About Me

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Fishers, Indiana, United States
Brenda gained career expertise as a human resources leader at a global company before becoming an HR consultant. Her functional experience includes a variety of sales roles in the health care industry achieving success for over 30 years. She is currently in Consulting & Analytics Business Development for a health care firm. Her passion is participating in, writing about and observing the evolving workforce. For the first time in history four generations work together. It keeps things interesting. Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are redefining retirement and what it means to age in the workforce. It is not just about money. Okay it plays a role! At 76.4 million members strong, Boomers are leveraging technology to continue their careers and the personal fulfillment working brings. Managing a late-stage career requires a strategy. There is no roadmap or one size fits all answer. This blog is about sharing, networking & finding your own right answer to working later, managing your career, redefining retirement, looking for work in your 50s & 60s and reinventing yourself.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Creating a Career Path: A Personal Story

Friend of the Blog--Tiffany Hatfield shares her story of deciding on a career path. As our careers evolve over time and we choose one opportunity over another or decide to remain with one company instead of making a move, we are creating a path. Some create it consciously and for others one day comes after another and things happen to us. Like Tiffany, I prefer to blaze my own career trail. That isn't necessarily the right approach for everyone. Thank you Tiffany for letting us look inside your decision points in creating your career path
By Tiffany Hatfield, linkedin.com/tiffanyhatfield1

This year I began to reconsider the focus of my work. This article lays out that process.

Fresh out of grad school, I began work as a nonprofit division manager. In twelve years I doubled the budget, tripled the program base, managed two strategic plan processes and completed a nine-year project to achieve national accreditation for the site.

But the organization I worked for had no position that I could be promoted to. And after twelve years, I needed a change.

So I left the organization and started consulting, specializing in grant research, strategy and proposal writing, all of which were part of my previous job, this time for cultural and human service organizations.

The business goal? To find two or three part-time contracts that would fill the work week. Did that happen? Heck no.

I ended up spending thirteen years riding the waves of cyclical grant deadlines, and learning how to look at my budget in 4-month increments.

Many months, days, nights and weekends in 2013 were spent serving the largest client load I’d ever had (!), but the downside was that I started to feel the pangs of burnout.

Something had to change, but what? Continue in grant writing alone, or expand to other forms of writing? Leave self-employment? If so, doing what?

I had to find answers, and fast. I discovered the incredible gift of informational meetings, and the time and advice from people whose work I respected (some I’d never even met before!).   

So I set up the annual calendar of work with my clients and began a dogged pursuit to the answers to my questions. My resources became (and still are) Passport to Employment (golove.org/passport), Work One (workoneindy.org), Accountability Group at WorkOne, and lots and lots and lots of networking. Lots of it. Lots.

From one colleague’s recommendation, I added blogging and article writing to my work. You’d think that I would naturally have done that already, but all my writing energies went to the client, and those grants rarely had my name on them. It is exciting now to contribute to Inside Edge, a daily Indiana business news e-blast, about how to seek grants (the Perspectives column), and also to serve as a contributor here, on LinkedIn, and hopefully more by the end of this year.  

So, going forward from here, I’ll continue consulting until I am eventually employed with one organization. And I’ll keep writing regardless of where I’m working. Thank you for reading!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Powering a Mid-Life Career with LinkedIn

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 Brenda's Interview with Dave Meeker

LinkedIn is a valuable resource for everyone from recent graduates, the employed, entrepreneurs, job seekers, companies and everyone in between. Dave Meeker, LinkedIn and Technology Consultant, has helped all of the above and more through his workshops and one-on-one consulting sessions. Meeker began working with the LinkedIn social networking service in 2008 and continues to help professionals maximize the "Power of Their LinkedIn Profile."

“For the recent graduate, LinkedIn is important to develop a network,” says Meeker. He described how students at Butler University created LinkedIn accounts as part of a marketing class project. “For the employed LinkedIn is an important tool to create and develop a network while being open to new opportunities or career advancements." LinkedIn is mission critical to the job seeker, "it is urgent and important,” explained Meeker. Job seekers and others benefit from LinkedIn’s mobile capabilities with up to six mobile Apps by using the ability to quickly seize opportunities and identify key contacts according to Meeker.

One of the tools Meeker teaches in his workshops is how to use keywords, otherwise known, as his unique phrase, "the language of LinkedIn." He describes the language of LinkedIn as a series of keyword phrases that leads recruiters to their profile. A proprietary algorithm adds to the profile ranking process. Meeker believes he has figured out this algorithm.

Why is LinkedIn constantly changing?

"What a lot of people don’t understand about LinkedIn is that it is constantly changing. As the growth of mobile devices and their Apps increase, it appears new Apps and updates to existing Apps will feed this exponential growth of the mobile market." As LinkedIn continues to change and push out rolling updates, Meeker believes he recognizes these patterns before the documentation appears on line.

How important is a photo on a LinkedIn profile? “Since there are fake accounts that generate spam and data mine contact's information, a photo shows you are a real person. The photo is part of your LinkedIn brand that includes your headline, location, current occupation and industry,” said Meeker.

Other expert LinkedIn tips from Meeker include the importance of recommendations from former co-workers. “Recommendations are a lot more important than endorsements on LinkedIn” according to Meeker.  These recommendations provide opportunity to share a STAR (Situation Task Action Response) story or other accomplishments.

To realize the value proposition as a LinkedIn user, Meeker focuses his audience on what he calls, VCR. “Value, Content and Relevance are what users should consider when creating their 360 degree view of their skill, knowledge and experience. Their overall profile should answer the answer the question, "what can you do for me?” says Meeker. The VCR concept is also an imperative part of making posts and making comments, especially with groups.

Currently LinkedIn boasts more than 300 million users and according to Bloomberg business, the company will attempt to expand its user base in China to combat slower growth in the United States. While users are focused on professional networking, LinkedIn generates revenue from advertising, upgrading users to premium accounts and fees charged to recruiters and staffing companies.

While LinkedIn is a space most professionals want to participate in, beware of spam or fake accounts and learn to manage emails and notifications by adjusting your settings under Privacy and Settings.. When in doubt about how to leverage LinkedIn as a resource to grow a business or expand a career, there are experts like Dave Meeker to the rescue! If you’d like to connect with Dave Meeker, you can find him easily on LinkedIn, of course!