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January 30, 2014

WorkWise Q&A, Blog Tip: Anemic response, black hole, you

I started job hunting about eight months ago and in that time I have sent out about 60 resumes. I’ve received little to no interest.


Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I started job hunting about eight months ago and in that time I have sent out about 60 resumes. I’ve received little to no interest. I’ve looked at part-time jobs, because I have free time, as well as full-time jobs. I have multiple degrees and a solid work history. Can you explain? Humbled

A: Dear Humbled, You might have felt you matched perfectly with each job description, but some might have been from recruiters or companies fishing to fill their database. I’ve even heard of a job that was filled but listed for three years without being removed.

Even if you were well-matched, some of the job descriptions might have been written by employees who weren’t very familiar with the jobs; so they couldn’t represent the needs of their companies well.

Let’s look at it from your side. Unless you’re in high tech, your industry likely hires through people rather than postings. Use some of your free time judiciously by identifying departments that would use your skills and contacting presidents, senior vice presidents or vice presidents, depending upon your experience and the size of a company. Scour your network or build one. mlc


Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Please take a look at my resume and let me know if there’s something very wrong about it. I’m open to suggestions. Thank you. Scrounging

A: Dear Scrounging, Your resume jolted me by opening with your title and your current company. If I’m not in your industry, and I don’t see the connection between yours and mine, you’ve lost me right there. You also refer to “advancing my career,” a real space filler, and equate the department that houses your work with an industry.

Get the reader to read as you want him to. Develop a targeted objective including the type of position, its environment and the key benefit you’ll bring. Alternatively, draw two parallel lines and put three departments in it, with asterisks or bullets separating them.

Unlike many resumes, this one has some benefits, but they’re lacking teeth – numbers, percentages and dollar signs. You mention increasing sales without including the amount. You mention managing employees without saying how many. You worked in a high-volume area but don’t disclose the scope. You also don’t state what particular results led to awards in several jobs you held. Remember numbers there, too, including the number of co-workers. mlc


If you have the Sunday night blues, you probably don’t want to go to work Monday morning. You’re in good company. Some people are counting the days to retirement. Some are double-timing to fund a start-up. Some like to work but discover they’re in the wrong place – the job, the city, the industry, the cubicle. Other people just don’t enjoy working at all.

Let’s backtrack a bit to see where this takes you. When things were going well and “people asked how you knew it was the right job, you said something like, ‘I just knew,’ ” reports Sabrina Ali ( In those brief, shining moments, you were enjoying the elixir of the gods – salary, security, hope ... and, yes, days free from job hunting. :)

What went wrong? Do a little analysis to regain your spirit and spot any banana peels.

“Who went to school every day to get your degree?” Ali asks. “Who applied for that job?”

Who went in to interview, once, twice, even three times? Who heard the employer offer you the job? Who checked in with parents, a spouse, friends or kids, considered their advice and followed it?

Hey, she indicates. You can do this again. The right way.

Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at

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