Q: I am 46 years old and plan to work for many more years. I'm considering going to college. Am I too old for all of this?
A: No--not if you believe in yourself and are able to communicate that belief to prospective employers. If you retire at 65, you still have a good 19 years to go in the work force. People complete one or more careers in that amount of time! You are in the prime of your working life. Believe in yourself and others will too!
Q: Although I have a lot of volunteer experience, I have not been unemployed in 15 years. I do have work experience prior to the years of unemployment. What information should I include on my resume in my new job search?
A: The kind of information you should include on your resume really depends on the type of job you are going after. Once you have identified this, you should include any and all information from your past that would be relative to your new job. Keep in mind that volunteer work is work experience and can give you excellent references.
Q: I have been a successful freelancer for over 5 years, and I am now re-entering the workforce as a salaried, permanent employee. What should I do with my resume to make the transition as smooth as possible, and not red flag HR representatives that I am too risky to hire?
A: Be prepared to answer why you want to make the change to an interviewer as to why you want to make the move to a salaried permanent position. Your resume should include all of the accomplishments you made for your clients, not just a listing of their names. Emphasize the time management aspect of your freelance career.
Q: I left my former company because it had no commitment to its people and never lived up to the initial promises made to me. Is there any way to explain this to prospective employers without being perceived as too negative or a troublemaker?
A: You should never say anything negative about a past employer, as you will most probably be perceived as negative. Being seen as negative will undeniably cut your chances of being hired. What you can say is that the job in itself was not what you expected it to be, it was challenging to you or that you are simply looking for a new opportunity. Also, instead of focusing on why you want to leave your current job, focus on why you want to join the new company.
Q: Is it possible to negotiate a corporate lay-off package?
A: You most definitely can negotiate a layoff package when you've been terminated. The best time for one to negotiate a severance package is when you are hired. It doesn't seem like a positive move to be discussing your termination when you are just be hired, but this is the time you have the most leverage. When you are fired, the only leverage you may have to play is your boss's guilt or the company's desire to have you leave quietly.
Q: I am a 41-year-old legal secretary with some college credits, acquired knowledge from life experience, along with other various courses. I would like to move beyond the secretarial arena. How can I upgrade my skills to qualify me for different types of positions?
A: First of all, completing your degree will definitely help you in the long run. One possibility would be for you to take some courses or find a law firm that would train you so you could become a paralegal. Another possibility would be to get out of the legal field and join a company that would provide you with training and a potential for advancement. If you take this approach initially you may have to take a cut in salary.
Q: What should I put in a letter of resignation?
A: All you need to document in a resignation letter is your last day of work and many wonderful comments about your boss and company in order to not burn any bridges, you never know if and/or when you may want to return.