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Sunday, September 10, 2017

To Age Well, Change How You Feel About Aging

"Negative stereotypes about getting older can become a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Editor’s Note: Theory—Thinking bad thoughts about the aging process could actually be doing you harm according to this article in the Wall St. Journal. The article discusses the positive effects of aging and how to embrace the process.
From the article:

14 Job Interview Problems & Solutions for Baby Boomers

Those in transition do face uphill climbs in these troubled employment waters. One group particularly impacted dramatically is the “seasoned” worker AKA, the Baby Boomer.

In life, perception is often reality and there are many perceptions of the mature candidate. Those who fall into this category must anticipate what they potentially are and be prepared to overcome them. Let’s examine these areas of concern, both spoken and unspoken, that many employers consider when interviewing the Baby Boomer generation.

Perception #1: Baby Boomers are “overpriced”. Because of this, they are more likely to be made redundant in a bad economy. Younger workers are more “affordable”. Even if older workers are willing to take a pay cut or make a lateral move in regard to money to get the job, employers sometimes fear that their job satisfaction will be compromised at a lower or equal salary and that they won’t stay or be motivated.

Perception #2: They’re settling. Employers fear that if the mature candidate has been unemployed awhile and previously employed in a capacity beyond that for which they’re interviewing, they’re only willing to take the position until something better comes along. In other words, they simply need a job.

Perception #3: They’re looking for a retirement home. Motivations are attributed to having a place to hang their hat for a few years and get benefits. This is usually far from the truth, but can be a concern nonetheless.

Perception #4: They’ve lost the “edge”. An underlying fear here is that older workers won’t have the same drive and determination (otherwise most often referred to as ‘fire in the belly’) as they once did, the belief being that their younger counterparts may be “hungrier”.

Perception #5: Their credentials aren’t equivalent to those of their younger counterparts. Sometimes older workers don’t have the same educational credentials as younger workers. Baby Boomers more often went to the ’school of hard knocks’ as opposed to going the traditional educational route as is more common today. An education back then, though important, didn’t carry the weight it does today in many companies and organizations.

Perception #6: They’re job hoppers. Older workers have more jobs on their resume, leading to the perception that they’re ‘job hoppers’ regardless of time frame involved.

Perception #7: They have too many expenses attached to them. Health insurance costs are higher for older workers. It’s a practical consideration for employers who provide health coverage to their employees, maybe even more of a consideration today with the possible changes in the healthcare system being discussed.

Perception #8: They’re limited in flexibility. Younger workers tend to be more mobile either to relocate or travel, whether now or in the future. In some careers, that can be a benefit to a corporation.

Perception #9: They’re overqualified. This perception can be valid. Older workers often find themselves interviewing for positions with someone they could easily have managed themselves at some point in their careers. It can be intimidating to a younger manager.

Perception #10: They’re likely to be dissatisfied. The longer a career, the more likely a person may have gone the entrepreneurial route at some point, leading to the perception that they won’t be happy in a corporate environment working for someone else.

Perception #11: They don’t portray the right image for the company or fit with the culture. Appearance is a factor, especially in sales positions or any position where you’re meeting with the public. Older people sometimes face discrimination based on the ‘image factor’. Whether fair or not, it is reality.

Perception #12: They’re outdated. Their skills may be outdated, especially in technical areas like computers. Older workers may not be able to keep up with the Gen Y’er’s in terms of computer social networking abilities. This is changing as the mature worker becomes more Internet-aware but it is still a reservation on the part of some younger managers.

Perception #13: They’re rigid. The “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” mentality is a factor. There are concerns that mature employees won’t be able to adapt to new ways of doing things or that they are set in their ways and have preconceived views of how things are and should be.

Perception #14: They’re not moldable. Employers very often like to ‘grow their own’. A younger worker is perceived as more trainable and moldable. Many companies like to train people themselves and older workers are sometimes perceived as coming with ‘baggage’ from their previous employers.

A long list, isn’t it? It can be daunting and also a bit unsettling if you’re getting older. It would seem with all these possible roadblocks, a seasoned job hunter would never get hired. Let’s dispel that myth. It happens every day, but to bust that myth in your own personal situation, being forewarned is forearmed. If you understand the mindset of some employers and interviewers and the possible perceptions you’ll face, you can be ready to deal with and overcome them to your advantage.

What do older workers bring to the table that can overcome these objections? A number of things:

1. Life experience. This can not be bought or learned in a college. Traveling the road of life, you learn to deal with a myriad of situations and gain the ability to overcome obstacles. Common sense can’t be taught or easily gained without experience.

2. Skills to overcome adversity. Mature candidates generally are more adept at problem solving and have a track record of doing so. Again, it comes with experience.

3. Stability. An older person is actually NOT as likely to ‘job hop’ within a year or two. The younger candidate is far more likely to move from one company to another for a slight increase in salary, title, or opportunity.

4. Commitment. Loyalty is usually highly valued by older workers. Their parents worked for decades at companies and had the “gold watch at retirement mentality”. That attitude is ingrained in the Baby Boomer generation as well to some degree. They tend to be very committed to the company they are employed with and have a strong loyalty to their manager. I have seen this many times in my recruiting career. The more mature a candidate is, the harder he is to woo and recruit.

5. The ability to take on a mentoring role. There is research now that indicates that the Gen Yer’s who have a reputation for doing things in an ‘out of the box’ fashion are embracing the traditional as a ‘new way’. They value the input from Baby Boomers in the workplace. They often want to learn from them and use them as mentors in furthering their career objectives.

6. Less conflicts. Older workers are not as likely to have family issues that interfere with their jobs. Their children are grown, gone, and established.

7. High motivation on a practical level. Often the older employee is the sole or primary bread winner. The younger worker is often part of a dual income family.

8. Connections. They likely have business relationships that have deep roots based on longevity. Younger workers have a web of contacts as well, but the nature of that network is different. An older worker’s network of contacts, friends and business associates is often deep, rich, and based on lifelong relationships.

How can you, as a mature candidate compete in this marathon to the job offer?

1. Bearing all of the above advantages in mind, don’t underestimate your value. Incorporate some of these concepts into your interview presentation, especially if you run into objections.

2. Stay abreast of changes in the industry you have experience in. All industries evolve, change and adapt to the fluctuations of the market. Stay on top of the industry trends.

3. Learn to be a social networking whiz. Okay, I never believed personally that I’d be a social networking devotee, but I am. It’s becoming essential in this world. Know that and decide to be aware and active.

4. Take classes to enhance skills you lack. These might include computer skills, technical skills that are industry specific, or enhancing your public speaking if that’s a benefit. Keep learning!

5. Learn to package your skills in accordance with the employer specifications. Past duties and functions are of value if packaged correctly and portrayed in the right way.

6. Stay active in order to demonstrate the ‘fire in the belly’ attitude. Drive and determination are still highly desired in employees, and older workers who can show that they continue to meet and exceed their life goals have a better chance of finding gainful employment.

Above all, keep a positive attitude and remember: you still have a lot to give.

~~Mark Ste. Marie

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

6 Ways To Kill Your Job Search Without Knowing

Free Online Workshop "How to Get a Job in 6 Weeks - Guaranteed" Register Here

Recruitment Revolution recently polled 1700 companies where “employers reveal most off-putting traits displayed by job applicants.”   There are a couple of very revealing conclusions. First you better be thinking about how you present yourself to the outside world before you NEED to find a new job. 

What you write and say on social media sites WILL likely be viewed by a prospective recruiter or employer. So those innocent posts with photos on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can turn into a magnifying lens in which a recruiter can be Judge and Jury without you ever getting cross examined. 

Here are the 6 Ways You Can Kill Your Job Search Without Knowing.

  1. Abbreviating when you write. Ex. “TTYL” Talk to you later.
  2. Spelling errors on your social media, resume and emails.
  3. Listing your other interests and hobbies that are fun, but not necessarily good employee traits. Like partying instead of scuba diving.
  4. During interviews avoiding eye contact, bad breath and confrontational body language.
  5. 73% of Employers checked social media before hiring. Yes if you post it then assume it part of “your permanent record”.
  6. Dressing too Casual.

All of these self destructive behaviors can be modified with very little effort. Why not give yourself an edge in the race to a new career or job.  What other traits have you seen that are self destructive?

Your Personal Branding as an Older Worker

What Sets You Apart?

Personal branding is the act of letting your identity be known and showing the qualities that set you apart from others in your area of discipline. It comprises a combination of skills and talents alongside style and personality. In other words, it requires having a clear message of who you are, what direction you are going in, as well as the experience you have. You are letting the hiring manager be aware of your identity so that you are not just part of the faceless crowd.

Personal branding comes with lots of advantages. Besides highlighting your personal strengths, personal branding can help pull your resume from the bottom to the top of the pile and make you an outstanding interviewer.
Here are some tips to help prepare yourself for a new job:

  • Brainstorm: Take some time to think about what to include in your personal brand. You can do this by going over your resume, understanding the leadership qualities you possess and your work ethic. Determine the path or direction you want to take your career in and also figure out the type of projects you are mostly drawn to. Then, develop a big plan on how to express this to the hiring managers and recruiters.
  • New Market, New Skill: You have to accept the fact that you are competing in a marketplace which is entirely different from what you had in the past. Consequently, you have to learn about the new workplace, accept and leverage it to your advantage. You can do this by trying to understand the generational differences. For example, there is a myth that older workers are not usually energetic or tech savvy. However, they are generally taken to be reliable, honest, hardworking and loyal. Take the positive assumptions, and use them to your advantage. Efforts should be made at addressing the negative ones.
  • Technology and social media: Brush up your knowledge about the latest technologies and get yourself engaged in the use of social media. Show your prospective employer your willingness to learn new things. Social media is a great platform to start your personal branding. Therefore, you have to build a social media friendly resume and ensure its done the right way by not making blind submissions to different websites. The idea is to create a resume that would be so dynamic that it becomes readily accessible through searching, distributing and sharing. The resume should be able to:
  • Accurately portray who you are as a brand.
  • Attract hiring managers, recruiters and job opportunities to you, instead of going about making blind submissions.
  • Showcase your abilities, talents as well as what you look for in a job. You can create a personalized resume by clicking here.
  • You can also make use of a cover letter. A cover letter represents a better place to make your personality known. Be unique and discuss why you would be a better choice over your younger colleagues. Start creating cover letters that get interviews by clicking here.
  • Posting your information on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr and others is a good way to get started.
  • Make Yourself Stand Out: This involves convincing the hiring managers that you are a very rare talent. Start by expanding your thinking about your own particular capabilities, then tell it to the world. And make sure you describe your unique personal brand value in everything you do. You can do this by creating an online profile and identity, building your network, connecting with local groups and associations, and seeking out volunteer opportunities.

Studies have shown that most workers who seek job opportunities at mature ages usually find the new job more appealing when compared to the old job. Therefore, ask yourself how you could combine your vast knowledge, experience, and personality to produce something that a younger counterpart cannot. In other words, regardless of your age, you can always brand yourself and stand out.

CLICK HERE for a complete schedule of online workshops and resources to prepare you for your new career.