Dear Tina,

My job is having our first company picnic next Friday.  Since we've never had one before, I'm not sure what I should wear, etc.  Do I just treat it like a bbq at a friend's house? It's a pretty conservative company so I want to be sure that I don't mess up.

Kim in Chicago

Dear Kim

A company picnic - or any company event for that matter is a way to you and your coworkers to relax away from work, but remember that it is still a WORK event.  So that sexy little sundress that you're saving for your best friend's big end of summer BBQ bash - not appropriate for a work outing.

You want to dress as you would on a Casual Friday, but shorts may be acceptable as well (so long as your shorts don't make your colleagues think you've changed your name to Daisy Duke).  Avoid low cut, halter and tube tops as well as anything sheer. Gentlemen should wear a polo and khaki shorts or if you intend to participate in a quick pick up game, wear basketball shorts (circa 2011, NOT circa 1982) and bring an extra tee shirt in case you break a sweat. Avoid shirts with logos and/or phrases that may be offensive to others.

Final words of wisdom:
  • Don't skip the event. Sure spending an optional Friday afternoon with coworkers may not be your idea of a great time, but showing your coworkers and management that you are a team player is important
  • If alcohol is served - give yourself a 2 drink MAXIMUM.  No need to let Drunk Kim run loose
  • Don't gossip or get too personal in your conversations with coworkers, but be friendly
  • Keep your unruly dog, unruly children and/or unruly spouse at home unless the company encourages that you bring guests (but feel free to shake your finger at them in the car before the event so that they all behave)
  • If you participate in a sporting event/activity avoid trash talking or using profanity. Showing good sportsmanship is ideal

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Dear Tina,

OK here's my situation: a few years ago I worked for a printing company and loved my job, but I had the boss from hell so I quit. Instead of the regular 2 weeks notice I came in the morning of my last day and handed him a letter that told him what a [expletive] he was, tossed my keys on the desk and left.  I didn't even pick up my last paycheck.  Since then I've been working, but not that happy and one of my old coworkers told me that old jerk-face is no longer at the company.  Tina do you think that I should try to get my old job back or have I been blacklisted?

Pariah? in Philadelphia

Dear PIP

Wow. I suppose I should be glad that you didn't yell at him over a P.A. system and leave down an emergency chute,

Leaving a job professionally certainly has its' advantages and recrossing that now scorched bridge is the biggest one.  While it may be a temporary high to tell your boss to "kiss what you twist and you don't mean your wrist", you should keep in mind how much of an impact your departure can have on your career. Not only will you have caused bad blood with your former supervisor (who may take the bad experience with him if/when he changes companies), but the company may have had to classify you as "not eligible for rehire".

However all may not be lost.  The first thing that I would suggest that you do is to contact anyone at the company with whom you still have a good rapport and get an idea of your current reputation.  Even if the manager and/or HR staff has changed there may be a paper trail in your employee file or even be a copy of your little letter, so find out how much damage your departure caused.  Secondly, I would suggest that you tailor your cover letter to highlight your growth since you left the company - not personal growth - but rather what skills and industry expertise you've gained during your hiatus.

Finally, if things work out promise me that you'll give your current employer nothing but a nice professional resignation letter with appropriate notice. Deal? Deal.

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Dear Tina,

I have a Masters degree in Social Work and I have worked as a medical social worker for the past 10 years. I am great at my job but I am at the point were I am bored and ready for a change. I am interested in pursuing opportunities in academic advising or human resources. I believe many of the skills I have obtained from working as a social worker would be easily transferrable in either of these areas I am interested in. I have re-worked my resume and cover letter to include the skills sought in academic advising and human resources but the reality is my resume and past job titles clearly do not demonstrate experience in those fields. I am positive that once I get an interview, I can better showcase my skills and talents but I have not received any responses to positions I have applied for. How can I get my foot in the door with the current skills I have and without going back to school and racking up more student loan debt?

Ready for a change in Sacramento


What you need my dear is a functional resume rather than a chronological one.  A functional resume highlights your skills and abilities rather than giving the reader a time line of your past jobs.  With a functional resume you would have sections like "Counseling Experience" or "Management" then include the appropriate positions that fit the header as well as detailed descriptions of the transferable skills you attained there.

I also suggest that you consider including hidden keywords on your resume à la Harry Houdini. This is a tip that I received many years ago from recruiting pundit (and mentor in my mind) Maureen Crawford Hentz.  Keyword loading is the art of adding specific terms, job titles and industry related phrases that would not naturally appear, onto your resume.  I provide this service to every Jobology® client and it definitely gets results. This will increase the number of hits that your resume will get on job boardsas well as how you fare after being put into a company's Applicant Tracking System.  Hide your keywords by strategically making it a part of your resume format and watch the interview opportunities roll in.

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Dear Tina,

My small company was just acquired by a large, well known international company. What is the appropriate way to update my resume? Should I change the name of the company on my resume and keep the dates of employment the same?

Carissa in Pittsburgh

Dear Carissa

You have a couple of options that will help you most accurately display your experience after an acquisition.  Here are a few examples:

Global Behemoth Company, Inc (formerly Mom & Pop Shops)     2007 - Present
Director of Marketing


Mom & Pop Shops (acquired by Global Behemoth Company, Inc in 2010)     2007 - Present
Director of Marketing

If the company restructured and your job title changed after the acquisition, you would list your experience as such:

Global Behemoth Company, Inc (acquired Mom & Pop Shops in 2010)     2007 - Present
Marketing Manager, East Region                                                                2010-Present
Director of Marketing                                                                                    2007-2010

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