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E-mail career questions for possible use in this column to Joyce Lain Kennedy at jlk@sunfeatures.com; use "Reader Question" for subject ...

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Joyce Lain Kennedy

Joyce Lain Kennedy

Careers Now

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Career launch: Breaking through the choke point

October 22, 2014

DEAR JOYCE: I graduated with top grades from a little known college in a small Southern city I hope never to see again. Despite my excellent academic record and successful summer jobs, I am offered only low-end employment in places with "no exit" signs above the doors.

  • Calling all techies: See top trending tech jobs

    October 19, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Am in my early 20s and have been working as tech support for four years. Now I am ready to commit to formal study to become a technology professional. I'll be doing informational interviews to help me choose specific specializations. Where can I find reliable figures on the most promising tech fields? -- J.J.

  • What to say when you can't say anything nice about a boss

    October 15, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: The former boss who fired me was such a snakehead I would choke if I had to say anything good about him. Why can't I just tell the truth about why I left: "Personality conflict with my manager?" What's wrong with that? - C.J.

  • New job offer? Hold the phone: points to consider

    October 12, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm ambitious and ready to move up while the job market is the best it's been in six years. Advice on making a good decision when I do get a job offer? -- I.L.

  • Why a job-search buddy may be your best idea today

    October 8, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I know the job market supposedly has picked up. Maybe so, but after more than a month of chasing new employment with no results, I'm struggling to keep smiling. My cousin suggested I find a job-search buddy to help keep my enthusiasm up. Good idea or waste of time? -- M.A.H.

  • Twelve irrepressible technologies now reinventing your life and work

    October 5, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: What does your experience and research suggest is the future of our jobs and career choices? -- E.W.

  • Is 47 too old to begin again?

    October 1, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I am 47 and weighing the idea of returning to college to earn a degree in law. At my age, am I wasting my time and/or money? -- T.T.

  • Resumes are changing: Are you ready?

    September 28, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Have you heard of an "infographic" resume? What's different about it and a traditional resume? -- J.A.L.

  • Do this before grabbing job from 'best places' list

    September 24, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: As I recall, you suggested using such websites as Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com to check out various lists of "Best Places to Work," which are compiled by employees' ratings of their employer. Well, I did. And I found out that my job working for a big corporation was the pits. I stuck it out for three months, then quit. Why do you think that is? - E.W.

  • Will your next career change light brighter horizons?

    September 21, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: After 15 years of holding good jobs with top compensation in the fields of technology and data analytics, I'm ready to move on to another line of work. Unsatisfied with my career life, I've been thinking about doing something that matters more to me for at least a year.

  • Great tip to win serial interview challenge

    September 17, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm a manager trying to change industries. I survived a gauntlet of several interviews at the same company only to lose in the end to a candidate younger than me by a decade. If it's not the age differential, what might I be doing better to keep from fading at the finish line? -- M.K.

  • Finding your best career when you don't know what's out there

    September 14, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: At 26, I have no career direction and no job. My degree is from a small, obscure liberal arts college. I was a good student and have positive job references. My parents refuse to foot any more bills for graduate study. Career-wise, I seem to be in the middle of nowhere. As the saying goes, I could do anything if I only knew what it was. Can you help me? -- J.A.

  • When is a professional not a professional?

    September 10, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm in my early 20s, a high school graduate and am now thinking about becoming a food nutrition consultant. But the cost and time required for a four-year college program worry me. A girlfriend mentioned an online six-month course offering training in nutritional counseling. Why not? -- H.L.

  • Five quick tips for smart social media job search

    September 7, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm gagging on a job I've had for way too long, but can't afford to get axed if my employer finds out I'm looking and dumps me (believe me, he would!). Do you have suggestions for safely using social media to job hunt? -- No Initials.

  • How well do you fit in the company culture?

    September 3, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I am a good professional-level worker but can't seem to convince employers of my abilities, judging by being unemployed for four months. I have asked why I didn't get the job but most companies won't discuss the real reason, merely saying that they found a candidate more qualified or that I just wasn't the best "fit" for the job. What does "fit" mean in hiring? Is it just a dodge or does it actually mean you don't measure up, or what? Y.J.

  • Hope for fair starting pay? Top coach explains how to get it

    August 31, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I am seeking a $40,000-a-year paralegal position to replace the one I lost when my firm was downsized.

  • Five reasons to reject job offer

    August 27, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: My last two jobs were desperation moves and I quit each after less than a year. But I'm no kid and now am raising my second family.

  • Networking solutions when usual contacts disappoint

    August 24, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: After a successful 20-year career -- the last 15 in a management role -- I resigned a year ago to deal with a health issue. The company replaced me as soon as it could.

  • Flee or fight when job cut rumors rattle your company?

    August 20, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: My employer is alive with scary rumors of reduction and roll back. Management is unavailable, hiding out behind closed doors with a squad of consultants. Two 50ish professionals have been unceremoniously fired. Perhaps I should start scouting for new employment right now. Traveling time? -- C.H.

  • Virtual reality job interviews coming: why it matters

    August 17, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I bet a friend $10 that we will experience virtual reality job interviews within a few years -- maybe 2015. Your take? -- K.K.

  • Tired job syndrome? Don't give up. Tune up!

    August 13, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: My professional job has bottomed out, becoming the sameo-sameo. How have others confronted the b-o-r-i-n-g issue and lived? - R.C.

  • Yes, tech jobs are still golden, but...

    August 10, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm in my 20s and considering investing in education to pursue a high-tech career. Is this still a good choice in the U.S., considering the worldwide competition from workers who are paid less? What are some of the most desirable tech jobs? -- J.O.J.

  • Will you lose money with a liberal arts degree?

    August 6, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Earlier this year you commented that earnings for liberal arts majors start off trailing most others after graduation but catch up about midcareer. I want to keep my options open by choosing liberal arts until I decide on a specific career field. The problem: My dad says college costs too much to count on financial returns somewhere down the road. Ideas? -- K.L.

  • Jump on rejection recovery tip you never thought of

    August 3, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: In one of your books, you go into helpful detail about how to write "after-interview messages that are sales letters at heart." While I appreciate your helpful points and samples, you didn't mention the value of writing a thank-you letter after a rejection when you don't get the job. Is that because doing so is wasted effort?" -- S.T.L.

  • Hard skills critical for hiring, soft skills seal the deal

    July 30, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I keep reading about the importance of hard skills. What about soft skills? Aren't they wanted as well? -- D.P.

  • What to do when your career change crashes and burns

    July 27, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Three years ago at age 43, I was moved by the inspiring stories of people who switched career gears and lived happily ever after. Those stories gave me the confidence to reinvent myself, so I took a two-year college course and tried to begin again. My results were a trainwreck. I can't find a job I like. Now what? -- J.J.

  • Boss lies when trying to replace admin with girlfriend

    July 23, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: After working several years as an apparently appreciated administrative assistant to a mid-level manager, my performance reviews have always been very complimentary.

  • Smart to take a second swing at the job you lost? Maybe

    July 20, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I was laid off from a job about eight months ago. Yesterday I got a call from my old boss asking me back. Several searches for jobs that pay more are finally looking promising and I'm hesitant about returning. Good idea? Bad idea? -- B.A.B.

  • Want a promotion? Here's how to make it happen

    July 16, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: At 26, I'm ambitious. What are my best moves to nail a promotion? -- C.L.J.

  • Are robots lining up to snatch your job? Maybe

    July 13, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: My daughter and son are in high school and it will soon be time for them to anticipate their future careers. What are some of tomorrow's good jobs and which ones are likely to hit the dustbin? -- P.H.

  • Go for top student dollars in aid and internships

    July 9, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I would like to go to graduate school but the vision of racking up thousands and thousands of dollars from day one of grad school --instead of after graduation -- is scary. Ideas? -- S.G.

  • How do you take your coffee? With a college degree, please

    July 6, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: After hearing about the big employee scholarship program Starbucks is offering to employees, I'm surprised to note critics of the program. Why is that? -- S.E.J.

  • Can boss cut lunch hour for hourly employees?

    July 2, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Is it against any laws or rules for a private employer to cut lunch hours to only 30 minutes for all hourly employees -- claiming that the workload demands the change?" -- J.J.

  • Quality research is your key to best career and job moves

    June 29, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: In times being radically reshaped every day, how can anyone sustain a rewarding work life? How do we know a good job we have today won't vanish tomorrow? -- D.E.

  • How to phone your way into a job

    June 25, 2014

    Dear Joyce: Getting past gatekeepers to speak to a hiring decision-maker is extremely difficult in these times of screeners and voicemail. Any suggestions? -- P.S.L.

  • High stakes: sign non-compete contract, or keep looking?

    June 22, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I want to change jobs but apparently I can't. When I came here, I signed a non-compete contract and apparently I'm stuck. I don't want to be kept off the market for a year or more or be sued. Advice? -- S.F.

  • Ouch! When quitting job can backfire in new hunt, do this

    June 18, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Eight months ago I walked away from a $24-an- hour job because of a real jerk of a supervisor, -- younger than me -- who constantly wrote me up for the same things his younger pals regularly got away with. No justice!

  • Shocker: Are job postings really coming to an end?

    June 15, 2014

    Dear Joyce: My 22-year-old nephew told me that job postings are biting the dust -- going dead as a dodo bird. How can that be true? How can people find jobs? -- A.T.

  • How to tune up a tired job

    June 11, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I am no longer interested in my job. I once enjoyed the work but it's fizzled, becoming tedious and mind-numbing. Have others complained to you about this issue, and what did you recommend? -- K.B.

  • Six keys to writing extraordinary resumes

    June 8, 2014

    Dear Joyce: My husband is looking for a job for the first time in more than 10 years. I've read a lot of articles about resume writing and things seem to have changed. What do you think are the very most important things to know about writing resumes in 2014? -- J.C.S.

  • Stand up for yourself: Push co-worker to pull his weight

    June 4, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm happy to share work assignments but I'm currently paired with a guy who seems content to let me stay late and do most of the heavy lifting in the monthly production reports. I dislike conflict and wind up saying nothing. How can I handle this galling issue in a civil manner without looking like a wimp complaining to our boss? -- A. D.

  • Bring it! A sunny attitude can get you hired

    June 1, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: After graduating from high school this year -- with only a few part-time jobs under my belt -- I am looking for almost any decent job I can get. But I have no real experience. Help! -- H.J.S.

  • Mystery! After great interview, why employers don't call

    May 28, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: After a job interview, why do employers say they'll call and let you know the outcome -- and go silent? Don't they know how much we job seekers want to get on with our lives and want to know our fate as soon as possible? -- B.P.

  • Can you guess how much recruiters earn?

    May 25, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: After working in product sales for nearly four years, a recruiter's offer of a job interview to my girlfriend has caused me to reevaluate my own sales career: I am more interested in people than things. Can you find out how much recruiters earn? -- I.T.

  • New interview tips to take seriously

    May 21, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I am in my mid-20s and terrified about interviewing for employment, whether in person or by video. I get the shakes every time I think about it. Is my next step to hire an interview coach? -- J.S.T.

  • Fresh tips and time-savers for executive job changers

    May 18, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: My sister is an executive at a mid-sized corporation. She's interested in moving on and up. But she's super busy. As a reference librarian, I'd like to give her a hand by recommending the best resources in job search.

  • Make a career fair pay off for you

    May 14, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm in the wind hoping to find one or more job connections at an upcoming career fair. Is a job fair the same thing? How effective are career fairs? -- S.T.

  • Becoming hard-nosed about soft skills

    May 11, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: A couple of years ago I recall that you printed a list of soft skills that I would like to have for my stone-cold nephew who is ultra naive. Could you run that list again? -- B.P.

  • Grads: Is keeping a job harder than landing it?

    May 7, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm graduating this year. I have no work experience. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to fit in an internship experience. I'm in the same spot as my brother was two years ago when he didn't last three months on his first real job. What are my best options? -- B.B.

  • Can you bounce back to old job? Maybe

    May 4, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: A year ago I left a job I liked very much because I was offered an irresistible cash and stock deal. But I soon found out that the new company was all show and no go. Undercapitalized, it went down the tubes last week. Am I wasting my time asking for reemployment at my old company? -- K.R.

  • Hooray! Job market brightens for new college grads

    April 30, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I will graduate in May from a state college and launch my career immediately. My college career center is understaffed. I know how hard it's been for recent graduates to get started and I wonder if you have any general suggestions? -- P.E.

  • When it's not your fault that you've had too many jobs

    April 27, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I've hit a rough patch during the past several years due to three different jobs disappearing (companies closed down) and a layoff from a still ailing firm. I'm young (34) but haven't been able to connect with a new opportunity. Employers must think I'm bad luck or something.

  • Jerk boss? Build a reference package before bailing out

    April 23, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: My boss must have a mental problem. I dread going to work. A single example: In front of our whole office, she yells and calls me humiliating names that question my intelligence. Co-workers tell me she's been getting away with demeaning stuff like this for a very long time. Although I reported her offensive behavior to upper level management, incredibly, they took her side. Why?

  • Will online education replace college in 15-20 years?

    April 20, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm reading blogs insisting we won't need college in 15 or 20 years by replacing higher education's brick-and-mortar learning with online education tools. Yes? No? Maybe? And what are those tools? -- J.J.N.

  • Am I getting my fair share of paid time off?

    April 16, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I have been employed by my company for five years. When recently meeting with friends, I was upset to learn that two of them, who have held their jobs for only a couple of years, are getting more vacation time than I am! Unfair! -- T.O.J.

  • Want small low-tech business? Here's a flowering new twist

    April 13, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm thinking about operating my own small business but I have no interest in 3-D printing, dime-sized personal hearing amplifiers or the wonders of alternative fuel converted from cow manure. Too technical! Suggestions? -- M.H.

  • The MBA: Boon, blah or burden?

    April 9, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I have a bachelor's degree in computer science. After five years on my job, I am debating whether to pursue a master's in business administration degree. I ask because I've seen articles asserting that the MBA is a relic. What would I learn in business school? -- T.T.

  • When does a functional resume boost your resume? Or sink it?

    April 6, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I want to find a new job in a different career field than the one I've worked in for l6 years. So far I've had no luck! I use a regular format (chronological placement of information) but a relative suggested I change it to a functional format (skills). What do you think? -- L.L.

  • Catch-22: You need second job to pay bills and the boss says no

    April 2, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Our department head recently quizzed each of us about "other" jobs. We were told to get prior approval before starting any second job or business venture. What's more, the few raises we've received in the past few years are a joke. Can the boss dictate to us what we do in our off-hours to earn very much needed additional income? -- J.C.

  • How to win in tricky situations

    March 30, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I work in a department of 10 women. For the most part, we all get along and our department has shown a profit for the past four years.

  • Boss catch you job shopping? Three tips to avoid being fired

    March 26, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I've been job hunting on the sneak for about two months. My boss, a take-no-prisoners type, fired two co-workers last year for the same thing.

  • When a job ad suggests only young workers need apply

    March 23, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: As a mid-lifer job hunter, I applied for a position described in a recruitment ad that seemed perfect for my talents and experience. After no response and two failed attempts to follow up, in rereading the ad, it hit me: "We seek enthusiastic employees for a young, dynamic company." I now suspect that's code for "no oldies need apply." Yes? -- K.C.

  • Five key tips for a successful career change

    March 19, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm turning 40, I'm in finance and burned out on my job. I seem to remember that several years ago you quoted a line about men past 40 waking up nights, looking out over city lights, wondering where they went wrong --and getting a career itch. Suggestions? -- T.J.

  • Don't miss the now-new-next acts in critical career trends

    March 16, 2014

    Staying on top of job search and career management requirements in changing career times -- from applicant tracking systems, social media and big data decision making, to evolving industries, job offshoring and worker preparation -- is a colossal challenge requiring plenty of inquiring minds.

  • Five tips to save your resume from death by computer eyes

    March 12, 2014

    A resume revolution is here. Driven by technology in large and small companies across America, automated applicant tracking systems (ATS) use computer software to not only read but judge resumes. Why? To save employers time and recruiting costs.

  • Resume revolution: computer eyes now reading most resumes

    March 9, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: You've previously mentioned the computer software technology known as applicant tracking systems (ATS) used by many employers. I detest technology and as a job seeker, why do I care? I can network my way to employment. -- M.W.

  • Resume revolution: computer eyes now reading most resumes

    March 9, 2014

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  • When schools and colleges lie about getting jobs for grads

    March 5, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: A 24-year-old friend went to a private vocational-technical school. The school advertises that it finds jobs for all of its graduates. My friend graduated four months ago, but he has yet to get hired and the school keeps making excuses. What can he do now? -- A.Y.

  • Why you need WhatsApp in your job search

    March 2, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Facebook's recent purchase of WhatsApp for $19 billion is getting a lot of media attention right now, but I'm not sure how or if it will impact the job search. Yes? No? -- H.L.

  • Fired? That doesn't mean you can't swing a good reference

    February 26, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I seem to recall that several years ago you wrote about what to say and do about having been fired when you're seeking new employment? My training was a joke, plus I now know that my former employer has a reputation for hiring and firing people within their first 90 days.

  • Will this new higher ed idea boost your job punch?

    February 23, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: My uncle told me about a fairly recent development in distance education -- MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, from name universities that are available free on the Web.

  • Bring home a raise with these simple strategies

    February 19, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: When I say I need a raise, I am not exaggerating! I support two kids and although I work my tail off, we can barely get by between paychecks. I read somewhere that you should never plead poverty when asking for a raise. Why not? -- A.M.

  • Job hunters alert: Google+ becoming a must!

    February 16, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Google+ is now twice the size of LinkedIn (540 million vs. 259 million) and half the size of Facebook (1.1 billion). Established in 2011, Google+ is already the second largest social network in the world.

  • When to hedge this tricky interview question

    February 12, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: A company recruiter recently asked me, "Who else are you interviewing with?" I consider that question intrusive and none of his business. Why is it asked? -- M.S.

  • Staffing expert spills beans about job hopping

    February 9, 2014

    Staffing expert spills beans about job hopping

  • Five whoppers you should never tell recruiters

    February 5, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I loved your amusing quotes from recruiter Tim Sackett about lies that recruiters tell candidates, but what about the other side of the coin -- lies that candidates tell recruiters? -- T.T.

  • Liberal arts: bright future or so yesterday?

    February 2, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: After graduating from high school, I worked for two years to save a little money and to make sure that I chose the best college major for my future. I was thinking about majoring in the humanities, but engineers and other professional grads earn much better pay. Has the liberal arts major had its day? -- S.I.

  • Why online education may flunk for you

    January 29, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm graduating from high school this year and had planned to attend a college in my state, which my dad hopes I will do. Several of my friends say that college costs are astronomical and instead they plan to attend college online. Good idea? Bad idea? -- T.W.

  • Do pre-interview questionnaires get jobs or waste your time?

    January 26, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: After sending my customized resume for an advertised professional position, I received an email from the employer asking that I fill out and return an elaborate questionnaire for the job -- a new experience for me.

  • Can you be disinvited to a job offer?

    January 22, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: A company that seemed anxious to hire me sent an offer letter two days ago. Today an HR person emailed me withdrawing the offer. Can they do that? -- E.U.

  • Must you use technology to get a good job in 2014?

    January 19, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: My employer closed our branch office and I've been looking hard for new employment since October. My efforts have turned up zip. A knowledgeable friend says that if you can't use recruiting technology for job search today, you're toast! True or false? -- H.O.L.

  • Place your bets for least and most stressful jobs

    January 15, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: My husband says his job as a high school teacher of special education students is more stressful than my job as a retail customer service manager. No way! The loser of this bet has to do the family laundry for two weeks. Who's headed for the soap suds? -- K.H.

  • New twist: Use video interviews to try on jobs

    January 12, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: After my college graduation, I took the first job I could get and was fired eight months later, although I was planning to quit as soon as I could find something better. What do you suggest that I do now? -- V.K.

  • Is career change really what you want -- or just think you want?

    January 8, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I want to change my career from accounting to retirement center management. I have a master's in social services administration as well as an undergraduate degree in business administration. I've taken the first investigative steps, but I'm having last-minute doubts because relocation may be required. Your thoughts? -- P.B.

  • When recruiters lie to you

    January 5, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Last year a recruiter contacted me about a position that seemed perfect, and I excitedly got as far as two interviews. Then, splat -- nothing! When I finally got through to the recruiter, she said that the hiring manager really liked me but had decided not to fill the position. OK, I can accept that. But today, on a niche job board, I spotted a new job post that seems a lot like the old one but with a different job title. Am I wasting my time? -- S.A.F.

  • Tune into 2014 job search trends

    January 1, 2014

    The first half of my 2014 jobs overview focused on examples of technology growing at a numbing pace, forcing many companies to automate in ways that you need to take seriously. The second half spotlights people, jobs and education.

  • Catch up with 2014 job search trends

    December 29, 2013

    Feel as though you need to get up to date with contemporary career moves? Read this two-part column spotlighting job search trends for 2014. Today's column focuses on seven changes driven by technology and tools.

  • Guidance on career choice that you can take to heart

    December 25, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Your quoting of author Michael Korda about achieving success hit home with my 18-year-old son, whom I'm trying to help plan head. Do you have general suggestions about the process of choosing a career for someone his age? -- B.E.F.

  • Put fresh coat of paint on long job search

    December 22, 2013

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  • Take your first step to success right now

    December 18, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I left education this year after two years of bouncing around in a community college, taking a course here and there. My GPA is good, but not great. I have a job, but I don't feel successful and I have doubts about my future. Suggestions? -- V.M.

  • Seven free webinars for your federal job search

    December 15, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: A few weeks ago you mentioned opportunities to obtain free quality career advice in an e-book and by phone. Good tips! In this era of long unemployment scares for many of us, I just want to say thanks and add that your identification of additional free but first-rate resources will be appreciated. -- A.M.G.

  • Easy tactic to ace interviews

    December 11, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: When I graduated from college this year without a job offer, I asked friends for help and they lined up several job interviews. No offers resulted. The feedback is that I "pitched too hard with too much sell." That's weird, because everyone said I should talk about my skills and give examples -- exactly what I did. What now? -- C.L.

  • When it's not your fault you didn't get the job

    December 8, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I spent a week excitedly preparing for an important job interview with a company's division manager in a city three states away. Surprise! Upon arrival I was told that the manager was "called away on urgent business." I haven't been contacted since that fiasco. Was it something I did or didn't do? What causes companies to behave with such indifference? -- R.H.

  • Win hot job with interview follow-up done right

    December 4, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I graduated with a bachelor's degree this year, and yesterday (finally!) I was interviewed for a great job. The manager said he had others to interview and that he'd let me know. Any more moves I can make to get the nod without being a pest? -- S.P.

  • Great news! Free new job book and phone help

    December 1, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: After being unemployed for a few months, I took a position with a medium-size company that I didn't know much about. I discovered right away that it was a mistake.

  • Is a portfolio career in your future?

    November 27, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm working three part-time jobs because I need the money and that's what's available to me. The nerve-wracking, time-juggling stress is making me physically ill. I need to regroup and reapply. Ideas? -- L.B.

  • Must same-industry experience always trump talent?

    November 24, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I have a good education plus serious work experience, but I was refused an interview for a job I know I could ace. The recruiter said I lacked same-industry experience. Why is this big deal? -- S.J.

  • Somebody cares: Creating real jobs for autistic youth

    November 20, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Can you share with your readers some of the efforts being made to find answers to the unhappy and unacceptable job gap faced by thousands of young adults with autism?

  • When face down in a bad job, don't dilly-dally

    November 17, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I used to like my job until the politics here turned brutal. It's all about the money and good work is secondary. How smart would it be to change employers in this economy? -- K.B.

  • Closing interviews: Three questions you must ask

    November 13, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I haven't had response to my last two job interviews and I thought I was a shoo-in for both jobs. So what do you think I should do, other than apply for more jobs? -- K.E.S.

  • From worst to first: Tools to beat job rejection

    November 10, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Mac, my husband, lost his job of 27 years when his company was acquired by another and he didn't make the cut. He's like a zombie going through the motions of looking for new employment. I'm no shrink, but a sense of rejection seems to be draining Mac's enthusiasm to climb new mountains. I'd like to help. Recommendations? -- B.B.

  • Double jeopardy: a family crisis and job hunt collide

    November 6, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I lost my job seven weeks ago. Five weeks ago my wife was seriously injured in an auto accident. Life has been a real struggle since then. Worried sick, I try to be there for her during the day and drive her to doctors, and at the same time continue to look for a job and appear upbeat.

  • When strangers write your resume without you

    November 3, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I appreciate your suggestion that job seekers consider writing customized headlines to make their resumes stand out and will do so. But I keep hearing that we're living in a post-resume world. Comments? -- C.Y.

  • 13 Unlucky factors threatening your job security

    October 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Things aren't going so well at the company where I work, and I worry that there's trouble ahead for my department. I seem to recall that you once cited signs of trouble ahead for one's continued employment in his or her job. It was good advice. Can we see that column again? -- S.J.

  • Safe ways to job interview when the boss is looking

    October 27, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My boss keeps me on a tight leash -- even calling to check that I'm at the dentist's office or whatever. I want out but I need my paychecks, and it's extremely difficult to arrange job interviews without my boss looking over my shoulder. How have others in my situation handled this issue? -- A.B.C.

  • What to do when ad says 'no calls'

    October 23, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: How can I follow-up on an advertised job when the ad says "No phone calls." I talk better than I write. -- W.K.

  • Need a high-octane resume? Add a headline!

    October 20, 2013

    (C) 2013 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

  • Job boards are alive and kicking

    October 16, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm starting to look for a job and recently read that job boards are on the way out. True? Should I spend time on them? -- M.C.L.

  • 'Dilbert' creator Scott Adams draws oddball career lessons

    October 13, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: At 25, I've spent the last two weeks trying to figure out the best way to plan my career and the rest of my life. At this point, I'm confused. Suggestions? -- K.A.

  • Sparkle with seven short interview answers

    October 9, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: At a recent job interview, the interviewer asked, "What do you do to stay healthy?" I was caught off guard and mumbled an inadequate answer. Back home, it occurred to me that this might be an illegal question under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Yes? -- R.R.

  • Video interviewing takes off. Ready for your close-up?

    October 6, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Last month you criticized generic job interviews based on a job seeker's public profile, which are conducted on smartphones using a canned set of questions. You said that these quickie video interviews are not so hot for job seekers looking for professional-level positions. But what's your take on personalized video interviewing set up in advance that can be done at the interviewee's home with customized questions relevant to a specific job? -- H.C.

  • Employers lukewarm about online education

    October 2, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: You've mentioned the fast-growing rainbow of online college courses and degrees, but do any recent studies show how receptive employers are to hiring online graduates? -- A.J.

  • How to scoot by the gatekeeper

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: When I try to follow up on the phone with a hiring manager after an interview, the admin takes a message but won't put me through. I feel like it's a waste of time to even make the call. How do salespeople get past the gatekeeper? -- S.O.J.

  • Make purposeful networking contacts

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm well aware of the never-ending advice to network to improve one's career chances. But I've never found aimless networking to be of much help, particularly at those sundowner socials sponsored by chambers of commerce where you supposedly meet other people who can boost your career. What's your take on whether business socials are worth the time or not? -- Z.C.

  • Younger boss and older worker

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm 54 and my boss is 27. As you may guess, with this experience and age differential, it isn't always a happy place to deal with. Should I keep my head down and avoid conflict or should I move on? -- J.O.M.

  • Networking tips after relocation

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm a stay-at-home mom now ready to resume my career. We moved to a new city a year ago for my husband's new job. I keep reading how networking is such an effective job-hunting tool but what are the best ways to do it? -- B.V.H.

  • Three top experts share job search tips

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm looking for a job without success. Why am I failing? I must be doing something wrong. Can you help? -- A Popular Question

  • Are handwritten job search letters dead?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My sister and I are both looking for employment. She argues that a handwritten cover letter gets more attention than using a computer to apply for a job. Is she right? -- R.J.A.

  • New free online scorecard for college costs

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I am an employed dad with twin sons who are headed to college in 2015. Their mom already has a part-time job, but I think our family had better become very savvy about the real college costs, the best buys and the size of the future debt load. Reliable resources? -- M.K.

  • Good answers to why you've been jobless

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: What should I say, other than "duh," when an interviewer asks why I've been out of work for so long? Is this question even legal? -- J.R.

  • Climbing out of a rabbit hole

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm an information technology technician with a job history that apparently paints me as a job-hopper. The way recruiters have been putting it is that I've had "a fair amount of activity" in my work life. I get it. It's true that I've changed jobs a lot, but each move improved my salary -- doubled it on two occasions. What are your suggestions for not letting my moves to grow my career hold me back? -- S.T.

  • Get more with less work, better thinking

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm an auto-service writer and have been a hard worker all my life, always going the extra step and getting along well with co-workers. I thought I was in line for the service manager's job, but last week the company brought in someone else from another dealership. Is my problem office politics or the fact that I'm a woman? -- R.H.

  • When former boss clams up

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I thought I had a new job locked up, but my former employer will not verify my employment. There wasn't any trouble in my old job -- I just felt like a fish out of water. Twice my old boss simply has not responded to my potential employer's requests to verify employment. It may be too late, but what can I do in a case like this? -- M.J.

  • When monster co-worker comes with job

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm in the process of getting back into the federal government after losing out in a reduction in force years ago. While I am extremely happy to be returning, I'm cautious about again sharing an office with a detestable former co-worker, a man who created extreme problems for me in those years. A real suck-up to management, this guy denied obnoxious things that he said and he lied about actions that he took. Although I hesitated, I did bring up the loser's name to the human resources officer who called me with the job offer. Apparently, nothing can be done about this appalling individual. Making peace with him will never work so, other than doing my best to avoid him, what's the best way to handle the situation? -- L.R.

  • Can awesome technology really get you hired for better jobs?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I returned to the working world last year after a decade of staying at home raising young children. My junior-level job is OK, but I really want something more challenging with more pay.

  • How to write your boss a fan letter

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: From what I see on some websites, a popular topic of conversation is "the boss from hell." I don't feel that way. I admire my manager. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a boss like mine. Would it be appropriate to invite him to lunch on his birthday and present him with a small gift? -- B.A.J.

  • Making liberal arts pay off

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My parents keep pushing the idea that I should choose a "best paying" college major. I do not want to be an engineer or accountant or whatever brings in the most bucks. I want to enjoy my work. What's a liberal arts education good for? -- J.M.

  • Should you zigzag your way up?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: At 27, I'm becoming motivated to break out of the pack and move my career forward at a much faster pace. My dad and I are talking about my best moves, and he remembers the classic zigzag strategy of changing employers every three or four years when a better offer comes along. Does zigzagging result in being penalized as a job hopper, or does it work to bring you better career results faster? -- S.L.

  • Ideas for new grads without experience

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: As a new college grad, I have yet to find reasonable employment. The standard turndown seems to be that I have no experience. How am I expected to gain experience if no one hires me? -- B.L.

  • Contract jobs: Can you bug out early?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I took on contract work because I have bills to pay and haven't yet been able to make a full-time connection in my field. Am I likely to get a bad rap if I quit early or is pursuing self-interest expected as part of contract life? -- V.R.

  • Paying interns: It's the smart choice

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My son begins his senior year of a four-year college this fall. I'm a single mom, and it's been a struggle. Although he has worked at a series of minimum-wage jobs, my son still has big student loans to pay off. His college adviser wants him to apply for internships to get a toehold in his major, meet people and have experience for his resume. But all he can find in his field are unpaid internships. We can't afford that luxury. Being forced to work for free to get started in life should be illegal. -- C.P.

  • One word for job offer: Negotiate!

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: This week I received a hiring offer including compensation for a job I didn't seek. (Yes, I'm experienced in a high-demand field and in my 30s.) Because I've been in my current position less than a year, I said thanks but no thanks. Second thoughts: I should have used the unsolicited offer to practice for a future negotiation. Agree? -- N.N.

  • Interviews: Leave something to remember you by

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: After thinking about it for 24 hours, I realize that the interview for a job I really wanted was short and perfunctory. OK, I know that particular job is history for me, but what about next time? -- M.M.

  • Keep skills current with focused volunteering

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: When I left my job five years ago to stay home and become a full-time mom, you gave me good advice: You said to keep my skills up by selective volunteering. I did that and now I'm back in the paid work stream with a great job! -- C.C.

  • Job market's still a challenge

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I thought the job market was supposed to be measurably better according to everything I read. It doesn't feel better to me right now. What's the word on the ground from people in the market? -- N.B.B.

  • Imagine your resume springing to life

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm a professional ready to make a move in the job market. My traditional resume is ready to go, but I've heard about adding a "presume," a creative resume alternative that jumps to life on a digital screen. Good idea? -- L.N.

  • How to quickly find "pick-up" jobs

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm between jobs and running out of cash. I've heard something about jobs where you only apply for one-gig stands and don't make much money, but you don't need to send a resume. What's the deal? -- A.T.

  • Functional resume can facilitate career change

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I have a bachelor's degree in business management and work as the office manager for a nonprofit organization in the northeast. Age 43, I would like to make a career change to human resource management at a company that's located in a warmer climate. Suggestions? -- A.J.

  • Five great questions to ask at interviews

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm hoping to move into the managerial ranks with my next job. After writing a book on job interviewing, I assume you know the best response when the interviewer asks me if I have any questions. -- V.C.

  • Finding work at home that pays well

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: What are some fields and ideas that offer the promise of good-paying work from home? -- A.V.H.

  • Hey, Bub, what's a career hub?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Lately I've seen a reference to "career hubs." Are they different than "job boards?" I looked up the term but I'm still not sure what it means. -- C.A.

  • New survey of how people get hired

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: A few weeks ago, you wrote about a survey which concludes that a job seeker who arrives with a referral is vastly more likely to be hired than is a stranger. Are there other recent studies showing the most productive ways for job seekers to find employment today? -- G.L.

  • Is working remotely on the way out?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm a single mom working from home three days a week. I can afford a sitter two days a week. I understand that Yahoo and Best Buy ended their policies of allowing employees to work out of the office. Maybe I'm overreacting, but are we seeing the beginning of the end of job policies that allow employees to work from home at least several days a week? -- L.A.L.

  • Can you choose a career by testing?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I received a two-year college degree four years ago. But I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. What about testing to see what I'm suited for and will enjoy? -- G.O.M.

  • Career book of the year: "Promote Yourself"

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: At 31 and in my third job, I am employed in an apparently stable professional position and enjoy a good commute and decent pay. The trouble: my days are monotonous and boring to the bone. I'm thinking it's time to head for the exit sign. Agree? -- V.K.

  • Caught! When boss learns you want out

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: You've mentioned the risk that employees take if the employer discovers they are trying to find another job? Why is that exactly? -- N.D.

  • Relationship expert gives career success tips

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: When our office manager retired, I had hoped to be promoted to the job. Instead, the company brought in a "temporary" office manager who apparently has extensive experience in our industry. What advice would you give me for improving my "career rating"? -- No initials please.

  • Hot new career: commercial drone technologist

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My technically inclined son came home from high school yesterday and said that he's seriously interested in unmanned aerial vehicles as a career. His announcement caught non-techie me off guard. Opinion? -- L.T.

  • Must you share private passwords with employer?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Can my employer require me to give him my usernames and passwords for my personal social media accounts or not? -- S.G.

  • Fed job dilemma: permanent or temp?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: After looking for a federal job for two years, yesterday I received offers from two federal agencies! I'm thrilled to be able to choose between two excellent positions. Offer A is a permanent position, starting at Grade 9 ($54,000 a year), with potential to reach Grade 12 ($93,000) after three years. Offer B is a two-year temporary assignment, starting at Grade 12 ($93,000) with promise of Grade 13 ($110,000) in one year, with improved leave benefits, as well as the possibility of extension to permanent status. Relocation isn't a problem. Which offer would you take and why? -- J.T.

  • When office politics threaten

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: As a single parent and a supervisor in my company, I don't want to change jobs unless the roof falls in. My gigantic problem is a peer supervisor who constantly undermines me so that he can look good. Suggestions? -- No initials.

  • Breaking trend: mobile apps that find jobs

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Oh, the stories I could tell you about my 17-year-old daughter and her smartphone, but the too-familiar mishap of running it through the laundry isn't one of them. That's because she's on that phone all the time, talking and texting nonstop. I'm thinking, why shouldn't she put her phone addiction to good use by finding a summer job with it? What about all these mobile job apps I'm reading about? Do they only work on smartphones? -- B.J.

  • Can service job erase your student debt?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: With a college loan tab of more than $50,000 hanging over me, I still haven't landed a job since graduation in May. I was considering graduate study, but with this crushing debt load, I need to re-evaluate my future. Help! -- L.H.

  • Look out for phony job openings

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My son applied for a job listed on a well-known online job board. Anyone can place an open job on these platforms. He got an email back asking for lots of personal information and requiring him to jump through a bunch of online hoops. We figured out that the so-called job offer was phony. Please warn your readers about online job scams. -- T.H.

  • Victory over vampires: handling bad-news people at work

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My new job is a grinder. Long hours and stressful new responsibilities were to be expected, but not the verbal blasts that I'm getting hit with almost daily from three co-workers who I have neither harmed nor disrespected. Quite the opposite, I've made unreciprocated friendly overtures to each. I'm a big boy, but what can I do to avoid allowing this trio of irritating jerks to get away with making my life miserable? -- J.G.

  • Portfolio careers: Back to the future

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: A friend and I have hit the 50 mark and were discussing our career statuses. He mentioned establishing a "portfolio" career (doing lots of different things to keep money coming in). Is this a new idea? What do you think of it? -- B.R.T.

  • Big data: Recruiting future or fad?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My son told me that I should become familiar with "big data." He says the term describes a new trend in getting hired. Is he right? What is big data? What should I know about it? -- R.M.N.

  • Worried about job security? Make a club date

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Now in my early 60s, I hope to find a free job club to join as a backup resource in case I get laid off or my hours get cut and I can't stretch out my job until retirement, which might be another 10 years at the rate my savings are disappearing. How can I find a club in my city? -- S.W.

  • What's best: Vote for your favorite career sites

    September 30, 2013

    The Golden Globes are behind us and the Academy Awards lie ahead, which brings me to this question: Which websites would you like to see walk away winners in the About.com Job Search Readers' Choice Awards 2013? Alison Doyle, About.com's job searching guide, tipped me off to the awards that showcase the best job and career websites and apps for job seekers and career changers.

  • Advice on choosing a career coach

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I wasted $250 on a career coach and am not sure whether I chose the wrong one or if a career coach could really help me find a good professional job. What have other readers said about their successes with career coaches? -- L.B.

  • When your career start disappoints

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: After preparing to be an audiologist, on my first job I found out the work my major prepared me to do isn't for me. I know, I know -- I should have looked into it more thoroughly, but I didn't. Now what? -- J.T.

  • How to handle an irritating boss

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My boss, a confirmed buttinski, makes me crazy with his meddling personality. Yes, I'm good at my work, and no, my boss doesn't know what he's doing most of the time. I don't just quit and look for employment somewhere else because my commute's five minutes and I have young kids in a nearby school. How do I cope with a micromanager? -- L.T.

  • Will technology make teachers obsolete?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I've been thinking about becoming a teacher since I was 12. Now in my last year of high school, I've become more aware of how the nation values -- or doesn't value -- teachers, and how technology may hurt the demand for teachers. If I do prepare to be a teacher but can't get a job after graduation, what else can I do with my education? -- C.K.

  • See the bigger picture in video interviewing

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I just experienced my first video interview. I knew about it in advance, had my hair done, wore business clothes and practiced answering questions. Even so, I was very nervous, and nothing went right. I probably won't hear from that employer again. I apparently do well in face-to-face interviews because I've previously been hired for three jobs. What's my problem, and should we job hunters expect more video interviews in the future? -- V.S.

  • The way you get hired is evolving

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Is being referred by an employee still the best way to get hired at a company? -- M.K.K.

  • Nail part-time jobs as school begins

    September 30, 2013

    Alison Doyle says that right now is an excellent time to scout for part-time jobs as summer fades and schools prepare to open their doors.

  • Dealing with a bad job reference

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I was fired for being chronically late to work. How do I handle that reference? Otherwise, my reference should be a good one. Also, what's the difference between a letter of recommendation and a reference? -- H.J.

  • Any federal job openings after sequestration?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Are federal jobs still a good place to look for employment? Or has the sequester dried up the federal job market? -- J.M.

  • Keep hunting for right job or take less?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My very good job folded when the place where I was working closed. So I took a vacation. When I return, I'll have to start a job search, and jobs aren't as plentiful as they once were. I'm inclined to take the first employment offer that brings in a pay check. My partner doesn't agree. How have others decided this all-or-nothing issue? -- M.U.

  • Finding the courage to continue

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR READERS: Rolling media coverage of superstorm Sandy's unbelievable dumping of death and destruction on the East Coast leave millions of people wondering what's ahead in their rebuilding future. Winston Churchill, the man who led England to victory through the horrific years of World War II, knew the feeling well when he commented that rebuilding could be the "slow and laborious task of years." He was right about that. And Churchill said something else that is worth remembering by all of us in the face of disaster: "Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts."

  • Choice: College or entrepreneurship?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: At 23, I have 10 college credits after off-and-on study for four years. During that time, I have worked at several part-time jobs, including a retail computer repair business. My parents want me to go back to college full time, saying that my lifestyle has become "too comfortable." But I don't want to spend my life paying off a ton of student debt. Instead, I want to start my own business selling and repairing computers. As someone has said, "If you don't build YOUR dream, someone will hire you to build THEIRS!" Your view? -- H.G.

  • Read federal job announcements thoroughly

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Recently you said you think this is a good time to apply for federal jobs despite the sequestration. But I've submitted my application several times with zero success. What am I doing wrong? -- C.H.

  • 10 reasons why you want the job

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: You recently gave some very good answers to what job seekers being interviewed can say when asked why they have been out of work for so long. Can you give sample answers for when an interviewer asks why a person wants the job? -- J.G.L.

  • When qualifying experience is two jobs ago

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: At age 55, my executive job is endangered. A recruiter I contacted has an open position that's probably a fine fit, but my only strongly qualifying experience was two jobs back. I'm afraid that a reverse chronological resume will not fly. Any ideas are welcome. -- K.R.

  • How to explain lots of job changes

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I've not been able to find a new job for four months. I'm only 31, so it's not my age. I also dress appropriately for work. My husband says my problem may be because I've switched jobs too often and that I'm considered a job hopper. He could be right. How can I best deal with this issue? -- C.P.

  • In job interview, put best face on a weakness

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: A recent segment of the TV show "Brain Games" compared results when twin women candidates were interviewed for the same job. Both were asked to describe themselves. Candidate A led with three positive factors, following up with three negative factors. Candidate B led with three negative factors, following up with three positive factors.

  • Fresh tip to keep your resume alive

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I have sent off many dozens of resumes responding to job ads and I haven't heard a peep back other than automated messages that my resume was received. You recently wrote about keywords (words employers use to identify skills, education, experience and other qualifications they want in the people they hire) and perhaps that's where I'm failing. You think? -- N.S.

  • Challenging career switch: Starting anew without starting over

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: For 22 years, I held a responsible management position until my company was acquired and I was jettisoned. Rather than do a rerun of my life, I'm looking for new challenges in another industry or even a different career specialty. Realistically, what are my chances of doing something substantial without starting over? -- L.R.

  • Before accepting offer, due diligence required

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I took a job too quickly because I was desperate. I jumped into the job with no training to teach me the ropes. My company is in an industry that's changing fast and so are my hours -- every couple of months. The stress is killing me. I guess I should have asked more questions and done my homework on the company before signing on. What now? -- No initials please.

  • Benefits are good, perks are better

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: A recruiter has been talking with me about joining a pharmaceutical company he represents when I finish my master's in biology this year. The salary's acceptable, but I had hoped the company would throw in a car as a benefit. Am I expecting too much? And also, what's the difference between an employee benefit and a perk? -- C. B.

  • Coming soon: 'Take your dog to work day'

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I asked my boss if I could bring my well-behaved dog to work on Friday, June 21, which is "Take Your Dog to Work Day." He growled at me. Any ideas to get him to change his mind? -- M.L.F.

  • Latest news on resumes and cover letters

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm hoping to make a new career move this year. I heard that resumes are dead. Is this true? I don't want to waste my time writing one if that's the case. -- G.K.

  • Getting serious about your career education?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Your helpful column about liberal arts arrived at a good time for me -- I'm about to enter my last year of high school and am becoming serious about my future. What do you think is a good way to proceed to prepare for a good life?

  • Can dating site eHarmony match you up with a job?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My daughter met her husband on eHarmony, and so far their marriage has worked out great. Now, I've read that eHarmony is working on the launch of a career site late next year that employs the same principles as its dating site. What's your take on this job matching idea working out well for job seekers? -- D.A.A.

  • Is talent shortage real or not?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My cousin Herb, a hardware engineer, is jobless at 48 after looking for employment for five months. Herb finally hired a career coach but that expense hasn't yet paid off. I keep reading about a so-called "talent shortage," which I doubt really exists. You know a lot of employment gurus. What do they think? What is your view? -- T.D.V.

  • Best sports careers for non-players

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My 18-year-old sister is never going to qualify for pro baseball but she's a rabid fan and won't consider looking in other places for her career. She starts community college this year, and as her older brother, I keep telling her she better get her stuff together and make some decisions. Suggestions? -- J.J.S.

  • Does online language translation work for job hunt?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I looked up Google Translate (translate.google.com), a free automatic online translator for 64 languages. It occurs to me that I might use the service to find a summer job overseas, supposing I wanted to work in Portugal and use the translator to apply and fill out forms. But wouldn't an employer, if I can find one, also want me to speak Portuguese? -- C.M.

  • New careers for teachers

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I have been a high school teacher for six years and had expected to continue for many years more. But the budget problems of public education have caused me to consider a career move. I have strong managerial skills, computer competence and an excellent record in dealing with people. What are your thoughts? -- No Initials.

  • Women: Create your own stiletto network

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: When I, a woman, tried to run for local public office, I found out that it's still an old boy's club. Have you ever heard of an all-woman political group? -- B.D.

  • Should you pass up that job offer?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I am ready to make a job move. But I'm waiting for the right offer. Of two possibilities in recent months, one job was too far away, and in the other, I didn't respect the executive who kept saying how awful the previous manager was. (I checked on GlassDoor.com, and the company didn't get sterling ratings either.) What else should I keep in mind? -- B.B.

  • Teacher gives wise advice about college costs

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I read with interest your column with the letter from the individual who recommended that two-year college transfer students always check in advance which community college courses will transfer -- and which ones won't -- to a four-year university. I teach days at a high school and evenings at a community college and give out as much info as I can -- especially to the "first generation" college students. Community college students generally do best when they complete a degree, rather than just take random courses. Those who have earned a full degree will usually find that the colleges to which they transfer will waive general education requirements, but often will not if they are doing a course-by-course transfer.

  • Keeping undercover search in the dark

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: After sweating through nearly four years of a stressful job, I can hardly wait to leave it. My concern is financial. I can't afford to be fired for looking around, which is what would happen. What can I do to keep news of my job search undercover? -- No Initials Please

  • 'Garden leave' agreements holding you back?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I have accepted a job offer from a company that expects me to show up in two weeks. I handed in two weeks' notice to my current employer yesterday, but my manager refused to accept it, insisting that I give a month's notice so that she will have enough time to hire my replacement. She says that I signed a structured resignation agreement. If so, that's news to me. Can my employer legally make me stay a month? -- S.V.

  • New technological dawn for disabled workers

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My 61-year-old mom doesn't want to retire but she's losing her sight. I suppose her company will just say she can't do her work and let her go. Advice? -- P.D.L.

  • Uh-oh! What to do when your promotion fails

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I've aced all three of my past sales jobs but have no managerial experience whatsoever. Six months ago, my life took a different turn when my third employer promoted me to manage a new department that isn't involved in sales. Unfortunately, results of the new department have been sorely disappointing. Now, my employer has warned me that I have three months to improve the department's performance or hit the bricks.

  • Anatomy of a mid-career internship

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: With the economy looking up, I plan to return to work as soon as I can, but in a different industry. Without related experience, I probably can't get in the door. My husband suggested that I think about looking for an internship, paid or unpaid. What do you think about an adult internship as a strategy to change careers? -- C.J.

  • Trials and tribulations of a temp

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I am a good administrative assistant who has been working temp for six months, but a variety of office problems make me wonder if I should continue doing so. My sister says she read and saved a column you wrote about temp work a few years ago, but she can't find it now. Can you publish that column again please? -- S.B.

  • Best career advice for 2013

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR READERS: Here's my annual best-advice column refreshed for 2013.

  • Choosing great places to work

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Now that the job market is picking up, I'm hoping to change jobs soon. I'm in my 30s, possess strong job skills and I want to be hired for what I keep seeing referred to as a "dream" job. Changing places, what would you do to achieve my goal? -- J.J.

  • References are a very big deal today

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I was asked for my references when I applied as an office worker at a company near my house. I hadn't worked before so I asked several of my neighbors for references. The office manager said they were "friend" references, not job references, and asked me to try again. This sounds so unnecessary, don't you think? -- K.W.

  • 10 Jobs well suited for military vets

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My son will be leaving the military soon so I was interested to see in your column that Walmart has announced plans to offer jobs to any recent veterans who want one and to hire more than 100,000 in the next five years. That's good news. What other tips for vets do you have? -- S.A H.

  • Producing a first 90-day forecast

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I am scheduled to start a new managerial job on the first of the year. When I was offered the job, my future boss asked me if I had prepared a 90-day forecast yet. I said, "Working on it." Hints? -- C.C.

  • Leverage crossover skills for new job

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: In my younger years, I was a top producer at an automotive dealership where I started in sales and was promoted into middle management. Now, at 50 plus, my interest in the retail auto industry is exhausted. I can't get a nibble in jobs that are not auto related. Yes, I've had my resume professionally prepared. I have no college but I have no problem selling anything. How do I get a shot at opportunities for sales that are not in the auto industry? -- R.H.

  • Fired and ill: How much to reveal?

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Shortly after being let go from my job early last year, I discovered I had cancer. I didn't work during treatment. Now my doctor says I'm cured and ready to return to work. How much should I say on my resume about the work gap? During my treatment I took a few classes at a community college and can fill in the gap with my studies. What do you think? -- J.H.

  • Five fashion flops for summer interviews

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My daughter is between her junior and senior years in college and has several office job interviews scheduled for summer employment. Ihave been working in offices for a number of years and hear criticism about how some of the young women dress when they come in looking for employment. Can you back me up? -- T.A.L.

  • 10 tips to move from temp to regular hire

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Finally after working for a year as a temp, I'm getting interviews (screening and then selection) to be considered for a regular status position. I don't know the people doing the screening interviews, but the selection panel will be made up of supervisors and co-workers who know me. Do you have suggestions for me to come across as highly professional? -- A.M.J.

  • Drop excess weight on resume

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: My teacher discussed information to include in a resume, but what about things to leave out? -- S.S.T.

  • When to take no response for an answer

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I had what appeared to be a gratifying interview with the vice president of a fairly small company two months ago. When I left, I didn't have an offer in hand, but he gave me the impression that I would be offered the job. It didn't happen. Although I called and emailed, I never heard back. This week, I've learned through my network that someone else was hired. What do you think went wrong for me? -- W.M.B.

  • Revisiting credit reports for job-screening

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm caught in a catch-22! I can't pass a credit background check because I've been unemployed so long that I can't pay all my bills; I can't pay all my bills until I'm employed. How can I break out of this vicious circle? -- R.Y.

  • Show the best you from day one

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: Looking back, I got off on the wrong foot in my last job. I'm starting a new position next week and will try hard to set the right tone immediately. One thing I've learned: It's a mistake to become too quickly associated with a particular group before you size up who's who in office politics. Other hot spots? -- C.L.

  • Quick help for entry-level job seekers

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I graduated with an associate degree in accounting from a community college this year and want to find a good job. I am not a 20-something but in my early 40s. I attach my resume hoping you will find the time to improve it. -- E.M.

  • Best paying jobs for two-year grads

    September 30, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm on my own and don't want to wind up owing $100,000 or more in student debt for a four-year college degree. What can I do with a two-year degree? -- B.H.

  • When your resume sinks like a rock

    September 28, 2013

    DEAR JOYCE: After sending in a dozen or more online job applications with resumes, I haven't heard back from any of them, with the exception of a few emails confirming that my application was received. Can you give me a few clues to get better results? -- M.W.