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


Need More Vacation Time

Dear Deb:

I am planning to return to work as a marketing director after a 12-year break.   I want to communicate to the employer that I will need time off to accompany my husband when he travels to Europe and Asia for work.  Most times, we have a 2 to 3-week notice of the trips. We’re usually gone 10 days and probably only go 3 times each year.  Also, when my kids are off school, we spend some time at the beach.  So, the grind of working with only 3 weeks of vacation is not going to work for me.   How do I make this clear in my resume and cover letter?  I would rather them know upfront so we both don’t waste our time.



Dear Phyllis:

It is smart to think about your priorities and create a vision for your ideal job before you start your job search.  The next step is to determine if there are jobs that meet your requirements available in the marketplace.  I would say that a position as an employee will most likely include two to four weeks of vacation per year plus holidays and a few days of paid-time-off for illness or personal days.  For non-executives and recent hires, two weeks of vacation is more common.  

Of course, everything is negotiable.  The time to lay out your terms is not in the resume or cover letter.  These are things to be discussed after a job offer has been made.  If you mention in your resume or cover letter these requirements, your interview invitation rate will likely be non-existent.  During the application and interview process, the focus should be on the value you offer and not on your needs and limitations.

My recommendation is that you consider working in a contract position so you can work for sprints of time and have plenty of breaks for travel and recreation.  Another option that may suit your lifestyle is to launch your own marketing consulting practice. 

I wish you all the best in your career!



5 Ways to Compensate for a Lack of Paid Professional Experience

Don’t let lack of recent paid professional experience keep you from your dream job.  There are at least five ways that you can gain skills and experience necessary for your target career.  You may discover that you already have experience that proves that you are qualified for the job. 

1.) Professional Certifications

If you are looking for something to distinguish you as an expert, investigate professional certifications relevant to your industry and occupation.  The rigors of certification programs vary greatly.  Some require self-study and an exam, while others require the candidate to complete coursework.  The best way to learn about these opportunities is to perform a search using keywords based on your target industry and career along with the words, “professional certification.”

2.) Internships

Do you want to break into a new industry?   Consider an unpaid internship.   Some companies have formal intern programs. If a company does not have a formal intern program, inquire anyway.  Many companies would be willing to take on an intern on a short-term basis.  Even if you are only able to intern for a week or two, through job shadowing and by interacting with the staff, you will gain considerable knowledge and insight.  Remember to include this on your resume in either an “additional experience” or “intern program” section on your resume.

3.) Volunteering

Many candidates use time off work, such as breaks between college terms or while taking a break to raise children, to volunteer for non-profit organizations.  It is an excellent way to gain experience performing tasks related to a candidate’s target job.  Volunteers also have the chance to hone leadership and organizational skills.  Volunteer experience can be shown on a resume in a category called, “community leadership” or “volunteer experience.”

4.) Coursework

If you are looking to shift to a new occupation but are lacking specialized skills or knowledge.   Take courses to fortify your skillset.  You may find courses online, at local trade schools, colleges, or through professional associations.  When you complete your courses, you can add them to a section on your resume labeled, “professional development.”

5.) Blogging

Even if you are not a leading authority on a subject related to your target job, you are still able to author a blog on that subject.   Conduct research and share your comments based on what you have learned.  Share posts and studies completed by others (giving the researcher and author credit).  You can become an aggregator of specialized information in your field.  Be sure to mention your blog on your resume.  You may include the URL in your contact information section at the top of your resume.

These are just five examples of how you can demonstrate your qualifications for your dream job.  Additionally, you may want to update your resume to explore accomplishments within your academic and work history to be sure you have included all of your top selling points. If you are struggling with a career transition, contact me.  We help candidates to succeed at all stages of their careers.


Is YouTube Success Resume-Worthy?

Dear Deb:

I created a video, posted it on YouTube, and it has 543,000 hits.  It’s a humorous song about the plight of a rare beetle. There is no offensive language.  It has nothing to do with my career in commercial real estate leasing.  However, I wonder if it would make me seem unique.   Should I mention it on my resume or just on my LinkedIn profile? 


Dear Caleb,

Absolutely, it is worth mentioning on your resume and your LinkedIn profile.  If it had foul language or political content that some might find offensive, I would say otherwise.  However, a funny and catchy video that went viral will be impressive to many.  The reason is that you are creative enough to produce the film, post it, and promote it to the point that it captured nearly 600K hits.  Also, I disagree that it has nothing to do with your career.  This achievement (albeit personal) shows me that you have the mind of a marketer and will do well in your commercial real estate career.   You could list this on your resume under a section called, “Personal Achievements” and on LinkedIn, you may want to list it under “Projects.”  With so many candidates getting jobs through social media, your next employer could be one of your many video fans!

Wishing you all the best!