, 2013 12:00 am

The long day delimma

Q: I am a 58-year-old woman with a full-time receptionist’s job in a doctor's office. I love my job and the people, but I need a part-time evening job for financial reasons. Here’s my dilemma. Patient load determines when my day is over.

February 10, 2013 12:00 am

Ethical ambitions

Q: Now that the job market is gradually coming back, I want to be a recruiter. Before, I was afraid I’d be overwhelmed with candidates. Now I know there are enough employers out there to become my clients.

February 03, 2013 12:00 am

Matching skills with relevant industries

Q: When employers review my experience, they can’t pull it together. I’ve jumped from one industry to another. The progression makes sense to me, but I’m in the middle of it and I can’t articulate it well. Can you point me in a direction?

January 27, 2013 12:00 am

Expanding avenues for the job search

Q: I spent all of 2012 job hunting. I sent out more than 300 applications from listed jobs. The three interviews I had went well, but I wasn’t hired. In each case I had at least 40 competitors.

January 20, 2013 12:00 am

Phone interview anxiety

Q: I hate using the telephone. I’d rather see a person face-to-face. On the phone I’m so uncomfortable that I can’t think on my feet or I’m tongue-tied. How can I job hunt with this problem?

January 13, 2013 12:00 am

Using past experiences to find your "fit"

Q: I’ve been living a double life. I play in a band, which I love, and do temp work during the day. If you could see all of the jobs I’ve had, you’d think I’m good at job hunting. But I wouldn’t go back to a single one of them, because they’re dead ends.

January 06, 2013 12:00 am

Creating a network to relocate

Q: I went to a city on vacation and decided I want to live there. None of the people I met would be good ones for me to use as contacts. How do I find my first contact?

December 30, 2012 12:00 am

New Year, new contacts, new opportunities

Q: I have applied to many jobs and often don’t get responses. When I’m able to get a response from an insider, I’m told that I don’t meet ALL of the qualifications for the position. These are dream jobs I’ve wanted for almost 20 years!

December 23, 2012 12:00 am

Watch for the display of arrogance

Q: Can you advise me?

December 16, 2012 12:00 am

Targeting your job search

Q: I went to a resume writer who told me that I needed to work with a coach. She said I needed an objective.

December 09, 2012 12:00 am

Giving the appropriate gift at work

Q. I report to two people and would like to give both of them something for Christmas. I want to keep it professional, but one of them doesn’t celebrate Christmas and the other is a man. What would you suggest? I’ve thought about books or a magazine subscription, but I don’t know what either…

December 02, 2012 12:00 am

Understanding company policy to avoid a mishap

Q: I was fired in my last job for being caught in a compromising position with a subordinate. The company pointed out to me that the policies and procedures manual expressly states that this type of behavior is prohibited. My boss told me that I should have offered to resign or that one of u…

November 25, 2012 12:00 am

Creating work history from "living"

Q: My wife would like to go to work. She doesn’t think that anyone will hire her, because she doesn’t have a work history. She is 52 years old and she applied at a motel the other day to clean rooms.

November 18, 2012 12:00 am

Managing the exit strategy

Q: I’m planning to retire some time in the New Year and I want to give my employer more notice than people in entry-level jobs do. In the past, when people in my position left, it took the company three months to replace them.

November 11, 2012 12:00 am

Make yourself and the company stand out

Q: My cover letter is bland. I don’t know how to fix it, because I’ve read books about them and I’ve filled mine with accomplishments. Some of them I even lifted off my resume and they look good there.

November 04, 2012 12:00 am

Practically plan a start-up

Q: I’ve been working in a business that allows me to do what I love – baking and decorating cakes. Meanwhile, I’ve been making cakes here and there for special occasions, such as weddings, bachelorette parties and graduation ceremonies. I’ve just had a baby.

October 28, 2012 12:00 am

Making the business card "sell"

Q: I'm a Bilingual Spanish Teacher focusing on being a Tutor for kids or Adults... teaching Spanish for I'm well-versed in this subject.

October 21, 2012 12:00 am

Recruiting investments

Q: I’m the president of an international chemical company in a major city. We specialize in the manufacture of truck-washing products. I’m looking for someone to work this market. The job involves taking samples to prospective customers and steering them to our many online videos about our p…

October 14, 2012 12:00 am

Masterful job-hunting support

Q: I really need a mentor, because I’m not good at job hunting, but I don’t know how to find one. Do I just go up to a person I like and ask if he’d be my mentor?

October 07, 2012 12:00 am

Researching the credibility of education and training programs

Q: I took training for certified energy auditor through a federally funded jobs training program. There were jobs, but we couldn’t get them, because the program was a fraud. The college didn’t use a certified instructor and didn’t purchase the necessary equipment (blower door, duct blaster a…

September 30, 2012 12:00 am

Background check employers: A lesson learned

I accepted a part-time job with a promise of full-time when business picked up. It lasted four days. When I called about my paycheck, the owner refused to pay me and blamed errors in paperwork. I’d processed only three repair tickets! He used profanity.

September 23, 2012 12:00 am

Preparing the "qualification" conversation

Q: I shake and stumble in interviews when employers ask for my qualifications and degrees. Despite the fact that I have all of the qualifications, or at least I believe that I do, I don’t do a good job explaining how I would benefit the company. How can I get past this and come out with conf…

September 16, 2012 12:00 am

Visualize, step by step

Q: I have a severe anxiety and panic disorder that stops me from getting out there in the world. Medication, therapy and counseling haven’t done the trick.

September 09, 2012 12:00 am

Activate salary negotiation skills

Q: In the past six years I’ve earned $16/hour to over $110,000/year. This confuses employers, because, at 58, I’m competing with lesser design talent. It’s almost as if interviewers are embarrassed for me when they ask, “What kind of salary do you expect?” How do I answer and remain confident?

September 02, 2012 12:00 am

Market your uniqueness

Q: I’m looking for anything to get me a job – online professor (no experience, just a bachelor’s degree), writer/editor/copywriter or entry-level speech writer. I've been actively searching for a job for over a year now, with no call-backs or interviews.

August 26, 2012 12:00 am

Ethics work on both sides

Q: After 25 years of managing celebrity homes exceeding 30,000 sq. ft., I was unemployed for two years while being told I was qualified by agencies. They weren’t presenting my resume. I turned things around to make the jobs find me. I appeared online like an agency so when potential clients …

August 19, 2012 12:00 am

Take action on career assessments

Q: Have failure rates on pre-employment assessment tests been reported? What about demographic breakdown? I think I’m getting discriminated against.

August 12, 2012 12:00 am

Looking for leads

Q: I read one of your other columns about opportunities in agriculture. How can I get leads for jobs in my field?

August 05, 2012 12:00 am

Standing up and out for yourself

Q: I moved from a large city to a small town elsewhere in the region. In the city I could easily live off the $25 per hour I earned as a leasing agent or administrative assistant. Whenever I fill out applications online here or interview at a staffing agency, salary is always the problem. I'…

July 29, 2012 12:00 am

Company commitment is an asset

Q: I still consider myself a recent graduate (2008). However, I was recently told that I had a red flag since I'd only held one industry job out of college, albeit at the same place for three and one-half years with three promotions. How do you address the fact that employment by one company…

July 22, 2012 12:00 am

Proactive, personal recruiting

Q: I keep missing out on jobs. In one case, a less experienced person was hired at two-thirds the salary. In another, after extensive phone interviews, I was told I was the leading candidate (among more than 300). I learned four weeks later an internal candidate had the job.

July 15, 2012 12:00 am

Strategizing powerful references

Q: I’ve done a lot of contract work in my profession, with many employers and bad managers. I’m not one to remain silent if a person around me is at risk and I might have been blackballed by my association. What do I do about negative references or a former employer who chooses not to provide one?

July 08, 2012 12:00 am

Curtailing age discrimination

 Q: In interviews, employers let me know I’m qualified. Then two things generally happen. The employer either does the math and figures out that I’m 50-something or the sweet young thing sitting across from me realizes she’ll have to supervise me and I know more than she does. You can’t prov…

July 01, 2012 12:00 am

Handling tricky salary negotiations

Q: In the past six years I’ve been out of work twice. It took 3,000+ resumes over more than a year to find a job after the first loss. Now I’m still unemployed after a year from the second.

June 24, 2012 12:00 am

Following up is part of the process

Q: I’m a recent law school graduate who’s passed the bar. I applied for a collections job, no experience required. The monthly bonuses would reduce debt.

June 17, 2012 12:00 am

Bold Enterprising

Q: In June of 2008, I lost my administrative job at an affordable property housing site that I managed for 18 years. In April, 2010, I became a chauffeur. I'm underemployed but I like the people and their tips!

May 01, 2011 12:00 am

GET SKILLED

Q: I'm a 52-year-old self-employed landscape architect looking for employment in the design field. Due to timing and my career path, I haven't developed CAD skills. How can I get employers to look beyond the skills requirement and look at life experience and a desire to contribute?

April 24, 2011 12:00 am

Medical Disclosure: When is the right time?

Q: When is it appropriate, if ever, to disclose a serious illness? I was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer two years ago and still go for minimal treatments that require a half-day off work every 90 days. I'm in the process of looking for a new position and need advice.

April 03, 2011 12:00 am

On the offense about credit checks

Q: I burned through my company's credit and my own personal credit while trying to survive for the last three years. I finally gave up and am going back to work for an established company with a good upside potential that has a great corporate culture. What do I do about a credit check when …

February 27, 2011 12:00 am

Acknowledge career mistakes and move on

Q: About five-and-a-half years ago, I was fired from my job for having a blog, making me one of the first fired bloggers in the city. I was also a sex columnist, sometimes graphic, in print and on the Internet. I couldn't get interviews, so I publicized the firing and very quickly had many o…

February 20, 2011 12:00 am

Consider asking questions during your job interview

Q: How can I communicate how my past experience will help a company? Despite what I felt were very strong interviews, the next job continues to elude me.

February 13, 2011 12:00 am

Navigating the risks of online applications

Q: I recently applied for a position online, for which I have more than 18 years of experience and top industry references. I was almost a perfect match, according to their listing.

February 06, 2011 12:00 am

Know your rights when interviewing

Q: I'm a 40-year-old man. In the interview I had yesterday with two men, one suddenly asked, "Are you married?" I've been asked this question in interviews before.

January 30, 2011 12:00 am

Reinvent your job search—and yourself

Q: I have been unemployed for four months and try to follow your tips. I moved back in with my parents, having received my MS in Environmental Studies/Conservation Biology. I just want to find a great job helping the environment in a beautiful area. I'd even pump gas, but I can't afford to m…

January 23, 2011 12:00 am

Expand your search to focus on your specialty

Q: My job is a bit specialized, so I'm not really sure where to look. I have great experience with farmers, producers, restaurants and schools, local foods and helping to enhance revenue for these groups. I even wrote a few booklets. I'm in a nonprofit now, but nonprofits dealing with farmer…

January 16, 2011 12:00 am

Avoid being passive in your job hunting

Q: I responded to a posting on a job board for a software engineering job some time ago and was contacted by the company for an interview. Before the interview, they emailed me a spreadsheet containing the interview notes for two or three previous applicants for the same job. It contained th…

January 09, 2011 12:00 am

It may be time to reorganize your job search

Q: I received my degree in business administration, with minors in pre-law and communications. My degree was rated as one of the best for career potential.

January 02, 2011 12:00 am
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