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.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Reach Your Career Goals in 2016!

Monday Morning Pep Talk

It is the most wonderful time of the year. Champagne, resolutions, good intentions and promises that 2016 is going to be different. What’s on your career menu? A new job, developing a retirement strategy, securing your current job or researching starting a business?

How will you make 2016 different from other years when you thought—this is the year, something has to change! Try these three steps to make 2016 the year of your professional breakthrough.

Commit to Action: The difference between the person who dreams big and the person who makes that dream come true is action. Years ago, I worked for a guy who managed by spreadsheet. He had a tracker for everything—an expense tracker, an attendance tracker, a pending sales tracker, a daily sales call tracker—his team was so busy filling out Excel spreadsheets very little else was done. Since the trackers only mattered to him because the organization was focused on results; he was my manager for a very short time. A classic case of analysis paralysis. This is not to say that you haven’t planned to change jobs or dreamed of your exit plan from work; you may have been doing that for years. If taking the action step is hard for you—create or join an accountability group, enlist a career coach or work with a trusted mentor. At the very minimum, every day take step toward your dream no matter how small.

Inspire Yourself: Did Nelson Mandela dream he could be President of South Africa while he spent 27 years in prison? When J.K. Rowling was an unemployed single mother on public assistance and her manuscript was consistently rejected for over a year; did she think Harry Potter would make her the first billionaire writer? Ursula Burns is not a household name but she’s the little girl who grew up in a New York housing project with a single mother working two jobs that became the first Black woman in America to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She has led Xerox for the past five years. Do whatever it takes for you to become inspired- visit with inspiring people, listen to motivational speakers or music that pumps you up. I have podcasts of interesting TED Talks I listen to in my car, audio books and of course, great collections of music. Who or what inspires you and how can you tap into that energy?

Have Fun: Life is short, I am constantly reminded of that and 2015 was no different. Celebrate small achievements: you didn’t miss any meetings of your Master Mind group; you took PTO to “shadow” someone in the career you’re interested in pursuing or you watched a YouTube video or webinar to move you closer to your goal. Maybe you discovered your goal needs a tweak- make adjustments. Smile- research studies show smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness. It also activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress plus smiles are contagious. It’s kind of fun to watch other people smile back at you. Gratitude is terribly underrated, so everyday, I find something to be grateful about; it keeps my life in perspective.

Have the best year ever!

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”       ---Toni Morrison

Saturday, October 24, 2015

OWN Your Career (Part 2)

This week I’ve been inspired by two dear friends that have taken action to manage their careers. If you have not had a chance to read part one, please do.


I received an e-mail this week from someone who has had it! She is done, she is through, she’s worked hard to make a difference  at her organization and you know what?….it is time to move on! That is career management and owning your career. It is knowing when it is time to stop trying to save an organization that doesn’t want to make changes and when you have to take Mahatma Gandhi’s advice personally, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

There comes a point in a career when making a move is a better answer than beating your head against a wall. I have been there. I have done it. It is scary and SO worth it. Even if the move is temporary and you have to make an additional career move; you gain confidence by taking action to stand up for yourself at work. If you have children, you show them the example maintaining self-worth in their careers like they would in a personal relationship.

This individual added me to her ‘circle of trust’ as she makes her escape to a better job situation. She is working on her resume, updating her LinkedIn profile, doing selective networking. It is all about taking  constructive ACTION—she is working, updating, doing. She’s not expecting the organization to change; she’s not waiting for someone to save her career and she’s not just going to sit there and let something happen to her. Hint: None of those things work. Even if you wait to get laid off and get a severance, the emotional will impact your confidence to interview for a better job. The severance is never enough money.

People ask me how do you know when it is time to move on. Tony Robbins puts it like this, “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” Here are some other signs when you need to do the hard work to make a job change:

1—You are moving toward something, not running from a bad current job situation. You are looking for an opportunity to learn something new, to move into a leadership position and expand your experience or to learn a new skill.

2— Going to work makes you sick, literally. I know a person who had migraines that usually started Sunday evening or Monday morning. Some Sunday nights the back of his neck was so stiff he could barely move his head from side to side. His body was trying to tell him something.

3— From a personal business perspective there’s no compelling reason to stay. You have reviewed options for health benefits, you don’t have to repay tuition reimbursement or relocation benefits if you leave now. You are not weeks away from being vested in a company pension,  401(k) plan or receiving an annual bonus. If you can, do not leave any money on the table when you leave your present company.

4— You are being put in a compromising position. I received a telephone call from an executive assistant I met at a career talk several years ago. Her boss repeatedly asked her to lie to his wife when she called while he managed several affairs with other women. My advice to her was to get away from him as a boss ASAP. She found another role in the company. Anytime you are being asked to do something illegal or you experience illegal behavior toward you—tell HR. They are obligated to investigate. If the offensive or illegal behavior is part of the company or department culture—it is time to find a new role—out of the company or department.

5—Nothing you do is right. You may have done the job for years, but now it is not good enough. Your performance appraisals or other documentation (warning notice, performance improvement plan, suspension or occurrences) put you at risk for being terminated with cause. Your manager tells you verbally your work is poor; your work is returned to you for a re-do or worse yet, it is given to co-workers for a do-over. Unless that manager leaves, it is seriously time to consider a change.

You Have to OWN Your Career!

You brush your own teeth, try to make healthy food choices and take vitamins. Take responsibility for your career in the way you manage your health. I can’t take enough spoons full of liquid fish oil to help you realize the benefits of Omega 3s. Expecting someone else to manage your career for you is like asking your spouse to get a knee replacement to alleviate your knee pain.

Two interesting things happened this week. I took a couple of days of PTO to reconnect with friends and was totally inspired by two career stories.

The first is about a friend who put together a business case to ask for a raise. That in itself is career management and owning your career. How many people think they deserve to be paid more? Most. How many people can put together a business case that shows that above and beyond performing their job in an excellent way—they presented a plan to save their organization a lot of money and have helped another department meet their goals?  Very few. My friend called her meeting with her boss an “Epic Fail.” She wanted a merit increase or a substantial bonus. Instead she received a one-time (4-figure) bonus after meeting with her manager.

I don’t consider this an Epic Fail at all. My friend doesn’t realize her conversation was probably a genius move. First you have to understand how organizations work (sadly, this does not apply to family-owned businesses). No matter how much power, clout or bravado your manager has-their hands are generally tied in matters of compensation. The HR professionals that read this blog will confirm that “Comp” is 80% science and 20% art. Compensation is benchmarked with similar roles in the market, industry and region. There are minimums and maximums your salary must land in or you find yourself in the unenviable position of being paid more than your range. If you receive a flat one-time payment when everyone else receives a 1-5% merit increase—you’ve maxxed out of the range. The only way to stop that madness is to be promoted to a “Senior” title in your current role or increase a step like moving from a Scientist II to a Scientist III or make a lateral move that puts you in a different classification. If your organization does business with the federal government, paying employees random salaries can land them in BIG TROUBLE with an acronym that strikes fear in the hearts of HR professionals across America—the OFCCP.

Why is it Genius Move? Her boss now knows more about what his employee does which could help at merit time. If she can do her job, identify organizational saving strategies and help another department while performing her job highly—maybe it is time to leverage her skills in the next level job. No matter what happens internally, it is time to update her LinkedIn profile incorporating these new accomplishments. Her options are to stay put if she’s happy and look around if she’s not—she’s given herself options. That is career management at it’s finest in my opinion. (Read About the Second Story in Part 2).

Monday, September 7, 2015

The State of the Experienced Worker: Labor Day 2015

The short answer is despite your personal situation, overall the environment for workers 50+ is improving. I base my optimistic observation on 5 megatrends that have occurred since 2011, the first year when 10,000 Baby Boomers would turn 65 everyday for the next twenty years and the year this blog was launched:

There is a conversation about aging in the workforce that didn’t exist previously. Millennials, GenXers and others didn’t want to have a conversation about working Baby Boomers, basically they just wanted us to retire and go away quietly. In June 2015 there was a special Senate Hearing, “Work in Retirement: Career Reinvention and the New Retirement Workscape” chaired by a bi-partisan coalition studying issues of working past age 65. In April 2015 AARP commissioned a study conducted by AonHewitt , “A Business Case for Workers Age 50+: A Look at the Value of Experience 2015.” In March 2015, Money magazine published, “The Suddenly Hot Job Market for Workers Over 50.” CNBC, radio talk shows and other media have shined a light on the opportunities and challenges of our multi-generational workforce.

Baby Boomers are becoming career development do-it-yourselfers. Working at something we love past traditional retirement age and not tapping into social security benefits early at age 62, requires early planning. Well-meaning blog readers counseled me on moving the blog target demographic to 50+ attracting advertisers and readers in the senior market. Your 40s are the perfect decade to start planning the second stage of your career--so, I'm committed to Work, Jobs &Careers@ 40+. We have all realized the need to become DIY on training, networking and creating alternatives to what you do today if you don’t love your job. It is a personal accountability, like managing our health. No one else can do this for you and more Boomers get this now. I ask you the question today that I’ve asked groups, “what are the first five things you would do if you lost your job tomorrow?”

Corporate culture and how experienced workers are treated by management is more transparent than ever. Potential employees have to sort through the noise and scam messages online. However, sites like glassdoor.com, Indeed.com and others can shed light on management philosophy and practices. There are industry oriented sites, company specific sites and forums on job search sites.

Corporate America is (slowly) waking up to the potential of experienced workers staying in the workforce. In January 2015, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) surveyed 1,913 HR professionals who rated experienced workers highly in knowledge, work ethic, professionalism and reliability. However, only 24% of the HR professionals saw the brain drain of knowledge leaving their organizations as a problem and 4% viewed it as a crisis. Some industries are more impacted than others. 39% of the American Airlines workforce is 50+ while 37% of the employees at Delta and United Airlines are 50+. The Federal government workforce is composed of 30% employees 50+. These organizations will have to face the challenges of losing their knowledge base before other companies.

More organizations are focused on next steps for emerging retirees. There are free resources for 50+ workers at encore.org, the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College have years of research for individuals and human resource professionals on their website and AARP has online resources on their website. Managing the Older Worker: How to Prepare for the New Organizational Order, Peter Cappelli’s 2010 book has ideas for leaders working with experienced workers. Excerpts of his classic have shown up in many 2015 magazines.

The experienced worker is top of mind this Labor Day!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Improve Your Career in 21 Minutes

21 minutes. Seriously.

I’ve included the link that will improve you career or enhance your job search. If you are the suspicious type and a certain percentage of you surely are, I will also provide the most effective terms for your favorite search engine.

Most professionals consider themselves good communicators. In my LinkedIn profile, I profess my skill in written and verbal communication as expected. A couple of recommendations vouch for my ability to provide a valuable yet entertaining presentation. Among some in the resume-writing community, listing communication skills on a resume is a non-no. At a certain job level, writing and speaking well are expected and now considered wasted resume words.

There is a communication gap that seriously affects many professionals and the busier you consider yourself the more likely you are to suffer the affliction. It is ineffective nonverbal communication. Your words say one thing, and as your eyes dart all over the place, down to your cell phone; your message is lost. There is no connection with the person in front of you and you can’t get it back.

Business literature on the subject of body language and nonverbal communication is extensive. Bad behavior in nonverbal communication is not only an issue for younger workers though they are the usual suspects. According to the Center for Global Leadership, “Gen Y has developed less skill than previous generations reading nonverbal cues…” The article goes on to elaborate that due to undeveloped communication skills younger generations are not well-equipped to cope with navigating the political dynamics in the workplace.

How many businesses equip their managers to facilitate cross-generational communication styles among Baby Boomers, Gen X and the Millennials (aka Gen Y)? Even though business continues to increase electronically, work is still a personal experience. BBC Capital reported, “millennials would rather send an instant message than walk a few feet to speak directly to a colleague.” Their report goes on to explain that workers in the 22-35 age range lack the face-to-face interactive experience and failed to learn how to present effectively, listen attentively and read body language. In response, business schools are beginning to require communication courses. Experienced workers are on their own unless writing courses, presentation skills and nonverbal communication skills training are provided by their employer. Employees who have been in the workforce for many years may think they are beyond communication skill training, but like a classic car—tune-ups are necessary. Maybe it is time to download the 1990s classic, How to Read a Person like a Book.

Spend 21 minutes with Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on Body Language and Nonverbal Communication. It is the most watched TED Talk since 2014 with over 27 million views. You can search Amy Cuddy TED talk or copy and paste this link:


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Career Management IS Urgent

I am often asked what is career management. Career management is the steps you take while you are employed to insure that if you are suddenly unemployed or in an unacceptable situation, you can bounce back quickly with a great new job. Those steps include face-to-face networking with key contacts in and outside your organization; updating your resume, managing your profile and presence on LinkedIn, actually attending local meetings of your professional organization and maintaining certification. At that point, most people tell me that with their family and home to manage, kids, grandkids, pets and aging parents, they don’t have time to do their job at work and do that career management stuff.

The comment bubble over my head says, “well, join the club!” What comes out of my mouth is, “wow, you’re really busy.” 
Could you manage being unemployed six months or more? That’s the question you have to answer for yourself if you decide not to proactively manage your career. The situation for 40+ workers is that it takes longer to rebound from an unexpected career transition. That’s how it happens-suddenly, unexpectedly, shockingly fast. Here’s what happened to me.

Memorial Day weekend 1997, I was enjoying a cook-out with family in the Chicago suburbs. A family member came outdoors and said, “Don’t you work for Boehringer Mannheim Corporation?” (badly butchering the Boehringer part) “On CNN they said the company was just sold.” As a member of the human resources leadership team my manager reported to the CEO and I worked closely with the executive team. This made me confident my relative heard it wrong. So, I went inside to listen since CNN cycled the same stories repeatedly on the slow news days of a holiday weekend.

“In a deal exceeding 11 billion dollars Roche Group of Switzerland purchased the German entity, Boehringer Mannheim GmbH in a move that caught industry analysts and experts by surprise.” Everything said after that was a blur. What did it mean? How was I going to be affected personally? Where is my boss? I called his home, no answer. (No cell phones or texts back then.) Finally I reached an HR colleague on the phone. We were both stunned.

My story ultimately had a happy ending. The acquisition was an opportunity to learn a lot about HR very quickly since I had just come to the function from sales a year before. There were more opportunities to learn about global issues. Four years later, because of contacts made and experienced gained, I was able to launch an independent human resource consulting firm. It didn’t have to work out that way and many times it does not.

Managing a career does not have to be a time-consuming activity. You can exchange resumes with a friend and share critiques over a quarterly face-to-face catch-up. Once a week I spend 10-30 minutes managing LinkedIn connection requests, deleting connections trying to sell me anything, hiding inappropriate posts, reading articles and using the “settings” feature to prevent connections from being notified of my maintenance. Once a quarter, I try to enroll in a free webinar, attend a workshop or attend a professional talk. Arizona State’s, ASUx has free courses online and MOOCs (massive open online courses) are offered by many colleges. Over the course of a month, it is a couple of hours at most.

Proactive or reactive, it’s your choice. It’s your career.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The New Workforce- Why Freelancing is for YOU

Tiffany Harris, a friend of the blog and creator of the start-up, Plan Your Second Act, offers information about the career trend of freelancing full-time. 

Forbes recently predicted that 50 percent of the workforce will be freelance employees within the next five years.  Currently, an estimated 53 million Americans are freelancers and companies are beginning to embrace the potential of freelance employees.  Consequently, corporations are making big investments to effectively manage this labor market.  
How can you enter this market and successfully compete?  Like other avenues of finding a job role, a freelancer needs to first have great presentation of their background, skills, and prior work experience.  Beyond the foundational requirement of presenting compelling and descriptive profile, there are 5 ways to successfully compete as a freelancer.  
  1. As a freelancer, you are the CEO of your own business.  As such, be prepared to advocate for yourself by first understanding your strengths and abilities.  Know how to sell your talents in order to be selected for the project or role. 
  2. Work on projects or select roles that you will enjoy.  It is important that you work on projects that will bring out the best in your tool box of skills and abilities.  Your clients will see you for the talented professional that you are, which could lead to future work.  
  3. Go the extra mile for your client, but manage your time wisely.  In the freelance market, you are often bidding on a defined scope of work.  Depending on the terms and conditions of the final contract, you may not have the opportunity to ask for more hours or money to complete the work.  Therefore, estimate the job appropriately, but don’t be afraid to go above and beyond to build the important relationships with your client.
  4. Be open to learning new skills.  Since this a newer and growing marketplace, the individuals that will be the most successful will likely be those with broad skills in a particular knowledge base.  If you are a great writer, learn about different writing needs and types of writing projects such as copy editing, grant writing, publishing, dissertation writing, and the like.  You will find yourself able to bid on a wider array of jobs and have a larger clientele for future work.  
  5. Finally, nurture the relationships once the job is done.  Follow up and see if any additional work is needed.  For the jobs you don’t get, don’t be afraid to follow-up later down the line to see if other opportunities are available.  
The freelance market is growing and you can use this type of work as an option to supplement current income, leverage skills and talents not being used in your current day job, or begin to transition into a full time freelancer.  To explore options as a freelancer, check out the three most popular companies:  Freelancer, ODesk, and ELance (which is now merging with ODesk).  All three companies have a long term presence in the freelance marketplace.  Since the early years of the twenty-first century, they are leaders in the breadth and depth of freelancers, equitable fee structure, and a responsive support team for clients and freelancers.  This time is an excellent opportunity to be part of a new labor force that will undoubtedly change other employee markets.  
Tiffany Harris is professional with over 15 years of experience with Fortune 500 companies.  Tiffany is starting an exciting new company, Plan Your Second Act, where she is dedicated to helping small businesses and individuals succeed in the ‘second act’ of their careers.  She offers services to help with starting a new business, improve the execution of a current business, and plan business events.  Her services are growing and her extensive consulting career makes her well versed in delivering communications, training programs, and improve business processes.  
Tiffany can be contacted at, planyoursecondact@gmail.com for more information. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Career Wisdom from the Experts, Part One

"This is a time in your life when you can take your time and be picky. Weigh all options and choose wisely. Talk to people who have the job you want. Ask how they got there. The route may be unconventional." (employee with 20+ years experience)

In six weeks newly minted college graduates will begin entering the workforce and according to USAToday.com this year they have a higher chance of finding employment. If it is true, it’s great news because seven of ten college seniors will graduate in debt. The amount ranges from USNews.com’s estimate of $27,666 to $28,400 from the Project on Student Debt. TheLadders.com is currently providing tips for recent grads searching for their first career on their site. The experienced friends of Work, Careers and Jobs @40+ offer career advice for 2015 graduates in this two-part blog post.

#1: Keep a positive attitude. EVERYONE wants to have and keep people around with a good attitude. A good attitude can get you through even some tough early learning experience. And get everything in writing prior to starting a new position. (employee with > 20 years experience).

#2: Advice...be your authentic self. First you have to figure out who that is as an adult, but once you do, answer this question: How does my authentic self fit and how can I contribute to this company's goals? Once you are "in" observe the organization and determine if it is a fit for your personality, professional and personal goals, your current skill set, your passion, and your future desires. This is something that you should do periodically, because your needs change and so does the organization. Observe the leadership and find someone you admire that you feel you can develop an authentic mentor/coach relationship with. If it feels forced then it isn't right. It is great to have peers that you have relationships with, but it is equally if not more important to develop relationships with leaders that you can learn from. (employee with 16 years at the same company-practically unheard of these days)

#3: Do research on a company BEFORE interviewing with them. Have an appropriate email address on your resume. Use professionals as references like a Professor or previous Supervisor. (human resource professional)

#4: Use proper grammar and punctuation along with speaking clearly and not mumbling. Drop any ego or attitude you have. No job is below you when newly hired. You need to work your way up like everyone else does and you're not smarter than anyone there. Say good morning to everyone in the morning, it makes big points. People will remember you. Never stop asking questions. You will always learn something from someone at every level. (20+ years work experience)

#5: Appearance counts during the interview and on the job. Even if the job is behind the scenes, dress for the job you aspire to no matter what position you start at in the company. Understand the company culture and job you are applying for and dress accordingly. (retired, 30 years telecommunications experience)

Career Wisdom from the Experts, Part Two

"Be willing to put in the work and also if you have a deadline that you don't think you will make, don't wait until the date passed to communicate where you are. Over communicating is always better, especially early in your career." (16 years in the corporate workforce)

Millennials often make the argument that 40+ workers gained their experience during a booming economy, without social media pressures and in a less competitive business environment. According to a new survey from Michigan State’s College Employment Research Institute, hiring for new college graduates with Bachelor degrees is expected to increase by up to 16%. It is important for newer graduates to remember, the hiring managers and leadership of companies are generally 40+ years old. While their experience may be from the 70s, 80s and 90s—they are the managers new grads will interview with today. Their perspective counts. This is part two of advice from experienced workers to newly minted graduates in a project initiated by TheLadders.com to provide tips to new college grads about to enter the workforce.
#6: During the interview process, new graduates should attempt to be more open, relaxed and honest. It is important that they don’t try to “oversell” their skills and abilities. (retired, 30 years experience including HR and recruiting)
#7: After interviewing new grads, I would advise them to carefully consider the companies they are interviewing for. Not to jump at the first offer if the fit isn't right. There is more for a new grad than "just a job" and the culture, the opportunity and the experience can sometimes outweigh that first paycheck. (hiring manager, 45 years work experience)

#8: After a 25 year career, I switched to a nonprofit where I have worked the last 9 years. At my nonprofit, we had Americorp VISTAS for 3-4 years, six at a time. It pays a poverty level stipend. They all worked in different departments, working on a variety of projects. They gained real work experience, sometimes gained a clearer career direction, gained contacts. Many chose assignments in their home towns to lessen the affects of their low salaries. Some Americorp VISTA participants chose cities new to them. Many obtained jobs in their fields afterwards. Not all assignments are what you might think. (34 years of work experience)

#9: Never underestimate the value of early experience. Finally, I have my dream job in my 50's. It was a combination of related basic job skills experience I learned in my 20's, plus contacts and friendships I made in a completely unrelated field in my 40’s. (30 years of work experience)

#10:  (a) Once on the job, be a team player and go the extra mile. (b) Keep your mouth shut, eyes open, listen and don't expect "to get," earn it. (a working couple with 40 and 41 years in the workforce)

#11: Be realistic about what job you get/want, what your responsibilities will be and how fast you will progress. Use this realistic perspective to ask informed questions during the interview to gauge the business culture of the organization to see if it aligns to your immediate 0-5 year goals. (15 years of work experience)

#12: I'm responsible for the grads and interns at my company and I see how some young people act once they have the job. Many believe they still hold the same value of being new, young, energetic without adding any additional value to a business. Some expect unrealistic super assignments, special accommodations, etc. Companies may provide this if the new grad provides return on the company’’s investment in them. Younger workers need to appreciate  their value beyond their youth and make a tangible contributions to the organization. (hiring manager, corporate mentor, 30 years work experience)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Job Interview Tips for Experienced Workers

Repeat of the most read post from 2012:

Interviewing for a job in your 40s, 50s, and 60+ is not the same as the interviews of our youth. Part One of this guide is for the elements that are the same, like not bashing your former employer or boss. Part Two focuses on the high tech changes because video interviews are here to stay!  Please read Part One even though it is a refresher, Part Two is video interviewing and will be posted soon. Part two is especially important if you haven’t interviewed in the past five years. 
First, congratulate yourself because your resume won you a chance to move to the short list of candidates. 
The Basics Are Still Worth Repeating:
1)     Even if someone on the interview team talks badly of your current or former company because they have worked there and know how bad it is, DO NOT speak badly of your boss, the company or senior management. Focus on the job you are interviewing for and how excited you are about this opportunity.
2)    Be on time. Leave early, allow for traffic and plan ahead.  However, if you are at the interview “stalker-like early” just sit in the car nearby until 15 minutes before your appointment. Arriving two hours early and wanting to sit in the lobby or being in the parking lot before the company opens smacks of desperation (and it scares people).
3)    Dress appropriately. Even interviews at health clubs deserve attire you wouldn’t work out in while you are trying to win the job. A man can never go wrong in a suit that fits great. A visit to the tailor for alterations can update an older suit. I always err on the side of conservative dress for women, but NOT the interview suit of the 1980s—remember the navy or black skirted suit with the white shirt with a bow tie? A visit to the free personal shopper at a high-end department can help you put together an ensemble worthy of an interview with today's C-suite executives.
4)    Avoid being patronizing to younger people on the interview team or women. Recently, I heard from a female business owner that a 40ish man she was interviewing referred to her as “dear” and “my dear” several times during the interview. He didn’t get the job. I have also seen 40+ interviewees act dismissive toward 20-somethings that are either human resource professionals or members of the interview team. Balance being professional and respectful to administrative staff with being obnoxious. (Note: To the guy who was doing magic tricks for the secretaries; they thought you were a weirdo. If you want to work again, stop the magic tricks.)
5)    Practice Practice Practice! Find someone to role-play with and practice how you will answer the basic behavioral interview questions—the ones that begin with “tell me about a time when you…”  The interviewer is expecting a succinct response to how you solved a work problem in the past. These types of interview questions are asked under the premise that what you’ve done in the past predicts how you handle situations in the future.
6)    Above all else, don’t talk too much—it seems the older we get, the more we enjoy talking. Stay focused. Answer the questions add appropriate SHORT examples, insure you’ve addressed the issue by asking and be quiet. At the end of the interview, “CLOSE” for the job! 

This link goes to another blog post on interviewing: http://workinglater.blogspot.com/2011/11/winning-job-interview-part-one.html

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Clearing The Career Fog Without Overdriving Your Headlights

Career direction not quite clear? Friend of the Blog, Michael Scott offers this wisdom:

One of the most common frustrations I hear from transitioning professionals is about their lack of clarity relative to a career path. In acknowledging the saying "If you don't know where you're going, anyplace is fine," many of us find ourselves stuck with our emergency brakes on, unable to proceeed forward in a meaningful way towards our highest goals and endeavors.

A number of years ago I driving late at night through the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina, scared out of my whits by a dense fog that had literally cut my visibility to zero. It became acutely aware to me that my headlights were of little use, particularly as I attempted to pick up the pace in hopes of finding a convenient exit sooner rather than later. It's here where I began to realize that I was engaging in a practice affectionionately known as "overdriving ones headlights" or driving too fast in the dark. Basically, because my headlights only shined so far ahead, I was frightened by the prospect of not not being able to see dangers ahead in time to react.

All of this speaks to the dilemma that many of us face when confronted with an uncertain career direction. On one hand we recognize, particularly when there's an urgent need to earn a steady income, that forging a path in the shortest amount of time possible is vital for one's survival. Yet we simultaneously recognize that making a decision in haste can have adverse consequences in terms of our long-term career trajectory.

Below are a few of my ideas on how to address this quandary

1. Pump The Breaks: Mashing on the proverbial accelerator in order to clear through the career fog faster can have dire consequences. It's better to be deliberate and thoughtful in pursuit of your options. This may involve employing the help of a career coach to keep you accountable and grounded amid the process. Reading, journaling and quiet contemplation are also valuable activities. To this point, consider picking up the book Unique Ability by Catherine Nomura and Julia Waller. You'll find it a must read for forging a sense of clarity in a deliberate yet productive way.

2. Try Out Multiple Gears: The overriding message here is to try on multiple hats or options for determining what might be the right fit. Identify your perfect picture opportunity and work backward. Vary your experiences by attending Meetup Groups focusing on topics or experiences that are unfamiliar to you. It's through this latter idea that I discovered the Colorado Bitcoin Society and a subsequent gig writing blog posts for Bitcoin. Go Figure!

3. Relax: As was the case with me on that foggy evening in North Carolina, uncertainty can cause one to stress out and clench up behind the steering wheel. So find ways to relax, have fun and clear your brain. Putting your career pursuits in neutral from time to time can reduce strain on your bodily engine. Another Tip: Be sure to maintain peak energy levels by drinking copious amounts of water and through Glutathione supplementation. A healthy body results in the fuel to proceed forward with clarity. 

4. Maintain Your Line Of Sight: While it's OK to look in the rearview mirror of life from time to time, your primary focus should be centered on what's in front of you. Like a good mindfulness practitioner, stay present in the moment with what's right in front of you versus getting distracted by the past. In the same way that proceeding too rapidly can create pileups, driving your career ship too cautiously and in a distracted way can cause it to aground. 

5. Embrace A "Forward Thinking" Attitude: Navigating through career fog can be grueling and lead to negative thoughts. Whenever you find yourself headed down this path, be reminded of the fact that thoughts play a key role in determining your outcomes and direction. So avoid or limit the time you spend with those friends and family members who moan and complain about the life struggles mode they're experiencing. Watch what you are listing to, viewing, or reading--avoiding those things that run counter to a positive state of mind. As was the case with my trek through the fog, self talk focused on my intended direction was much more productive than a "woe is me" mindset that could lead to smaking into the backend of a semi. 

Michael Scott's passion is in helping emerging professionals become profitable, productive and strategically aligned with the New Economy. For a complementary 30-minute discovery session with Michael, feel free to connect with him at either neweconomyiq@gmail.com or on LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/in/orgbrain?_mSplash=1

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Baby Boomer's Secret Career Weapon

What is the most important tactic a Baby Boomer managing their career or seeking a new job can implement in 2015? Developing a LinkedIn strategy is the step every Boomer can use to improve their image at work or trade in their current job for a better one. A recent Jobvite survey shows:

  • 96% of recruiters search for candidates on LinkedIn 
  • 92% of recruiters research candidates on LinkedIn prior to setting up interviews

According to Wayne Breitbarth, author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success, “your unique experience combined with your unique relationships plus LinkedIn equals the power.” The power of LinkedIn is it’s 332+ million users. However, Breitbarth suggest that not all of these connections are equal. “It is no different than going to a networking event in person, says Breitbarth, “it is important to have a connection strategy to determine who you are trying to get in front of to move your career forward.”  He says most people network with their friends, people they know from church, co-workers and neighbors. Instead, people managing their careers should proactively seek connections from target companies and join industry groups. 

Breitbarth, an accountant and entrepreneur, was reluctant to use LinkedIn initially. Since he connected to LinkedIn in 2008, Breitbarth transformed himself into the “LinkedIn Guru” to those who attend his training classes and talks and his book has sold over 70,000 copies. As a Boomer himself, he understands the reluctance to LinkedIn is often generational.

“For sure, no question it is generational. You grew up with much more privacy. Lack of privacy is something 20-somethings take for granted and that really is a fact,” says Breitbarth. Baby Boomers are also less likely to have a photo or summary on their profile. He explains that people in their 50s and 60s are concerned about bragging about themselves or appearing boastful. It even extends to not having a profile photo. 

  • A LinkedIn profile with a photo is reportedly viewed 7-14 times more likely to be viewed
  • Most LinkedIn profiles miss the opportunity to write a summary

“People on LinkedIn without profile photos and summaries are asking for nothing to happen,” says Breitbarth. He explains that corporate recruiters pay fees for access to all 332 million LinkedIn users. “Recruiters can fully view profiles even without relationships or being part of a group. Hiring managers can see your profile, presentations and recommendations,” according to Breitbarth. He acknowledges that most people freeze when they see an empty box for a summary that may contain up to 2,000 characters. “People need to take the opportunity to tell their story on LinkedIN,” says Breitbarth.

Wayne's book "The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success:  Kick Start Your Business, Brand and Job Search" is available at his website www.powerformula.net.  Also while visiting his website be sure to sign up for his very helpful free weekly email of LinkedIn tips and strategies. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How Your Resume Gets You Interviews!


By Don Bauder, CPRW

Did you know the busiest hiring season of the year is here? Now through the end of March – employers fill more positions than during the other months. This means that if you are thinking about changing jobs, or are currently in a career transition, NOW is the time to get your resume up to a “10” and send it out.

Your resume MUST be superior to those of your competition. Companies often get hundreds of resumes for every opening, and they look for any excuse to hit DELETE to screen you out of the competition. So, with your competition as strong as it is, and with the economy still sluggish, it is more important than ever that your resume shows your unique value and is technically perfect in order to survive the scrutiny of the reader. You have only 10 to 20 seconds to capture the reader’s interest – make it count!
Your resume has to get through three critical points – the HR department, the company database and the decision maker – before you are likely to get asked to interview.

How does your resume measure up?
• Is it concise, yet shows optimum value? Results and strategic impact need to be shown on one or two pages rather than three or four.
• Does it show a specific focus as to what type of job you want?
• Does it contain the right key words so it will be pulled up from a company database?
• Is it formatted so it is easy to read and flows well?
• Do you have supporting documents that highlight your value proposition, such as a one-page resume, a testimonials page, or an executive biography?
• Does your resume show your brand so your uniqueness stands out?
• Do you have a lot more accomplishments listed, than you do responsibilities? ACCOMPLISHMENTS SHOW VALUE AND GET YOU CALLS FOR INTERVIEWS, responsibilities don’t.
Your resume must convey to the reader what makes YOU unique. It must showcase your credentials and expertise, so that the reader can see why you are the best candidate for the job. It must have strong content and a good visual presentation. Information must be focused on job requirements, presented in the most easy-to-read way, and must contain solid documentation of achievements and education. How does your resume stack up? Is it a “10” or could it use help?

Ask yourself this question: With the huge investment in time and money for your education, your solid career credentials, your noteworthy accomplishments and salary expectations of $30,000, $60,000, or more, do you want to be represented by an amateur resume? Our careers are very important to us. Is it worth having your resume be anything less than it can be?

When you have a resume that works:
  • Your job search is much shorter
  • Your resume and cover letter is far superior to 99% of your competition
  • You understand the specific value you bring to the table, so you can share that value with prospective  employers – especially in the interview, and show them how you can meet their specific needs
  • You will have a career expert to support you and guide you so that you don’t have to struggle alone through the whole process
  • You will get calls to interview for the types of job you really deserve, have a choice of positions, and you won’t have to sit around waiting for the phone to ring
  • You’ll receive higher compensation in your new position, so that you know you’re getting paid what you’re worth

Bottom line: When your resume is a”10,” your job search is much shorter, you get interviews for the type of job you really want, and you get paid the money you deserve – why? Because your VALUE comes through effectively.
If your resume is not a “10,” it’s a waste of time to send it out!
If you are not getting interviews, consider our resume writing service. If you can speed your job search up three days, you paid for the resume. Imagine the payback for a month or more!

Contact Don on LinkedIn to learn more about his services.