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Published: 2/6/2007

Foot Faults

Dear Good Girls,

I have a pretty good-looking r sum , although I have not worked since November 2005. I had surgery on both feet and one operation did not go well. It took a long time for one foot to heal. Anyway, I have been looking for a job since October 2006, but no one wants to even look at me because they think I don't want to work. Unless I get in to talk to someone, I get nowhere.

I work in the office and management areas. Is it appropriate for me to handwrite a note when the job opening asks me to mail a r sum ? Can I write a short introduction and explain why I have been out of the workforce for so long when I e-mail my r sum ?

I have been actively searching and not getting anywhere. I also have been attending college on a part-time basis since January 2004, working my way to a two-year degree in paralegal studies. Should I make that the focal point on my r sum ?

Dear Reader,

Whether you mail or e-mail your r sum , you can address the employment gap in a professionally formatted cover letter. Reserve your handwriting for thank-you notes.

In your letter, first stress the strengths you would bring to the job. Then you can address the employment gap briefly, simply saying that you lost a year to foot surgery, but now are fully recovered. You can also note that during that time off you continued your studies, further signaling your highly productive nature.

If you are applying for a position that requires legal knowledge or one that would benefit from intellectual curiosity or any sort of training, be sure to highlight your studies both in your cover letter and on your r sum .

If office jobs continue to be hard to get, consider working as a virtual assistant to transition back into the workforce. Good luck getting back on your feet!

Summer Salary

Dear Good Girls,

I am 16 and applying for a counselor position at a camp I attended for three years. On the application I am supposed to write down my desired salary. I know some of the older counselors, but I feel awkward about asking them what they make. What number should I put on the application?

Dear Reader,

A couple of tips:

Tip #1:

It s never wise to guess when asked to list a salary range. If you guess lower than your employer is expecting to pay, she will happily meet your demands. If you guess too high, you may price yourself out of a job.

Tip #2:

Do some research. One source for salary information is the American Camping Association, which tracks salaries at accredited camps by region. If you are applying for a position in the South, for example, the salary range for counselors is $150 to $200 per week.

To get information that is more specific to your camp, ask the counselors you know what their starting salary was and what they know about the current ranges. That way you will probably get some good information without asking them directly about their current salary.

Tip #3:

Once you establish what the salary range is, ask for the high end. Anyone who is thinking about negotiating at such a young age deserves to be paid well!

Leslie Whitaker Got a problem at work? Leslie Whitaker, co-author of The Good Girl's Guide to Negotiating, would like to hear from you. Send Leslie an e-mail at goodgirls@contentthatworks.com or write to PO Box 11156 Shorewood, WI 53211

Copyright CTW Features

By Leslie Whitaker

CTW Features



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