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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.


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.

Questions you should not answer in an interview

You generally want to give an interviewer as much information about you as possible. However there are some questions that you should not, or do not have to, answer under US law.

Work status and citizenship.
Interviewers cannot ask if are you a U.S. citizen. They cannot ask where are you from or where were your parents born. They also cannot ask what is your native language is.

They can however ask if you are you authorized to work in the U.S. and what languages do you speak if it is relevant to the position.

Marital status.
Interviewers cannot ask if you are married or divorced. They cannot ask where your spouse works. They cannot ask if you have children or are you planning to have children.

Interviewers cannot ask how old you are or when were you born. They also cannot ask how long have you been working.

If it is relevant to the job (for example working in a bar) they can ask if you are you at least 18 or 21 years old.

Interviewers cannot ask if you have any disabilities or medical conditions. They cannot ask how your health is or if you take any prescription drugs. They also cannot ask about mental illness, alcoholism or if you ever been in rehab.

They can ask if re you able to perform this job with reasonable accommodation or if you have any conditions that would keep you from performing this job.

Note: Employers are allowed to require that a candidate pass a medical exam relevant to the responsibilities of the job and to pass a drug test.

Interviewers cannot ask what your religion is.

They can ask whether you can work on weekends if the position requires it.

What to do if you are asked one of these questions.
If you are asked one of these questions you have a few choices. First, you can just answer it if you think the interviewer is simply trying to get to know you. If you are comfortable answering the question then just go ahead and do it. Secondly, you can avoid the direct question and reassure them that your personal life won't interfere with your work. Lastly, if you feel comfortable doing so, you can question the relevance of the question. That might get the interviewer to ask for the information in a more appropriate way.

A career coach can help you prepare for an interview.

How to take your age out of the equation when applying for jobs

If you are over 50 you might be concerned about age discrimination when applying for jobs. Age is considered a "protected class" under employment law so companies shouldn't exclude a candidate solely on this. Unconscious bias is real however so you may want to just take your age out of the equation when applying for jobs.

Work experience.
Only include dates for your last 15 years of work experience. Create a "Prior Work Experience" section on your resume and just list the company name, location and job title. Leave out any dates or further details. Recruiters only spend 7 seconds looking at a resume so the summary, skills and last two positions should be enough information to prove you are a great candidate for the position anyway.

Do not list graduation dates with your education. This is irrelevant anyway. You can also mention your education level in your summary to highlight your studies without highlighting when you studied. 

Choose an honest but more youthful photo for your profile picture. Linkedin profiles with profiles are much more successful than those without so it is still a good idea to include a photo, just make sure it doesn't count against you. Only include the last 15 years of work experience in your Linkedin profile. In most cases that will give enough data to show the recruiter you have the relevant experience for the position.

Concentrate on highlighting your skills, achievements and transferable skills over your age. Avoid using the phrase "20+ years of experience" anywhere 1. Resume must clearly showcase transferable skills and achievements. Remember your experience is an asset to many companies and will count in your favor on your job application.

A career coach can help you create a resume and Linkedin profile that highlights your experience over your age.

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

How to get a job in 30 seconds - free webinar


Join Career Coach Barney Matthews for a free webinar on Wednesday May 20th 2020 at 1.00pm EST and learn "How to get a job in 30 seconds."

Space is limited and early registration is highly encouraged. 

Details on how to join the meeting will be sent by email on the day of the webinar.



It is recommended to join the meeting at least 5 minutes before the start of the webinar.

The webinar will be held using Google Hangouts Meet. You can access the meeting using the Google Chrome browser on your computer or the Google Hangouts Meet app on your smartphone or tablet.

> Download Chrome browser for your computer.

> Download Hangouts Meet for your Apple and Android smartphone and tablet.

> For help on Google Hangouts Meet go the Support page.