by Scott Bennett
Washington, D.C.: My questions relate to letters of recommendation. I’m concerned because my former direct boss wrote a two-paragraph enthusiastic letter that says I’m wonderful and all but doesn’t go into any specific accomplishments or provide concrete examples to support his statements. How do I handle that? Meanwhile, the other most important person to give me a recommendation -- a CEO who is revered in my industry -- wants me to ghostwrite my own letter of recommendation for her. I have no idea how to do that. Finally, do I include those letters with the resume and writing samples or wait until asked to supply them? Help!
1. I see one reason why the CEO is revered. Carefully use his generosity to write a concrete, example-filled letter -- with the type of specificity you wanted but didn’t get from the other person. This letter is not the time or place for modesty. Have it checked by at least two people whose writing skills and candor you trust.
2. Be candid with the vague fellow and ask if you may draft some specifics to support his kind statements; if he is enthusiastic about you, he will welcome this.
Arlington, Va.: I have close to 20 years of total work experience but with only two employers. Should I try to have a one-page resume? Also, when listing work experience dates, should I list years only or month and year (2003 to 2006 or 01/2003 to10/2006)?
Scott Bennett: A page is likely a breeze for someone with two gigs in 20 years. Use month/year with only last two digits of year (1/03-10/06). Doing so helps show your attention to detail -- without the silly claim, “attentive to detail.”
Washington, D.C.: It seems that many hiring managers look only at people with degrees.
I did not finish my senior year of college and am attending part-time to achive this goal. Currently, I’ve listed the number of hours that I earned in addition to my ten years of work experience. Should I mention on my resume that I’m attending college with and plan to earn a degree in the next year?
Scott Bennett: Absolutely! If you are attending evenings, indicate that, too. Include “XXX degree expected MO/YR.”
From teacher to finance? Please help!: I’m have a B.S. in physics and have taught high school math and physics for 10 years. I HATE teaching: the low pay, the disrespect, the discipline problems, the paperwork. Frankly, I’d rather be unemployed than teach.
I would like to move into finance with an eye towards getting an employer who will pay for me to get my MBA either full-time or part-time.
I went back to school this summer and took graduate economics classes, and got a part time research consulting gig.
What else can I do to position myself? How should I slant my resume so it doesn’t scream “teacher” and makes me look qualified for a position in financial/stock market analysis?
I currently have a functional resume, but its not doing much to sell me. My teacher resume is far more impressive, but doesn’t help with my career change.