Been Out Of Work For Three Years & I Want Back In - But How?

"J.T. & Dale Talk Jobs" is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the US & can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: I took the past three years off to spend time with my children. Now that the kids are of an age where they would rather NOT spend time with me, I'm ready to get back to work. I know my resume screams "She's been sitting on her butt for three years." Should my cover letter explain my situation, or would that throw me in the "no" pile even faster? Help! — Gail J.T.: Two reactions: First, you haven't been sitting on your butt! Raising children is a job, and one to be proud of. Discuss in your cover letter what you've learned in those three years and how it is going to make you a better employee. Second, getting back into the work force takes branding. You need to define who you are and what you have to offer employers. You can find branding help at www.youronramp.com, a Web site designed for moms returning to the work force, and at our site, www.jtanddale.com. Dale: You're obviously a realist, Gail — a witty and charming one. So, it won't come as a shock to you to hear that you're going to be a long shot for landing interviews. Everyone is a long shot when employers routinely get hundreds of resumes for any given job. So ask yourself: "Why me? Why should someone pick my resume out of the pile and call me?" Well, I'd call you for your wit and charm. Hey, you're a long shot anyway, so why not have some fun in your cover letter? Or, if you have some specialties, give them prominence in both your cover letter and resume. (Everyone seems enchanted by the word "branding," but I think it's easier to think in terms of "specialties.") Finally — and here's where being a realist is going to be useful — you may have to admit that your resume isn't special and isn't going to be plucked out of a pile. When that happens, don't despair; just quit sending resumes. Instead, start networking and find a job before it's open — that is, before the pile has a chance to form. jt-dale-logo Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten's latest book is "(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success" (John Wiley & Sons). Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Diane submitted. She has recently worked with a co-worker on a group project. When it came time to present the project at a meeting, Diane let her co-worker present. While it went great, the co-worker proceed to take credit for nearly all of Diane's work. Frustrating to say the least!

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In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if your co-worker took credit for the work you did...right in front of your colleagues AND boss!

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

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If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Cam submitted. He's been working at a job for awhile, but recently overheard a hiring manager making fun of a candidate with autism right after an interview-not only awkward, but VERY unprofessional!

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In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if witnessed a hiring manager at your organization making fun of a candidate who they had just interviewed who had autism.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

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Starting a family is one of the biggest milestones in a person's life. It's in those first few months when a parent can really bond with their newborn and make lifelong memories. However, for some new dads, it can be difficult to juggle being a new parent while remaining dedicated to their career.

Fortunately, some companies have generous paternity leave policies that give new dads the ability to take time off of work to stay home with their child.

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There are LOTS of questions around resume dos and don'ts. There's so much advice out there that it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what's the correct answer.

During our weekly live Office Hours on YouTube, two of our coaches, Ariella Coombs and J.T. O'Donnell, answer questions live from viewers related to their job search, career success, on the job situations and more.

We complied a simple list of what we find to be the most common questions our coaches get about resumes. We hope you find this helpful.

Let's start with the basics...

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Back in March, we made the hard decision to change our private Facebook group of over 37 THOUSAND members to a fee-based only platform.

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In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if a recruiter called you a day EARLY for your phone interview (and you were NOT PREPARED!)

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

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