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February 27, 2014 / M. A. Wasmuth

Older Job Seekers: Career & Job Search Resources

Updated April 9, 2019


AARP: Work Lots of useful information for seniors regarding many aspects of the world of work, plus a job board.

The Balance: Careers Concise tips on resumes, interviewing, networking, more. Read more…

February 25, 2014 / M. A. Wasmuth

Niche Job Listing Sites, Massachusetts & New England

photo courtesy of meganamyswart

Updated April 16, 2019

To find the people that best fit their needs, many employers prefer to post positions on sites devoted to their areas, often called niche sites. A niche site in your field is a wonderful thing to discover.

And, if you’re lucky, there may be a local niche site for you. Here are some New England and Massachusetts sites that list jobs in particular fields. Are you aware of any others? Please let me know!

To track down national sites, check the niche site directories in my post on Websites for Your Job Search, Greater Boston & Beyond.

Architecture, Engineering, Landscaping, Green Jobs

Also see Technology Section.
Boston Society of Architects Jobs with architecture firms.

Environmental Business Council New England (EBC) Jobs in the environmental and energy industry.

Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals Landscaping jobs posted by MLP members.

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Jobs in the clean-energy sector.

Read more…

February 19, 2014 / M. A. Wasmuth

Websites for Your Job Search, Greater Boston & Beyond

Updated April 9, 2019

Job-Hunting Guides

The Balance: Job Searching A wealth of info and links. Frequently updated. Advice and links for job seekers.

Savvy Intern Not only for interns. Most articles would apply to anyone looking for a job.

U.S. News on Careers Excellent daily articles.

Work Coach Cafe Very useful articles and advice. Highly recommended.

Read more…

February 19, 2014 / M. A. Wasmuth

Find Your Nonprofit Job

Photo courtesy of Madiko83

Updated April 16, 2019

In the acres—no, oceans—of tips for job-hunters, the word company pops up everywhere. Company research. Target companies. Company contacts. What, I keep wondering, about people who might want to venture beyond the corporate world? To nonprofits, government, the public sector? People like, to pick a random example . . . me?

I graduated from college in a different, now nearly forgotten recession and found a job as a secretary at the Ace Carbon Paper Company in South Boston. After twelve eye-opening ink-spattered months at the carbon paper factory, I scurried off to the world of nonprofits and from there to public libraries. End of corporate career.

If you, too, are interested in the public sector, the good news is: there are lots of online resources. And the bad news? Lots of online resources. Fortunately, one stands out. A good place to begin your nonprofit search is,

Along with their extensive listings for nonprofit jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities, Idealist offers a searchable database of more than 130,000 nonprofit organizations. provides information and advice about job searching and careers. If you’re thinking of pursuing a graduate degree, check out their Grad School Resource Center.

You’d do well to start your search at Idealist, but you’ll probably also want to make use of some of the other resources described in the sections that follow: Sites with Job Listings; Information about Nonprofit Organizations; and Information about Massachusetts Nonprofits.
Read more…

February 18, 2014 / M. A. Wasmuth

Recommended Books for Job Seekers

Courtesy of dweekly

Updated May 22, 2018

Yes, you read that right–books. I still rely on actual, printed books for in-depth, detailed information to help with every step of the job search. Here are some I’ve found particularly helpful.

Overviews and Special Circumstances

Getting the Job You Want after 50 for Dummies by Kerry Hannon. Covers all the bases and is particularly strong on research and online job searching. 2015.

Getting Your First Job for Dummies by Roberto Angulo. Hits all the issues pertinent to finding a first job. The extensive information on research would be useful to any job seeker. 2018.

The Job Search Solution: The Ultimate System for Finding a Great Job Now! by Tony Beshara. Detailed advice on all aspects of the job-search process. 2012.

The Ultimate Job Search Guide (Knock ’em Dead) by Martin Yate. Thorough introduction. Especially good on networking and interviewing. 2017.

What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles. Still a great compendium of job-search tips and career-choice exercises. But be selective. If you do all the exercises, you’ll hit retirement age before you choose a career. Annual.

Resumes and Cover Letters

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect Resume by Susan Ireland. Excellent samples and tips covering common and unusual situations. 2010.

Modernize Your Job Search Letters by Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark. Expert tips on writing effective letters for every step of the job-search process. 2017.

Modernize Your Resume by Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark. Two resume experts explain how to create a resume that works in today’s job market. 2016.

Resumes for Dummies by Joyce Lain Kennedy. Don’t be put off by the challenging on-target resume process. You’ll do fine if you follow the book’s general advice and use the techniques most useful for you. Excellent strategies and examples regarding difficult situations. 2015.

Step-by-Step Resumes by Evelyn U. Salvador. Lots of useful templates, including bullet and achievement worksheets for specific fields, discussed in print with samples on CD. 2010.


The Essential Digital Interview Handbook: Lights, Camera, Interview, Tips for Skype, Google Hangout, GoToMeeting, and More. Paul J. Bailo. 2014.

The Essential Phone Interview Handbook. Paul J. Bailo. 2011.

Knock ‘Em Dead Job Interview: How to Turn Job Interviews into Job Offers. Martin Yate. The classic guide, with thorough discussions of tough interview questions. 2013. Yate’s updated The Ultimate Job Search Guide, 2017, (see job-search section) features excellent guidance on interviewing.

Powerful Phrases for Successful Interviews by Tony Beshara. The phrases are fine, but what’s really useful here are the techniques on preparing for and excelling in interviews. 2014.

What to Say in Every Job Interview by Carole Martin. Very good overview.  2014.

Social Media

F*ck Your Resume: The Revolutionary Guide to Getting Hired in the Digital Age by Jeremy Dillahunt. Great tips on personal branding and on using the major social networks effectively. You’ll still need a resume though. 2016.

Knock ’em Dead Social Networking: For Job Search and Professional Success by Martin Yate. 2014.

LinkedIn for Dummies by Joel Elad. Not just for job hunters, but a good overview to  etiquette and techniques. 2018.

What job search books have helped you?

Posted by Mary Wasmuth, May 17, 2011. Updated May 22, 2018.

August 9, 2010 / M. A. Wasmuth

Employers Weigh in on Resumes, Cover Letters, and More

Photo courtesy of foundphotoslj

A survey of employers in Orange County, California, gives us a snapshot of hiring managers’ opinions about resumes and cover letters at this moment in technological time. The survey was conducted by the Center for Career and Life Development at Saddleback College.

It turns out these hiring managers prefer a straightforward approach. Half want chronological resumes, 39% prefer combination resumes, and only 6% go for the functional model. All those reformatting skills job seekers have mastered to address security concerns are becoming as obsolete as the ability to repair a typewriter; 63% of the hiring people prefer MS Word for your emailed resume, 36% vote for pdf, and only 1% go for rtf text documents. Nobody wants plain text—but nobody wants online resumes either. 9%, however, will accept video resumes. This is California, after all, home of Hollywood and Elle Woods. The vast majority prefer resumes as email attachments; only 2% want them pasted into emails without accompanying attachments.

All that time you’ll save, now that you don’t have to convert to plain text? You can devote it to trimming your cover letters. Those who look at cover letters (43% require them; 30% don’t read them) made one thing clear: they want those letters to be short. 47% vote for half a page; 24% simply say the shorter the better.

As for the rest? Length of resume—depends. Number of years of experience—depends. Resume paper—no preference. The #1 mistake they see: spelling and grammar. What they look for in a resume: related experience; qualifications and skills; readability. 75% want gaps in employment history addressed, either in the resume or the cover letter. 46% use database systems to manage some or all resumes; 46% don’t use them and don’t plan to.

And the takeaway is . . . . Don’t worry about security; unless the employer specifies otherwise, you can go with the traditional attached MS Word document. Do concentrate on focusing, trimming, tailoring, getting that spelling and grammar right. Clear, readable resumes and cover letters that demonstrate you’re the right person for the job will trump format 99% of the time. I just made up that statistic but, hey, I bet it’s in the ballpark.

Those of you who want more, more, more statistics (I know you’re out there, itching to crunch a few numbers) can dig into the full results here:

For employer views on other job-search strategies, check out this interview on, Two recruiters from Western Union talk about what they look for in candidates—in-depth research on the company (Google Alerts, Hoover, Yahoo Finance, recent news articles); networking interactions in which candidates give as well as take. Both use LinkedIn extensively to identify and reach out to candidates and to ask for referrals.

Career Hub recently discussed the results of a 2009 survey of employers’ use of social networks to recruit: 80% use or plan to use social networks to source candidates, 77% use them to find passive candidates, 46% will spend more on social networking, and 36% will spend less on job boards.

Watch out LinkedIn, here everybody comes!
Posted by Mary Wasmuth. August 9, 2010. Updated August 12, 2010.

July 24, 2010 / M. A. Wasmuth

An Online Employment Application…With a Sense of Humor

Photo courtesy of Shahram Sharif

In the libraries and ESL program where I work, many of the job seekers are looking for entry-level positions, most often service jobs—a cashier at a drugstore or grocery store; counter or kitchen help at a fast food restaurant; salesclerk at a discount store. Their English may be somewhat limited; their computer skills sketchy or nonexistent.

Today’s managers generally send these candidates off to the library to fill out online applications—typically lengthy and confusing documents capable of flummoxing even the most computer adept. And if it’s an entry-level position you want, you’re nearly certain to encounter a much bigger obstacle: a grueling online personality test, screen after screen of complicated multiple-choice questions. My role in the process is translator, interpreter, cheerleader, comforter, avoider of the fatal back button that sends all your hard work swirling off into limbo, never to be retrieved.

When an applicant and I finally stumble across the finish line, the cheering and high-fiving, hugging and fist pumping are worthy of the Boston Marathon. In only one case have I intentionally counseled someone to fudge an answer. I suggested that a Haitian man respond to questions like “I worry more than I used to” as he would have before the earthquake demolished his country.

I’ve gotten so I brace myself the minute a job hunter utters the dreaded phrase online application. That’s probably why, on the day I came across an application with a sense of humor, I didn’t get the joke.

Read more…

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