Nonprofit work can help you stay active

December 11, 2005|By CAROL KLEIMAN

Dear Coach: I am retired after being in the labor force for 33 years. All is well except for one small detail: I would like to do something in my spare time and preferably earn money. But it seems old accountants aren't in demand. What can I do?

Carol Kleiman: Volunteer your accounting skills to a nonprofit agency and make yourself invaluable. Then apply for the first paying job that comes open there.

Dear Coach: After sending a rsum or having an interview with a prospective employer, is it appropriate to make follow-up phone calls? Do prospective employers consider you a pest if you do that?

Carol Kleiman: Call at least once a week for three weeks. You're not a pest. You really want the job.

Dear Coach:You consistently advise job-hunters not to answer the question, "What salary do you expect/want?" At least, not until the job offer is made.


But electronic screening automatically disqualifies any application with blanks. Is there any way I can simultaneously avoid stating a salary but avoid leaving a blank?

Carol Kleiman: You could answer with question marks preceded by a $ sign. But if you fill in a number you are at an extreme disadvantage. If you don't, you're out. The results are the same.

Maybe companies that ask you to fill in that question aren't good ones to work for.

Dear Coach: How do you know if work-at-home opportunities are legitimate? Are they all scams?

Carol Kleiman: You have to check out the companies offering at-home work before getting involved with them in any way.

Call your state attorney general or contact the Better Business Bureau.

People who have had bad experiences with work-at-home scams say that one way to ascertain their legitimacy is if they ask you for money up front for training or equipment. In that case, they say, run!

Carol Kleiman is the workplace columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Send e-mail to

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