Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Being an Apologist Has Its Rewards

Can a penchant for saying "I'm sorry" aid your career? That's the provocative implication of a recent survey by the respected Zogby polling organization.

The Zogby International survey of 7,590 Americans found a strong positive association between income and willingness to apologize in a variety of situations.

People earning over $100,000 a year are almost twice as likely to apologize after an argument or mistake as those earning $25,000 or less,

Fortune magazine said in outlining the survey findings. When subjects were asked if they'd apologize when they were fully, partly or not at all at fault, in each case "a person's willingness to apologize was an almost perfect predictor of their place on the income ladder."

For instance, the proportion saying they usually apologize when completely at fault declined monotonically across five income groups, going from 92 percent of those making above $100,000 to 52 percent of those earning under $25,000. "Even when they believe themselves to be completely blameless, 22% of the highest earners say 'I'm sorry,' compared to just 13% of those in the lowest income group," Fortune says.

The article floats several possible explanations: successful people have stronger people skills, are more willing to learn from their mistakes, are more disposed to take risks without getting permission first, and are more secure and less likely to get defensive when something goes wrong.

So, although "groveling" is not the route to success, Fortune senior writer and workplace expert Anne Fischer concludes that:
taking the high road - acknowledging one's share of blame, or even accepting some blame when it isn't justified - is a trait shared by many great leaders, because it tends to build solidarity with the troops.
Want a higher paycheck? Say you're sorry [Fortune]

Calif. CPAs Meld Tech, Accounting Skills

The use of technology for business is opening up new job opportunities for California CPAs. Consider the growing number of consultancies that need CPAs to help implement and support business management software. The work can be stimulating for accountants who want to try something beyond public firms or private industry.

Read more here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Keeping Track

Louise Fletcher, a resume writer who blogs at Blue Sky Resumes, makes a great point about keeping track of the work you do:
Today I'm working on a resume for a client who is having a hard time recalling details of her prior projects.

She's not sure of the results of her efforts and sometimes she can't remember why a project was even started. I'm concerned that her resume won't reflect her true abilities, which got me thinking ...

Do you keep a record of what you do at work? Do you track your impact, make notes when your boss compliments you, or jot down details of projects you're working on? If not, you should!

None of us has a job for life anymore --- when you come to write your next resume, think how much easier it will be if you can refer to a written record.
Even if you're not planning on moving, this is an important habit to get into. Louise is right that none of us have jobs for life. You may well plan on staying in your current job for years, but you never know when something unforeseen will change things. That "something" could be a colleague who got the promotion you expected, an economic downturn, a merger, twins you didn't plan to have or just a decision you don't want to work in an office all day anymore.

Some people keep notes in their calendar - whether it's on their PC or in a book. Others keep a brief diary, while still others keep all of their project files in one place. However you do it, keep track of all the things you achieve.

Write It Down! [Blue Sky Resumes Blog]

PwC - And Big Four - Under Overtime Microscope?

A law firm that specializes in class action law suits is looking into a class action law suit for employees - in this case associates without CPA licenses - who allegedly worked without overtime pay at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "A successful verdict in this case could potentially change the way all Big 4 Accounting Firms do business nationwide," the law firm says.

PricewaterhouseCoopers - Class Action Law Suit Looms
[Big Four Blog

Monday, October 29, 2007

Foxes in the Henhouse

Call me crazy, but I can't shake this feeling that things I do online should have a certain degree of privacy attached to them. I know that when I post a profile in LinkedIn or Facebook, people are going to look at it. That's the point. What I don't expect is for employees of Facebook to check out the search activity of users, basically at their whim:
"My friend got a call from her friend at Facebook, asking why she kept looking at his profile," says a privacy-conscious source at a major tech company. Turns out Facebook employees can (and do) check out anyone's profile. Not only that, but they also see which profiles a user has viewed -- a major privacy violation. If you've been obsessed with a workmate or classmate, Facebook employees know. If Barack Obama's intern has been using the campaign account to troll for hotties, Facebook employees know. Within the company, it's considered a job perk, and employees check this data for fun.
The bold-faced emphasis is mine.

From a pure-user standpoint, this makes me not want to use Facebook very much. Reading this item, I couldn't help but wonder whether there are any auditing implications in here - I mean, could Facebook one day have to account for who's looking at what

Facebook employees know what profiles you look at [ValleyWag]

Friday, October 26, 2007

It Seemed Like a Good idea at the Time

The new job sounded perfect: a great working environment, the right amount of travel and an exciting accounting challenge. But a month after you started, you realize the working environment is toxic, the travel is non-stop and your biggest challenge is figuring out what to about it.

How to face the challenge? Dona DeZube found out.

Networking Survival

What I like about this column on networking by Liz Ryan is its focus on the dark side: All those people out there who want to "network" and "get to know you" so they can ask you for something, without any real intention of returning the favor. Networking, Ryan thinks, has gotten a bad rap because as more people have taken to it, its dynamics have changed. It's less about getting to know people and more about building a list of sales leads.

It doesn't have to be that way, she points out, and her article is all about how to fend off those people you'll invariably meet who think of networking as expanding their stable of favor-doers.

Two examples:
If You Get What You Want, Say Thanks

When you call on your network—or just one member of it—for help, and you get it, say "thank you." Countless helpful business leaders have spent countless hours poring over the résumés of countless job-seekers who've asked for a bit of guidance and gotten it—only to disappear into the fog, never thanking the advice-giver or acknowledging his or her contribution to the cause. A heartfelt thank-you e-mail works wonders. If you skip that step, you're asking for bad career karma for years on end and burning a bridge you can ill afford to set ablaze.

Don't Dis a Favor

One of my favorite disgusting-networking stories concerns a young lady who asked me for help with her HR résumé. The résumé was a mess, and it took me two hours to rewrite it, stem to stern. I sent back the revised version, and she wrote me, saying: "I had no idea you'd take my résumé apart and rewrite it. It'll take me a long time to type this up again. In the meantime, can you please send my old résumé to all your contacts?" Sure, no problem. Is it O.K. if I include a note saying: "I rewrote this person's résumé for her since, as you can see, this version reeks, but she's too busy to type it up. In the meantime, can you please hire her?" That should get a lot of interviews.
Read it and be armed.

10 Tips for Networkers [BusinessWeek]

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Behind the Scenes

Maybe you've heard that you can make your resume rise to the top of the electronic pile by cleverly placing keywords throughout its text before sending it in. As Sarah Needleman writes in this oldie-but-goodie from CareerJournal, it's a bad idea:
But because of recent advances in resume-search technology, some of the sneakier tactics applicants have developed no longer work. What's more, the new technology can reveal the use of these methods, potentially sabotaging a candidate's chances of securing interview invites.
Even if you're not being sneaky, putting too much emphasis on searchable keywords can work against you:
Resumes with an overabundance of keywords are a turnoff for Jolie Downs, a partner at recruiting firm Paradigm Staffing of Santa Cruz, Calif. She recently received a resume via email from someone seeking a senior account executive position at a public-relations agency. A string of keywords was listed in plain view at the bottom. "It's unprofessional," she says. "I didn't call them."
This is an article that's pretty on the back-end - meaning there's a lot about how hiring managers think and how their software works - but those aren't bad things to know when you're crafting a resume for a job you really want.

Why Sneaky Resume Tactics May No Longer Aid Job Hunters

Salaries Moving Higher, Again

In case you haven't heard, starting salaries in accounting should rise next year:
Starting salaries for accounting and finance professionals are expected to increase an average of 4.3 percent in 2008, according to Robert Half International's 2008 Salary Guide. Public accountants, financial analysts and internal auditors are expected to see the largest gains.
Here's our story.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's All in How You Ask

Here's a great interview tip reported by Dona DeZube:
To make sure you're not being snookered during the interview process, make a list of the things you do and don't want in your next job, covering area like work environment, travel, tasks, location, career advancement and money. Prioritize the list, then find a way to ask open-ended questions about the issues topping it. "They're not going to tell you the bad news, so you have to ask for those things you don't want, but in a positive way," says Carl Wellenstein, president of ExecGlobalNet in Downey, Calif. "If you made a wrong decision you really need to move on."

For example, one of the questions you want to ask is: To what extent do you want to train me in other areas outside my expertise? If you prefer to specialize in one area, an answer that involves training in several others tells you the job's not right for you.
It's an out-take (Sorry, Dona) from a story we'll be posting soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Polls That Make You Go Hmmm

Our last poll asked, "How diverse is your office?" And the answers were:
  • Exceptionally 18%
  • More than average 10%
  • About average 20%
  • Not diverse at all 25%
  • I don't care 27%
Looked at another way: 28 percent said "exeptionally" or "more than average," while more than half said either "not diverse at all" or "I don't care." (Not that I want to put too much of a spin in things.) But what's most interesting is the single biggest block of voters said they don't care.


Sometimes you just need a little perspective. And when you do, I suggest you spend a moment on the site of, a firm that believes:
motivational products create unrealistic expectations, raising hopes only to dash them. That's why we created our soul-crushingly depressing Demotivators® designs, so you can skip the delusions that motivational products induce and head straight for the disappointments that follow!
So, you can avail yourself of posters, coffee mugs and calendars that inspire:
Achievement: You can do anything you set your mind to when you have vision, determination, and an endless supply of expendable labor.

Apathy: If we don't take care of the customer, maybe they'll stop bugging us.
And my personal favorite:
Consulting: If you're not a part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem.
Okay, these aren't for everyone - but they're a good way to measure the sense of humor of your colleagues. Though maybe not your boss.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Breaths of Sanity in a Digital World

Some companies are seeking balance the use of e-mail, cell phones and other tech tools with genuine, face-to-face interaction. That's a fancy way of saying some firms want people to actually talk. In the Boston Globe, Maggie Jackson writes

…some progressive bosses are counterbalancing the diffusion of the digital age with innovative efforts to boost face-to-face and real-time connections. They're mandating no travel or no e-mail days, or making flesh-and-blood connections a new priority. The results are sometimes surprising - less stress, more learning, even better balance at home.

"We embrace chat and e-mail and collaboration tools," says Singu Srinivas, copresident of Needham's HiWired, a technology support start-up with 60 employees. "Those are additives to face-to-face relationship building, but they can't be a replacement for it."


North Hampton, N.H. workplace consultant J.T. O'Donnell says she's hearing more about such innovations. Bosses are saying, if you have a problem, pick up the phone or meet. Stay away from long-winded e-mails.

"Companies are realizing that they have got to not replace all their face-to-face interactions, communications, and training with virtual to save money," says O'Donnell. "It's the loss of what we can't convey in e-mail and tech communications that's hurting us."

Pushing face time in the digital age [Boston Globe]

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sanity and Social Networking

Here in the online world, social networks are all the rage. In English, that means everyone who's anyone is telling you how sites like LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook are the next big things that are going to change the way we communicate, live, work, find jobs, learn things, and attain enlightenment. Of course, there are those of us contrarians who think they're handy things to use but don't see them getting lots of people excited who aren't (a) programmers, (b) venture capitalists or (c) people who run social networking sites.

Cube Rules' Scot Herrick was speaking at a writers' conference about technology for writers when he was asked how many of these sites someone should sign up for and use for their work?

(Precisely, I thought when I read Scot's post about it. With everyone and their brother launching social networking sites of one kind or another, how are people supposed to figure out which ones to join, keep track of them all, and still get their work done?)

Scot's answer:

We face the same question as Cubicle Warriors, don’t we? Should I have a blog, join LinkedIn, go nuts on Facebook — or forget the whole thing?

I don’t think you can forget the whole thing; that would hurt your career management networking. But, there are some criteria you can use to decide how you spend your time. Here’s mine:

  1. The audience is everything. You should spend time on the social sites that drive sales to your target market. If tween-something is your thing, then MySpace is your place. For Cubicle Warriors, it more often is career management blogs and places like LinkedIn and (my personal favorite, because it is a career management tool) Jibber Jobber.

  2. Your time is everything. You can only spend so much time focusing on your network. Make sure you are spending your time where it is easiest and gives you the most bang for your buck. What’s the easiest way to stay in contact with your work associates, past work associates and friends? That’s where you go.

  3. Know your criteria for accepting social connections with “friends.” And feel comfortable with the criteria.

My criteria for accepting connections are simple: I know you, have interacted with you, and believe that you “get it” in my definition of competence. If you do, you’re in. If you don’t, you won’t. Simple.


Joining Social Sites — The Criteria [Cube Rules]

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Will Meet for Food

Personally, I don't mind meetings that involve food. Actually, I kind of like them. If I'm bored, I can at least comfort myself with the idea the business is paying for the food, and if I'm intrigued or engaged or both - well, it's nice to feel intrigued and engaged when I'm doing something else I like, which is eat.

But Lisa Belkin, in today's New York Times, points out that business meals have their limits - or at least they should:
But I write about life-work balance, and it feels a little contradictory to conduct an interview, or attend a conference, or give a speech, when everyone involved had to sacrifice sleep to attend.

I have similar qualms about working dinners. After a long day of work, why follow it up with more work? True, there is good food, and probably wine, and it beats coal mining. But if you have to be there because the client and boss expect it, or if you would rather be playing “airplane flies in the hangar” with your toddler, then it is work disguised as socializing.

Don’t even get me started on weekends and holidays. I was once invited to a conference of pediatricians over Mother’s Day. Pediatricians! Cannibalizing Mother’s Day!

Good points all. Her main thought is that nowadays work has crept into times usually reserved as personal - for having breakfast with your kids, say, or unwinding with your husband or wife after a day at the office.

Belkin advises girding yourself to say no to people when they want to "pick your brain" over a meal - something I've found is easier said than done and, depending on your job or your commitment to networking - can be counterproductive. But certainly, she makes a good argument for being selective in who you go out with.

Oh Joy! Breakfast With the Boss [NY Times]

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Guess Who's Conservative?

Penelope Trunk goes deep to look at Gen Y and the Big Four after hearing from BusinessWeek that the Top three places to work in the eyes of Y-ers are Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young.

Well, for one thing, the Big 4 are acutely aware of what young people want. Deloitte has been studying generational issues for years and Cathy Benko, Global e-Business Practice Leader for Deloitte, just published a great book, Mass Career Customization, that replace the corporate ladder motif with a lattice. And workers can move laterally or up or down on the lattice depending on their personal goals and career aspirations. The Big 4 get the best candidates because these companies have been the fastest to react to the new workforce conditions that place young people in the driver’s seat .

But here’s what else is going on: Gen Y does not admit it, but their top priority is stability. This is a fundamentally conservative generation. And in the middle of this very long article in Business Week, is an important quote from Andrea Hershatter, director of the undergraduate business program at Emory University and veteran of college recruiting:

“There is a strong, strong millennial dislike of ambiguity and risk, leading them to seek a lot more direction and clarity from their employers, in terms of what the task is, what the expectations are, and job progression.”

The Real Deal about Gen Y: They’re Inherently Conservative [Brazen Careerist]

Waiting for the Right Offer

One of our users wrote:
"I've been offered a job at one firm, but also interviewed for a position at another, a place where I'd prefer working. How do I hold off replying to the first firm until I have a sense of what's happening at my first choice?"It's possible to parlay one job offer into two, but first things first.
And our expert, Robbie Miller Kaplan, replied:
Get in touch with the first firm and thank them for the offer. Ask if you can give them your answer within a week. There's nothing wrong with making them aware you've been in discussions with someone else, and saying you'd like to extend other firms the courtesy of letting them know you've got an offer on the table.

Now it's time to contact the second firm. Make a follow up call to its hiring manager and let him or her know you're still interested in the position. Ask if they're close to making a decision. If they're not, tell them you've been offered a position with another firm, without revealing too much detail. Courteously - always courteously - point out that you have a decision to make and ask them to share where they are in the hiring process. You can say, "Your opportunity is my first choice and I'd like to have a sense of where you are so I can respond appropriately." Ask if you're the leading candidate, or one of many?

Based on their responses, you'll have a good idea of where you stand with both firms.

No matter whose position you accept, follow up in writing with both hiring managers. Always decline offers graciously. You never know if or when your paths will cross again, or whether a more enticing position may one day present itself. And get all your offers in writing, even if you have to write to confirm them yourself.
If you've got a question about your career or your job search, write me and I'll get you an answer.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Valuing Values

The blog Sox First offers a worksheet for squaring your values with your organization's. Why is this important? There are probably a lot of reasons, but Leon Gettler puts it this way:
When ethics scandals hit, it tends to be the fault of certain individuals inside the organization. More often than not, they have allowed their own personal values to infect the organization.
His worksheet's brief and worth a look.

Personal values, organizational values [Sox First]

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Don't Let This Happen to You

Just when we thought the need to exercise care when using an employer's computer for non-work purposes was well ingrained, along comes yet another cautionary tale.

Most media attention that's gone to the now-infamous Craigslist gold digger post has focused on two entities: The initial message's still-anonymous author, a self-described "spectacular" beauty soliciting advice on how to land a husband with an income above $500,000. And, the zinging response it brought from an investment banker who labeled her proposition a bad trade because "your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity."

But the value we see in this exchange lies in the experience of the third party: a JPMorgan banker who carelessly allowed his name and corporate signature to appear on the message when he forwarded it to friends. Eventually, the banker's email – complete with his identifying information -- found its way to Dealbreaker and a host of other finance blogs widely read by his industry peers.

To make matters worse, many of the downstream sites named the JPMorgan banker as the author of the unabashedly sexist, if well-deserved, riposte to the gold digger's plea. A JPMorgan Chase spokesman told the New York Times that the man worked there but was not the author: "He had forwarded the e-mail message to friends, and the signature setting on his e-mail accompanied the response when it wound up on blogs."

There is no indication that the banker has been summarily fired – as was a Bear Stearns analyst in April, just hours after a profile of him appeared in the New York Post (sans last name or employer, but bearing his real photo and real first name). Still, our guess is the JPM banker's career won't be helped by his newfound fame.

The lesson, as summarized by the Times:

“Your workplace computer does not exist as a tool for forwarding jokey things,” said Will Schwalbe, an author of “Send: The Essential Guide to E-Mail for Office and Home.”

We concur. But if you simply can't wait until you get home (or if you're a banker and never get home), then at least do the forwarding from your hotmail or other Web-based email account. That way, your employer's name, your corporate email address and your corporate signature won't be attached to it.

Acquisitive Craigslist Post Reddens Faces All Around [NYT]

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Other Numbers

Tighter short-term credit isn't affecting hiring plans of small-business owners, who continue to view tight labor markets as their principal challenge, the National Federation of Independent Business found in its latest monthly survey.

That bodes well for the overall U.S. economy, which has been adding jobs at a relatively anemic pace in recent months. The entrepreneurs surveyed by NFIB were more optimistic than a sample of 580 CFOs of mostly mid-size organizations polled in a quarterly survey by Duke University and CFO magazine, released in September.

On the one hand, 9 percent of owners in the NFIB survey said loans are harder to get and none said they are easier – the most negative reading on credit conditions since 1993. Yet a mere 3 percent of those surveyed cited the cost and availability of credit as their single biggest business problem; just 5 percent reported problems obtaining desired financing, compared with 37 percent who reported all their credit needs are being met.

As for employment, the latest survey highlights continuing labor shortages, notwithstanding slightly weaker seasonally adjusted survey numbers in September while the national jobless rate ticked up to 4.7 percent. Says the NFIB:

Seventeen percent of the owners reported that the availability of qualified labor was their top business problem, up four points from June and July….They would like to hire, but the job market is not cooperating. One in four owners reported unfilled job openings and the net percent planning to increase employment in the coming months is among the best readings in the history of the NFIB survey. The problem remains finding qualified works, cited by 17 percent as their most important business challenge. Fifty-seven percent of the owners hired or tried to hire new workers, but 84 percent reported few or no qualified applicants.

Small-Business Economic Trends - October 2007 [NFIB]

Friday, October 05, 2007


Accounting and finance workers aren't as confident about the employment market lately. The group's Hudson Employment Index slipped 1.2 points - to 111.9 - in September, which is still 5.7 points higher than it was last September. And, the number of workers who were worried about losing their job in September hit a record low for this sector, coming in at 11 percent. This was six points lower than August.

The index for accounting and finance workers also showed:
  • There was a five-point drop to 31 percent in the number of workers who expected their company to add headcount in the coming months.
  • Fewer workers were happy with their job in September (74 percent) than in August (75 percent).
  • More workers rated their finances as “excellent” or “good” in September (58 percent) than in August (55 percent).
  • While fewer workers said that their finances were getting worse (33 percent in September compared to 34 percent in August), there was a two-point dip to 46 percent in the number of workers who said their finances were getting better.

Firms Venture into New Territories

Last month, California-based Armanino McKenna LLP ventured into new territory, launching what could be the accounting industry's first media consulting practice, Armanino McKenna Foster. The move is just one illustration of how some firms are expanding their non-accounting services.

James Rubin's article showcases a fascinating new trend among some firms. Read it here.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Speak Your Mind

Don't forget the forums available on our new JobsintheMoney. We've just launched them, so it's a chance for you to begin asking the questions and making the comments that'll get others talking. (Does that sound impressive enough?) You can reach them here. Yes, you have to register but that's about keeping spammers away.

Semi-Annual Video Resume Post

Back in January,

When Mona Lattouf's initial job-hunting efforts didn't pay off, the recent college grad got creative.

Using a digital camera, the Orange County, Calif., resident created a two-minute "video resume" that included highlights from her paper resume and answers to common interview questions.

"It was weird to figure out what to say," says Ms. Lattouf, 25 years old. But ultimately, "I let my personality show through."

Within two to three weeks of sending hiring managers a link to her video, she received several calls back. "It was truly painless," says Ms. Lattouf, who landed a job as a junior accountant in October.

Despite this, I'm still not sold on video resumes as effective differentiators. I don't hear many firms clamoring for them - Perhaps more telling, is no one I talk to ever even brings them up. So, proceed cautiously if you're thinking of producing one. Or at least don't let it get your hopes up.

Video Resumes Are Taking Off [CareerJournal]

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Hate Selling? Me, Too. But...

Are you Introverted? Would you rather focus on your spreadsheets or a QuickBooks problem than go out and chat people up at your next chamber of commerce breakfast or state association meeting? Bad news: if you really want to flourish, you may have to get out more.

Over on CNet, Steve Tobak writes:

I don't care if you're an IT professional, a musician, a consultant, a CEO, a recruiter, an engineer, a doctor, an accountant, or a professional athlete. You're also a salesperson. That's right, we're all in sales. You, me, your boss, your lawyer, your spouse, your kids; everyone's in sales.

You see, from time to time, each of us is called upon to sell something. It could be a product, a service, a plan, an idea, a creation, a story to a judge or jury, or even oneself (presumably for a job, not into slavery). And more often than not, it's actually very important that we succeed. I don't know why; that's just the way it is.

It's hard for me to imagine anyone being successful in life without having the ability to sell when necessary. And yet, we think of it as something unsavory or even unethical. Not only does the idea fill some people with disgust, fear or self-loathing, but to make matters worse, most people aren't even good at it.

Well, let me dispel a myth. Selling isn't a bad thing. It's got a bad rep, but that's because it's misunderstood. The purest capitalist relationship is between a seller and a buyer of goods or services. So, for every capitalist act, there's a seller involved. Selling is a noble thing. And not only can you do it, but you can learn how to do it well and with dignity.

Since I'll plead guilty to thinking of selling as being less-than-graceful - at least when I do it - I devoured this piece. The ten tips he provides are logical, approachable - and not frightening at all.

Learn how to sell--it's for your own good [CNet]

Thinking of Non-Profit Work?

Dona DeZube writes:
If you day dream about using your skills to sway the electorate, shelter the homeless or spread your religion, a move into the non-profit sector may brighten your workday. It'll also lighten your wallet.
Read her full story.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Networking at Church

A good article this morning in The Wall Street Journal about networking for a job at your house of worship. It makes sense that people who are regular worshipers would talk about their job search with others at their church (or synagogue, or mosque) because, if you're a regular attendee, you get to know people there pretty well. Does such a connection go with you into the interview?

While many job seekers may rely on prayer for support and success, career experts warn against discussing faith when meeting with hiring managers or executive recruiters. "You don't want to turn it into a religious conversation," says Kevin Zwetsch, a partner with the law firm Fowler White Boggs Banker in Tampa, Fla. "You're veering off the path of what you're there for."

An exception might be if your involvement in religion can promote your candidacy, adds Mr. Zwetsch. For example, if you mention that you are a deacon at a church during a job interview, "that demonstrates leadership and community involvement," he says.

But he warns that "if you go any further, employers will get skittish," because recruiters are prohibited by law from asking candidates questions about their religious beliefs unless they pertain to the job at hand. "[Religion] is one of those taboo topics," he says.

How Faith-Based Networking Can Aid Job Searches [WSJ - $]

Women and the Glass Ceiling

Do women linger below the glass ceiling because of their own lack of ambition and self-promotion? That seems to be the feeling of many employment lawyers and consultants in Europe. Our sister site eFinancialCareers summarized a story from Financial News on the topic.

This is a pretty Euro-centric story - it doesn't quote any American sources - but I run it because I hear people closer to home express very similar opinions. What the story doesn't address very well is how ingrained attitudes toward women can be at the highest levels of business - still.

Women Don't Pressure Glass Ceiling, Some Say [eFinancialCareers]