Dear Tina

This is really more of a rant than a question, but here goes: I've been doing an aggressive job search posting my resume on Monster and Careerbuilder, but lately all I'm getting are calls from recruiters for sales jobs that I don't even want. Some of them in places like Spokane when I live in Chicago. I've been working in IT for over 13 years, so I knew that my resume would be attractive to HR people, but even though I state clearly that I am NOT interested in relocating and that I want to stay in database management, why am I still getting calls like that? Don't recruiters even read??? Why are they just wasting my time?

Terry in Chicago, IL

Dear Terry,

Contrary to popular belief, posting your resume on popular career websites is NOT conducting an aggressive job search.  Rather it's the equivalent of writing your name and number on the bathroom wall - resulting in a lot of unwanted calls.  This is not to imply that those sites aren't useful, but the search for a new opportunity should be a strategic one.  Here are 3 quick tips that you can implement to streamline your search:
  1. Remove your phone number from your resume. I know you're thinking "but how will they contact me?". Answer - they will email you when they're interested.
  2. Create specific email addresses to use during your job search (i.e.,,, etc).  Most free email providers have an option to create multiple addresses that filter into your main address.  This will allow you monitor where your emails are coming from and to evaluate which sites are the most effective vs ineffective.
  3. Use your LinkedIn and professional association contacts for job referrals or even a referral of a quality headhunter in your area. Tell them exactly what you're looking for and let the headhunter do the heavy lifting as they often get opportunities that aren't publicly posted, giving you the inside track.
Once you've started this more strategic approach you'll notice a huge difference in the quantity and quality of contacts that you receive.  Delete the sites that are ineffective and who knows? You may even long for the days that you get offered positions in Washington State.

Dear Tina,
Any tips as to where to look for serious upwardly mobile employment in this job market? We are willing to relocate (but not to Nebraska or anything lol). Any help, advice or inside information is GREATLY appreciated!

Reina in Philadelphia

Dear Reina

As we continue to move towards a truly global environment, any career where you can flex your international muscles (i.e. speaking several languages, working in the international business or technology sector, etc) will have some of the most promising mobility over the next decade.  Additionally, according to the 4 of the top five best large cities for jobs are in the state that kicks butt and takes names - Texas.   So grab a copy Japanese for Dummies and get fitted for your ten gallon hat, partner.
Dear Tina,
I'm a single father of 2 who doesn't have a lot of outside help with my kids.  I'm looking for a job where I can work from home, but I don't want to get scammed. I see ads all of the time, but how do I know if they're legit? Do legit ones even exist? I appreciate any advice you can give.

Scam free dad in Decatur, GA

Dear Scam Free Dad,

There are unfortunately a large number of outfits that look to take advantage of people by offering a job for a "processing fee" or they turn out to be Networking Marketing or Multi-Level Marketing [READ: pyramid] schemes. However, there are definitely some legitimate work at home jobs out there if you know where to look and how to avoid the scams like these:
  • Too good to be true: Only Demi Moore has been promised $1M for a few hours worth of work, and even that didn't come without some hidden agendas. So if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Set up fee: Jobs that ask you to pay a small "set up fee" are generally a scam.  Ideally when you're going to work, you're making money.  This should be the idea regardless of the location of your office. Also be leery of any companies that ask for referrals before you even get started.
  • The Amazing Kreskin: Whaddayaknow? Just as you were thinking about possibly searching for a work from home job, you got an email in your bulk mail folder that shows a gorgeous woman leaning against a luxury car that she bought with money she made from stuffing envelopes.  Unsolicited job offers from unknown sources should be approached with extreme caution.  Remember, if it looks too good...
To help you find some legitimate opportunities, I would recommend checking out, which pre-screens some opportunities and also teaches you how to look out for scams. There are also several books that have been written about this subject, so hit your local library (why buy a book that your city will lend you for free?) and at the end of the day, go with your gut.

Good luck!

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Dear Tina

I know that I am not supposed to say anything negative about former employers on a job application, but how do I explain being wrongfully terminated without saying anything negative? Are you allowed to just say advancement, which makes no sense because I am unemployed or what else can I say that will at least get me considered for the position?

Help! in Philadelphia

Dear Help!

I'm sorry to hear about your employment situation.  The best way to address it when asked is to say that the company went through a "restructuring".  Avoid the Noid, er I mean, avoid using the term "wrongfully terminated". It rings of bitterness and drama and possibly a lawsuit. Believe it or not potential employers like to stay far away from lawsuits.

During your interview, you may be asked what you liked most and least about your previous job - focus on the POSITION, not the company. Try having at least one positive thing that you can say about working there- even if it's just how your experience strengthened due to projects that you've worked on. That way you won't come across as bitter/upset so they won't think twice about the "restructuring" that left you unemployed.

Now time for a shameless plug: Need a job?  Be sure to check out the postings on Jobology - positions updated daily!

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Dear Tina

After being handpicked to be hired by the CEO of [my organization], I've been with them for about 9 months. While it's a great work environment,  I think that I want to move on from local to international non-profit development.  I found a position that fits my exact interests, so I applied for it and it looks promising.

What are your thoughts on leaving a job in under a year? How would I tell my boss without her being offended? I want to tread carefully and not ruin the relationship we have. Any advice on how to navigate the awkwardness?

B in Chicago, IL

Dear B

I'm not sure of your age, but frequently exploring new careers paths or "job hopping" can be very common for young professionals under 35.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that you will average 11 jobs/careers by the time you're 32.  And while it may have once been seen as the kiss of death during the resume screening process, career changers can also be very desirable candidates if they manage their changes strategically.

You are responsible for taking a proactive approach to your professional growth and you should always be in a constant state of progression at this stage in your career.  Before making a decision to leave an employer, ask yourself if you've made a significant impact/contribution while you were there that would make yourself marketable to prospective employers as well as have your current employer feel like you've yet to live up to why they hired you.  This will allow you to build a strong network which when paired with significant and measurable accomplishments makes you the bee's knees.

Something to consider - does your current employer have an international branch or sect that you could tap into? Perhaps you could suggest a department or location transfer which will still allow you the opportunity to get the global experience that you're seeking without leaving a company that you admittedly like. If there is no room for internal movement, use this during your discussions with your boss when you're leaving.

Finally, should you get the job, be sure to write a stellar resignation letter that will help your boss understand your career aspirations.  Show her that you're appreciative of the personal and professional growth that your position has afforded you, you do not want to pass up this excellent opportunity. Close the letter with an open invitation to do business again in the future and this should keep you from burning any bridges.

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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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Dear Tina,

It's hot as Hades outside and I'm sure companies know that.  You think I can wear sandals to my interview without it being a big deal?

"Hot Foot" in Lubbock, TX

Dear Hot Foot

In a word... no.  This is your first face to face impression where you should be presenting your professional self.  Sandals, flip flops, water shoes, sneakers and the like are casual and should be saved for your day off when you can let your little piggies breathe freely.  I'm pretty sure that wearing closed toe, sensible yet fashionable shoes for a few hours won't cause your feet to spontaneously combust. 

And just in case it does remember to stop, drop and roll.

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