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Joyce Lain Kennedy

Joyce Lain Kennedy

Careers Now


Career shopping? Try insider interviews

February 10, 2016

DEAR JOYCE: I took the first job I could get after graduation from college, and due to the fact that it was a bad job market back then I didn't ask too many questions. It was a terrible job, and I quit within a year. Now I'm starting over at 29 and don't intend to make that same mistake of too little knowledge about what the job is really like. Someone suggested I do a series of "information interviews." Good idea? -- N.O.K.

  • Ask for a raise -- and get it!

    February 7, 2016

    DEAR JOYCE: Although I've been a hard-working and loyal employee, at 27, I'm barely making it between paychecks. A friend tells me that it's a big mistake to plead personal money issues if I ask for a raise. Why? It's the truth. -- D.E.

  • Dislike new boss? Handle with care

    February 3, 2016

    DEAR JOYCE: I've liked my office job for the four years I've been here. Not now. A new manager was brought in from another company to run our department. After a few months, he brought in a pal from his former job. The two of them are changing the way we do things right and left! Those of us who have been here a while detest their behavior. A group of us are considering going two levels up and asking that the new manager be reassigned or removed. Suggestions? -- No Initials.

  • Will robots steal our jobs?

    January 31, 2016

    DEAR JOYCE: I've just read a frightening news story about the rise of robots and artificial intelligence in the workplace. The story reports that some experts believe intelligent machines will eliminate about five million jobs, the bulk in office and administrative jobs, as smart machines take over routine tasks in the world's 15 leading economies over the next five years. What's your take on these extraordinary glimpses of careers in the future? -- C.S.

  • Burnout! Keep your job or your health?

    January 27, 2016

    DEAR JOYCE: After working 15 whirlwind years in what most people would value as several excellent jobs, I'm exhausted! A working mother, I have a child in day care, a 45-minute commute each way and have just finished putting my husband through his full-time MBA program.

  • When an internship turns sour

    January 24, 2016

    DEAR JOYCE: I will graduate from college this year with a healthy GPA, but I think I might have a problem! I left an internship early because of my boss, who was an abusive, loud-mouthed bully. Must I include the failed internship on my resume? I'm worried that it will hurt my job chances. -- No initials.

  • Tracking moves in tech jobs

    January 20, 2016

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm only in my 30s, but I'm having trouble staying current with technology developments as they apply to careers. Suggestions? -- K.K.

  • Watch your mouth on social media

    January 17, 2016

    DEAR JOYCE: My 22-year-old son has been a big Facebook user for years. Now he's job hunting. I suggested that he go back over his social media posts to clean up anything that might shut him out from being hired. Am I right? -- Y.V.A.

  • Safe searching when mum's the word

    January 13, 2016

    DEAR JOYCE: A former co-worker was fired last year when our employer found out she was seeking another job. I am ready to move on but I'm concerned that the same fate will befall me. What steps can I take to keep my search private? -- No initials.

  • Creative careers that can pay well

    January 10, 2016

    DEAR JOYCE: I appreciate that we live in tech-whiz times, but I'm a creative person who hopes not to get stuck in boring routine work every day, five days a week. What are some of the better creative and interesting careers? Along with creative challenge, I like the color of green, as in dollars piled up high. -- L.L.T.

  • Online degree program requires motivation, discipline

    January 6, 2016

    DEAR JOYCE: I need additional educational credentials to boost my career upward and forward. Am I making a mistake in choosing an online degree program instead of a campus program? -- H.H.

  • How to win your promotion

    January 3, 2016

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm hoping 2016 is the year I will be promoted. My record of four years here is without blemish but when promotions are handed out, I'm ignored. I really hope not to be forced to change employers but my career is stalled. What's your advice? -- H.S.

  • New year, new career?

    December 30, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I am thinking about jumping ship, not to a new job but to a totally new occupation. After reading a handful of magazine articles about people who reinvented themselves by dramatically changing their careers, I'm encouraged. What are your observations about the chances of success in changing careers? -- T.J.

  • When you're best but not hired

    December 27, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm an A-class candidate: right education, right experience and under 40. A recruiter targeted me for a job I would have accepted, but it went to someone else. I'm puzzled, and the recruiter is dumbfounded. What do you think happened? -- S.L.

  • When reality skewers your dreams

    December 23, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I am unsure what to do about my future. I've been an idiot! Long story short: I had a stable job but took a gamble to join a startup that folded after six months and it was all downhill from there. My wife works and I've been subsisting on temp employment (anything I could get) but this can't go on forever. We have two young daughters to raise and I've got to do better in 2016. -- C.D.

  • Job hopper? Market your special value

    December 20, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: For the past decade, I've changed jobs every two or three years, but always to move up to a better position with higher pay or greater opportunity. I was never let go. I was surprised this week when a potential employer rejected me, saying that I'd moved around too much. After thinking that my strategy was a winner, now I feel like a failure. -- R.Q.

  • Look smart in new job hunt

    December 16, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Are tattoos and body piercings still frowned upon by today's employers? My 24-year-old son insists that "ink and face jewelry is hot" and that worrying about how tattoos will affect hiring decisions is "so yesterday." What do you think? -- E.A.

  • Flexible jobs that may surprise you

    December 13, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm in the market for a professional job that gives me an escape hatch from 40-hour-a-week rigidity. I'm looking for what some people have termed "work-life balance." I'm good with computers. Any ideas? -- L.S.

  • Hard skills, soft skills important to career success

    December 9, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: A friend has been talking about hard skills and soft skills. Which type do you think are more important to career success? -- J.O.S.

  • What's up with apps?

    December 6, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: It has been over a decade since I've been in the job market. My 24-year-old nephew keeps telling me that I should become familiar with career apps now widely used for job hunting. He says apps only work on smartphones and tablets. Is that true? -- T.W.

  • How to identify boss who can hire you

    December 2, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm a proactive, industrious person but I'm greatly frustrated when I try to learn the name of a company's hiring manager for the kind of job I want. Between voicemail and gatekeepers, it's a straight challenge. Help! -- P.T.

  • Terrific new parental leave policies

    November 29, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I just read that the music streaming giant Spotify has announced a global parental leave policy that gives all full-time employees, both mothers and fathers, up to six months 100 percent paid leave. The leave can be taken all at once or broken up until their child's third birthday.

  • Is a health care career for you?

    November 25, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I hear there are many job opportunities in the health care industry but don't know exactly what they are or where they are. Help? - T.R.T.

  • Ace your salary history dilemma

    November 22, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: A recruiter wanted to know my salary history, and I think I blew it. My last job paid nearly twice ($200K) that of the recruiter's position ($110K). Despite the disparity, for growth opportunities in a hot new industry, I wanted the position the recruiter discussed, so I told her the true figure. Being honest closed the door on that job. What's the best way to handle a request for salary history when you know it's going to knock you out of contention for a position you want? -- P.P.

  • The next step after quitting a job

    November 18, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I wasn't fired from my last job -- I resigned. I worked for a company I liked very much until, unfortunately, the CEO dropped dead of a heart attack. His son stepped in to run the business and nearly ran it into the ground. Long story short, the six months I stuck with the company was a soap opera with brainless business moves you wouldn't believe. After saying longer than I should have, I finally resigned.

  • Sunny job market is good news

    November 15, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: At 38, I'm a college graduate and a mom with children in school. I'm ready to hunt for a career position, not a holiday gig. I noted that the labor market is up across a broad spectrum of industries as American employers hired people for a net 271,000 new jobs in October, a big jump from 137,000 in September and 153,000 in August. Do you have suggestions? -- K.O.R.

  • Headed back to school at 45

    November 11, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: At 45, I am considering enrolling in law school. At my age, am I wasting my time or money? -- U.J.

  • Can career coach reboot your future?

    November 8, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I realize I made a made an ill-informed choice of careers and want to start over. A friend suggests I hire a career coach. Agree? -- N.M.

  • Weigh 10 factors before accepting job

    November 4, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: In the past I have jumped to accept a job offer before thinking about it much and have had many regrets. What are the most important things to consider before taking employment you'll wish you hadn't accepted a few months later? -- P.D.

  • Earn good money teaching music from home

    November 1, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I would like to start a little music school in my home. I'm aware of the need to look into the zoning, but do you think it would work? -- W.P.A.

  • Want to work from home?

    October 28, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I obtained permission to work from home three days a week because my commute is dreadful. Further, I am much more productive without the office distractions. But after three weeks, my boss called me in and said I had to come back to the office and work regular hours all week because the other employees see me as having special privileges and want to work from home too. How can I change the boss's mind? -- I.P.

  • Is 3-D resume your thing?

    October 25, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: My tech whiz son mentioned he is going to create a 3-D resume. I never heard of this type of document, and it sounds strange to me. What's your opinion of the 3-D resume format? -- P.J.O.

  • Bubble trouble for tech job seekers?

    October 21, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I am three years into my technology career and had planned to relocate to Silicon Valley to cash in on its booming tech business scene. Now I'm having second thoughts after my investor uncle warned me of a likely future tech bubble bust, similar to the dot-com bubble disaster 15 years ago. Would you chance the move? -- B.C.

  • Move now to wrap holiday job

    October 18, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I've been in the job market for five months without much to show for it. I need to find a job quickly. My sister suggests I apply for seasonal work. Isn't it too late in the season? -- L.T.

  • When temps are unfairly blamed

    October 14, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I work on temporary assignments and will soon be looking for a new one. The longer I work on temp jobs, the more exposed I am to receiving unearned negative references for future employment. Why? My husband says it's because people try to cover up their own errors by blaming the temp. All it takes is one or two bad reviews to create trouble for temps. How much value do employers put on temporary jobs when reviewing resumes? -- K.A.

  • College or Nanodegrees and MOOCs?

    October 11, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Considering the heavy debt load college places on today's students, what's your take on the emergence of online education as a replacement for traditional halls of ivy?

  • When to take the money and run

    October 7, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Last week my employer offered half of our department an early retirement package. I'm only 59. Should I turn it down or grab it and look for another job? -- No initials.

  • Earn college credit for life experience

    October 4, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I believe that what you know is more important than where you learned it. Yes? -- H.H.

  • She wants to work with people, not things

    September 30, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: A college sophomore, I'm thinking about choosing a major. I was considering human resources (HR) as a career field. I want to work with living, breathing human beings. Good move? -- K.C.

  • Strong recommendations clinch your hire

    September 27, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I've decided to look for a new job. I was going to line up recommendations, but I've been advised that recommendation letters are old school and not to waste my time. Agree? -- T. R.

  • Confront difficult boss without being eaten alive

    September 23, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I want to keep my job but my boss is unstable. He can blow up at the slightest irritation. Can you suggest a way to do business with him and remain in one piece? -- R.T.

  • Will more men than women lose jobs to robots?

    September 20, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Have you read an August article in The Atlantic: "The Age of the Robot Worker Will Be Worse for Men" by Jerry Kaplan? It lays out the scary scenario that nearly half of our human jobs will be lost to machines within the next few decades and that men are the big losers:

  • Handle salary history with care

    September 16, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Recently I was interviewed for a job I want and was asked, "How much do you earn now?" Caught off guard, I simply blurted the answer: $18 an hour. I didn't think to add: "I've been checking figures on pay websites and, based on my proven abilities, I know I'm worth more in today's market and that's why I'm changing jobs."

  • Counting on your resume? Grab this book!

    September 13, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I showed my resume to several close friends. All three said I desperately need to step it up. Please help! -- K.J.

  • 5 useful tips for buying a business

    September 9, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Some years ago you wrote a column with very helpful tips on how to buy a business without getting stung. I am hitting the Big 60, do not want to retire and am thinking that I might want to buy an existing business or a franchise. I saved that advice but now I can't find it. Could you update and reprint that column? -- T.J.

  • Surprise! Try this extraordinary interview move

    September 6, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: After working in various companies for nearly 20 years, things aren't going as well in my current search as I'd expected and I'm not closing the deal. I'm wondering if I've lost my edge and would appreciate it if you could check with an expert in job interviewing techniques who could offer fresh suggestions. -- K.L.

  • Make smart relocation moves

    September 2, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I've been offered a very attractive promotion in a city several states away. My husband says I should go for it and that he can find a good job there, even if he can't get transferred. I've never lived anywhere else and the thought of moving is keeping me up at night.

  • Are you working too hard?

    August 30, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I assume you're aware of the recent news about Amazon's exhausting company culture for employees who want to succeed, get promoted and make more money -- or simply avoid being fired. Yuck! Would you recommend working for Amazon? -- P.S.P.

  • Human side of growing your career

    August 26, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: As a new college graduate, I worked hard to secure an entry-level job with a well-regarded corporation. What key moves can I make to advance? -- J.M.

  • Wearable tech is new 'dress code'

    August 23, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm trying to find bargains for people on my gift list by shopping early and comparing prices. I'm thinking of getting my husband a smartwatch, which is sure to be noticed as awareness of the technology revolution. Yes? -- M.F.

  • Get top pay or piece of the action

    August 19, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Have you ever heard of accepting a job offer only to have the company come back and cut the starting salary by 15 percent? I was flabbergasted!

  • Beware of job scam flim-flams

    August 16, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: It seems that a week doesn't pass that we don't hear about hacking or another dishonest online practice. A homemaker with two children, I am hoping to find a job working from home. A friend tells me the Web is a minefield of theft and job scams and to be very careful in my job hunt. Agree? -- U.T.

  • Best new advice on job hopping

    August 12, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Is it true that, to gain higher pay and better jobs, a worker should change employers every two or three years? --E.N.

  • How to spot solid job facts

    August 9, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm ready to upgrade my career with a better job and do not want to waste time and effort chasing useless facts and outdated figures, as I've seen some of my friends do. What's your advice about my search for real facts? -- E.A.

  • Amazing true stories of young achievers

    August 5, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: My l8-year-old son still needs to find his way. I try to be positive and supportive with him. He's working hard, putting in 50- to 60-plus hours per week at two part-time jobs, but he's just not motivated to go back to school or think about tomorrow. I wish I could be more help to him. -- L.R. B.

  • Liberal arts major a career goof?

    August 2, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: My daughter's a history major who will graduate in 2016. As her dad, I worry about her qualifications to land a good job in this technology fueled world and to support herself in the future. She is very independent and may not listen to me. But I have to try and could use some support. What do you say? -- R.W.

  • Will downgrading your degree backfire?

    July 29, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Several years ago, while working at an insurance company, I had the opportunity to earn a B.S.B.A. in accounting. I assumed the bachelor's degree would be security if ever I was laid off. My work was eventually outsourced and my position eliminated. But things did not go as planned.

  • Top social sites to network for jobs

    July 26, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Do you have a list of promising social media sites where I can network to boost my career and bump up a job search? -- Z.C.

  • Can boss demand social passwords?

    July 22, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Out of the blue, my supervisor came to ask that I turn over my user names and passwords for my personal social media accounts. When I asked why, I was told, "Because my manager told me to collect them. So please make a list and have it on my desk by the end of the day." Can they get away with this demand? -- E.H.

  • Acing the uncommon interview

    July 19, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Not a neophyte at job interviewing, I've always met with a single manager who spoke one-to-one with me. But last week I found myself being quizzed by six people in the same room at the same time!

  • Stressed-out commuter needs solutions

    July 15, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I like my job, but getting to and from it has become an irritating and pricey experience. So why don't I just switch to working remotely from home? No way will my company go along with that arrangement -- I've already asked.

  • Changes possible for overworked, underpaid

    July 12, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: I'm going to switch jobs or even my career field. I frequently work 60-hour weeks but don't get a dime in overtime pay because I am a "manager." Nice title, but it doesn't pay the bills. If my wife didn't work, we'd probably lose our house. I have no questions but thanks for letting me blow off steam. -- D.T.

  • What kind of recruiter is best for you?

    July 8, 2015

    DEAR JOYCE: Please explain the difference between a retained and a contingency recruiter? Is one or the other more helpful to ambitious young professionals like me, who would like to explore today's active job market and possibly change jobs? -- G.S.

  • 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 -- 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 and -- 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 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.