Thursday, November 21, 2013

Winning Resume - Thumbtack Spotlight

by Ashley | September 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Something is lacking, [though] they may not know what! Always, they are very surprised at what I come up with for them!
Read More:  Winning Resume – Thumbtack Spotlight

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Or, request help with your LinkedIn, Resume or Cover letter or Other Career Concern

Share a comment, thought or question or just email me your resume for a free and confidential review.

Take care and make it a great day!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

THE WORKS - Career and Job Search News

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How to gather your references

References should not be provided without being asked for them UNLESS you have several that you can count on to be savvy enough to present the appropriate skills to the appropriate employers consistently.

It is preferable to be able to notify your references that they will be called (many people do not answer calls from unknown callers), the position for which you are applying, and the skills that you would like them to highlight.  

If you only provide references when asked, you will also know when an employer is checking with your references and be able to ensure your references will answer the phone!

Prepare and carry with you a Reference Page with three to five references listed below your name and contact information.  (via http://www.effective-résuméésumé -reference-sample-page.html)

Sample Reference List
John B. Harding
123 Washington Avenue
Homewood, Illinois 12345
(123) 456-7890

Jan Miles, Operations Manager
Shorewood Manufacturing, Inc.
123 East Muncie Avenue
Shorewood, Illinois 12345
(123) 456-7890
Carl J. Walker, Director of Human Resources
Ace Hospital Supplies, Inc.
789 Tanaka Circle
Freeport, Illinois 12345
(111) 111-3333

William T. Gannon, Shop Supervisor
Rail Cars Express
900 Smithton Street
Seaside, California 12345
(111) 111-4444

If you don’t have good references or your references are no longer available then you need to be prepared to address that and to discuss it if necessary.  If possible use someone at the employer.  For example if your supervisor is deceased, use a coworker or HR other supervisor if possible.  Develop some current references by volunteering.  I have often served as a reference for clients in a pinch.  

Another thing to consider is verifying your employment information with past employers.
Please comment below or email me with any other career questions or concerns! 
Sep 11, 2012
When you are job searching and preparing for interviews, it can be helpful to secure Letters of Reference from prior employers. If possible, obtain one from each supervisor. If not, one can be a coworker, preferably in a higher ...

Sep 19, 2012
I recently published a Job Search Tip: Ask for a letter of reference. There are some excellent reasons to take this extra step and to go one step further and write a template for your references to follow. Click on the link above to ...
Aug 08, 2012
Contact all your references periodically to keep them apprised of you progress in finding a job and any changes in focus that you may make. Update any changes in their contact information immediately. Consider asking some ...
Jun 19, 2012
Employers will check your employment references and may even do a background check – you SHOULD NEVER LIE on an application or in an interview! That having been said, you definitely want to present yourself in the ...

Sep 11, 2012
When you are job searching and preparing for interviews, it can be helpful to secure Letters of Reference from prior employers. If possible, obtain one from each supervisor. If not, one can be a coworker, preferably in a higher ...

Sep 19, 2012
I recently published a Job Search Tip: Ask for a letter of reference. There are some excellent reasons to take this extra step and to go one step further and write a template for your references to follow. Click on the link above to ...
Aug 08, 2012
Contact all your references periodically to keep them apprised of you progress in finding a job and any changes in focus that you may make. Update any changes in their contact information immediately. Consider asking some ...
Jun 19, 2012
Employers will check your employment references and may even do a background check – you SHOULD NEVER LIE on an application or in an interview! That having been said, you definitely want to present yourself in the ...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How to get promoted
I just had a question from a gentleman who got a job offer and would like some guidance on how to position himself for a
promotion to a specific position of interest in his company. I wish more workers were thinking along this line - it would open up a lot more jobs for those looking for work!

Here are a few quick tips I provided him to make sure he is in competition for the position of his dreams:

  • Research the job for which you would like to apply or strive toward 
  • Get a detailed job description 
  • Schedule an informational interview with someone doing this job to find out more how to prepare 
  • Research any training programs and interview other attendees or read reviews 
  • Evaluate what you need to compete for the job(s) Plan out what you need to do to achieve these skills, qualifications or abilities 
  • Map out time frames to complete the small goals 
  •  Actually write down all of these goals and review weekly or monthly to see where you are in working toward your goals! 
More information is available on my blog, these article might be of interest: 
Jul 31, 2012
In addition to reading something about your industry I also recommend that you read about job searching or career planning. If you are unemployed, set aside an hour a day for reading career planning or industry related ...
Sep 14, 2012
The approach I have been taking it to post "Job Tips" which has really worked out great. The site has really fleshed out and there is some good, helpful content to help guide you in your job search and career planning efforts.
Feb 04, 2013
REQUEST A FREE CAREER PLANNING TOOL. The definition of success is as unique as you are. Think of your success definition as a destination. Typically we don't get in the car and drive around (unless that is the goal).
Dec 08, 2012
Each article will highlight a meaningful ideal that I feel can be related to either the Celebration of Hanukkah or career planning and job search. I will kindle one light on the menorah by sharing the titles of each article theme or ...

Monday, July 29, 2013

How to get hired on your first interview

Or... Never say never.

As promised this article is about how to get hired on your first interview.  Before I get into that, let me share with you the email from my client who was HIRED last month AFTER HER FIRST INTERVIEW:

     I want to THANK  YOU SO MUCH for all your help, support, ego boosting,empathy and confidence. You have been so helpful to me about opening my eyes to my '"new life" beyond my injury. I don't know if I could have landed this job without you behind me. You are so much fun and easy to talk to.I look forward to keeping in touch with you in the future and to give you updates on my career wherever it takes me. Thanks again. Eileen P

What a great way to start my work day!  I began to think about a conversation I had with her when preparing her to for an interview. She had worked at the same employer for over 20 years and had never really interviewed with anyone else.  She was very nervous.

To allay her concerns, as I often do, I told her, "Eileen, don't worry you NEVER  get hired on your first interview. It usually ends up being more practice than anything.  Do your best, but try not to put a lot of pressure on yourself."  We continued to discuss and practice for her interview later that day.

Later in the day I got a phone call - she was asked to come back for a second interview in a few days.  We discussed second interviews and worked on preparing her for that.  A few days later I received another call... SHE GOT THE JOB!

We were both ecstatic, of course. It was a brand new career for her as she was recovering from  a serious back injury and surgery. I gave some thought to what she did differently from the other clients I am currently working with who I thought would be hired by now.

Why didn't they get job offers and she did? After some thought I realized the difference:  She did EVERYTHING I asked her to do.  When we met, I could tell she was really listening to me.  When I gave her assignments, she did them.  She was ENGAGED in her own job search and not just going through the motions.

Yes, there are certain things job seekers need to know and do.  I use a workbook to make sure all the basics are covered.  I review everything in the workbook with them verbally as well. If they are not getting the interviews and/or job offers, I review each step with them:
  1. Job searching - are you varying your sources and approaches? 
  2. Follow up - are you doing your research and following up on your applications? 
  3. Interviewing - are you practicing?  Preparing questions to ask?  Sending thank you notes?
  4. Cold calling - are you tapping into the hidden job market
  5. Activity - are you active everyday?  Scheduling your job search tasks to make sure you cover all the bases? 
  6. Feedback - are you asking for feedback from friends, family, counselor, or even employers to whom you are applying? 
If you are a job seeker ask yourself the questions above.  Then think about it - are you really?  If you aren't getting interviews or a job offer you are not.  Period.

You can get hired on your first interview if you do each of these tasks fully, completely and with gusto! 

If you would like an interactive four part toolkit to help you get hired on your first interview, email

Questions or comments welcome - enter below!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Use LinkedIn to Network for a New Job

Clients often ask "How do I use LinkedIn to find a job?"  Typically they have spent time on their profile, but can barely remember their login (if at all) and/or password.  In shorts, they "Set it and forget it." The next question they ask why they are  not getting any "hits."

I ask these quick questions to get them started in the right direction:

1. What are you trying to accomplish on LinkedIn? Enhancing your professional knowledge and/or creds? Networking to see what might be out there/meet new people?  Finding a job? Selling a service (whether you are employed or self-employed).  Other?  Only you can decide!

2. Closely related to number one: Identify your target audience - who are you trying to connect with? Employers? Colleagues? Customers?

Once you have answered thee questions, follow a few simple tips:

1. Develop a plan for connecting with those you have identified as being beneficial to your overall goal.  You will want to take advantage of:

  •      Status Updates
  •      Mentions
  •      Groups
  •      Polls
  •      Questions and answers

2. Stay active on LinkedIn!  Share something interesting to you every day, even if it doesn't relate directly to your industry.  Read what others are sharing and posting. Follower an "Influencer" or a few.

Weekly, comment on a group or contribute yourself; write a status update that is positive and work-related; review your profile; review your connections.

3. Set up and save a job search - have an email sent to you daily.
I think this is a good idea for anyone, even if you are not seriously looking for work.  Keep up with what is out there being offered by other employers to other employees.

4. Set aside time each day to explore and share - LinkedIn can be a powerful tool, but only if you use it!

5.  Connect!  Let LinkedIn access your email account and get you started - it is easy and safe!  Then pay attention when you get notifications about people you may know.

I'd love to hear from you! Comment below...

Mary Sherwood, MS, CDMS, CCM
Professional, Rehab, &; Occupational Services, LLC
Landline 302.644.1827 | Mobile: 410.444.1989 | Skype Mary E. Sherwood

Read another great article: job search tip - map out your ideal day 

Let me know how you are doing or how I can help! 

Comment below or reach out.

EVERYONE Needs a Resume in Today's Job Market

Injured Worker Help Desk: In Today's Job Market EVERYONE Needs a Resume: Everyone should have a current résumé ... In today's job market you just don't know what change may come your way - good or "bad." Here are some sample résumés to get you started. Let me know if I can help!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Job Seeker and Personal Branding

Welcome to Purzue Interviews, bringing you conversations with top influencers and thought leaders from topics across the hiring landscape.  This week we sat down with Mary Sherwood Sevinsky – Career Expert, Counselor and Author, to chat about the job seeker and personal branding.

Purzue Interviews: Mary Sherwood Sevinsky – Career Expert, Counselor and Author

Saturday, May 4, 2013


What Those with Chronic Pain or Illness DON’T Want to Hear You Say -

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Saw a lot of nice folks at the Rehoboth Beach Job Fair and found a lot of common questions and concerns from the attendees I spoke with.  I thought it would be helpful to share their concerns and some of my advice in the event any of my readers find it helpful:

How do I get noticed when the employer wants me to apply online?

The way to do this is follow up - especially important if the employer is asking for an online application that doesn't really allow you to shine!  You might have to do some digging to get contact information and names, but do anything you can to get a traditional cover letter submitted to follow up the application: In person, fax, email, snail mail, overnight mail - just do it!  Not many other applicants will be.... I guarantee it.

Am I not getting called for interviews because I didn't finish college?

I hear this so often - the answer is usually no! Unless you are interviewing and the employers are telling you I'd like to hire you, but you just don't have the degree/certification we are looking for - the answer IS no.  This doesn't mean you might not benefit from improving certain skills; if this is the case improve those certain skills. Otherwise if you have solid skills and work experience an employer for many industries is just not going to be concerned about the fact you didn't finish that last class or internship to get the actual degree!

Don't I have to have complete sentences?

No.  Don't use I or me on your resume - you don't need to have any sentences at all.  If you do then please use commas and periods appropriately.  Usually wording such as "Provide excellent service through anticipating customer needs" is appropriate.  It is most important that the wording you use is clear, concise, and sells you to employers.

I thought I was supposed to have a lot of white space! 

Sometimes you can have too much of anything.  If you have too much white space it tells the employer you don't have too much to include in your resume and he or she might not read further to find out.  Likewise, if you have too much white space you may not be including all of the good skills and abilities that will convince an employer to hire you.  Step back and look at your document overall - are the margins too wide?  the fonts too small?  are you double spacing?

I don't think my resume needs any changes - the librarian/ my brother/my wife helped me with it. 

I have NEVER reviewed a resume done by anyone (including another expert) that I thought couldn't be improved.  Resumes should be considered a fluid document and should reflect the needs of employers and the labor market.  Different people will also tend to notice or look for different things. Librarians, your brother, your wife and anyone else who is not an expert is very helpful, but not trained or experienced in developing a resume.

Another career expert has already reviewed my resume.

I reviewed several today that embarrassed me as a career expert - literally.  That having been said, different experts will have different opinions as well as different levels of expertise.  What they tell you may or may not be wrong and may be more a matter of preference. If you are not sure ask why!  If you don't agree - agree to disagree.  You are the customer and therefore are always right.  If you need to, consult another expert. I always provide a free consult. 

What is a functional resume?
I have to say, this was the topic de jour!  Almost everyone who thought their resume was possibly to blame for them not getting interviews was using a chronological resume when a functional resume would have made more sense in their situation. Many of the job fair attendees did not know there was any other than a Chronological resume (if this format is right for you make sure that your dates are reverse with most recent first unless your field dictates otherwise).

                                                             Free resume review online             

Functional Resume

In general, a functional résumé will be best for online applications. This format highlights your skills and abilities so that employers can very quickly scan your résumé and decide to put you into the pile for consideration.

In general most employers only spend a few seconds reviewing the initial batch of résumé s received in response for an ad. Their goal at this point is to weed through the enormous stack of résumé s received and get it down to a manageable level.

The employer’s goal is exactly the opposite of yours, which is to be considered for the position for which you have just applied. In order to be kept in the pile for further review, it is imperative that your résumé allow the reader to quickly scan down the document to see that you have the general skills and abilities required to be considered for the job.

                                                             Free resume review online             

For example if you are applying for a Customer Service Supervisor Job, you would likely include subheadings under the Skills and Abilities section that include: Customer Service, Administration, Sales and the like. Your Skills Section might look something like:


 Supervise up to 15 workers, ensuring quality and quantity guidelines
 Schedule assignments according to skil and ability
 Monitor and document progress
 Redirect behavior/activity as needed

Customer Service
 Exceptional customer service and telephone operations; handle customer inquiries and phone directing to the appropriate sales staff
 Identify customer needs and present appropriate company product and services
 Ability to gain customer trust and provide exceptional follow-up, leading to increased repeat and referral business
 Excellent verbal and interpersonal skills
 Capable of determining customer needs

 Knowledgeable in using computer to look up specific information
 Operate office equipment, fax, copier, computer, and multi-line telephones
 Daily logs of calls and work performed

If nothing else, the reader can quickly ascertain that you have 1) Supervisory, 2) Customer Service, and 3) Administrative Skills and will likely keep your résumé for further review.

Another advantage to the functional format is that it allows you to quickly reorder, add, or remove subsections according to the job for which you are applying. This makes it easy to tailor your résumé to the position to which you are responding.

Microsoft Office provides some free, simple and easily customizable templates you can use to get started.... If you need help just let me know!

I hope this helps!

What Job Fair Questions and Concerns do you have? Comment below or email me! 

Saturday, April 27, 2013


A great big thank you to my readers, followers, colleagues and friends for the emails and notes if concern!  I have not  been as active online as I have been having some medical issues that have kept me running between doctors offices, medical centers and physical therapy.

While not resolved, at this point I have gotten the answers I need and have followed  all the recommended treatments. For now I am at somewhat of a plateau and will be satisfied with that.

Thanks again for your concern and well wishes.... I look forward to reigniting our frequent exchanges and online relationship!


4/30 Job Fair, 10am-3pm, Rehoboth Beach Convention Center, Rehoboth Beach. Presented by Delaware's congressional delegation. For more information on how to participate, whether as an employer or job seeker, call U.S. Senator Chris Coons's office at 573-6345, or email

Job Fair April 30 Rehoboth Beach

4/30 Job Fair, 10am-3pm, Rehoboth Beach Convention Center, Rehoboth Beach. Presented by Delaware's congressional delegation. For more information on how to participate, whether as an employer or job seeker, call U.S. Senator Chris Coons's office at 573-6345, or email

Friday, April 12, 2013

#FF #Follow Up #Friday April 12, 2013

Here are some great career-related articles shared by some of my esteemed colleagues this past week...

12:42 PM  -  Public
Why are Career Professionals STILL making these FOOLISH Mistakes in Today's Job market?
A bona-fide TCE Career Pull-up Post: I've just created a new TCE math formula for winning a great career opportunity! Here it is -- getting hired is 80% (Engagement/Hu

12:37 PM  -  
  -  Public
3 Steps To Landing Your Public Relations Dream Job
Public relations is a growing industry that can offer a rewarding career--how can you tap into it? Here are three steps to land the PR job of your dreams.

12:00 PM  -  Public
Research your dream company before you get the #interview - here's how.
CareerCast helps job seekers find a job, create a resume, get email job alerts, read career news and best job rankings. Employers post jobs to multiple sites.

Karalyn Brown
11:58 AM  -  Public
Tell me about yourself – Great tips and examples to help you nail this question without embarrassing yourself! ...
Examples and powerful tips to help you answer the dreaded tell me about yourself interview question

11:05 AM  -  Public
7 Ways to Discover - Who Do I Want to Be?

Sometimes this is the most difficult question to answer in your career search. Here's 7 tips to help:
  -  Public

Nice article to end your week with.
It's Friday! As the week comes to a close (for most of us), consider making these habits routine before leaving 

10:52 AM  -  
+1'd on
  -  Public
The algorithms are coming! LinkedIn devises a new way of using big data to help recruiters find the best job candidates.

9:49 AM  -  
  -  Public
In my opinion, couples should talk as if the back door is completely locked, there's no other options, and believe everything will work out despite shifting desires and aspirations.
Your most important work relationship is the one you have with your spouse.

11:57 AM  -  Public
How to Stand Out During the Interview: Use These 25 Questions
Interviews can be stressful, but if you’ve done your research, prepared your answers, the next thing is to create a list of questions you will ask during the

Monday, April 8, 2013



Many job seekers fear follow up.  Others just get stymied by the methods some employers use to block applicants from wreaking havoc on their workdays.  The hiring process is difficult for employers too!  They are running a business and performing their own duties.  In addition, now they are reviewing hundreds of resumes and fielding just as many calls.

If an employer says no phone calls, though, that may just mean he or she doesn't prefer phone contact. Certainly it
means they do not want every applicant to call and follow up on their resume submission.  As an applicant, you may need to get creative to ensure your application has reached the right person and to glean the information you need to secure an interview!

No phone calls does NOT mean no emails, faxes, or mail.  A postcard to a bus manager means they don't even have to open an envelope to read your message.  If an ad does not say no phone calls, you may still have difficulty determining who the hiring manager is, when interviews will begin, and how best to impress the employer. 

A receptionist or automated phone system may be "employed" (pardon the pun!) to keep you and your follow up efforts at bay.

To overcome an automated phone system try:
  •     Listening to a directory -- sometimes they provide titles!
  •     Pressing 0 for receptionist or # or * for other options
  •     If you have to leave a message do so:  This is FirstName LastName, a counselor, I am extremely interested in the ______ position and wanted to make sure that my application was received and to schedule an interview if possible.  My number is ___________.
To overcome a receptionist blocking you from the hiring manager.
  •     Butter her or him up - "Thank Heavens, finally, a friendly voice. I know it seems silly, but I don't trust the computer applications and I wanted to double check that my resume has been received by the right person.  Can you tell me who that is or put me in his or her voice mail?"
  •     If that doesn't work, ask if they know when interviewing or hiring will take place?  Anything at all they can share?
  •     If still blocking call back after hours and see what info is available on the automated system.
  •     If you reach a service or general voicemail.  Leave a message for the "Director" or other likely appropriate title and give your name and number and ask for a return call.
Again, if you really want the job (and it is appropriate for the setting and level of job you are looking for) dress for an interview and deliver your resume in person. Regardless of how you do it, following up will make you stand out from all the other applicants sitting at home submitting resume after resume online!
What kind of problems have you had following up?  Do you have any tips or tricks to share?  Comment below or email me!

Friday, March 29, 2013


Here are some great career posts I shared from great Career Experts this week:

Create And Nurture Your Network Before You Need It -

5 Tips For Effective Phone Networking

How To Find An Out-Of-State Job

 Job Search for the Rest of Us!: YOU SHOULDN'T WAIT

@JTODonnell 5 Things Recruiters Expect on a LinkedIn Profile
 Randstad Canada originally shared this post to Career+ Connections (Job Search):
This is a great example of what real #networking is! (HINT: It’s not collecting business cards.)
This is a great example of what real #networking is! (HINT: It’s not collecting business cards.)

Ed Han originally shared this post:My LinkedIn tip for the day: are your status updates consistent with your branding?

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