Friday, December 14, 2012

Best Companies to Work for in Engineering

Universum Communications Inc. recently asked 60,000 undergraduate students on the brink of graduation to provide employer rankings in terms of companies they would like to work for in Engineering. The top ten are:

1.   NASA
2.   Boeing
3.   Lockheed Martin Corporation
4.   Google
5.   General Electric
6.   Apple
7.   U.S. Department of Energy
8.   Exxon Mobil Corporation
9.   Walt Disney Company
10. BMW

In future blogs we will let you know the top 10 in Information Technology, and Natural Science. Stay tuned!

Is a Law School Worth the Money?

I had expressed in my May 2012 CareerQuest newsletter (which can be seen in the Newsletter Archive on my website, ), that you need to tread cautiously before you choose law as your profession. I had made eight different key points for evaluation.

Here is a differing viewpoint and I respectfully present it here. In The New York Times of Thursday, November 29, 2012, Lawrence E. Mitchell, Dean of Case Western Reserve University's Law School, defends law education and its usefulness in society. His central thought is: Stop the relentless attacks. There are jobs, and they pay well.

You be the judge in your very own case.    

Friday, December 07, 2012

Best Companies to Work for in Business

Universum Communications Inc. recently asked 60,000 undergraduate students on the brink of graduation to provide employer rankings in terms of companies they would like to work for in Business. The top ten are:

1.   Google
2.   Apple
3.   Walt Disney Company
4.   Ernst & Young
5.   Deloitte
6.   J. P. Morgan
7.   Nike
8.   PwC
9.   Goldman Sachs

In future blogs we will let you know the top 10 in Engineering, Information Technology, and Natural Science. Stay tuned!   

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wishing You a Happy Holiday Season!

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, Proud Kwanzaa, and a Happy New Year from CareerQuest!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Blessed Beyond Measure

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pang of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can worship without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death, you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish somewhere, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If your parents are still alive and still married, you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder, you are blessed because in a world that is dying from lack of touch, you can offer a healing embrace.

If you can read this message, you have just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

Have a pleasant and productive day, count your blessings (not just at Thanksgiving but all year long), and pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

Author unknown (Text slightly modified by Don Sutaria)

Angels in America

A True Thanksgiving Story—1963

On Thanksgiving Day, 1963, an international student was in an empty dormitory room at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. He had arrived just a few weeks ago from Bombay, India, to pursue a Master's degree in Engineering. He had no idea that the USA practically shuts down at Thanksgiving, especially a town of 2,000 people. There is absolutely no place to eat, even if you have the money. Even the Student Union with its vending machines was locked up. He had stayed behind to get an early start on his thesis.

The only thing he had in his room were two small boxes of individual portion cereals he had saved from his breakfast about a week ago, since meals were provided in the dormitory.

What a dilemma! The campus was deserted. If hunger would make him feel faint, what should he do? Knock on the doors of local houses and beg for food?!

Lo and behold, about 9:00 a.m. there was a knock on his door. A local college senior, John Buzenberg, was going from dormitory to dormitory, knocking on every door to ensure that the stranded international students had a place to eat the Thanksgiving turkey. When he had finished, he had gathered up no less than 12 students from Nigeria, Taiwan, China, India, Pakistan, Holland, and several other countries. He would not take no for an answer. At about 12:00 noon he had brought his family station wagon several times and taken all the invitees to his home in the same town, less than five miles away.

A big Thanksgiving feast was spread at long makeshift tables to accommodate about 20 family members and 12 or so students. The festivities went on until 8:00 p.m. when John drove all the students back to their dormitory rooms.

Do you believe in Angels, God's Secret Messengers? I for one, do! In case you haven't guessed as yet, the name of the stranded student was Don Sutaria.

Pass It On.


A True Thanksgiving Story—1998

Dear reader, after the 1963 Thanksgiving story fast forward to 1998, Thanksgiving eve.

My son Dale, who was 19 at that time, was studying at Parsons School of Design (The New School University) in New York City. He asked his mom Elizabeth and I if he could bring a guest home for Thanksgiving dinner. His mom and I said yes without hesitation. He explained to us immediately afterwards that his name was Jimmy Smith, and he was a homeless alcoholic. Dale had befriended him because he slept on the steps of his dormitory all year round.

Our answer was still yes. I am sure Dale was testing mom and dad to see if they were going to live up to their set of values. Our motivation was also a message given by a great man from Galilee many years ago, which I do not fully claim to understand or always follow: "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers, you did for me."

Dale and Jimmy arrived from New York on a bus and we picked them up in Union, New Jersey, on Thanksgiving eve. There were no major surprises. Jimmy was reasonably sober but had a faint odor of alcohol in his breath. He probably had not shaved, showered or washed his clothes for a number of days. After giving him a good Thanksgiving meal to eat, the next order of priority was a shower and clean clothes.

We had set up his bed on the convertible sofa in our living room. He was thrilled by the quietness and peace in the suburbs where he did not have to sleep in the street, clutching his belongings. He claimed that his father used to be a police officer in Madison, New Jersey. He also had a twin brother with some mental disabilities, who was living as a homeless person in New York. He spent the entire evening talking with us, until very late at night, conveying his gratitude.

He had forgotten what it was like to sleep in a normal bed. When he woke up the next morning, he said he slept like he had not slept in years. He wanted to return to New York on Thanksgiving day, so my wife drove him back. A few days later we got a report from our son Dale that Jimmy had sobered up for good, straightened out his life, got a job in road construction, and with the help of a social worker, was living in a studio apartment on his own, in Manhattan.

I don't think there is such a big deal to this true story. An act of kindness done to me in 1963 was just passed on to another human being in 1998, coincidentally enough at Thanksgiving!

Holiday Job Hunting

Lest we forget, please do not slow down in your job hunt and networking during this holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year; if anything, accelerate your search!

Note that other job hunters have temporarily dropped out of the race for two months which gives you a statistical advantage to win or bag your trophy—a desirable job.

Contrary to what the world thinks, my opinion, which bears out in practice, is this: Executives in positions with power to hire you are generally traveling less during this period. A holiday spirit prevails, and there is a greater mood of courtesy and charity. Managers have more time to talk with you and are relaxed. Budgets are also being prepared for the upcoming new year, which might enable them to slot you in.

The seeds you have sown in November and December may bear fruit in January. You may surprise yourself by being delivered a belated holiday gift—a new job—in the size, style and color you always wanted!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Activity versus Accomplishment

                                   Activity versus Accomplishment

During the early part of my career, I had a boss, Bob, who kept a thread-bare unimpressive office but was very effective in getting work done. At the same time he maintained good human relationships, even in a factory with a very strong union. I admired him a lot. One day I asked him the secret of his success.

Here is what he said to me, "Don, never confuse Activity for Accomplishment. Also, Under Promise and Over Deliver." Wow, what a great philosophy! I have tried to think about it frequently over the years and tried to follow the dictum as best as I could.

Take a moment to think about your own job. Various studies have shown that on the average a white-collared worker is effective about 55% of the time. The most effective ones reach about 70%. What it translates to is that there is always a better way of doing something and it is our responsibility to find it. This was also the motto of the inventor, Thomas Alva Edison.

Unfortunately, in many unenlightened companies, face time is rewarded, instead of accomplishments. This is, of course, a carryover from the industrial age mentality of production lines.

Perhaps the legal profession is most guilty of perpetuating the activity concept by resorting to billing by the hour. However, this concept is slowly changing by clients' insistence on fixed-price contracts.

Visibility of an individual may cause an illusion of high accomplishments. Nothing can be further from the truth. Time and again, surveys of high level managers have shown that individuals who are seen in the office a lot, including early mornings, late evenings and weekends are considered highly dependable, reliable, committed and dedicated, regardless of true and meaningful accomplishments! Face time has been confused for effectiveness, a sad state of affairs.

If you want to increase your effectiveness, you may have to learn to limit the number and duration of meetings, reduce unnecessary reading by selecting only the relevant portions, and even write faster for the first complete draft. If this makes sense to you try to take a first humble step. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tyranny of the Urgent!

Perhaps you have heard the saying: If you need something important to be done, give it to the busiest person and they will get it done! There is a lot of truth in it.

Have you ever wished for a thirty-hour day? Surely this extra time would relieve the tremendous pressure under which we live. Our lives leave a trail of unfinished tasks. Unanswered letters, unvisited friends, unwritten articles, and unread books haunt quiet moments when we stop to evaluate. We desperately need relief.

But would a thirty-hour day really solve the problem? Wouldn’t we soon be just as frustrated as we are now with our twenty-four hour allotment? A mother’s work is never finished, and neither is that of any manager, student, teacher, clergy, counselor, or anyone else we know. Nor will the passage of time help us catch up. Children grow in number and age to require more of our time. Greater experience brings more exacting assignments. So we find ourselves working more and enjoying it less.

When we stop to evaluate, we realize that our dilemma goes deeper than shortage of time; it is basically a problem of priorities. Hard work does not hurt us. We all know what it is to go full speed for long hours, totally involved in an important task. The resulting weariness is matched by a sense of achievement and joy. Not hard work, but doubt and misgiving produce anxiety as we review a month or year and become oppressed by the pile of unfinished tasks. We sense demands have driven us onto the reef of frustration. We confess, quite apart from our sins, “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.”

Several years ago an experienced manager said to me, “Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.” He didn’t realize how hard his maxim hit. It often returns to haunt and rebuke me by raising the critical problem of priorities.

We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that the important task rarely must be done today, or even this week. The urgent task calls for instant action – endless demands pressure every hour and day.

A person’s home is no longer a castle; it is no longer a place away from urgent tasks because the cellphone, home telephone, and the computer breach the walls with imperious demands. The momentary appeal of these tasks seems irresistible and important, and they devour our energy. But in the light of time’s perspective their deceptive prominence fades; with a sense of loss we recall the important tasks pushed aside. We realize we’ve become slaves to the “tyranny of the urgent.”

( Concepts from the books Tyranny of the Urgent and Freedom from Tyranny of the Urgent by Dr. Charles E. Hummel.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Strange Interview Questions Demand Strange Answers

I have been noticing a peculiar trend in the interview process since 9/11/2001. Candidates are being asked weird and wacky questions. These are not parlor games; the ulterior motive is to gain clues to your personality. They are designed to see how you demonstrate courage under fire or grace under pressure. Try to answer these six sample questions:
     1.  If you were reborn, what animal would you like to be?
     2.  What would you like to see in your obituary?
     3.  What is your philosophy of life?
     4.  Which person do you admire most?
     5.  If you just won a $20 million lottery, what would you do with your life?
     6.  Is your Mom or Dad your favorite?
There are no right or wrong answers. Be careful in answering questions related to your beliefs on religion, politics, sex and money.

[ Want to explore this topic further? Then look in Chapter 17 in my book: Career And Life Counseling From The Heart, in which you will find three dozen strange interview questions. Buy the Book. ]

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

How to Prepare for a Job Interview with the Dirty Dozen!

Do you know how to prepare effectively for a job interview?
My advice would be to first keep your self-image, self-respect and self-esteem intact. Be calm and collected during your interviews. Don't appear desperate or needy!
The twelve Dirty Dozen questions which you should be prepared to answer are:
   1.   Tell me about yourself?
   2.   Why are you leaving, or have left, your present company?
   3.   What are your three greatest work-related strengths?
   4.   What are your three greatest work-related weaknesses?
   5.   What are your five and ten-year goals?
   6.   What are your salary expectations?
   7.   How would you evaluate your current boss?
   8.   What would you do immediately after joining us?
   9.   What is your philosophy of management?
   10. Have you ever been fired?
   11. Have you fired people before?
   12. Do you have any questions?

[ Please explore Chapter 16: How to Prepare for Your Job Interviews, in Don Sutaria's book, Career And Life Counseling From The Heart.] 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Don't Send Me Your Résumé!"

What do you mean, "Don't Send Me Your Résumé!"

Then what do you expect me to do?

Don't let the title fool you! All it means is that you need to do some creative "outside-the-box-thinking".

Use every possible means for marketing yourself vigorously. We are talking about visibility and credibility. Sell yourself as a problem solver. For example:

- Networking and word-of-mouth
- Direct marketing letters
- Professional industry publications
- The Internet and a personalized web site or blog
- Writing articles
- Giving speeches
- Taking an active part in professional organizations
- Attending job fairs and trade shows

(For additional details, see Chapter 15 in Don Sutaria's highly-acclaimed book, 'Career And Life Counseling From The Heart'.)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Personal Marketing Letters

Do Personal Marketing Letters Work?

Do you want to be distinctive and stand out from the rest of the herd?

The answer to both these questions is an unequivocal 'yes'!

The person who advertised an open position has probably received hundreds of resumes and cover letters. That person is bleary eyed just looking at them. Now up pops a one-page, personalized letter, addressed to him/her by name. Intrigued, because this sender thought outside the box, the hiring person reads on.

This one-page letter is in a Problem-Action-Result format and highlights at least two major experiences which this hiring person is looking for. This is flattering to the, someone really read the advertisement before replying to it! A 'you' orientation has been used instead of the typical 'me' orientation.

The hiring manager will give you a call because of your uniqueness. Now the rest is up to you.

(For additional details, see Chapter 14 in Don Sutaria's highly-acclaimed book, 'Career and Life Counseling From The Heart'.)

Friday, July 06, 2012

How Can I Start a New Job on the Right Foot?

How Can I Start a New Job on the Right Foot?

One of the trick questions asked during job interviews is: "What would you do immediately after joining us?"

Beware! The interviewer wants to see if you are a bull in a china shop or a true professional who will be a team player and make appropriate contributions after studying the situation. No one likes a know-it-all or a ninety-day wonder.

You need to:

1. Understand the Nature of the World of Work.
2. Analyze and Utilize Your Company's Formal and Informal Communications Networks.
3. Develop Your Own Survival Techniques.

If not, you will be in-and-out of the revolving door within six months!

(For a complete treatise on this topic, read Chapter 13: How Can I Start a New Job on the Right Foot? in the classic career book, Career and Life Counseling From The Heart by Don Sutaria. Good Luck!)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Salary Negotiations.......Scary?

"He who speaks first loses." A saying from India

Would you like to leave $5,000 to $20,000 per year on the table when you accept a new job, and later on kick yourself for doing it? Salary negotiation is a very tricky issue.

In American culture we do not like to haggle or bargain. It is a normal pattern in other cultures.

Let me give you three top tips on salary negotiation.

1.   If the company has fallen in love with you, they will go through great lengths to satisfy your salary requirements.

2.   Know the salary ranges from surveys for your type of a job. Try

3.   Do not blurt out your salary requirements or your present salary until the time is ripe!

(This topic of Salary Negotiations has been discussed very thoroughly in my book, Career and Life Counseling from the Heart - Don Sutaria)

Monday, May 21, 2012

How to Develop and Execute Your Personal Marketing Campaign

It is very hard work! Here is my seven-step method.
1.   Know exactly what you want to do.
2.   Know exactly where you want to do it.
3.   Find the people in your selected companies who have the power to hire you.
4.   Develop a separate and distinctive resume for each company.
5.   Address a punchy cover letter to the hiring manager.
6.   Follow up is very vital.
7.   Write separate thank-you notes on the same day to all interviewers.
Unless you consistently and systematically follow all these steps you will not be assured of success.

(Details can be found in the book, Career And Life Counseling From the Heart - Don Sutaria.)

Friday, May 04, 2012

Steps to Career Assessment and Career Change

We are cut out to succeed in more than one career. People presently in their 20's and 30's may have two or three careers in a lifetime of work, and possibly more than a dozen jobs.

No matter what stage of life you are at, if you do not get pleasure from your work at least 80% of the time, perhaps it is time for self assessment, career assessment, and, possibly, to seek a new career.

Your hobbies and volunteer work provide some clues about a new profession you would enjoy. You can gain a great deal by reading books and possibly taking on-line tests. However, for maximum effectiveness, seeking the services of a competent career counselor or career coach is a wise move.

(This topic is thoroughly covered in my book: Career And Life Counseling From The Heart - Don Sutaria)

Monday, March 26, 2012


A good cover letter is personalized and perhaps even more important than a resume.

The seven most important points to remember for a cover letter:

1.   One page on white or ivory letter size paper and error free.
2.   Addressed to a specific person.
3.   Maximum four paragraphs.
4.   Connection between you and the company.
5.   Try not to repeat the bullets from your resume.
6.   Ask for an interview and end on a positive note.
7.   Mail cover letter and resume in a flat 9" x 12" envelope.

[ See Chapter 9: Your "Gift Wrapping" for a Resume: A Punchy Cover letter, in the book, Career and Life Counseling from the Heart, by Don Sutaria.]     

Job hunting is a lonely pursuit most of the time. It is a rare person who would not be discouraged at times. When you go into this 'Jungle', what can you carry with you to survive? Here it is:

A tea bag to remind you to relax daily and count your blessings!
A candy Kiss to remind you that everyone needs a hug everyday.
A Band Aid to remind you to heal hurt feelings.
A rubber band to remind you to be flexible.
A toothpick to remind you to pick out the best qualities in others.
An eraser to remind you that everyone makes some mistakes.
A chewing gum to remind you to stick with your goals.
A mint to remind you that you are worth a mint.

Try it! It works!  

Monday, March 19, 2012


Let's get real!
A resume alone will not get you a job!
A resume is only a calling card, a door knocker, a door opened, a tool, an advertisement to buy your services.
Your resume may get only a 5-10 second scan by the reviewer before landing in the WPB (waste paper basket!). What can you do to prevent that from happening to you!
A few sensible tips:
-- Use standard letter size paper, white or ivory, and standard type faces.
-- One-page if you have less than five years experience and up to two pages if more than five
-- Bulleted format of your accomplishments, each consisting of Problem-Action-Result
(P-A-R) concept. Use dollar savings, percentage improvements, sales increases, and
-- Chronological resumes are preferred in 90% of the cases instead of Functional resumes.

[ There are at least fifteen tips I can give. For more details, please see Chapter 8: Is Your Resume Effective? in Don Sutaria's book, Career and Life Counseling from the Heart.]

Friday, March 16, 2012


Many companies are conducting preliminary video interviews of potential candidates because of the high cost of face-to-face onterviewing. If you have learned some techniques through on-camera feedback, your chances for success improve dramatically.

Consider a camera as a neutral observer. It is non-judgmental and non-critical, unlike us human beings. What you see in the video playback is how people see you. What you see is what you get!

A good career counselor or career coach can do this drill with you.

[This topic is covered in Don Sutaria's book, CAREER AND LIFE COUNSELING FROM THE HEART, Chapter 7.]

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


You judge a book by its cover. (True or False)
First impression is the only impression. (True or False)
Well reader, what do you think?
Regardless of the maxims we have been taught, I would venture to say that we do try to judge a book by its cover and, unfortunately, the first impression is the only impression that is very long lasting. And you get only one chance to make the first impression!
Image consulting and subsequent enhancement should not be looked upon as a frivolous expense, but as a long-term investment in yourself, akin to any self-improvement program.

[For a more in-depth discussion of Image Consulting, consider buying the book, Career and Life Counseling from the Heart, by Don Sutaria.]

Monday, March 12, 2012


You would not believe me if I told you that several of my educated clients spent 80% of their job search time trying to find jobs only on the Internet. The overall results were dismal! None of them had ever landed a job with a salary exceeding $50,000 per year.
Of course the Internet is a valuable tool during the job hunting process. But that's exactly what it is, a tool! A servant! Not your master which envelopes you and consumes all your time.
I would give the Internet a 1%-2% chance of getting you a job lead in the well-paid professional categories.
I am not saying do not use the Internet.....what I am saying is guard your time during job search, and use the Internet judiciously!

Thursday, March 08, 2012


The cardinal rule to observe here is that every human being we come into contact with daily in our lives is capable of helping us and we are capable of helping them.

It is a fallacy to think that PFD is only for extroverted people. It is a skill, which can be learned with practice, like swimming!

The quickest way of showing appreciation to your networking contacts who have helped you is to write prompt and meaningful thank-you notes, including a statement of how of how you plan to follow through on their suggestions. This is the sincerest form of flattery.

PFD is not all peaches & cream. Be prepared for a few rejections. Don't internalize rejection. Like a salesperson, move on to the next step.

(Read this full chapter in Don Sutaria's book, Career And Life Counseling From The Heart.)

Monday, March 05, 2012


Are you surprised to be told that ten years from now, half the population will be in jobs that have not yet been invented?

Did you hear of any of these jobs ten years ago?

Bioinformationalists who work with genetic information.

Innovation Officers who interact with all employees to improve business practices.

Cybrarians who will monitor and enforce policies on the Internet.

Global Work Process Coordinators to coordinate activities of employees worldwide.

Geomicrobiologists to study microorganisms to clean up the environment.

Telemedicine Technicians to provide medical treatments in remote areas.

Whisperers who are skilled at calming irate customers.

So, be prepared!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Regardless of what you have heard from the media, it is now a fact that The American Recovery Act has created over 2 million new jobs.

A good website to look into is

(Call CareerQuest - Don Sutaria - at 908-686-8400, for career coaching and career counseling.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

How to Choose a Career Counselor, Coach or Advisor

Many of you have asked me how to select a career counselor, coach or advisor. Fair question.

1. Get names from friends and past clients.

2. Call at least three counselors and evaluate them based on your needs.

3. If you have a gut feeling that the personality match between you and the counselor is poor, it is a danger sign - STOP!

(If you wish to see a more detailed 20-point plan of approach, you will find it in the book, Career and Life Counseling from the Heart, by Don Sutaria.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

How to Discover Your Passion and Calling in the World of Work
(Where Do I Go From Here with My Life?)

Folks, check your coffee cups from Starbucks. You may find Po Bronson's quote, "Failure's hard, but success is far more dangerous. If you're successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise and money and opportunity can lock you in forever."

Note that the choice isn't about a career search so much as an identity quest.

You must know what you love to do, and make that passion your work.

[ If the above statements intrigue you, buy the book, Career and Life Counseling from the Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!), by Don Sutaria.]