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The Power of Punctuation

Your words are an incredibly powerful business tool that you use each and every day. This is especially true during your job search. Not surprisingly, the punctuation around those words can be just as important as the words themselves.

You may have heard me preach before about the space that appears after a period at the end of a sentence. Did you know that it’s now unacceptable to include two spaces after a period? The new standard is one space after the period. If you’re like me, your teachers engrained double spacing in you as if your entire future depended on it. You can’t imagine a world with one space after a period.

To make matters worse, when the standard changed to one space, no memo was sent around. Unfortunately, those who were taught to use one space judge the double spacers. It’s assumed that a lack of intelligence must be to blame. This feeling is confirmed in an article I recently read titled, “For the Love of God, Stop Putting Two Spaces After a Period.” Now, that’s passion. Don’t you think?

I learned this single spacing lesson the hard way, from the kind editors who review my column each week. The editor of my book had also shared the feedback with me, but I was so certain about the double space that I ignored this advice until I heard it multiple times. It still surprises me how much these small details influence the reader’s interpretation of the overall message.

On top of spaces, there are other punctuation marks that should be used carefully. The most important is the exclamation point! If you use an exclamation point at all in business emails, try to keep them to a maximum of one to two per email. It’s possible to show excitement through your writing without an overuse of this mark. Using too many will make you appear overly eager, immature, or as if you’re yelling.

Keep smiley faces and other emoji-like characters out of work emails completely if possible. These are best used between friends. Using them at work can make you appear unprofessional at best.

So, which punctuation marks should you use? The most used punctuation mark is the period. Other marks that can be mixed in are the question mark, the comma, the colon, and the semicolon. These marks will help you to express your thoughts in an even, business-like way.

Writing an effective business email is truly an art. It takes time and practice to come across clearly and concisely on a computer screen. Using punctuation to your advantage is the very first step to getting there. In fact, the better your communication is at work, the more likely you are to move your ideas forward. And, the more you’re able to champion your own ideas, the more you’ll find that the doors to your career open. Although punctuation can seem like a silly detail, it’s something that’s relatively easy to improve and that will leave a lasting impact.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

148 | Boomer Career Reinvention – John Tarnoff, Reinvention Group

Episode 148 is live! This week, we talk to John Tarnoff in Los Angeles, CA.

John is a reinvention career coach who works with baby boomer and late career professionals looking to defy ageism, ignore retirement, and pivot to a new job or new business as a second-act or encore career. He is the author of “Boomer Reinvention: How to Create Your Dream Career Over 50.” John also gave a TEDx Talk titled, “The Kids Are Still Alright.”

On today’s episode, John shares:

  • What’s happened that’s impacting baby boomers negatively in the job market, and why it’s so difficult
  • The first step we should take when we’re trying to reinvent ourselves
  • How to reframe a firing and move past it
  • What we should be doing differently when we’re looking for a job
  • What to do if we’re receiving feedback we’re over qualified
  • How to overcome ageism
  • The biggest mistake Baby Boomers are making when job searching, and what they can do to fix it

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher.

To learn more about John, check out his website at You can also find John on social media here:


Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review!

You’re not the boss of me!

Happy National Boss’ Day!

In celebration of this *special* day, I have an important question. Who’s the boss of you?

I hope your answer is YOU. You’re the person who decides which risks to take. You’re the one who decides how far up the corporate ladder you want to climb.

In today’s era of ever changing careers, your own impact cannot be overstated. So, on this National Boss’ Day, I hope you’ll take a little time to think about what you want to do to better manage your own career.

Do you hope to take a continuing education class?

Do you want to volunteer to work on a new project?

Do you want to be more disciplined at work?

Do you want to take more time to network?

Do you want to update your resume and your LinkedIn profile?

Whatever your goals, don’t sit back and wait for someone else to tap you on the shoulder.

I recently interviewed Dr. Shirley Raines, the former President of the University of Memphis. Dr. Raines shared with me her own personal transformation. She went from waiting for someone to tell her she should try a new job — to asking for jobs she wanted. Although this change feels difficult, it can also be very straight-forward. To hear my entire interview with Dr. Raines, check out my interview with her on iTunes or on my website.

Shifting your mindset just a little on this issue is a game changer.

Now, this doesn’t discount the importance of your supervisor at work. They are the person who hires and fires. They will provide your future recommendation for your next job.

So, when you are searching for a new job, don’t just search for work. Look for leadership. A lack of leadership can change your career in a direction you may have never imagined.

But again, nothing substitutes for taking ownership over your own experience —   your own future — your destiny.

I hope on this National Boss’ Day, you will decide that you’re the boss of you — whether you are self-employed, or whether a corporation cuts your paycheck.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


LinkedIn’s Latest HR Tool: Talent Insights

The hiring landscape is continuously being reshaped by the internet and the increasing data available to employers. On October 4th in Nashville, Tennessee, unveiled their latest human resources product offering: LinkedIn Talent Insights. It will most likely impact how you, the job seeker, experiences the hiring process.

Talent Insights is a technology that will be used by the human resources department (and potentially the hiring manager) to better understand employment trends. It allows the human resources manager to pull data on demand, in real-time – in a format that’s easy to digest and is sharable. One goal is to increase collaboration between the hiring manager and company executives, so they may create more effective hiring strategies.

Eric Owski, Head of Product at LinkedIn, explained that LinkedIn developed the Talent Insights product using data from its over 530M members, representing 18K companies, 29K schools, and 50K skills.

LinkedIn will offer two reports. One shares data around the available talent pool, and one shares company data.

Here’s a window into how the talent pool portion of the product might work. If a hiring manager wants to hire a new electrical engineer, they will most likely reach out to human resources for assistance. The hiring manager will have many questions about the competition, and how likely it is that they will find the perfect engineer for the job. The new tool will enable the human resources manager to answer a number of questions for the hiring manager, including:

  • The number of electrical engineers located nearby
  • The number of electrical engineers who changed jobs recently
  • The number of job openings for electrical engineers nearby
  • How challenging it is to hire for electrical engineers

The company report within Talent Insights will provide the ability to benchmark a company’s competitors. It will allow the human resources team to research information including how many people are coming and going from a particular company. It will also provide a look into the skills the employees at a company have, and from which universities competitors’ recruit talent.

This type of data will have positive impacts on the hiring manager, human resources department, and the company overall. It will help employers to locate top talent outside of their local area. These insights may even encourage companies to adopt more flexible work environments (in order to recruit the best and brightest).

As a job seeker, these changes will likely create a ripple effect that will impact you. It may be easier for a company to find you – even when you’re not looking for a job. When you’re applying, the company may be more likely to see your resume. Companies may even choose to selectively show you job postings that they don’t show other people.

Although the full impact of these changes is yet to be seen, one thing’s for sure. The internet plays a critical role in today’s job search. Ensure you are using sites like LinkedIn, so you can win at the job search game!

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

Are you married, do you have children, and do you plan to have children anytime soon?

What’s the most unusual question you’ve been asked in an interview? In theory, the answer to this question should be a challenging question about your work. But, theory and reality don’t always line up.

What would you say if I told you I was once asked, “Are you married?” What if I told you I was also asked, “Do you have children?” And, what would you say if I told you I was also asked, “Do you plan to have children anytime soon?”

The first thing you may be thinking is…. “Angela, is this a joke? Surely nobody asked you these questions. They’re obviously ILLEGAL and INAPPROPRIATE! Nobody would ask these questions.

Well, if you guessed that, you would be wrong. Not only was I asked all three of these questions, but I was asked all three of these questions in ONE job interview.

You might assume that the person who asked me the questions was junior in their career. I mean, these are the kinds of things HR is supposed to brief hiring managers on, right? Wrong. The hiring manager who asked me these questions was a C-level executive at a very well known company. If I were to name the company, you’d know it. You’ve probably spent money with them before.

So, what can you about this sort of thing? Well, the first is, don’t be part of the problem. It’s obvious, but when you’re hiring, be sure to brush up on which questions you can and can’t ask candidates. To be honest, some are less obvious than you might think.

If you’re interviewing for a job and you’re asked these questions, it’s really up to you. You can answer the questions in a straight forward way, you can be direct and tell the hiring manager that the questions are illegal, or you can sidestep the questions completely.

Nobody would blame you for any reaction. You wouldn’t have blamed me if I had gotten up and left the interview, would you?

What I did may surprise you…

I answered the questions directly. Then, I made a mental note that I would not want to work for someone who was so disrespectful — and who so openly was willing to break the law by asking these questions.

If you’re asked illegal questions, just be prepared for how you might want to answer them. Remember that there’s no right way. It’s whatever you feel most comfortable with.

If you’re looking for more information on sticky legal situations that can arise during your job search, check out my podcast with employment law attorney Chip Cavagnaro.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland