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Monday, October 27, 2014

7 Mistakes Job Seekers Over 50 Make and How to Avoid Them

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A good portion of the e-mail I receive is from readers over age 50 who are looking for work after a layoff. Many tell me they found their last job more than a decade ago, in the classifieds of their local newspaper. Many more say they're daunted -- understandably so -- by the foul job market, the prospect of ageism and the likelihood of being interviewed by someone half their age

All of them worry about the generalizations some short-sighted employers make about older workers. Either they see you as overqualified and overpriced, or they believe you're inflexible and technologically challenged. Perhaps they suspect you're just biding your time and taking up space until retirement rolls around.

We've all heard countless career experts (yours truly included) offer the same old job hunting solutions for workers over 50:

But platitudes will only get you so far. So let's talk about the top mistakes that hopeful hires over age 50 make and how to avoid them.

Telling Yourself That No One Hires Older Workers

I hear a lot of 50- and 60-somethings make this complaint. Yes, older candidates have to work harder to overcome discrimination, and no, it's not fair. But that doesn't mean every employer is hell-bent on shutting out all candidates over 35.

Example: The site lists more than 30,000 full-time and part-time jobs nationwide with "age-friendly employers." Other job sites that cater to older workers: Jobs 4.0, Retired Brains, Seniors4Hire and In addition, AARP offers this list of the best employers for workers over 50.

So, please, don't tell me no one's hiring older workers.

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Putting an Expiration Date on Contacts 

You've been on this crazy hamster wheel we call "work" for at least three decades now, so you might as well milk the vast contact list you've amassed for all its worth. It's perfectly acceptable to reach out to former employers, co-workers, vendors, classmates and other colleagues you haven't corresponded with in a decade or two. (Searching sites like LinkedIn and Facebook make finding them a snap.) Not only will your peers understand, more of them are likely reaching out to their long-lost contacts, too.

Get Your Free: 49 Benefits To Hiring An Older Skilled Worker.

Click here to read part 2 of this article


¤ Over 40? How to Sell Yourself at a Job Interview

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Do you Know How to Turn Tough Interviewer Questions Into Knock Out Strengths?

By: Bobby Edelman  
Once at the interview, you are going to be asked a lot of questions by your potential employer. They will ask about you in particular such as what your strengths and weaknesses are. You might want to prepare for answering questions by listing some of your attributes. Talk to former co-workers with whom you worked closely. Ask them to list some traits about you that they most admired -- work related, of course.

Try to find some faults as well. You won't, obviously, spontaneously tell a prospective employer about these faults, but you may be asked to. One question that sometimes comes up in an interview is "What is something that has been a problem for you at work?" By studying your faults, you will be able to choose one that is somewhat innocuous or could be turned around into a positive.

For example, I’ve always been a very organized person – almost to the point of obsessiveness. However, employers look at organizational skills as assets not liabilities. So in an interview, I would tell them one of my shortcomings was that I wanted to be too organized.
Practice how you will answer possible questions in an interview. You want to seem somewhat spontaneous, but you also want to appear self-confident. The way to do that is to rehearse, not exactly what you will say, but how you will say it.

A great method is to rehearse in front of a video camera. Study your posture, the way you make eye contact, and your body language. If you don't have a video camera, a mirror will do. Have a friend do mock interviews with you. The more you repeat a scenario, the more comfortable you will begin to feel with it.

When it comes down to it, isn't this the main point of the interview? Speak slowly and clearly. I tend to speak very quickly, so this is something I must pay careful attention to when I am on an interview. Pause before you answer a question. Your answers will seem less rehearsed and it will give you a chance to collect your thoughts. Keep in mind that a very brief pause may seem like an eternity to you. It's not.

Since the interviewer's job is to make sure that not only your skill, but your personality as well, is a good match, you must establish rapport with the person or persons interviewing you. That begins the instant you walk in the door. Let the interviewer set the tone.

Nothing is as awkward as offering your hand and having the gesture not returned by the other person. Therefore you should wait for the interviewer to offer his or her hand first, but be ready to offer your hand immediately. Some experts suggest talking at the same rate and tone as the interviewer. For example, if the interviewer is speaking softly, so should you.

It’s alright for you to show your true personality, but be careful not to go too over-the-top. I am a very bubbly, naturally outgoing person who tends to get a little hyperactive in stressful situations. I also have a gift for humor which tends to make people feel comfortable with me.

In job interviews, I’ll try to tone down the excessive energy that I usually have and inject some humor into the conversation. This helps relax both me and the person doing the interview and we’re able to communicate much easier.

They say that body language gives more away about us than speech. Eye contact is very important but make sure it looks natural. A smiling, relaxed face is very inviting. Hands resting casually in your lap rather than arms folded across your chest also is more inviting. If you normally move your hands around a lot when you speak, tone it down some. You don't want to look too stiff, but you don't want to look like you're a bundle of nervous energy.

So what kind of questions can you expect during your job interview? Here are a few to think about along with some possible answers:
  • Tell me about yourself. (They are not looking for personal information here)
My background to date has been centered on preparing myself to become the very best _____ I can become. Let me tell you specifically how I've prepared myself...

  • Why should I hire you?
Because I sincerely believe that I'm the best person for the job. I realize that there are many other college students that have the ability to do this job. I also have that ability. But I also bring an additional quality that makes me the very best person for the job--my attitude for excellence. Not just giving lip service to excellence, but putting every part of myself into achieving it. In ... and ... I have consistently reached for becoming the very best I can become by doing the following...

  • What is your long-range objective? Where do you want to be 10 or 15 years from now?

Although it's certainly difficult to predict things far into the future, I know what direction I want to develop toward. Within five years, I would like to become the very best _____ your company has. I would like to become the expert that others rely upon. And in doing so, I feel I will be fully prepared to take on any greater responsibilities that might be presented in the long term.

  • How has your education prepared you for your career?

As you will note on my resume, I've taken not only the required core classes in the _____ field, I've also gone above and beyond. I've taken every class the college has to offer in the field and also completed an independent study project specifically in this area. But it's not just taking the classes to gain academic knowledge I've taken each class, both inside and outside of my major, with this profession in mind. So when we're studying _____ in _____, I've viewed it from the perspective of _____. In addition, I've always tried to keep a practical view of how the information would apply to my job. Not just theory, but how it would actually apply. My capstone course project in my final semester involved developing a real-world model of _____, which is very similar to what might be used within your company...

  • What is your greatest weakness?

I would say my greatest weakness has been my lack of proper planning in the past. I would over-commit myself with too many variant tasks, then not be able to fully accomplish each as I would like. However, since I've come to recognize that weakness, I've taken steps to correct it. For example, I now carry a planning calendar in my pocket so that I can plan all of my appointments and "to do" items. Here, let me show you how I have this week planned out...

  • What attracted you to our ad over others?

I approach my job hunting strategy pretty much like I approach my work. I took some time to think about the skills I want to use on my next job, the industry I'd like to work for and the location I want. I did some research on companies that were advertising and knew this company had the qualities I am looking for in my career and future.

If you are interviewing for a sales job, it’s entirely possible that the interviewer will ask you to sell him or her something. For example, I had one prospective boss who laid a pen on the table between us and told me to “sell” him the pen. What he wanted was to see how my persuasive skills were and if I could point out the great aspects of that pen to motivate him to “buy” it.

Usually toward the end of the interviewer, the person conducting it will ask you if you have any questions. You should have some. As in every other aspect of the job search, you are trying to show the employer how you can fill their needs. By asking certain questions, you are putting yourself in the job and showing the employer how you will satisfy the employer's needs. Here are some questions you may want to ask of the interviewer:

 How to deliver the knock out answers during your next Job Interview

________________________________________________ ____________

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Confused As To What Type Of Resume Is Effective? You Are Not Alone.

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So should you prepare a Reverse Chronological Resume or perhaps a Functional Resume? There are numerous approaches and styles to consider when preparing an effective resume. Many factors can affect which approach you take including your work experience, industry and career objectives. This article is a good starting point to help both older experienced and younger inexperience job seekers understand what preparing a resume means in today's world.(Editor's Notes)

In many contexts, a résumé is short (usually one to two pages), and therefore contains only experience directly relevant to a particular position. Many résumés contain precise keywords that potential employers are looking for, make heavy use of active verbs, and display content in a flattering manner. 

In the past, résumés used to be no longer than two pages , as potential employers typically did not devote much time to reading résumé details for each applicant. In some countries employers have changed their views regarding acceptable résumé length. Since increasing numbers of job seekers and employers are using Internet-based job search engines to find and fill employment positions, longer résumés are needed for applicants to differentiate and distinguish themselves, and employers are becoming more accepting of résumés that are longer than two pages.

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Many professional résumé writers and human resources professionals believe that a résumé should be long enough so that it provides a concise, adequate, and accurate description of an applicant's employment history and skills . A résumé is a marketing tool in which the content should be adapted to suit each individual job application and/or applications aimed at a particular industry. The transmission of résumés directly to employers became increasingly popular as late as 2002 . Jobseekers were able to circumvent the job application process and reach employers through direct email contact and résumé blasting, a term meaning the mass distribution of résumés to increase personal visibility within the job market. However the mass distribution of résumés to employers often can have a negative effect on the applicant's chances of securing employment as the résumés tend not to be tailored for the specific positions the applicant is applying for. It is usually therefore more sensible to adjust the résumé for each position applied for.
The complexity and simplicity of various résumé formats tend to produce results varying from person to person, for the occupation, and to the industry. It is important to note that résumés used by medical professionals, professors, artists and people in many other specialized fields may be comparatively longer. For example, an artist's résumé, typically excluding any non-art-related employment, may include extensive lists of solo and group exhibitions.

A simple résumé is a summary typically limited to one or two pages of size A4 or Letter-size highlighting only those experiences and credentials that the author considers most relevant to the desired position. US academic CVs are typically longer.Résumés may be organized in different ways. The following are some of the more common formats:

Reverse chronological résumé:

A reverse chronological résumé enumerates a candidate's job experiences in reverse chronological order, generally covering the last 10 to 15 years.
The reverse chronological résumé format is the most commonly used by those who are not professional résumé writers. In using this format, the main body of the document becomes the Professional Experience section, starting from the most recent experience going chronologically backwards through a succession of previous experience. The reverse chronological résumé works to build credibility through experience gained, while illustrating career growth over time and filling all gaps in a career trajectory. A chronogical résumé is not recommended in the event that the job seeker has gaps in their career summary. In the United Kingdom the chronological résumé tends to extend only as far back as the subject's GCSE/Standard Grade qualifications.

Functional résumé:

A functional résumé lists work experience and skills sorted by skill area or job function.
The functional résumé is used to assert a focus to skills that are specific to the type of position being sought. This format directly emphasizes specific professional capabilities and utilizes experience summaries as its primary means of communicating professional competency. In contrast, the chronological résumé format will briefly highlight these competencies prior to presenting a comprehensive timeline of career growth via reverse-chronological listing with most recent experience listed first. The functional résumé works well for those making a career change, having a varied work history and with little work experience. A functional résumé is also preferred for applications to jobs that require a very specific skill set or clearly defined personality traits. A functional résumé is a good method for highlighting particular skills or experience, however, those particular skills or experience may have derived from a role which was held some time ago. Rather than focus on the length of time that has passed, the functional résumé allows the reader to quickly identify those skills.

Combination résumé:

The combination résumé balances the functional and chronological approaches. A résumé organized this way typically leads with a functional list of job skills, followed by a chronological list of employers. The combination résumé has a tendency to repeat itself and is therefore less widely utilized than the other two forms.

Online résumés:

The Internet has brought about a new age for the résumé. As the search for employment has become more electronic, résumés have followed suit. It is common for employers to only accept résumés electronically, either out of practicality or preference. This electronic boom has changed much about the way résumés are written, read, and handled. Delivering a résumé in person is better than online, but if there is no other easier way, sending résumé online could be attempted. Giving a résumé in person enables the prospective employer to see you.

Job seekers must choose a file format in which to maintain their résumé. Many employers, especially recruitment agencies on their behalf, insist on receiving résumés as Microsoft Word documents. Others will only accept résumés formatted in HTML, PDF, or plain ASCII text.
Many potential employers now find candidates' résumés through search engines, which makes it more important for candidates to use appropriate keywords when writing a résumé.
Including an e-mail address in an online résumé may expose the job seeker to spam (see Spambot).
Many large employers use electronic résumé processing systems to handle large volumes of résumés. Job ads may direct applicants to email a résumé to their company or visit their website and submit a résumé in electronic format.

Some career fields include a special section listing the life-long works of the author. For computer-related fields, the softography; for musicians and composers, the discography; for actors, a filmography.
Keeping résumés online has become increasingly common for people in professions that benefit from the multimedia and rich detail that are offered by an HTML résumé, such as actors, photographers, graphic designers, developers, dancers, etc.

Job seekers are finding an ever increasing demand to have an electronic version of their résumé available to employers and professionals who use Internet recruiting at any time.
For job seekers, taking résumés online also facilitates distribution to multiple employers via Internet. Online résumé distribution services have emerged to allow job seekers to distribute their résumés to employers of their choices via email.

Another advantage to online résumés is the significant cost savings over traditional hiring methods. In the United States, the Employment Management Association has included Internet advertising in its cost-per-hire surveys for several years. In 1997, for example, it reported that the average cost-per-hire for a print ad was $3,295, while the average cost-per-hire with the Internet was $377. This in turn has cut costs for many growing organizations, as well as saving time and energy in recruitment. Prior to the development of résumés in electronic format, employers would have to sort through massive stacks of paper to find suitable candidates without any way of filtering out the poor candidates. Employers are now able to set search parameters in their database of résumés to reduce the number of résumés which must be reviewed in detail in the search for the ideal candidate.

Finally, the Internet is enabling new technologies to be employed with résumés, such as video résumés—especially popular for multimedia job seekers. Another emerging technology is graphic-enabled résumés, such as Visual CV.  Source:Wikipedia

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This Stupid Issue of Salary During a Job Search

This stupid issue of salary

Many of my clients and, I believe, most job-seekers today have great fears about revealing their salary requirements, as they're asked to do in company input form, after company input form, when applying for a given job ... and rightly so. You're trapped because they want a firm figure, not a range or words that say "salary range is open", so their input form literally forces you to choose a figure.

It's a stupid way to go about things, even from the employers' viewpoint, but they persist on doing this idiotic "dance" by asking the applicant to tell them their salary requirement before they've even reviewed their resume.

I call it stupid because it generates lots of resumes from many different people who wouldn't take the salary being offered if it were posted up front; or who might even be scared off because it looks like a heavy-duty job because it's rather high. This results in countless wasted resumes, both on the part of the sender and the employer's reader. I suppose the HR departments that foster this kind of thinking think it screens the improperly-priced applicants out, while in actuality it adds to the work everyone does that is, to put it mildly, wasted.

The smart thing to do would be to include the salary, or the range that is being considered for the salary, upfront. This would attract certain people, repel others, and limit the resumes and wasted time. It would be the upright thing to do. I might even say it would be the sensible thing to do.

Discussing salary with a third-party recruiter, however, is a completely different story. It's the wise thing to do because the third-party recruiter will, hopefully, know the salary range the employer is offering, and he or she will want to find someone who fits the requirements as well as that salary range. No wasted time or energy here.

I wish more HR people would read this and realize how stupid it is to do this kind of thing. Get the would-be employee to tell you how much they want and perhaps screen them out if they're too high, and maybe lose a highly-qualified candidate for a few lousy dollars. Somehow, that thought never seems to have entered those who build those input forms.

Some of the more progressive companies out there have begun to look at not only how well someone interviews, but how well they "fit" into the organization because they've begun to realize that having good retention rates for employees is economical and saves money in the long run, and salary isn't the be-all and end-all of that equation.

I'd welcome hearing from anybody who can defend this "salary upfront" type of thinking. To date, I haven't heard one argument in favor of it, but ... who knows? ... there could be a rational reason for it. I also welcome comments from those applicants who have encountered this and would like to share their experiences.

* * *

Lawrence M. Light has been a job coach for over fifteen years. His website is He has created a number of eBooks and Video Workshops that cover various aspects of finding, and getting, a job. Learn More Here.


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