By Joyce Lain Kennedy


DEAR JOYCE: The job I just interviewed for is a wonderful opportunity, but I'll never get it. I've been out of college for a year, and the interviewer said the company was looking for someone with more experience. I had no answer and just sat there. Was there anything I could have done to save the day other than thanking her for her time and leaving? -- P.D.

When you research a company and a position in advance (which you should do), you'll have an inkling that you'll be perceived as underqualified for the job and map out your best strategy for responding (which you should do).

Try not to give a ragtag answer agreeing that you lack requisite experience or skills and then clam up. Instead, give a compensatory response, such as:

-- "The upside is that I have no bad habits to unlearn and will be happy to do things your way."

-- "I learn at sonic speed and work my head off."

-- "Although I don't have experience A, I have experience B. There are many similarities between the two. Can we talk about that?"

-- "You ask for three years' experience in this work. I have one extremely solid year in the field. Because my experience was on a fast track, I learned the equivalent of at least three years of doing the work you need done." (You can also note that because of repetitive tasking, many people really have one year's experience three times.)

-- "Suppose for a moment that you appreciate everything I offer for this job but a single requirement stands in the way of my joining your team. What could I do on the job to compensate for my lack of (the requirement) as I work diligently to relieve your immediate workload?"

Compensatory responding doesn't work all the time, but at least you won't lose opportunity by default.

DEAR JOYCE: Within the past few months you mentioned the name of a book about how seniors who can't find a job and find their savings depleted can start their own business. What was the name of that book? Also, could I hope to get start-up money from the Small Business Administration (SBA)? -- R.O.R.

I think the book you refer to about taking the entrepreneurial leap at 50-plus years of age is "BoomerPreneurs: How Baby Boomers Can Start Their Own Business, Make Money and Enjoy Life" by M.B. Izard (; 2010). It's available on

Further, BusinessWeek published a helpful article last June. Google for "Seniors as Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come" and, also from BusinessWeek, "Public Funding for Small Businesses."

As for the SBA, a small-business owner with recent SBA borrowing experience tells me the agency is oversold as a source for capital. It put her through hoop after hoop, and she had to mortgage three residential properties to get a dime. But check it out if you decide to set up shop.

DEAR JOYCE: I'm about to be out of a job and need a new way to support myself. I don't want to change industries, but that looks like what's ahead for me. I have a traditional chronological resume and am unsure how to change it so I have a chance in a new industry. Help? -- A.E.

Career coach Catherine Jewell has done much of the transition thinking for you. Her new paperback book, "New Resume New Career: Get the Job You Want With the Skills and Experience You Already Have" (Alpha Books; 2010), offers simple resume makeover tips to either find a similar career in a different industry or a new career within the same industry. Jewell illustrates her "billboard" resume model with 50 profiles of real-life job seekers.


Career - Interviewing: 'Duh' Is Not an Answer

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