Interview series - Career Experts - Debra Wheatman from Careers Done Write | CareerMetis.com

In this interview series, we caught up with Debra Wheatman from Careers Done Write, who shares her expertise and insights about job search, career change, etc. in today’s marketplace.



Tell us a little bit about your company

We at Careers Done Write, Inc. are a marketing and branding company committed to working with clients on brand building and management. The company has been going strong for more than 14 years.

We are dedicated to partnering with our clients as they go through their journey of pursuing new opportunities and beyond.

We pride ourselves on providing a holistic approach to the job search process, which means we don’t just write resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles.

Rather, we are committed to the journey with our clients. Their success is our success too.


How did you get started in this path?

I originally worked for a company as the director of career services where I oversaw the development, implementation, and management of career services, including resume and cover letter preparation, case, financial and traditional interview preparation, and admissions services for clients globally.

I identified, hired and managed a team of subcontracted writers and coaches.

Eventually, the business changed, and I made the decision to go into business for myself.


Is this something you decided early on in your career?

I always had a passion for career development.

I’ve worked in human resources and recruitment positions earlier in  my career and those positions only helped grow my love of professional branding and career coaching.


What is the Best Career Advice You’ve ever received?

The best career advice I have ever received is to be more of a listener than a talker. It is amazing what you can learn and uncover by listening.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with contributing.

However, being an active listener will give you far greater insight into people and situations.

When you do share an idea you will have all of the knowledge developed because you exercised your listening skills!


What is the most exciting part of working in this industry?

I get to help clients on a daily basis reach their full potential.

I love seeing people be the best professional version of themselves that they don’t even know they can be yet.


How do to stay abreast of the industry as an expert?

There are a variety of ways, including reading, going to industry events, networking, and engaging with peers and clients.

I am a voracious reader, including content developed by other career experts.

I am always looking for good information or ideas that I can incorporate into my business.


What are some of the things that you see job seekers struggle with the most?

I see a lot of job seekers struggle with salary negotiations. Needless to say, everyone wants the most they can get.

Do the RESEARCH. Speak to people that are in the role.

Research information online, review salary reports that are also available online, and speak to friends. Your due diligence in this area will provide you with the knowledge you need to negotiate on your own behalf.

Do NOT say yes immediately.

Thank the manager for the offer, express your excitement and take a day or two to think about it.

NEGOTIATE.

Don’t accept the first offer you are given.

Counter offer with a number that you know is reasonable based upon the RESEARCH.


What are the common mistakes that you see them do?

I’ve seen job seekers running into interviews with just enough time to spare or worse – late.

People are unprepared; they don’t bring a copy of their résumé because they think “the hiring manager has it.” That might be true, but you need to bring your A game – that means being prepared.

The most egregious error is when people are unprepared to discuss their background.

All too often job seekers have information on the résumé that they are ill-prepared to discuss.  


How should job seekers approach job search today?

Networking is a critical component of an effective job search strategy.

It’s not enough to apply online anymore.

I always say that using the internet for a job is an after 8PM activity. Your daytime hours should be involving your network and meeting with people.

After you find opportunities online, you should try to identify the people at that company of interest.

Even better, try to identify someone in your immediate network with whom you can interact to learn more or submit for a position via an employee referral.


What is the biggest trend(s) you see that job seekers will face in the next 2-3 years?

More and more people, especially in the younger demographics are looking to go into business for themselves. Not everyone wants to climb the corporate ladder.

More than ever people are focused on having more personal time. They want to reap more of the rewards of hard work.

Whether someone is creating a side business, doing freelance work, or becoming a full-fledged entrepreneur, I think that a lot of people will look to pursue endeavors where they have more control of their schedules and their work.


What is one advice you would give someone just out of college today?

Don’t settle for a job – build your career. You will have to pay your dues.

The first few years will be tough, and it is unlikely your first position will pay anything close to a six-figure salary.

Work hard; work smart; and go the extra mile. Your efforts (along with a positive attitude) will serve you well.


What is one advice you would give someone who is switching careers?

Focus on why that career change is bringing you happiness. Do your research.

You need to know what you are stepping into when you make a switch.

Oftentimes, the work will be at a lower level from what you previously experienced complemented by a reduced salary.

Switching careers is entirely possible you just need to be informed and recognize that growth will take time.


How should job seekers get the most out of LinkedIn?

Maintain an active presence on LinkedIn.
 
Interact with the community. This means that you should contribute ideas as a member of various groups in which you participate.
 
Comment on other posts that are related to your field and interests (or not!) There’s no reason why you cannot engage outside of your wheelhouse.
 
The point of LinkedIn is to build engagement and online relationships. Share ideas, be positive, and seek to contribute as part of the community 

Unemployment is at the lowest levels, why do you think that is?

Hiring is very strong right now.

However, the competition is still fierce.

In addition, people who are jobless are still not looking for work.


What is the biggest trend(s) you see that hiring managers will face in the next 2-3 years?

Hopefully, hiring managers will begin being properly trained in truly understanding what attracts younger job seekers.

I have heard a lot of horror stories about younger individuals being labeled as lazy or entitled. There is a level of due diligence both parties must exercise for a match to be made.

Hiring managers must learn what attracts talent and the things their organizations need to do to remain competitive, which includes wooing and retaining talent.


Debra, what are you currently working on?

I am beginning production for a weekly video series that will be featured across my social media channels (links below).

It will feature various topics all in the overall field of career development and professional branding.

Be sure to check it out and follow me to stay tuned.


What are the best resources you recommend to job seekers?

Careers Done Write of course!


What is the best way for our audience to reach you?

By Email – [email protected]


Connect with or Follow Debra Wheatman on Social Media:



Debra Wheatman and Careers Done Write have also been featured in our recent compilation of the most resourceful career experts and career blogs –  Top Career Advice Websites.  

Written By
Nissar Ahamed is the Founder & CEO of CareerMetis.com. He is also the host of The Career Insider Podcast and the co-host of The C.A.R.E. Podcast

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