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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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Will unemployment doom your resume?

July 5, 2015

DEAR JOYCE: Recently unemployed, I had planned to apply for jobs through website ads. My wife says this is a waste of time when you're out of work. Your take? -- G.M.

  • Bailing out? Why your goodbye matters more than you think

    July 1, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: For nearly a year, I've been an administrative assistant in a small office. My boss has become an obnoxious boozer, especially after he returns from lunch each day. I intend to resign soon, but I'd rather do so by letter than telling him face to face. Must I give two weeks' notice or is that an out-of-date idea? -- C.A.

  • What to do when your boss is a scold

    June 28, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: My manager is quick to snipe and slow to praise. A few of us are considering setting a meeting with her to confront her intolerable "management style." I'm not sure this is a good idea. Yes or no? -- E.H.

  • Help when online job applications demand your pay figures

    June 24, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I've always heard that it's a mistake to talk money before you're offered the job. But in online job applications, the employer has the whip hand.

  • No achievements? Look again

    June 21, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm still looking for my first job after graduating from high school and striking out. My uncle looked at my resume and commented that I don't mention any achievements. How can I have achievements when I'm hunting for my first job? -- H.M.

  • College loan forgiveness and your first job

    June 17, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: After my college graduation, I quickly began a new job that I hadn't checked out very well. From my first day, I could see I'd made mistake and quit after one week. Frankly, the job was so distasteful to me that I left before I could be fired.

  • Franchising for you: beauty or beast?

    June 14, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: At 32, I'm thinking about leaving my good job and starting my own business. My finance thinks I should buy a certain micro franchise, but I'm not so sure because I've been successful in my field. How do you weigh in? -- T.J.

  • Is a career coach worth the price?

    June 10, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: After graduating from college in 2004, I am hitting a blank wall in job satisfaction but don't know what to do to change my direction or even where to start. My life is going downhill. My parents think I should hire a career coach and say they'll pay for it. I don't want to waste their money, but what do I have to lose? -- S.K.

  • Beware! Degree mills keep showing up

    June 7, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I suppose you saw the incredible recent news report about a Pakistani software company accused of running a global network selling millions of fake degrees. What are a job seeker's chances of getting nailed for claiming a phony degree? -- G.G.

  • New grads: Go for the money

    June 3, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm about to graduate from a state college and have been interviewing for a job. Several offers have come my way but they don't pay enough. I have college debt and my parents aren't rich. What's my best move? -- C.L.

  • RallyPoint is the LinkedIn for military and vets

    May 31, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: My Marine brother just joined RallyPoint, a fairly new professional social network, in preparation for his release when he'll be looking for a job. Membership is free. I bet your readers would like to know about it. Check out this wonderful group at http://www.rallypoint.com -- B.K.

  • Need job yesterday? Check websites for hourlies

    May 27, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Although I am an experienced engineer, I'm over 60 and having a hard time in the job market. My savings are drained and I need a job immediately. Suggestions? -- O.H.

  • Interview answers: the good, the funny and the goodbye

    May 24, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: For 13 years I've always been able to sell myself in a job interview and get the offer. That ability has brought me 11 jobs. I must be losing my touch because the last couple of interviews haven't gone so well. What's your idea of an effective response when asked why you changed jobs so often? -- S.Y.

  • Is 'digital native' recruiting age discrimination?

    May 20, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: At 54, I needed a new job when my old one left town without me. Fortunately, I have a technical mind, am plugged in to the way business is done today and quickly found employment in a mid-tier organization. Not one to take anything for granted, I continue to check the job marketplace.

  • Job search: Be picky about perks

    May 17, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: As I get serious about finding a new job, I'll want not only higher pay and better benefits, but also more attractive perks. A recruiter tells me that perks are trending like never before. Is there a website that would let me compare the perks offered by various employers, similar to the earnings data featured on Salary.com and Glassdoor.com? -- L.J.

  • Dealing with difficult bosses, situations

    May 13, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I found out that my previous employer is unfairly bad mouthing me. I rejected his personal advances. While I certainly don't deserve his revenge, it apparently is keeping me unemployed. What's my best move to get out of this fix? -- W.A.

  • When getting hired requires storytelling talent

    May 10, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Graduating soon, I interviewed with high hopes at a well-known company but received a thanks-but-no-thanks email. The only reason I can think of for the turndown is that my interviewer didn't seem impressed with my answers about how I had solved certain problems. Here are two examples of her questions:

  • When you don't get deserved credit

    May 6, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: My boss has been passing my reports and other work products upstairs with his name as the author and no mention of my contribution. What can I do about it, other than ask for a transfer or change jobs? -- E.E.

  • Cover letters: dead or alive?

    May 3, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Hoping to change jobs soon, I recently read that cover letters are yesterday and to forget about them. True or false? -- V.S.

  • Do you hear Hawaii calling?

    April 29, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I have been in my corporate job as an administrative assistant for five years. Previously I worked in the public school system for a dozen years. I plan to move to Maui in early 2017 and am wondering what your thoughts might be about my plan. Advice? -- K.I.

  • Remembering career icon John C. Lucht

    April 26, 2015

    Career management legend John C. Lucht died April 13. Lucht was a virtuoso of savvy strategy and the architect of countless innovative career moves benefiting not only executives and top professionals, but the workforce at large.

  • New ways to telecommute

    April 22, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I just graduated college and, for family reasons, live in a rural area. Does my location negate my ambition to work for a technologically advanced and forward-thinking employer? -- B.H.

  • Jobs for 2015 grads: Get 'em while they're hot

    April 19, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: My son graduates from college this year. Although he's had a smidge of work experience when you include two short internships, he hasn't thought much about finding a job after graduation. Tips for my son? -- T.T.

  • Choosing a college major

    April 15, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: First in my family to attend college, I'll soon finish my freshman year. Big problem: I have no idea what major to choose. My school's popular homecoming queen suggests her major as a good choice. Maybe, but maybe not. Beyond speaking to a counselor at the school's career center, any thoughts? -- S.J.S.

  • Big bucks in at-home direct sales: true or false?

    April 12, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Recently I watched a video in which a homemaker claimed she uses social media and a team of 200 other moms to earn an annual six-figure income by selling products directly to customers at home parties. I'm interested. Could this business money machine be for real? -- M.J.

  • A business degree can stretch technology career

    April 8, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: My daughter, who will be a college sophomore this year, says she hopes to become a software engineer. After that, say a few years down the road, a friend recommends that my daughter consider pursuing an MBA. Another friend strongly disagrees, arguing that it has lost value and costs a fortune for tuition.

  • Is a small company your best bet?

    April 5, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: With 28 years of solid work experience, I thought my career was set for life. Apparently not. Lately I've been reading about the blitz of hiring technologies, such as big data, predictive analytics, talent metrics and other bleeding-edge stuff that sounds like robots are in charge of finding and hiring people. What will happen to job seekers who, like me, aren't numbers wonks and don't get it? -- M.M.

  • Think before you take the leap

    April 1, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I have a good track record in advertising products and am now interviewing with potential employers. One company wants me to a "trial assignment" for free, providing details on how I would launch their new product.

  • Be a champ survivor

    March 29, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: My dad is 61 and terrified that he's going to lose his job to a younger person. I want to help but don't know what to say to him. -- T.D.

  • Negotiate salary for fatter paychecks

    March 25, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: The good news is I received the job offer I'd hoped for; the bad news is I was so excited my alarm bells didn't go off when the hiring manager said, "Your background fits the job perfectly, but we can't pay the increase you likely are expecting."

  • Frustrated with your job search? Try this.

    March 22, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: When I was a high-school drop-out, I stumbled around with minimum-wage jobs but finally got the message. I kept working and took classes at night, online, finally getting my diploma. Then I enrolled in a community college and took many more classes at night until I finally earned my associate degree. Whew!

  • Are company dress codes old hat?

    March 18, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Is it advisable to dress up for a job interview? Or does doing so make you look out of date with the times? -- V.O.

  • Who says you can't find good job after 50?

    March 15, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: At 61, I'm out of gas in a fruitless job search despite good experience and skills. If others have solved this problem, how did they do it? -- H.H.

  • Become big fish in small pond or little fish in big sea?

    March 11, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I'll be a liberal arts grad this June, and I'm scouting jobs. Through networking I have tentatively received two attractive offers: one from a fairly large company that doesn't have a famous name and the other from a better known medium-sized company. If both offers come through, which would be best for building my career? -- H.T.P.

  • Technology careers: old losers, new winners

    March 8, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: My tech-minded son enters a four-year college this year and plans to major in information technology. Fine! But he says he will be happy when he gets his degree and is done with school.

  • Employer delivers lesser job than you accepted: Can you sue?

    March 4, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I started my supposedly professional job six months ago and, from day one, it was a disappointment compared to what I had been led to expect before I became an employee. What can I do at this point, other than resign? Do I have legal recourse, if it comes to that? -- P.D.

  • Great idea that likely will waste your time

    March 1, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I've heard that the best time to find a good job is when it's in the embryonic stage. That's the period when the company is trying to solve a problem or fill a need, and before the job has been defined, posted or referred to a recruiter.

  • Don't beat yourself up when job interviewer just doesn't like you

    February 25, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I recently graduated with a business degree, and I keep reading and hearing about today's great job market (other than Wall Street's dip in hiring).

  • Make time gaps in resume work for you

    February 22, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: My employer allowed me to resign, but actually I was let go for too many early leaves and absences. I had a good reason to be gone so much: An only child, I was visiting my desperately ill mother in a hospital and overseeing her later home care. My mom passed three months ago.

  • Who says professional tax work has to be ... well, taxing?

    February 15, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Before I married, had three lovely children and stayed home to be a full-time mom, I worked as an accountant. I love numbers but have always wanted to be my own boss and make a higher income. Suggestions? -- P.J.J.

  • Is it smart or dumb to quit early, quit often?

    February 11, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Now in my mid-20s, with degrees in business and computers, I've been in my job for two years. I did the math on salary websites: I'm underpaid for my talents. A friend tells me to change jobs frequently, that the best time to get a good job with a hefty pay hike is when you've got a good job. Yes? No? -- J.C.

  • Skype job interviews: here's what you probably missed

    February 8, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm surprised that a company I hadn't applied to wants to schedule an employment interview with me on Skype. I haven't used Skype to interview before. I don't know whether to say "yippee!" or "yipes!" Do you have any special tips? -- C.S.

  • Are online profiles bumping off resumes?

    February 4, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I read that online profiles (such as those on LinkedIn.com) have replaced the need to prepare a resume. Agree? Disagree? -- L.B.

  • Laid off? Read real-deal tips to land federal job

    February 1, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Plummeting gas prices are helping many drivers, but not us! My husband lost his job as an oil rig derrick worker, forcing him to sign up for unemployment benefits. What else could he be doing to land a new job in case he's not called back soon -- or ever? I'm pitching in to help him find alternate work. -- R.S.

  • When your boss is bad news, quit

    January 28, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I am involved in a newly formed volunteer organization. The organization has a great purpose and the potential to become something very exciting.

  • Good news for 2015 college grads

    January 25, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I'll get my IT degree in five months but have already been offered employment. I'd like to accept the position right now, but my dad suggests I wait to see if a better offer comes along. Your take? -- H.G.

  • So you want to try freelance writing

    January 21, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm taking early retirement and would like to look into freelance writing. Suggestions? -- J.D.

  • New: Your free personal website can boost career success

    January 18, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I've heard about personal websites being used as a job search tool. Is this really a good idea? -- K.K.

  • Think before falling for top recruiter fibs

    January 14, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: A recruiter sent me to an interview for a good job, which I didn't get. Asked why not, the recruiter merely said, "We found a better fit." What exactly does "better fit" mean? -- A.P.

  • Five fast tips to improve your resume today

    January 11, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm rewriting my resume to look for a new employer. Help? -- C.J.

  • Interview thanks letters are alive and sell

    January 7, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Do you think that sending a thank-you letter following a job interview still carries weight in this digital world? And do you think an emailed letter gets the same respect as a postal mailed one? -- P.B.A

  • Cheers! 2015 shifts power to candidate-driven job market

    January 4, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Several weeks ago I turned down a job that I've reconsidered and now want. Is it probably too late to recontact the employer and reopen negotiations? -- C.G.

  • Video cover letters: good or bad idea?

    December 31, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I have your book about cover letters but you didn't mention video cover letters. Why not? What are your thoughts about video cover letters? -- P.J.

  • Want fed job outside Washington? Jump on this welcome news

    December 28, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm a 58-year-old professional with a master's and some teaching experience. Healthy, capable, intelligent and in fine physical shape, I'm ready to move on and am thinking about seeking a federal job. But there's no way I will pull up stakes and move to Washington, D.C. Your suggestions? - C.A.H.

  • When dreams clash with reality, now what?

    December 24, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: As 2015 nears, I m unsure what I should do about my future. After a job paying more than $55,000 when the start-up folded, I grabbed a temp hourly-paid job. It timed out. Another temp firm has openings but living by starts and stops isn't what I had in mind for the future. How much will those short gigs hurt my hoped-for career goals? I could kick myself for those earlier decisions. -- A.M.S.

  • How to get free job advice December 29-30 only

    December 21, 2014

    DEAR READERS: Mark your calendars for December 29 and 30 if you want to consult with a professional job search coach for free.

  • Enduring career advice for 2015 and beyond

    December 17, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: My brother mentioned a list of general success tips you occasionally refresh and present at the end of a year. Can you do so now? I want to get every dime's worth of career value from my education -- J.W.

  • Is your 2015 resume overweight? Probably

    December 14, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I haven't revised my resume lately and I may want to change jobs next year. Suggestions? -- C.L.

  • Great answers for why you're ditching your current job

    December 10, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: When I'm in a job interview and asked why I want to change jobs, I never know exactly what to say, other than mutter a cliché like "to advance in my career." Better answer? -- P.V.

  • Oops! When social media blunders kill job offers

    December 7, 2014

    Dear Joyce: After graduating this year with a pile of tuition debt, I've applied for employment at numerous companies. Nutshell: Zip! Any clues to why I'm not getting offers? -- D.V.

  • New and old job ways to get jobs in secret

    December 3, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: As the new year approaches, I keep thinking about improving my job compensation and security. I don't want to be fired -- I have to keep my search under wraps. Suggestions? -- K.O.

  • How many job holidays will you get in 2015?

    November 30, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: My wife receives only three job holidays off each year, but I get six. We work for different, but similarly-sized companies. Are major differences common? What's the deal? -- P.P.M.

  • Office politics: clues to winning with loser

    November 26, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Every day I wake up wondering how to commit mayhem without going to jail. That's because an obnoxious co-worker has made my life a living nightmare for the past several months. Clearly this loser sees me as a competitor for the next promotion. Do you have suggestions for winning moves? -- No Initials.

  • How to be there for pal blindsided by job loss

    November 23, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: To his utter shock, last week my friend Ted suddenly lost his job of 23 years along with 14 others at his workplace. There were no warning signs.

  • What to do when office newbie's manners need a remake

    November 19, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: A June college graduate is grating on everyone's nerves. Big time!

  • New: informational interviewing now moving online

    November 16, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Have you heard about a slick new way job seekers can get inside a company and ask one of its recruiters or other employees some specific questions and get fast answers? Is this a great idea or what? -- J.G.

  • Holiday networking: tips to score big starting today

    November 12, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Is it a time waster to hunt for a job during the holidays? -- T.N.

  • You need paper resumes to sell yourself, because?

    November 9, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: I've been told that paper resumes are antiques, like manual typewriters. I find that hard to buy. Don't you? -- C.J.S.

  • Need a job? Get experience. Need experience? Get a job

    November 5, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: After graduating in May with a bachelor's degree, I still don't have a job because every place I've applied wants someone with related experience. How can I get experience if no one will trust me with a job? -- S.M.

  • Millennials rising: may top workforce troops in 2015

    November 2, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: At 23, I'm detailing cars to pay rent and eat. A high school graduate, I've been trying to find a job with a future but interviewers, mostly older, blow me off. Suggestions? -- D.A.

  • Interviews: Smoke out hidden concerns

    October 29, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: Using networking contacts, I have been able to arrange six job interviews in the last two weeks. Unfortunately, not one has led to a job offer. Obviously I need to improve something. Ideas? -- E.L.L.

  • How young must you be to get hired?

    October 26, 2014

    DEAR JOYCE: A friend advises me to shave a few years off my resume to beat ageism and get hired. What are the chances my age shaving will be revealed by a background check? -- No Initials.

  • 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.