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, 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