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    Photo of Don Sutaria
June 2011
My dear friends, colleagues, clients and students:

Article of the Month
In this issue we present an article, Contemporary Observations for Job Candidates - A Walk on the Wild Side! It is a distillation of comments from several human resources personnel. If you want to enhance your chances of landing a job even in this economy, please pay some attention to it.

Career Check-ups and Tune-ups
We have dental check-ups twice a year, a physical examination once a year, and take our beloved pets to veterinarians twice a year, then why do we hesitate to have a career health check-up at least once or twice a year?

CareerQuest has contacted all our past clients recently through e-mails and voicemails to seriously consider making appointments for career check-ups and tune-ups.

Career coaching/counseling is a lifelong process. You may want to consider seeing a career counselor/coach at least once every six months, even more frequently if there is an urgent and important work-related problem.

For good career health and career well-being, we need to examine these four important dimensions: skills, attitudes, communications, and life-work balance. We should not wait for external events such as layoffs, mergers, firings, or a new boss, to evaluate our career well-being.

A good career counselor/coach will:
  • Explore how viable your position is to the success of your organization
  • Help you anticipate danger signals ahead of you
  • Explore expansion or contraction of your organization in today's marketplace
  • See if you are doing meaningful and challenging work
  • Explore the integrity of your life-work balance
  • Evaluate your personal relationships at work
  • Check to see if you are adequately compensated financially
  • Prepare you for performance reviews
  • Help handle sticky political situations
  • Develop a long-term career plan or keep one on track
  • Provide career direction if you have been laid off
No one is immune to the types of situations mentioned above.

Book Endorsements
Our book, Career and Life Counseling From the Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!), has received many excellent reviews. Ten reviews give the book a 5-star rating, and four have a 4-star rating.

Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? says:
"Don Sutaria is one of the career counselors I most admire in the U.S. He talks about things other career counselors don't, like "your soul." Now he has written a book I like a lot, with brilliant short chapters you can digest day by day. I recommend it unreservedly to everyone."
We are deeply grateful for his endorsement.

    Career and Life Counseling From the Heart book cover
This book has been nicknamed as Chicken Soup for Your Career! Take a peek inside this book at before you decide to buy it. It is also available as an e-book from iUniverse.

Career Doctor Don's Column
Career Doctor Don Answers Your Questions appears as a regular feature in the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) - New Jersey Chapter newsletters. Visit to read more.

Articles on
Several of our articles will continue to appear on The mission of this website is to "Help Garden State Business Grow."

Alert! A Fabulous Article in The New York Times
CareerQuest's May 2011 newsletter had the article, How to Work with Generation Y. I would like to draw your attention to a fabulous article by Catherine Rampell in the New York Times of Sunday, May 29, 2011, A Generation of Slackers? Not So Much. It is about Generation Y. This article is well-balanced and right on the mark! It is worth reading.

Your feedback is always appreciated. Keep it coming!

Until we meet again through the magic of e-mail,

Peace! Love! Shalom!

Don Sutaria, MS, IE (Prof.)
Founder, President & Life-Work Coach

  Contemporary Observations for Job Candidates -
A Walk on the Wild Side!
  by Don Sutaria

"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16, NIV

This advice was given by Jesus to his disciples almost 2,000 years ago, and it is as relevant now as it was when it was dispensed.

An article by Michelle Crouch in the April 2011 issue of Reader's Digest Magazine is very insightful. The title of the article is Get Hired, Not Fired! 50 Secrets Your HR Person Won't Tell You. As an independent career counselor and career coach, I may not agree with some of the comments made by HR personnel, but my observations and personal experiences show that most of them are perfectly on the mark. Here is a good sampling but the full article is worth reading.


1. "Once you're unemployed more than six months, you're considered pretty much unemployable. We assume that other people have already passed you over, so we don't want anything to do with you."
Cynthia Shapiro, HR Executive
(Sad but true in many cases under the present economy. The long-term unemployed but qualified people are considered 'Damaged Goods'! A recent job advertisement asked the unemployed not to apply. However, a court ruling found this requirement to be discriminatory and required its removal. Don Sutaria - DS)

    Tips - Resumes
2. "When it comes to getting a job, who you know really does matter. No matter how nice your résumé is or how great your experience may be, it's all about your connections."
HR Director
(The importance of networking. DS)

3. "If you're trying to get a job at a specific company, often the best thing to do is to avoid HR entirely. Find someone at the company you know, or go straight to the hiring manager."
Shauna Moerke, HR Administrator
(I have tried it many times and it works! I suggest sending a copy to HR simultaneously to prevent resentment and stay on their good side. DS)

4. "We will judge you based on your e-mail address. Especially if it's something inappropriate like or"
Rich DeMatteo, Recruiting Consultant
(Agreed. Shows an unprofessional image at the very start! DS)

5. "Most of us use applicant-tracking systems that scan résumés for key words. The secret of getting your résumé through the system is to pull key words directly from the job description and put them on. The more matches you have, the more likely your résumé will get picked and actually seen by a real person."
Chris Ferdinandi, HR Professional
(At my request, many of my clients have tried it and it works! DS)


1. "It's amazing when people come in for an interview and say, 'Can you tell me about your business?' Seriously, people. There's an Internet. Look it up."
HR Professional
(Excellent point! Couldn't agree more! The candidate should research the company so thoroughly that he can talk like an insider at the interview. DS)

    Tips - Interviews
2. "A lot of managers don't want to hire people with young kids, and they use all sorts of tricks to find that out, illegally."
Cynthia Shapiro, HR Executive
(Hard to deny it happens in some cases. DS)

3. "Is it harder to get the job if you're fat? Absolutely. Hiring managers make quick judgments based on stereotypes."
Suzanne Lucas, HR Executive
(The stereotype is that obese people are undisciplined and out of control. DS)

4. "If you've got a weak handshake, I make a note of it."
HR Manager
(The candidate projects a lack of confidence and extreme introversion. DS)

5. "If you're a candidate and the hiring manager spends 45 minutes talking about himself, the company or his Harley, let him. He's going to come out of the interview saying you're a great candidate."
Kris Dunn, Chief HR Officer
(Great approach! Illustrates the power of being a good listener. DS)


1. "There's one website that drives all HR people crazy: It supposedly lists average salaries for different industries, but if you look up any job, the salary it gives you always seems to be $10,000 to $20,000 higher than it actually is. That just makes people mad."
HR Director
(My experience and observation show that is well-researched and reasonably accurate. DS)

    Tips - Salaries
2. "On salary, some companies try to lock you in early. At the first interview, they'll tell me to say, 'The budget for this position is 40K to 45K. Is that acceptable to you?' If the candidate accepts, they'll know they've got him or her stuck in that little area."
Ben Eubanks, HR Professional
(This is rather unusual. The party that gives out the salary number first loses negotiating power. DS)

3. "You think you're all wonderful and deserve higher salary, but here in HR, we know the truth. And the truth is, a lot of you aren't very good at your jobs, and you're definitely not as good as you think you are."
HR Professional
(Sounds like a cynical comment from an HR professional. DS)

4. "Be careful if a headhunter is negotiating for you. You may want extra time off and be willing to sacrifice salary, but he is negotiating hardest for what hits his commission."
HR Professional
(The onus is on the candidate to communicate with the headhunter regarding his demands and priorities. DS)

5. "I once hired someone, and her mother didn't think the salary we were offering was high enough, so she called me to negotiate. I immediately withdrew the offer."
HR Professional
(It may be an isolated case of an over-protective helicopter parent. Some companies even wine and dine the parents of candidates along with the candidates, especially freshly-minted college graduates. DS)


1. "If there was someone we no longer wanted at the company, we'd give him all the worst assignments on impossible deadlines, set him up to fail, and document that. After a few months, we could safely terminate him."
Cynthia Shapiro, HR Executive
(Unfortunately, my long experience shows that observation to be true in many cases. DS)

    Tips - Being Fired
2. "If we ask you to travel for your job or attend a conference, it's not really a question. Say no, and it can be career-ending."
Laurie Ruettimann, HR Consultant
(In most cases this is true unless the company truly believes in work/life balance. DS)

3. "I once had to fire someone with four kids right before Christmas. When he asked me why, I couldn't tell him it was because he said something in an all-company meeting that the CEO took as an insult."
Cynthia Shapiro, HR Executive
(There's always more than what meets the eye—loose lips sink ships! Happens frequently. DS)

4. "If you're a high-level employee and they put you on a special assignment and take away other responsibilities so you can focus on that 'special assignment', start fixing up your résumé, because you're on your way out the door."
Suzanne Lucas, HR Executive
(I have seen this happen more than once and the comment above is true. I call it being 'Sent to Siberia in Exile!' Once in a while this person can pull out of this kind of tailspin, depending upon his or her political pull within the company. DS)

5. "When you get laid off, you'll probably get a separation agreement in which you agree not to sue. That document is what allows you to negotiate, so before you sign it, ask for more severance money, ask for more COBRA, something. The worst thing they can do is say no."
Cynthia Shapiro, HR Executive
(I would suggest seeing an employment lawyer prior to signing any papers. Also, the level of sympathy may be high for you at this point, and you are in a good position to negotiate additional demands. DS)


Don Sutaria, also known as "Career Doctor Don", is Founder and President of CareerQuest. He has been quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on radio and television and has taught at various colleges. He is the author of Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!).

Don Sutaria, M.S., I.E. (Prof.)   
Phone: (908) 686-8400     Fax: (908) 686-8400 (on request)     Cell: (908) 377-9015   
CareerQuest     2165 Morris Avenue; Suite 15     Union, NJ 07083     Satellite Office in New York, NY