Tag Archives: job search

Give Yourself a Gift This Season: Put Time and Energy into Job Hunting

We are often told we should step back from the job hunting during the holiday season. Friends will caution, “No one is hiring.” I’d like to suggest another approach – to continue with these very important job search tips that will help keep your momentum going. When the New Year comes through, you’ll be ready to compete in this new job market – or you may be starting a new job in the new year!

Be Prepared & Think Positively

Think positively about your job hunt. Be prepared emotionally to talk with business connections, particularly when you need to explain the reason you are in transition. Search for a way to speak dispassionately about your current job loss. Be sure to include a future statement in your explanation, so one can see your dedication to your career goal. Paint a picture of what you desire, rather than what you don’t desire and focus on what you can bring to the table.

The Law of Attraction states that we attract what we focus on. Be ready to provide several examples of what you’re looking for when describing your ideal job. Here’s a possible example: “Our department is just one of several that were downsized. I plan to use the skills I learned as a Project Manager to get a better position. This time, I’ll be looking for a vendor organization so that I can learn more about the sourcing side of the business.”

To think positively about job hunting, you may need to “drown out” all the negativity in your thinking or work them out physically through working out or exercising. You will have to upgrade your thinking and gradually move to a more positive place.

Continue Networking & Building Key Contacts

Attend holiday parties and be prepared to talk about your job search. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking. Dinner parties and other events are a great way to identify and source out new professional connections! Continue networking on a business level, and by all possible means, attend parties during this season even if you aren’t quite in the party mood.

There are some professional organizations that even provide “free” holiday parties to recruit new members. Be sure to prepare what you will say and keep business cards on hand so you can readily provide your contact details, including your LinkedIn profile link. If you do not have a business card to ouse while job hunting, take advantage of the printing specials and get one immediately.

Improve Your Resume

Polish and refine your resume. Use holiday time to create or refine your resume. A professional resume writer knows exactly what it takes to set you apart from the competition. Take advantage of the holiday season to get your resume completed and updated. Make sure your resume contains the same keywords used in the job descriptions for which you are applying. For example, if you are seeking a job in marketing, you may want to consider changing the words “advertising” and “public relations” in your resume to “marketing.” Also consider shortening the language and bumping up the font size to at least an 11-point font. Make it easy to scan through for information.

Prospective hiring managers are always very busy. Make sure they can find out all there is to know about you in a few seconds. The top one-third of the resume is prime real estate. This is where you will summarize all you have to offer as concisely as possible. Provide a brief paragraph of an executive summary of your top qualifications. Be sure you can answer questions and elaborate about anything on your resume.

Research High Demand Jobs

A great tip for securing a job quickly would be to analyze the trends for in demand careers to identify what the hot jobs will be for 2018. Analyze your skills against the skills required for these in demand careers and if there is indeed an alignment, edit your resume and marketing documents accordingly. Because yes, Human Resource Managers, Recruiters, Headhunters and companies are still searching for great talent in the month of December! You just need to show them that you can help them start the new year off right with you on board.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
–Eleanor Roosevelt

get a call back

Didn’t Get a Call Back After the Interview? Things You Can Try

We have all been there at one point or another. We’ve worked tirelessly to prepare our resumes, spent countless hours scanning job boards and employer websites for that dream job, and rearranged our schedules to attend interviews with only a few days notice. Sometimes, we’ve confidently participated in several rounds of interviews with multiple company representatives and were certain we would soon receive that offer. Then, days go by, then weeks, and we didn’t get a call back. There are many reasons why an employer may not respond after the interview – some factors you can control to try to improve your chances next time, while others are simply due to reasons that we cannot change.

Things Out of Your Control 

1. Change of Job Scope

One reason an employer may not get back to you following an interview could be that the scope of the job has been changed and the hiring manager may be working with HR to modify the job description. The hiring manager may have realized that the role entails more than previously thought or possibly that the role may need to be broken out into two separate positions. In these cases, generally, you will see a new or modified posting up within a few weeks. At this point, the recruitment and selection process will often start over from the beginning, or, they may select candidates they already interviewed who are a more ideal fit for the new position.

2. Internal Candidate Preference

Another mitigating factor could possibly have to do with an internal candidate who became interested in the role and applied for it after you participated in the interview process. Many times, employers will revisit the interview process if an internal candidate expresses interest. With the right skills and qualifications, internal candidates will, in most cases, have an edge over external prospective hires. If another candidate is selected, whether internally or externally, interviewees will rarely get a call back telling them they have not made the cut. This can be because employers are just too busy with onboarding and other activities and don’t have the time to get back to every applicant.

3. No Streamlined System to Communicate When They Selected Someone Else

HR Managers are typically time starved, and while they may have the best intentions of communicating the selection of another candidate, time slips away, and it keeps getting moved to the back burner.

Things You CAN Do to Get a Call Back

1. Test Drive Your Interview Skills More

Most of the time, when a candidate does not get an update following a great interview, it is likely because someone else was thought to be a better fit in the eyes of the hiring team. You may have had all the necessary qualifications and experience, but another candidate may have been able to express themselves better during the interview or may have possibly highlighted better examples and achievements from their prior roles. For this reason, we recommend meeting with a career coach.

Career coaches often have an HR background or have been hiring managers themselves and they have a breadth of experience in understanding most career fields and their requirements. A career coach can sit down with you and conduct mock interviews to better prepare you to answer common interview questions and determine what achievements from your background are the ideal examples to discuss. They know exactly what a recruiter and hiring manager is looking for and can guide you through potential questions and answers so you stand out from the competition in your field and get a call back.

2. Thank You Letter

One final point that is an important MUST HAVE is a thank you letter. Always send out a customized thank you letter via old-fashioned postal mail to each person with whom you interview. If you do not know who to address the letter to, ask your interviewer for a business card so you have their name and mailing address. Many times, a thank you letter will remind a hiring manager about you, especially if you were an interviewee that he/she met early in the hiring process. The thank you letter will also demonstrate that you are truly interested in the company and position while highlighting your dedication above other candidates who likely did not take the time to send a thank you note.

No matter the reason you didn’t get a call back, hold your head high and know that you gave it your best. Another door will open and trust that it will be the right door!

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. – Alexander Graham Bell

 

 

job interview strategies

Job Interview Strategies for the Over 50 Job Seeker

Perception is reality, right? Not so fast! As you know, the perception some have of job seekers over 50 is that they are overqualified, inflexible and possess limited technical skills. Let’s turn these perceptions around and nail the interview.

Tap into these job interview strategies for the best results:

1. Highlight your skills and experiences that will immediately deliver results.

By researching the company, the industry and asking questions about current issues they’re facing, you open the door for an opportunity to share solutions. Applying your hard earned knowledge to successfully problem solve showcases your abilities and further communicates that your experience and expertise can immediately impact the bottom line.

2. Share examples that demonstrate your ability to creatively innovate.

With years of professional experience and workplace knowledge comes a tendency to be stereotyped as inflexible. Communicating your willingness and ability to think outside the box is important in showing you can be innovative. One way to do this is to select and share stories about creative solutions you and you alone created and implemented. Use real-life work examples that clearly demonstrate that when it was important to shift gears, you easily did so and succeeded! This lends credibility and further provides insight into your innovate way of thinking and debunks any myths that you are resistant to change.

3. Showcase your technical knowledge by providing powerful examples of how technology improved your productivity. (AND THE ROI OF THE COMPANY!)

Lack of technical knowledge and computer skills are another concern for hiring managers when interviewing job seekers over 50. It is difficult to determine the level of computer skills in a short conversation. As part of your job interview strategy, prepare specific examples of how technology has enhanced your productivity or improved a project. Weave into the discussion your professional use of social media, highlight recent technology skills you acquired, technology articles you’ve recently read or webinars you’ve attended. Also, communicate your willingness and ability to learn new software products and provide examples of when you mastered a new technology quickly. All ages are being constantly introduced to mandatory new software or computer programs. Show how this is just the norm for you, too!

Bottom-line, job seekers over 50 have an advantage when developing job interview strategies because you are mindful of strengths, have a track record of proactively addressing weaknesses and have a breadth and depth of experience no one else can bring to the table. You already have the skills necessary to overcome stereotypical interview challenges and you possess the wisdom to prepare for the interview in a fashion that allows you to showcase your unique experiences and abilities. Keep these suggestions in mind when developing job interview strategies and you’ll be able to communicate the impact you have made, and will make, for an employer.

“I think the best role models for women are people who are fruitfully and confidently themselves, who bring light into the world.” —Meryl Streep

 

Prime Women magazine

self care practices

Ease Career Transitions with These Self Care Practices

Right out of the gate, 2017 seems to be in a rapid-fire state of flux, from politics to business. If your professional life is currently in transition, you need to put some self care practices in place to keep your morale level steady at every unexpected turn. “Hearing crickets” in response to your online applications, hiring managers that don’t respond, opportunities that gain momentum, then suddenly dissipate, and the rejections themselves can send you plummeting into a free fall of despair and anxiety.

To the Rescue

Those are the times to don your Superwoman suit and rescue yourself with self care practices to stay grounded, find your center, and keep you in balance. Self care practices can buoy you during this transition period, allowing you to show up as your best self in application cover letters, networking events, interviews, and for family and friends. Managing your self care helps you manifest that next dream job or career with ease.

For most of us, self care is counter-intuitive to our cultural programming of caretaking others, pushing to achieve and making things happen instead of working in a flow state. We are human beings, not human doings. Like they tell you during the pre-flight announcements, it’s up to you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before your children, to help all survive the experience. Self care is not being self-ish. You’ll know when you need it – as your negativity rises and your energy falls.

The Hierarchy of Needs

self care practices

Look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid from his paper entitled, “The Theory of Human Motivation.” Make it your litmus test for self care intervention.

Base Level: Physiological needs, like food, water and sleep. Admit it, on more than one occasion you have put others’ needs in front of your own and ended up “hangry,” forgetting to drink enough water or pushing yourself so that you sacrifice precious hours of sleep.

Level Two: Safety and security of your home sweet home, which is threatened when you’re unemployed.

Level Three: Love and belonging, where you achieve deeper, more meaningful relationships. Not happening when you’ve been separated from your old work family and are now isolated and resentful in your new home office, hitting the virtual pavement.

Level Four: Esteem, when you’ve acquired the skills that lead to honor and recognition, but perhaps you’re not feeling or recalling those so much, as your self-esteem has taken a hit. Especially if you didn’t leave your previous job on your own terms.

Top Level: Self actualization, where you’re living to your highest potential, successful in your dream job. It cannot happen without consistent self care practices in place. Practice means repeating until becoming a natural behavior, resulting in your being self actualized!

The State of Flow

Self care requires you to stop “should-ing” all over yourself; frenzied activity 24/7 to accomplish your goals. Support yourself by releasing judgment and self-criticism, taking time-outs so you can fill your cup and get back in the game enthusiastically. You want to make every move count in the most efficient and effective way possible. Mastering self care practices puts you in the eye of the storm and in a state of flow, allowing you to fend off depression, anxiety and fear. Work smarter, not harder, by giving yourself a much deserved break along the way.

Self care activities should involve what makes you happy, relaxed, energized or inspired. They put you back in the “now” moment, easing anxiety. They help you “shift and pivot” toward positive emotions that free mental blocks and put you in the “Flow State” of manifestation.

Your Self Care Rx

Taking a 5-15 minute “nature break” outside in the big, beautiful world can bring you back into alignment. Brew a pot of your favorite herbal tea, or have a healthy snack to refuel and recharge. Partner with a friend or job-hunting “accountabilibuddy” found in your industry’s in-transition support organizations. Set weekly intentions, review accomplishments and celebrate them with connecting calls, coffee or happy hour meet-ups.

For a limited time, “check out to recharge” by doing nothing or daydreaming, unplugging from technology, reading a book, or watching your favorite guilty pleasure TV show during lunch. If you need to rationalize, consider massage an out-of-pocket co-pay doctor’s visit. Or, a mani-pedi as a tax write-off, like dry cleaning your interview suits. You have to look and feel good to sell your brand.

Taking a pampering and relaxing bath with essential oils and candles, exercise, yoga or guided breathing meditations move pent-up energy out of your body, still your mind to receive spiritual downloads and stimulate ideas for your next job search strategy. Creative self-expression activities count too, such as cooking, engaging in your favorite hobby, listening to music, dancing, creating art, and writing. After all, Superwoman deserves self care, self love, and to be self actualized in her dream job!

Successful Job Search

How a Good Serving of OATS Makes for a Successful Job Search

If you’re like most women, you start your mornings off with a nice, healthy breakfast. Preferably, something quick but wholesome and delicious to help you start the day off right. Might I suggest a warm bowl of OATS? These OATS, however, provide you with essential nutrients to have the most successful job search, every time.

– Objective for the day or week or hour. At the beginning of your day, it is important to write down your objective(s), as this will help you keep in mind your goal(s) while searching for that particular job.

A – Actions required to meet objective. As important as it is to have objectives, you must also note what actions are needed in order to accomplish each objective. What steps are involved? What does this job require?

T – Time required to complete actions. Now that you have your objective(s) and you know what actions are required, how much time is needed to complete those actions? Give yourself a time frame in which each objective will be completed and then plot it out in your calendar. You may want to add 20% to the timing of your actions in the beginning, while you are getting organized in a new job search.

S – Schedule it – put it in writing. The final step is to write it all down. Write down your objective(s), the actions and time required to accomplish each. This is a great way to keep track of what you have completed. I suggest putting your schedule into your calendar just like you would projects and meetings at work.

Starting your successful job search with a nice serving of OATS is sure to help you be more productive, organized, and stress free. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so give it a try!

overqualified for a job

Overqualified for a Job? Just Simplify

Does Your Resume Match the Job You are Pursuing?

If you have been told that you appear overqualified for a job position or that your resume may be just a tad overwhelming for the job you are pursuing, it’s time to simplify.

If your resume appears to showcase you in a way that showcases your skills as the next CEO, but you have decided to apply in a vastly different, albeit less stressful role – it’s time to simplify.  The key here is to pare down the high level experiences and play up the experiences and skills necessary for the job position.

Just like you choose how to add only the right accessory to create a sleek look, so goes it with what you select to include in a new resume. In this case, you are consciously choosing to simplify your resume to get your foot in the door. Simplifying does not mean you are less, but instead, that you are savvy enough to know when to exclude something that just doesn’t serve your current situation.

Prepare for the Why Question

Just like preparing the perfect outfit takes thought and planning, so does preparing a response to the inevitable question people will ask – “why.” Why are you moving from CEO to sales associate? Is this is a conscious decision or a midlife crisis? Think of your answer in advance. It will serve you well when networking and while being interviewed. Your fully planned and prepared response to these inevitable questions serves as the foundation when employers are assessing your hire-ability. When responding, it is important not only to be honest, but to allow your response to still showcase yourself as a qualified applicant for the position. Explain that this is a well thought out and quite strategic decision. Then, go on to highlight the skills you have learned from your previous job that will be useful to the targeted position and focus on the future.

The term, “overqualified,” does not have to mean that you are “too good” for the position. Here, it is all about utilizing your skills gained over the years and applying the ones that prove to be most beneficial to the company’s progress.

Even with the challenges that arise in being viewed as “overqualified,” remember to simplify, simplify, simplify. Simplify your resume, your networking messages and your interviewing answers to focus not on ‘why’ but ‘why not.” Utilize the skills you have attained to work to your advantage so you can go from overqualified for a job to a perfectly suited strategic hire!

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.”
Henry David Thoreau

By Danielle Dayries for Prime Women

age discrimination

Redefining Age Discrimination in the Job Search

There are many job search challenges that impact finding a good career fit. Some of these obstacles include inexperience, lack of education, slow economy, over qualification, and age discrimination. This latter, ageism, is becoming more prevalent than ever with baby boomers losing their long-term stable jobs due to a reduction in force (RIF) with company downsizing. Dealing with age discrimination for older workers is a new reality.

 Four tools to address age discrimination:

 1. Understanding Ageism

In a 2015 survey by the Harris Poll, 65 percent of boomers rated themselves as being the “best problem-solvers/troubleshooters,” yet only 5 percent of millennials agreed. Fifty-four percent of millennials thought boomers were the “biggest roadblocks,” per an article in The Washington Post. This attitude of the younger generation is influenced by the media, Hollywood and young, successful entrepreneurs.  Recognizing an inaccurate perception exposes untruths so age discrimination is reduced. Being aware of this potential obstacle and how it affects the job search helps when assessing marketable skills in the workforce.

2. Assessing Marketable Skills

When job loss occurs, it helps to evaluate your years of work history and current marketable skills. Then, improve on your strengths by researching  new skills, updating certifications, and acquiring new ones. Online courses are easily available for advancing or developing new skills. Keep these educational options in mind when considering what talent you can apply to the latest industry trends.

3. Researching Market Demand

Figuring out the market demand for popular industry jobs is helpful when applying transferable skills or hobbies. In general, the oil and gas industry is on a downturn, but recycling, energy efficiency, and healthcare services are on an upswing. Researching the type of expertise needed with the in-demand industries helps to better confront ageism when it arises. Be flexible with job options and get creative when expanding job knowledge and updating skillsets.

4. Flexibility and Creative Options

If finding employment becomes difficult because of ageism, think outside the box. For example, consider hobbies that can be turned into likely work opportunities, or get involved in your community by volunteering. Exposing yourself to different situations and people broadens the network of people who see or know of great opportunities. Being open to creative ways to find employment and staying flexible are sure ways to get hired. Read Holiday Cheer and a New Career for networking tips.

“There’s ageism in everything. I don’t give a hoot. It isn’t what other people think; it’s what you think.” -Cyndi Lauper