Entertainment journalist Lisa Johnson Mandell received a rude
awakening when her husband told her, "Honey, you look old." . . . He
was referring how she came across on her resume (not in person), but
still, Mandell came to the realization that she needed to change
how she came across to others.
Her book, CAREER COMEBACK (see also Section 2), evolved as a
result . . . its subtitle says it all: REPACKAGE YOURSELF TO GET THE JOB
Mandell presents 10 useful strategies that can make you stand out and help
get any midcareer job seeker both noticed and on the payroll . . . I particularly like how
she used many real examples, often featuring people she knows and/or even herself.
Some of the advice I had never even thought about before; e.g., this one tidbit:
* The number one mistake people make when submitting their resumes by e-mail or online?
Titling their Word resume document simply "Resume.doc." How is an employer, dealing with
a long list of attachments from many applicants, supposed to organize and process resumes
quickly and efficiently when they all have the same title? Always, always use your own name
when you title your resume, something like "Lisa Johnson Mandell.doc." Many employers just
delete all submissions simply slugged "Resume" and move on, figuring if job candidates are
not savvy enough to properly label their most precious submissions, how are they going
to handle work files at that particular company?
The author also had this excellent suggestion for cover letters:
* So let's begin at the beginning. Rather than starting with "Dear," "To Whom it May Concern,"
or, heaven forbid, "Hi," it's best to begin your letter with "Greetings"--it avoids awkwardness and
is always appropriate, especially when you don't know the name of the person who is going
to process your letter and resume. Plus, if a person named something like Lynn Swanson
is to receive your resume, you don't know if it's a male or a female, so "Mr. or Ms. Swanson"
is out, and "Lynn" is too informal for a first contact.
Mandell even shares information on what to do when you get asked
certain interview questions:
* I'd be willing to be that anyone who has ever been to a job interview has had the misfortune
to be asked by a lame interviewer, "So what kind of a salary are you looking for?" That is
usually an inappropriate and unprofessional question, and it puts you in the most awkward
of positions, but you can't stop anyone from asking it. You squirm, because you know that
if you state a figure that's too high, they may write you off and hire someone else who comes
cheaper, and if you state a figure that's too low, they may try and take advantage of you
by hiring you for less than they'd intended to pay you. It's inappropriate to answer that question
with a question, something like, "I'm not sure yet what the positions. What salary range are
you offering?" If pressed, an all-encompassing answer could be, "It's negotiable, depending
on the responsibilities for the position and the benefits that go with it." Don't let anyone
intimidate you into stating the first number.
CAREER COMEBACK is excellent for anybody seeking something other than his or her first
job . . . my only criticism with it has to do with the fact that it is directed at women,
which is too bad in that many men could benefit from a book of a similar nature. . . I also
think that the publisher should have made the female-only approach clearer
on the cover . . . it wasn't until I got to page 75 that I realized much of the information
(from that point on) was not directed to me.