Recommended Reading
  • How To Win Friends and Influence People
    How To Win Friends and Influence People
    by Dale Carnegie
  • Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition)
    Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition)
    by Robert B. Cialdini
  • The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker's Essential Writings on Management (Collins Business Essentials)
    The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker's Essential Writings on Management (Collins Business Essentials)
    by Peter F. Drucker
  • Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets for Networking Your Way to Rich Relationships
    Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets for Networking Your Way to Rich Relationships
    by Jeffrey Gitomer
  • The 48 Laws of Power
    The 48 Laws of Power
    by Robert Greene
  • In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies (Collins Business Essentials)
    In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies (Collins Business Essentials)
    by Thomas J. Peters, Robert H. Waterman
  • The Art Of War
    The Art Of War
    by Sun Tzu
About this Blog

Debra Wheatman, President of Careers Done Write, provides expert insight to the job search process that puts your career in gear with tips for interviewing, networking, job search strategies and how to create a winning résumé and cover letter.

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Resume and advice blog from Debra Wheatman


Interview Rescue

Perhaps you’ve seen one of the dozens of shows on cable TV with the rescue theme.   In a single weekend, you can watch shows about rescuing a bar, rehabbing a home, salvaging a failing restaurant, and saving a business from bankruptcy.   I propose a new show…interview rescue.   The opening scene will show a job candidate in the conference room with a rapidly beating heart and a sinking feeling. The candidate has realized that he is  tanking the interview.  This candidate needs a rescue! 

S-O-S…Time to implement three tips to rescue yourself from interview failure!

Stay Calm

There are times when you slip in an interview.  Perhaps you have a momentary lapse and forgot something you should know.  Or, perhaps you fell short when trying to demonstrate you can handle a particular task.  Your heart begins to beat faster, and you feel as though you might as well say, “Thank you and goodbye.”  It is not over, until it is over.  It is important that you stay calm.   Take a deep breath and relax.  Return your focus to the interview.  If you stay calm and stay in the moment, you have a chance to regain your footing.

Organize Your Thoughts

Jot a note about the question or weak response, so you can review that information.  As you relax and continue the interview discussion, you’ll likely think of items to share to better address the question that stumped you before.  Make quick notes as these thoughts occur.  Later, during a pause in the conversation or near the interview’s end, ask the interviewer if you can share additional remarks.  With organized thoughts, you can recover to give a stronger answer and leave a better impression.

Steer the Conversation

Sometimes in an interview you will notice the interviewer has a particular impression of you.  Perhaps you are picking up that they find your experience is light in certain areas.  Cues for this might be questions that start with, “Are you sure you are prepared to…”  Another cue might be, “What makes you think you would do well as a…”  This is when you need to strongly assert yourself and state the case for your candidacy.   Steer the conversation and share examples of accomplishments and the scope of your recent authority.  This is how you overcome the interviewer’s perception and win the day.

If you are ever in need of an interview rescue, just remember S-O-S.   Stay calm, organize your thoughts, and steer the conversation to tout the value you offer.  You’ll regain your confidence and save a sinking interview.


The LinkedIn Headline: Your Brand in 120 Words or Less

Most parts of your LinkedIn profile are fairly straight-forward.  Complete this, select that, edit thoughtfully, and you are on your way to a new LinkedIn profile.  The stumbling block for many is the headline.  You have 120 characters to brand yourself, get located through keywords, and attract the reader to explore the rest of your headline.  That small space on your profile carries a lot of weight.  Let’s tackle some of the common questions about the LinkedIn headline.

What is a LinkedIn profile headline?

The LinkedIn profile headline is below your name at the top of your profile.  Your photo, name, and headline are the first things viewers will see.

What happens if you skip the headline?

Nice try.  If you skip the headline, LinkedIn will fill the headline space with your current job title and employer. Skipping the effort and allowing the default is not a good choice. This is prime marketing real estate – and it’s free!  Customizing your headline is crucial to your brand. Why miss this branding opportunity? Take the time to consider what you want the world to know about your expertise.  Create a short, but impactful headline to help engage the reader and give you the opportunity to establish your credibility.

What makes a headline effective?

First we should define the purpose so we can understand what is effective.  The point of the profile is to introduce keywords.  Recruiters and hiring employers can perform searches based on criteria and keywords.  Scrutinize your word choices, so you have a better chance of being found.  Secondly, you want those that find you to be interested.  Again, carefully choose the words that indicate the value you bring to your target job.  Try viewing other profiles of professionals with jobs similar to your target job.  Also, view job postings to see what employers find valuable. You can then introduce key words and examples in the summary and throughout the profile to establish and manage your brand.

What are the recommended headline styles?

There are different approaches to the headline.  You could start with your title, followed by keywords that define your areas of expertise.  If you are a consultant, you could share keywords describing your services.

Do you possess a unique certification or degree?  Differentiators are great content for your headline. If you list a series of keywords, you can use some accepted symbols to help the information stand out.

What headline tactics should I avoid?

  • Do not shout. In other words, do not use all uppercase letters.
  • Avoid desperate pleas for jobs.
  • Cut the fluff, such as “Innovative and creative problem solver.”
  • Omit contact information.  This is not the correct section for your contact details. There are other areas on the profile where you can include contact information.
  • Offbeat humor and politically incorrect statements can be harmful to your  career.

The headline on LinkedIn is an excellent branding opportunity.   Take advantage of those 120 characters to communicate what you do well and the value your bring.   If you would like help crafting your profile, contact me.  I would love to be a part of extending your brand through LinkedIn.



How to Hit the “Bull’s Eye” with Your Resume

How many resumes do you send without a single response?   Where did you go wrong?   You have so many skills, as well as extensive knowledge.  It is possible that your resume is missing the target because it was not written with a target in mind? When written properly, a resume positions a candidate as a match for a target job for which the candidate is qualified.  One resume will not be effective for all opportunities.  You’ll increase your chances for interview invitations by customizing your resume for each job opportunity.   

That may sound like a lot of work. Who has hours of time to write dozens of new resumes every month?  Don’t worry; the crafting of a resume to hit the “bull’s eye” is easier than you might imagine.  Follow these simple steps and watch while your resume hits the target.

►     Research the target job and employer.  In most cases, you can obtain this information on the employer’s website or a job posting.  Highlight the requirements and major duties in the job posting.  Create a list of the job duties and requirements.

►     Review your resume and identify the skills and experiences that are consistent with the needs of a   particular hiring employer.   Note your accomplishments that demonstrate your ability to perform the job. Try your best to back-up your accomplishments with measured results.  As you find these skills and accomplishments on your resume, check them off the list of duties and requirements that you created in step one.

►     Identify gaps.  In other words, are there skills that you possess that are needed for this job, that are not on your current resume?  If so, update your resume to include those skills; examples of the work will go a very long way in demonstrating your background. Perhaps you have similar skills that support your ability to learn the required skills quickly.  In some cases, gaps can’t be resolved.  Don’t include skills that you do not have. You cannot make it up.

►     Ensure your resume is focused on the target.  For example, the required skills for the target job may be listed on your resume, but not given enough emphasis.  That may involve changing the order of items in the core competencies section or editing the profile.  In most cases, the majority of fine-tuning to tailor your resume for a target job will be in the areas of your resume profile and core competencies sections.

You can’t expect to hit the target every single time.  However, creating a customized resume will increase your chance of success significantly.  Take a few minutes to customize your resume.  It is definitely time well spent.  If you would like professional help with your resume, contact me