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


Over 40 & Fierce: Resume Tactics for the Seasoned Professional

Forty is the age when many professionals are hitting their stride and making their mark.  By 40, most have nearly two decades of experience and are considered experts in their field.  A resume for a seasoned professional is different from a newbie or someone climbing the ropes. If you’ve ever struggled with issues such as resume length, the proper order of content, or if you should still include a GPA on a resume, this article is for you.


Place your education section near the bottom (end) of your resume.  This is because your career history is your strongest selling point. The exception would be if you were making a major career change. Let’s say you were a retail manager for twenty years who returned to school to earn a nursing degree.  For those not changing careers, education should be near the end. Also, omit college clubs, honors, and GPA.  One exception may be if you had an extraordinarily high GPA from a top-tier college.  In most cases, GPA and clubs don’t belong on a 40+ resume.

Bottom-up Content Review

As you build experience, your resume may grow long.  Some of the early experience may be off-topic.  If the early experience is in your field, it may be relevant, but not significant. Examine your early history and consider removing any positions more than ten to fifteen years in the past.  Of the early positions, less detail is necessary.  Perhaps you have two bullets of accomplishments for your first job, then three for the next, then four, and maybe six or seven for the current position. Show less information as you go further back in time.  This advice is not entirely about page length (although a two-page resume is ideal), rather it is about presenting what is most relevant.


You are the veteran and as such, it is expected that you have accomplished great things.  Brainstorm for times when you enhanced products, streamlined procedures, launched new departments, and broke profit records. For every accomplishment, include measured results to underscore your success.

Community Leadership

As a competent professional who is engaged in your community, you probably have been asked to help a local charity or civic organization.   If you have two or more examples of community or civic leadership, add this information to your resume.  Share your title or role, the scope of your responsibility, and major achievements. Or, you may simply list: “Title, Organization, Years.”  This provides another example of your skills and is particularly helpful if you are trying to transition into a higher leadership position in your career.

The Bottom Line

Update your resume at least once a year.  As you gain experience, modify your resume-writing strategy, so your resume is optimal for your career stage.   An over 40 and fierce resume should tout your recent career achievements, your expertise, and your status as a leader and mentor.  


Follow-up after a Panel Interview

Dear Deb:

I completed a panel interview with three interviewers.  At the end of the interview, they did not tell me the next steps.  I did not feel comfortable asking about the next steps and how long before I would hear from someone.  I also did not get business cards.  I only wrote down the first names of the interviewers.  What should I do now?   It’s been two weeks.

Thank you,

Chyna P.

Dear Chyna:

Panel interviews can be intimidating.  However, don’t let the panel interview throw you off your game.  In other words, just because you are interviewed by a group of people, remember to follow standard interviewing strategies.   It’s great that you jotted down the names of the interviewers so you could call them by name during the interview.  Take it one step further and ask for business cards from each of the interviewers at the end of the interview.  This is expected behavior so there is no need to feel awkward about asking.  Secondly, before you leave always ask these questions:  “Is there any other information that I can provide to assist you in the selection process?”  “What are the next steps in the selection process?”   The above is great for your next interview.  You also have a chance to maximize this recent interview.   Contact the employer’s main phone number and ask the receptionist for the last names and emails of the interviewers. Maybe the receptionist will be able to identify at least one person for you.  You could also contact the person that scheduled the interview.  After you acquire a name, send a “thank you/follow-up” message.

Wishing you all the best!



Keywords Are King on Your LinkedIn Profile

If you want to be found on LinkedIn, your profile must be rich with keywords.  If you are confused about which keywords to use, how to integrate them, and where to place them, follow these suggestions. 

Start with a Strong Headline.

The headline is a critical section for keywords.  Some professionals write things that are a bit lengthy. That will not generate a great response unless it is also rich in relevant keywords.  Others rely on LinkedIn’s default headline, which is the current job title and employer as the headline.  It’s better to use highly-relevant words in that 120-character section. For example “Associate” and “Director” are not likely to be search criteria. That section is a perfect marketing opportunity. Come up with a headline that describes you while also including some keywords that are relevant to your expertise.

Expand Your Summary to Contain Keywords & Top Achievements.

When writing your LinkedIn summary, you can use your resume profile (summary statement) as inspiration or a starting place.  Take your LinkedIn summary one step further by packing the summary with relevant keywords.  If you are not sure which words are relevant, study a few job postings for your target job.  The requirements in the postings are likely keywords.   In addition to the keywords, add your top three or four accomplishments.  Those accomplishments should feature measured results.  You have 2,000 spaces, so make the most of this section.

Add a Department Name to Your Job Title.

If your current job title does not contain relevant keywords, consider adding the name of your department, unit, or team.  This more clearly defines your job.  In most cases, the department, unit, or team name will contain valuable keywords.  You have 100 characters for each job title field.

Section by Section, Supplement Your Descriptions with Keywords.

Complete every section for which you have information.  As you update your experience section, examine your description to be sure you have captured the major duties and achievements.  Naturally, you should be rich in keywords if your career history is aligned with your goal.  For the other sections, you may need to supplement with keywords.  For example, if you won the “Starburst Award,” you could boost your keyword quotient by explaining that you earned the award for “creating a new Web-based virtual learning application.” Also, consider adding a short description for your role for each of your organizations and certifications.

Get a Boost from Endorsements.

Most people understand that the skills section is a simple way to list keywords.  You have the ability to add up to 50 keywords, and each keyword can take up to 61 character spaces.  Not completing this section is like leaving money on the table. What you may not know is that skills with endorsements rate higher than skills without endorsements.  The best way to get endorsements is to give endorsements.  Another tactic is to send a personal request to a trusted peer to take a look at your profile and let you know if they see any missing skills.  Often that will generate an endorsement.

The Bottom Line

If your LinkedIn page is not getting traction, consider updating your LinkedIn page to include more relevant keywords and examples of your achievements. Keep your profile clean and concise to facilitate readability. Review job descriptions and even look at other profiles to get some ideas for your profile. You want to be memorable and highlight your relevant brand attributes. Good luck!