State - INACTIVE

WorkWise Q&A: Many forms to job-hunting

PEOPLE

Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I am an award-winning professional let go last December because of the economy. I’m having difficulty even getting interviews. It’s alarming.

I've revamped my resume. I'm applying online. I’m cold calling. I’ve been sending out my resume to places with intern or entry-level positions, asking the HR person to please keep my resume on file in case a suitable position opens up.

I've also tried to use the social networks. With LinkedIn I contacted people in PR, agencies specializing in communications and recruiters.

Out of 45 requests to send my resume, I received two responses. I also identified high-level women in the business thinking they might help another woman out. Worn Out

A: Dear Out, You’ve been knocking on lots of doors that won’t open. You’re banking on deadends -- existing, advertised jobs and social networks.

Are you attending meetings of your professional association? Where else are you going to network? Are you using contacts you’ve made in your work?

Rather than continuing what appears to be a fruitless search, why not package your skills differently? Be an apple among oranges. Investigate marketing, sales, advertising and other related departments. Reduce activity online. Job hunting is about people. mlc

EXPERTISE

Q: Hello Dr. Culp, For the past few years I’ve enjoyed a productive, rewarding career as a business writer.

However, for financial reasons, I’d like to re-enter the workforce after a 12-year hiatus. How can I convince prospective employers that despite my age (52) and wide employment gap on my resume that I offer a high level of professionalism and expertise? I will have to start at the bottom and rework my way up. Mulling it Over

A: Dear Mulling, You’re sending mixed signals. You’ve been a business writer but want to re-enter the workforce. You have a wide employment gap on your resume but for the past few years have been a business writer. Huh?

Convince yourself that you’ve been working. Think of bills you paid, purchases you’ve made and sales pitches you gave people. Decide that you want to KEEP working and reflect that in your personal presentation and writing.

Then, get going. Clean up your Web page. Sharpen the writing. Omit the fact that you’re an older worker (unless you want to work in a business that targets older people). Forget mentioning on your Web page that you’re a mom unless it enhances your approach. Quit thinking and start taking action. mlc

Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at culp@workwise.net. Copyright 2009 Passage Media.

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