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


Should I Share Personal Information With Recruiters?

Dear Deb:

How can I determine if a recruiter is a scam artist trying to gather my personal information?  What type of information should I share with a recruiter?

Thank you,


Dear Cole:

Be careful when sharing your personal information.  Recruiters typically need a current resume and in some cases they will ask for references.  For  some employers and occupations, a recruiter may conduct pre-interview testing. This could range from computer skills testing to personality assessments.  If driving is required, they may want your driver’s license to ensure you have a clean driving record.

During the initial phases of the selection process, they don’t need to have your personal details, such as your social security number.  If you are hired for a position, the employer will need your social security number and your driver’s license or other form of identification.  The employer and the recruiter should not ask for your banking information.  Only provide banking information as it pertains to the establishment of direct payroll deposits.  Never supply your personal passwords.

The best safeguard against a fraudulent recruiter or employer is to do a bit of research before interacting with them.  Conduct online searches.  Compare email addresses, web addresses, and phone numbers with that of the actual company to be sure you are actually dealing with someone from the company and not an imposter.

All the best,



The First Step to Building a Strong Brand

Are you actively building your brand?   Most professionals don’t make a conscious effort to create a professional brand.  They are focused on getting through the workweek, or one major project or challenge after another. Mindful brand building becomes a low priority. Don’t be that person. Today we’ll show you how easy it is to take the first step to building a strong brand.  What is that first step?  Self-assessment.

How are you unique?

What selling points separate you from the crowd? What unique value do you offer to your clients, employer, and partners?  If you are unclear as to what your top value is, you may not be promoting or portraying your unique features.  Review your history and make a list of the things that define you.  Next, narrow that list to the top one or two things that you feel best represent you. Those items could fall into one of many categories, including an area of expertise, a sought-after skill, a strenuous certification, or a record of commitment to a cause.

Be completely honestly about yourself. 

If you do not have a strong sales record, don’t mislead others (or yourself) by presenting yourself as a sales superstar.  Certainly, you don’t want to lie about a skill that you do not possess. To be successful in your career and to form sincere relationships, it is important to be honest about your strengths.

Be specific and sincere.

Avoid falling into the trap of painting your brand with broad strokes. In other words, think of how you are truly unique.  One example of a broad stroke is the term, “industry leader.”  How many industry leaders could we find if we performed a search on LinkedIn?   Perhaps tens of thousands?   If you were asked in what ways are you regarded an industry leader, do you have concrete accomplishments and the reputation to support that claim? Rather than a vague characteristic, capture the attention of others by showing how you are a specialist. Present a specialty that you can easily support with experience, accomplishments, and credentials.

Meet a market demand.

In what ways are you valuable to an employer or your industry? This is important. If employers do not value the skill or knowledge that you treasure, you may want to reconsider featuring that skill as a brand element.  A compelling and attractive brand is one that resonates in the marketplace.  An example of a lackluster brand element may be expertise in a software application that is outdated or something that is on its way out.  You want to hold the brand of an expert in the software app that is on the rise. Be the one that knows the industry well enough to know the skill that will be in great demand next year.

The bottom line is that you want to develop a brand that genuine, proven, and specific.  If you are struggling with your brand, contact me.  Through coaching sessions and assessments, I can help you define, develop, and promote a valuable and targeted brand. 


My Occupation Is Changing -- What Should I Do?

Dear Deb:

I have been in my industry for 27 years.   I am a media buyer, mostly cable and infomercials.  My occupation is changing and when my previous employer was bought by a large international company, I was downsized.  The problem is that companies are using more sophisticated specialized software and reporting systems.  In the past, I had information fed to me.  In new roles, they are asking for more advanced software and analytical skills.   At this stage in my career, I am not about to learn new programs or software.  I can open and use Excel sheet and can create simple Word documents. 

I am feeling really desperate as a single woman with a child in college.  I can’t afford to retire and am not equipped to become a computer expert.   How can I explain to the hiring companies that my 27 years in the media buying business for top name brands (infomercials anyone would recognize!) that I am of value without computer skills?

Thank you!


Dear Loretta:

I understand your frustration.  Perhaps you could approach this as a time to reinvent yourself.  I am not suggesting that you do something that you dislike.  However, I am suggesting that you expand your horizon a bit so that you have the basic skills that are expected of any professional.  Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Take courses (one at a time) to update your basic computer skills so that you are proficient and comfortable using MS Word and Excel.
  • Explore other career options within your industry.  Perhaps you can move into a client relations role that does not require the analytical expertise.  While exploring those options, identify the “must have” software skills in each of the roles that you are targeting. Be open to building those skills.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed with your career planning, try working with a career coach.

Don’t allow the changes in the business world to be an excuse for you to become irrelevant in today’s market.  There are plenty of resources to help you build new skills and also many options for a new career path should you decide to make a change.

Wishing you all the best!