The ability to 'sell' yourself is required in these tough times


October 07, 1991|By Joyce Lain Kennedy | Joyce Lain Kennedy,Sun Features

Dear Joyce: I am a laid-off electrical engineer. My wife, also an engineer, and I relocated to the Seattle area in hopes of making a living. I have avoided recruiting agencies for fear they would mass-disseminate my resume and do more harm than good. Do you advocate the use of headhunters? Can you recommend any that cater to technical types? J.T.F.

Dear J.T.F.: Headhunters, who work for employers finding people for jobs, are unlikely to be your fastest track to employment in the geographically attractive but competitive area you chose.

Accustomed as you are to being wooed for employment, your immediate need is to turn the tables and learn how to sell #F yourself during the current tough technical market.

A new book, "Job Search For the Technical Professional," by recruiter David Moore, may be the elixir you need; order from the publisher, Wiley, at (800) 982-BOOK.

Dear Joyce: I am in my early 50s, am a very good executive secretary/administrative assistant and, through a series of corporate upheavals, find myself long unemployed. I've been accustomed to making $28,000 and now I'm being offered $21,000. My dilemma is whether it is better to accept a position with less, even though I know I cannot meet my bills on the pay, and keep looking, or to continue looking in my salary range. The temporary agencies have not been calling with assignments either. What do you say? B.T.

Dear B.T.: Take the bird in hand and keep beating the bushes. A new book written by a professional bill collector may help you know your rights if things get too threatening, "What To Do When the Bill Collector Calls." It's available for $11.95 prepaid from Starburst Publishers, Box 4123, Lancaster, Pa. 17604; (717)

293-0939. The book's 196 pages can help you avoid becoming a victim of debt-collection abuse.

Dear Joyce: I am a female in my early 30s, a CPA specializing in taxation, who no longer works for a large bank. I left as a result of sexual harassment. The witnesses, near retirement and afraid for vTC their jobs, lied, which is why I have not sued and why the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found against me.

I have answered many ads but can't get a job. I can't even find advice on proceeding in a job search. The complaint-taker at the EEOC told me I would have to change careers because the bank probably knows many employers and when one employer calls another, who knows what they really say?

In interviews, I am vague about my reasons for leaving. A friend checked with the bank's personnel office and they really did only verify the position and dates. But I think the employers are getting around that, because interviewers say "We know them" or "We get referrals from them." Can this career be saved? A.B.C.

Dear A.B.C.: Your letter is one more example of why I urge readers to think twice before filing legal complaints or law suits.

You worked for the bank only six months but have eight good years with state and federal tax agencies. Target three areas in which to apply your career in another city: teaching, independent tax work and government employment. Tell the truth, "After eight successful career years, I experienced a negative situation at a new job." Explain very briefly. Then move quickly to your strengths, which include an "insider's knowledge of tax work." -- Learn to use third-party referrals to get interviews -- they can explain the problem termination for you.

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