Subscribe now for email updates


Welcome to

Welcome to BarneyMatthews.Net. I am a Burlington Vermont based Blogger, Career Coach and Resume Writer specializing in the job search process. I blog about networking, resumes and interviews to help people with their job search. I am also the author of the book "How to get a job in 90 seconds." Additionally I help professionals seeking new employment opportunities with resume reviews and writing, and coaching on job search strategies, networking guidance, interviews preparation, salary\compensation negotiation and job offer decisions. 

If you are looking for a good place to start I recommend these blog posts:
I love to hear from people. Please contact me with your feedback and questions on the blog or to learn more about my career coaching and resume services.


Should you use an automated resume creation tool?

If you are out of work, hiring a professional to write your resume can see like a big expenses. Sites like and will create a nice looking resume for you for free. So should you use an automated resume creation tool? 

A resume can fail a candidate for one of two reasons. The first is that it is too hard to read. No matter how good the content, a poorly laid out resume will make it hard for the recruiter to glean the useful information about you. From this perspective using an automated tool to create a well formatted resume can be beneficial.

The second reason that a resume can fail a candidate is that it is not persuasive. You can have a really well laid out resume but if what is written in it doesn't persuade the recruiter that you are a good candidate for the job, it doesn't really matter. Most resumes I see as a career coach simply list job responsibilities as described in the persons job description. This really doesn't tell the recruiter very much and it certainly doesn't sell you as a candidate. One of my son's responsibilities technically is to tidy his bedroom every day. This doesn't happy though! The recruiter wants proof that you will be able to help the company achieve its goals. The way you convey this is by putting relevant accomplishments and skills in your resume. I find many people struggle to be able to articulate their own accomplishments. They are afraid of "bragging." I also find people find it difficult to clearly describe their accomplishments. I frequently see three paragraph summaries in a resume that don't say anything at all!

The layout of a resume matters. The words in the resume matter more. This is where the value of a professional resume writer comes in. A professional resume writer has the skills and experience to convey your work history in a compelling way. A recent resume I worked on was one of 4 people out of 600 who were picked for an interview. And this person hadn't worked in that job function before. This is what you are paying for. An automated resume creation tool will make a nice looking resume for you but unless you have the right words in it, it doesn't matter!

A career coach can help you create a resume that will sell you to a recruiter.

You might also be interested in reading: The complete guide to creating a resume.

Online tools to help with your job search


Here is  list of online tools to help you with your job search:



Job Postings:


A career coach can help you with your job search.

You might also be interested in reading: The complete guide to networking.

How to write a networking email that gets a response


At some point in your job search you may need to write an email to someone you kind of know asking for help. Perhaps you want them to introduce you to someone at the company. Perhaps you want them to put in a good work for your application. Perhaps you are looking for insight to the hiring process.So how do you write a networking email that gets results?

Use a friendly tone.

You are leveraging a human relationship so use a friendly tone in your email. Write like you would talk to them in person. Avoid being too formal.

Personalize the message

Avoid sending boilerplate, generic messages. These stand out like a sore thumb. Ask how their family is. Reference a shared interest. Above all, make sure you convey that you appreciate anything they can do to help.

Make it easy to say yes

First of all, make your request. very clear. Rather than just saying "I want to pick your brain" tell them "I would love to get your advice about transitioning to a being manager".

Next, make "how" they can help you easy to say yes to. Don't give them several options or ask them to make a suggestion. Instead say "are you available for a 15 minute phone at 2.00pm on Tuesday?"

A career coach can help you with networking strategies.

You might also be interested in reading: The complete guide to networking.

What are some interview red flags?

The interview is a two way process. It is as much about you deciding if you want to work for the company as the company deciding if it wants to hire you. What are some "red flags" or warning signs you should watch out for though?

Interviewer ignoring you until the interview starts.

If the interviewer doesn't say anything to you until the official start time of the interview it is a sign it is not a friendly place to work. A good interviewer will spend the time before the interview starts making casual conversation and helping you feel at ease. 

Being too eager to hire you.

If a company wants to hire you without a interview, it is a huge red flag that either the job is a scam or they don't value their employees and turnover is very high. If a company is looking for someone to work fir them long term they will take the time to make sure its a good fit for everyone. 

Not being able to immediately answer “what do you like about working here.”
A great question to ask in the interview is "what do you like about working here." If its a really good place to work the interviewer should be able to list several things without hesitation. If they have to stop and really think about it or if they give you a joke answer, that's a sign that there isn't anything people like about working at the company.

If there are signs of high turnover.
Another good question to ask in the interview is whether this is new position or a replacement. If it's a replacement, ask what happened to the previous person in the position. If they got promoted then that's a good sign. If they left at short notice or if it comes out that there have been several people in this position in the last few years - think long and hard about whether or not you should take the role.

If they say bad things about the last person in the position.
If they say bad things about the last person in the position it's a sign of a toxic workplace culture. A good company will not bad mouth past employees. Criticizing past employees is a sign that the environment is gossipy and not supportive of the people who work there. 

If they say the training is “learn as you go” or “hands on training.”
There is going to be a learning curve when you start any new job. During the course of the interview you should find out what their plan is for getting you up to speed with the job. if they say it is "learn as you go" or "hands on training" its a sign they aren't going to set you up for success and it's going to be a sink or swim workplace.

They want you to give your current employer less than 2 weeks notice.
A good employer will understand you want to respect your current employer and give them reasonable notice that you are leaving. If they push you to give less than 2 weeks notice its a sign they will be willing to get rid of you at a drop of a hat too.

A career coach can help you prepare questions for an interview.

You might also be interested in reading: Questions you should not answer in an interview.

How to write a 140 character resume

89% of companies use social networking for recruiting. Boiling your resume down to 140 characters allows you to leverage your social media summary as a marketing tool in your job search. It also forces you to be incredibly succinct and makes you focus on the most important points. Once you have your 140 character resume you can use it on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram and even Myspace if you are so inclined!

Just write first.

Start by just writing and not worrying too much about the 140 character limit. You can trim your text once you have your starting point. If you already have an elevator pitch you can use that as your starting point.

Then trim.

Eliminate personal pronouns. Use strong verbs and an absolute minimum of adverbs. Avoid "university words". Almost every big word in English has a shorter word that means the same thing. Use it instead. Eliminate the introduction and cut straight to the chase. Use punctuation like exclamation points to eliminate words.


IT leader with passion for people & technology. Builds & manages teams.Excels in systems support & administration, training & documentation.

A career coach can help you with your resume.

You might also be interested in reading: How to tailor  your resume.

10 people to network with

Networking is crucially important to finding a new job. But who on earth do you "network" with? Here are 10 people to network with.

1. Friends/family.
Start with the people closest to you - your friends and family.

2. Past co-workers.
Move on to the people you spend (or spent) 8 hours a day with.

3. Past managers.
Then reach out to past managers and supervisors.

4. Target company employees.
Once you have a specific company in mind, make contact with people who work there.

5. Alumni/classmates.
You can also contact people you went to school with.

6. Someone you've just met.
Use chance connections to network. You never know who you are going to meet and who might be able to help you.

7. Clients.
Network with your companies clients! They have seen your good work first hand.

8. Suppliers.
Connect with people you buy from.

9. Service providers. 
Network with your doctor, dentist, hairdresser, accountant, car mechanic. Give them your 20 second elevator pitch.

10. Fellow volunteers.
If you are volunteering - network with your fellow volunteers.

A career coach can help you with networking strategies.

You might also be interested in reading: The complete guide to networking.

How to answer "where do you see yourself in five years"

A common interview question is "where do you see yourself in five years?" What the interviewer is really trying to determine is where your personal career goals coincide with the growth path for the position you are applying for. Some companies are looking for someone who wants to grow in to bigger roles but other companies want someone who will master the role they are applying for and keep doing it for many years to come. You probably won't know what kind of company you are talking to in the interview, so how do you answer this question?

Be general.
Don't be too specific in your answer. Unless you know for sure it's a company that wants employees to grow in to bigger roles don't tell them exactly what job title you want in five years time. It's safer to just give a general answer.

Focus on a long term career.
Explain you are looking for a long term career with the company. This shows you are really interested in the company itself and you aren't just looking for a job anywhere. Demonstrate to them that you intend to stick around and you won't leave in two years time. 

Mastering the role.
Focus on wanting to learn as much about the role as possible. Show them that you are interested in the role and you want to be able to do excellent work for the company. Let me know you have a growth mindset.

My current goal is to find a position at a company where I can grow and help with new challenges in time. In the future I’d like to take on more responsibility and get involved in projects. Most importantly, I want to work for an organization where I can contribute for the long term.

A career coach can help you prepare for an interview.

You might also be interested in reading: Questions you should not answer in an interview.