The Career Doctor™

by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez

Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers? Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of your own, use our anonymous form, and she might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here. Contact information is here.


Dear Career Doctor:

I am 30 years old with a Bachelors Degree in Business and have been in the insurance industry for about six years. Recently, I was laid off due to corporate downsizing. I've applied for numerous positions in my area but haven't heard any responses. I've recently been directed toward Cemetery Sales, however I've never known anyone in this industry and am not sure it will provide enough income to support my family. What do you think?

David H.

Dear David:

I think several things.

1. To get a job in sales, you have to sell yourself. And the key selling points in a sales resume are numbers that show you sold a lot of product. Employers want to read things like, "Increased sales by x% each year," or "Sales increased by x% when I took over the territory," or " Generated sales of $$$$ each year." So, if you haven't been selling yourself by quoting such numbers, rework your resume.

2. If you don't have the kind of numbers that will entice a future employer, there are many other ways you can use the talents and experience you developed in insurance sales. For example, many people in your field are good at meeting people and being articulate when explaining the benefits of various products and institutions. That's what helped a client of mine switch from sales to a position in recruiting/admissions for a local college. Another client of mine switched from sales to high school teaching -- selling math to students. A vocational interest test like the Strong Interest Inventory along with a little career counseling might help you to figure out a new way to use your skills and talents.

3. If you want to find out more about Cemetery Sales, The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association in Sterling, Virginia lists many openings in the field on their web site Perhaps if you call them (1-800-695-7700) they can tell you about the kind of income you might expect in the field.

4. For help to explore a wider variety of sales opportunities, you might want to get Weddle's WizNotes for Sales and Marketing Professionals, which is a guide to various job boards on the internet. If your library doesn't have a recent copy, call Weddle's at 317-916-9424 and buy your own.

The Career Doctor

The Career Doctor cannot answer every question here, and she does not respond to personal emails. Please use this form to ask your question.

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The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.

Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.