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Labor Day Resolutions are career suggestions to help you focus on the value of this year’s accomplishments. Do you still remember your New Year’s resolutions?

The first Monday in September means something different to each of us. It is the last three-day weekend getaway that bids farewell to the summer.

Labor Day was created to celebrate the contribution of our work force to American industry and national prosperity. Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894 by President Cleveland. In 1898, Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor, called it "the day for which the toilers in past centuries looked forward, when their rights and their wrongs would be discussed…that the workers of our day may not only lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel stronger for it."

Labor Day is a benchmark date that tells us the year is almost two-thirds over and it is time to re-work our goals and plans to finish the year on a positive note. This is a good time to examine our progress using the Top Ten Resolutions as a guide.


  1. Resume
    I resolve to update all my accomplishments and responsibilities. I will always have a digital resume prepared and ready to e-mail at a moment’s notice.
  2. Networking
    I resolve to add new contacts every week. I will greet each day as an opportunity to expand my relationships.
  3. Mentors
    I resolve to find a mentor at my company. I resolve to become a mentor. I understand the ‘what goes around, comes around’ concept.
  4. Bonus Payout
    I resolve to check my pay stubs, so I will be able to estimate my total income, including bonuses for the year.
  5. Expenses
    I resolve that now is the time to estimate my tax-deductible expenses. Do I need to spend to save on taxes?
  6. Lifestyle
    I resolve to enjoy and maximize my personal time every day. I will maximize my use of the scraps of time available each day.
  7. Goals
    I resolve to reset realistic goals attainable by December 31.
  8. Job Search
    I resolve to be always in a job search state of mind. I will be open to all opportunities.
  9. Health
    I resolve to be conscience of my health, exercise and eat right. If I have my health, I have everything. I understand that no amount of money can replace a neglected body.
  10. Family
    I resolve to be ever vigilant on maintaining a nourishing balance between work, family and friends.


Think twice, maybe three times! I received a resume from a candidate in good standing, known to our firm for several years. He had pressed his company hard for a salary increase, since he worked for over two years without an increase. After three months of conversations with his boss, he received a well-deserved salary increase of seven percent. He was pink-slipped eight months later. He was kissed goodbye, in part, because he was too expensive to keep. Later, he learned he was replaced by a junior member of his department, at a much lower salary. He thought his pay raise was a vote of confidence. Instead, he was unprepared for a job search and blind-sided by his termination.

The following tips and questions will help you decide if a raise is right or you should hold tight.

What is the status of your employer’s economic health? Are there rumors of a cutback? Are employees nervous? If a public company, what is Wall Street saying about your company? What is the bottom-line on sales and profits?

Ask yourself: "How does my salary compare with others at my level of responsibility in this department?" One of the biggest mistakes is not knowing how your salary compares, so survey your peers. If you are in the top twenty-five percent salary range, asking for a raise can red flag you as an opportunist.

Evaluate how your salary compares to others in the industry? At industry conferences or conventions, quiz your peers to see if your income is on par. If you learn that you are well paid, you might delay asking for a raise. Contact an executive recruiter that specializes in your industry or profession. They work with the current salary ranges on a daily basis.

Based on your research, you may decide not to ask for a pay raise, but there are other options to increase your compensation. Ask for your bonus percentage to be increased, based on performance. Therefore, if you perform above their expectations and increase revenue or reduce expenses, you will have earned the extra money. Ask for educational assistance to increase your value to the company. Your company may be open to reimburse you upon completion of pre-approved courses. Ask for a long-term incentive, such as stock options or an increase in the matching savings plan. Ask for medical plan assistance, maybe the company will pay the premium for your dependents.

The following is an e-mail response to career advice for an ex-felon, which was published in a past column, and dealt with starting over after a felony conviction.

Dear Headhunter,

People with a felony conviction can get what is called a "Certificate of Rehabilitation" (COR) in the state of California. A COR enhances an ex-felon’s potential for becoming licensed by state boards. It serves as an official document to demonstrate the ex-felons rehabilitation, which could enhance employment possibilities. It also serves as an automatic application for a pardon.
A person can pick up the COR forms at any courthouse in the county clerks office. The public defender’s office is required to assist a person in processing the case, but one can call a private attorney and ask if they want to do it pro bono. Even with a COR, an ex-felon is still required to acknowledge their conviction on a job application that asks, but it looks better if you can write that you have a COR. You must have lived in California and been off parole for five years to apply for the COR. I hope this helps someone.

Thanks, An ex-felon who cares

Dear Who Cares,

Thanks for your great e-mail and important information. I’m sure it will be helpful to some of our readers.

PLEASE NOTE: emails received become the property of "Dear Headhunter" and may be published unless otherwise requested. Questions may be edited for content and length. All questions will be reviewed, some without a reply.

George Gurney has been a leader in the employment industry since 1976. He founded an executive search firm that conducts domestic and international assignments.  He has won numerous awards for recruiting excellence.  He has been a guest speaker at national conventions and seminars.