Dear J.T. & Dale: When May came around last year, my wife was ill and I was worn out and felt that I needed some time to regroup, so I voluntarily resigned my position. Six months ago I was ready to look for something new but have been unable to find a position. I've had some interviews, but they have gotten me nowhere. I am thinking about doing a mock interview for help. Any advice would be welcomed. - Chris

Dale: The job-search process comes down to just three steps: Spotting openings, getting interviews and getting offers. The problem is that each step requires a different skill set. To wildly oversimplify, let's say the first stage is research/networking, the second is sales and the third is presentation skills. You are getting past the first two tests, Chris, so you just need to work on the third. That's where the mock interviews will be invaluable. No one would, say, sing the national anthem at a ballgame without rehearsing, but job searchers forget they have a lot of career notes to hit in an interview and need to rehearse them.

J.T.: Ideally, the mock interview would be with a career counselor or someone who's done lots of hiring. He or she can tell you if you are promoting yourself properly. Times have changed. Employers are looking for talent that knows how to jump in and get things moving with little instruction. Everyone who's working is feeling overworked, so it's important to show how your years of experience will help. That's why it sounds like you might benefit from getting some help with your personal brand. You've got to tighten up your messaging and start to knock on the doors of people who absolutely use/need/demand what you are selling. How can employers use your expertise right now?

Dale: Said another way, you don't sell your qualifications - those are in your resume, and they're what got you the interview - rather, when you get in front of the hiring manager, you demonstrate helpfulness, how you can be of immediate use. Practice that in mock interviews and let us know if the interviews turn around for you.