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What Older Workers Need To Know To Get the Job They Want

I recently created a Career Renovation program to help older people get the job they want.  It was a way of sharing my experience with many people at once after years of helping older workers, one at a time, to make career transitions. 

I was motivated to do it because I'd talked to one too many older workers who were not getting the jobs they wanted and I had seen one too many really bad resumes that people were using.

As part of my preparation and planning I started looking at the comments posted on older workers' Facebook pages, and saw the same pattern repeated. 

Older man and woman looking unhappy

"No-one wants to employ you once you are over 50."

"Younger managers are prejudiced against you when you are older." 

"Employers don't appreciate the skills and experience of older workers." 

"The Government isn't doing enough to help us.  The government organisations don't help." 

"No one loves me everybody hates me, think I'll go eat worms." 

Well OK, that last one never really popped up, but they all started to read just like that old children's song. Not getting a job was always because of something external. 

What no-one seemed to recognise was that they were doing this to themselves!  They were doing the same things over and over and getting the same results….No job.  

So I created a program…basically all the strategies and tips I could possibly share in a simple format, available for someone to work through at their own pace so they could turn things around and give themselves a really good chance of success. 

The interesting thing is the people who joined the program are those who want to take their career opportunities from good to great, not those who need to move their career prospects from really bad to acceptable!  

What does this tell us?  Could it be that those who are really stuck in unemployment or unhappy employment just don't realise that they have to do something about it themselves.  Maybe they don't realise that it is hard work for anyone, at any level, to develop and manage a successful career.  Maybe they genuinely think it should be handed to them on a plate, with whipped cream on top. 

So, recognising that the people who really need this message won't be the ones reading it, here are my seven main tips for those who want to get a job they want and will find really fulfilling. 

  1. Understand the reality of what is going on for you, right now, so you can avoid the same problems. Is it the work itself, the type of organisation or the industry/profession that is making you unhappy?  Or is it a clash with an individual, or a style of mangement that you don't like? 
  2. Know what you DO want, and have a clear vision of your future. 
  3. Have a deep appreciation of what you can offer and be able to articulate it. 
  4. Recognise what is going on in your mind that may be causing you problems eg lack of confidence, negativity, self-sabotage.
  5. Find out and use the strategies that are currently working best for resumes, interviews and networking. For a start, this means every resume must be tailored for each job application.
  6. Ensure that the way you present yourself and your self-marketing is all congruent with how you want to be perceived. 
  7. Even when you are happily employed always look and plan ahead, keeping your resume and networking current and dynamic. 

Career Reno Banner with man

Is Age Discrimination The Reason You Aren’t Getting The Jobs You Want?

Is age always the reason that older people don’t get the jobs they apply for? Age discrimination is a reality, but there are several others reasons why people don’t get the job they want.  Could one of these five issues be damaging your job search success?

The Power Of Oldness: Age Discrimination Against Older Workers

Older Workers, have you experienced age discrimination? 

Screen shot from video we all know, age brings with it experience and a level of wisdom. We are involved in the community, in an active life and in the economy of our country. Most of us have embraced technology and have a good understanding of the world around us. Yet still every day people face age discrimination, in the workplace and in life in general.

This is never clearer than when an older person applies for a job where the company is actively seeking a younger person in the role. They don't say that in the job advertisement of course, but they have it as an underlying criteria for the role. It's devastating for older workers when they encounter this time and again.

Of course not every older worker experiences this problem. But those who undertake a job search without considering the best strategies to use – those who send out hundreds of resumes in a scattergun approach ("If I send out enough I'll eventually get an interview"); who don't tailor their resume to the job they are applying for; who have outdated resumes; who don't access the hidden job market – usually do find that their age seems to be a barrier.

This video is from The Australian Human Rights Commission. It demonstrates, perhaps a bit clumsily in their attempts at humour, that being older has many advantages. "If you are lucky it will happen to you."

Have you been discriminated against because of your age? 

Has Age Discrimination Affected You?

I’ve been asked a lot lately about whether age is the reason that a person isn’t getting the jobs they apply for. I know I should know the answer, but frankly I don’t think anyone does.

Jumping on the age discrimination bandwagon

Anecdotally it is easy to jump on the ageism bandwagon. If an older person applies for a job, but they don’t even get to interview it is easy for them to presume that they were discarded because of age. If they are interviewed but are unsuccessful in obtaining the position it is again very easy to make the same presumption. Is that definitely age discrimination? It feels good to blame that demon…The media often jumps to that conclusion so it must be right!  Age discrimination in the workforce is something that we all hear about often, and so most people will be sympathetic if you claim that is the reason you didn’t get a job you wanted. What if the real reason was nothing at all to do with your age? Would that tell you a different story? Might you stop blaming your age and start looking at your job search strategies?

If age isn’t the problem, what is?

mature business manThe reasons why people don’t get jobs that they have applied for are complex at any age.  These five reasons are often far more damaging of job search success than any age discrimination, real or imagined.

1. Being one of the crowd

Let’s start with numbers.  If you apply for an advertised position chances are that you will be up against over 200 other candidates. If there is only one job, only one person is going to be successful.

2. Your personal marketing

Your resume has to show, concisely and effectively, that you already have relevant achievements, outstanding skills and enough experience to be extremely successful in this role.  They are looking for someone for this exact job.  Does your personal marketing, resume and LinkedIn profile in particular, match what they are looking for?

3. Your personality

We all have our own distinct ways of doing things.  I know it is a challenging thought, but you may not be the sort of person they wanted in that job.  It wouldn’t matter what you had done, if you aren’t the sort of person they want then they won’t want you.

4. Too much, too little or just right?

Recruiters are human.  So are interviewers. So are employers. Each have their own distinctive ideas about what constitutes a great candidate for a job.  The resume that one person loves may not appeal to another recruiter. Your style in an interview may be exactly what one interviewer wants, but another favours a different candidate.  You can only do what is true to you.

5. Mindset

Attitude shows on your face and in your body language.  If you believe that you deserve a job simply because you have been around for a long time then that attitude will show itself in some way.  I think of that as reverse ageism…People who believe they should be prefered because of their years of experience rather than their achievements.  Life just doesn’t work that way, and neither does recruitment.

6.  Showing your age

We aren’t discussing face creams and botox here, nor borrowing clothes from your ‘twenty-something” kids.  Age shows by not being contemporary in your skills and attitudes.  “I’m not very good with technology” is a statement that almost guarantees that you will not be taken seriously in a contemporary workplace.  Submitting a dated style of resume or dressing in an old-fashioned way immediately suggests that you will not have contemporary practices at work. If you make the presumption that you will face age discrimination during your job search you are probably right.  If you put that aside and aim to be the best candidate for the job, regardless of age, you may be amazed at what you will achieve. By Jenni Proctor     SaveSave

Baby Boomers and Seniors in the Digital Era

Baby Boomers and Seniors in the Digital Era
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

How to fight age discrimination in the workplace

One of the biggest problems in the workplace is ageism or age discrimination. There is a certain prevailing attitude that people of an advanced age might not be as competent at their jobs just because they are far older than most people in the work force. This problem has prevented older people from all walks of life from acquiring a job and the ability to make a living. Unfortunately, this discrimination is far reaching and ranks just as high as racism and sexism in the office. Fighting ageism is all about fighting personal beliefs and attitudes about what older people are capable of. Most of the time, when older people are actually out looking for a job, they are just as proficient as people far younger than them, but perhaps much wiser, making them an incredibly valuable asset to most companies. For older people in the workplace, changing people’s minds might entirely be up to you. Here are 5 ways to fight age discrimination in the workplace.

  1. Make your age work for you. Most older people have years more experience and knowledge in a specific field. Be confident about marketing your experience and it might even give you the upper hand over the legions of younger applicants. The best part about being older is that you are self-starters and don’t need all the hand holding the entry-level candidates need to get things done.
  2. Be a mentor and a mentee. You have a lot to teach the younger generation and they have a lot to teach you. Sometimes opening up your mind to new ways of doing things will give you an advantage, by combining it with some of the old way of doing things that have worked for you in the past. Show your co-workers and your boss that you are susceptible and open minded to learn and you’ll earn a lot of respect in the workplace.
  3. If you are going to a lot of job interviews, it might help to look sharp. Be sure to exercise a few days a week and look physically fit. Purchase a new suit or ask some of your younger relatives or friends for the best fashion advice. You may be older, but you can always look younger. A lot of employers look for someone who looks fresh, youthful and appears to possess a lot of forward thinking ideas – no matter what their age is.
  4. Also, if it is a specific job you are applying for, be sure to do your research. A lot of the knowledge you once knew might have changed or evolved over the years. Use the Internet to do research about the company you are applying for. Being able to answer all the questions the interviewer asks you will give you a huge advantage.
  5. One of the best quotes in this instance is “Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” When in the workplace older generations are going to have to answer a lot of questions about their age. Make them feel at ease and comfortable asking. Being able to put your employers and co-workers at ease about your age will level the playing field. You don’t want them to see you strictly as the old woman or man in the office, but as a colleague and a team player.


5 ways to fight against age discrimination against baby boomers

The job market is hard for just about anyone, but it can be even more challenging for those who are considered to be the “baby boomers”—the ones who are over the age of 50 who are trying to compete with individuals who are significantly younger than them.

On one hand, a lot of people who fall into this category have the years of experience required. On the other, because of their age, some employers may assume that they may not have some of the recent education, technological insight and/or level of energy and passion they is required for certain positions; therefore, many end up being looked over. And yes, sometimes that is simultaneous with being discriminated against.

So, if you’re over 50 and you’re looking for a new position and you would like some ideas on how to be able to avoid being “judged by your demographic”, we have five helpful tips that can take you from “We’ll let you know” to “You’re hired!”

Be aware of your appearance. Being over 50 is nothing to be ashamed of or something to feel like you need to hide. However, as you age, you definitely have to make a concerted effort to stay healthy and fit so that you don’t end up looking older than you actually are. Exercise, eat right and dress in a way that is appropriate but also fashionable. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to go to a salon for a new haircut or makeover if you can’t remember the last time that you did that either.

Don’t be “age sensitive”. While in an interview, there’s a pretty good chance that the topic of your age, (one way or another) is going to come up. If you seem uncomfortable about it, you may put the person interviewing you a bit on edge as well. Sometimes, there is age discrimination in the workplace because there’s an assumption that older people are harder to work with because they are not open to learning. By conveying that you look forward to being both a mentor as well as a “student”, that can definitely work in your favor.

Be advanced. Even if you have been doing a certain thing for years, technology plays a significant role in making career a bit more complex than it used to be. Sticking to the formula of “It’s worked this way for me for years” could prevent you from landing a second interview. In other words, do some online research, take some software classes (like learning things about cloud systems, QuickBooks and maybe even some time tracking software) and speak with people who already work in the field that you’re interested in to see what extra things you can do to get your foot into the door.

Don’t pigeonhole yourself. If you have continued to apply for one certain kind of position and you haven’t been hired, be open to working in fields that are related to it. One thing that all people have to be open to, regardless of age, is that sometimes we can’t get the exact job that we want, but we can come close…if we’re open to it.

Consider contract work or self-employment. Age discrimination tends to happen far more when you are seeking work that requires actually going into an office setting. When you’re looking to do some telecommute contract work, rarely does age even become a factor. So, you might want to seek employment via websites like Craigslist, oDesk and Freelancer. Or, maybe the Universe is trying to tell you that it’s time that you started your own business. Every time that you drive past a KFC, remind yourself that the founder was 65 when he started the franchise. Indeed, anything is possible and age is certainly not a factor.


Tips to avoid appearance negatively impacting your job interview

When you’re looking for a job, there’s a lot that goes into the process of getting hired. You have to really make sure all your ducks are in a row, and in a lot more ways than just one. To start you’ve got to have your resume in order, get your references in line, and make sure your cover letter is the most charming piece of writing you can possibly come up with. Once all this is said and done, though, you’ve got to make sure you look nice. Anyone who reads your resume and likes what they see is going to want to meet you in person, and unless you’re looking to work on the Internet, you’re going to want to make sure that your physical appearance — the very first thing about you that people will notice when they meet you in person — is nice and in shape. We’ll talk about some of the best ways your appearance might cost you. Of course, your ability to work isn’t always reflected by the way you look, but this doesn’t mean that your potential employers feel the same way. Appearance can be important, and we’ll five classic mistakes you can avoid making when you hit the job trail.

1. The Right Hairstyle. How you style your hair, much like the way that you choose to dress, essentially winds up acting as an extension of your personality. A different hairstyle communicates a different vibe, and by picking the right hairstyle before an interview, you can say the right things about yourself. Make sure you take care to at least do something with your hair, as arriving unkempt is almost guaranteed to make you look as ill-prepared as you might actually be. It’s likely that you’ve found something that works for you in the past, and you should stick with it. If you want to try something new, don’t make any permanent changes right before your interview.

2. Ill-Fitting Clothes. The clothes you pick are important, and the way they fit you is equally as vital to what kind of impact your outfit makes. If you clothes don’t fit you well, they’re not going to look good no matter how much they cost or where they came from. When you’re going in for an interview, you should make sure your clothes fit you appropriately — steer clear of anything that could be described as “tight,” but make sure you don’t wear baggy clothes that look too big or too loose on you. The proper fit sends a good message in terms of how much you value your appearance.

3. The Wrong Clothes. Even if your clothes fit you perfectly, the wrong clothes are going to be the wrong clothes. You should figure out exactly what kind of dress code is in place at the office where you’ll be interviewing, and make sure you adhere to it so you don’t miss the memo and come dressed in a way that you shouldn’t be. While it’s an honest mistake to come in a suit and tie for an interview at an office where business casual is the norm — nobody would fault you for this — it can cost you major points if you were to show up underdressed.

4. Obvious Poor Health. Looking like you’re out of shape and not really taking such great care of yourself doesn’t win you any points when you’re trying to convince a potential employer that you’re reliable, hardworking, and responsible. These habits are easily reflected by the state in which you keep yourself, and there aren’t too many ways you can hide this when you’re sitting in a room with someone. Whether you need to pay for personal training courses or just maybe eat a little better, taking an interest in your health goes a long way towards helping your appearance.

5. Your Face. Groom your face. That’s all there is to it. If you’re a man, shave. If you’re a woman, wear your makeup sensibly. Don’t overdo it, and make sure you look nice. Wash your face, do your best to take care of any blemishes, and make sure you’ve brushed your teeth thoroughly. Pluck your eyebrows if you have to. Your face is among the first things that are going to be noticed about you, so if anything stands out you want to make sure you neutralize it as much as you can so that your own face doesn’t go pulling the rug out from under you. It’s not hard to make sure you look proper and are ready to ace your next job interview with the right strategies in mind.


How to prove age discrimination in hiring

In most cases, it is extremely difficult to prove any form of discrimination in the workplace, and especially in the hiring process. Ageism is no exception. Very few employers will come right out and say that they’re not hiring you because you’re too old. And what are the odds you could prove they did so even if they were to behave in such an idiotic fashion? This is not to say that it’s impossible to win a court case involving age discrimination, but you’ll need to convince a judge or jury (or at least a pro bono attorney) not only that you were discriminated against, but that you have enough proof to reasonably support your contention. When it comes to the hiring process, it may be nearly impossible without certain factors on your side.

Just because you happen to have a pretty good idea that you weren’t hired because of your age doesn’t mean you can prove it to the satisfaction of judicial review. Suppose, for example, that you applied online, went through a phone interview, and were told that you were the top candidate for the job due to your experience and winning personality. Then you showed up at the office for a formal interview. The hiring agent got one look at you and realized you’ve been voting since before he was born. You knew immediately that you were out of the running; you saw it in his eyes. You went through the motions of the interview, doing your best to impress, but you knew it was over the minute he saw the silver in your hair. Ouch.

Now further suppose that he felt bad about it and against his better judgment (and company policy) he called to let you know the reason that you weren’t hired. Armed with this information you walked yourself right into an attorney’s office to file a suit for age discrimination. Here’s the problem. Were you taping that phone call? No. Will the employee of the company testify on your behalf? Not likely. So where are you? Even though you know you were the most qualified candidate and you know that the company didn’t hire you because of your age, it’s your word against theirs. No attorney will take this case. It’s like trying to hire a motorcycle accident attorney Atlanta to Albany to file suit against a beekeeper because a bee flew up your sleeve and caused you to lay down your hog. In short, it’s not going to happen.

Maybe you can show that a company has a long history of firing and failing to hire older candidates. Or perhaps you can convince someone at the business that rejected you to be a whistleblower (assuming you can find someone in the know that’s even willing to talk to you). But it’s a long shot, and it might not be enough to convince a judge or jury. The best thing you can do is try to use your age to your advantage. Remind prospective employers that you have not only the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to do the job, but that you have far more wisdom and a calmer temperament than kid right out of college. You may have a harder time landing a job than a fresh-faced twenty-something, but you have a lot to offer the employer willing to look past your age and see what you bring to the table. You just might have to toot your own horn pretty loud to be heard.


Unemployment Survival Tips

Losing a job is one of the most unfortunate things one can ever experience. It can make you worry about lots of things such as your monthly bills, health insurance, and grocery stuffs. If you have been a victim of a wrongful termination recently and feels like you are nowhere to go, the following are some of the things you may want to consider to keep yourself going while joblessness is blocking your way.


1. Get Your Final Compensation 
Every employee is entitled to a final paycheck. The state law requires an employer to issue a final paycheck to the employee immediately, may it be the next business day, the next payday, or within a certain amount of days. In some states, the employee may be entitled to compensation for unused vacation time. Severance package may also be given to an employee as an additional compensation. However, under the state law, an employer is not obliged to give severance pay. A severance pay will only be granted if it is stated in the written contract, if an employee handbook documented the employer’s policy for severance pay, or if the employer has said it verbally.

2. File for Unemployment Compensation 
The state law allows any unemployed worker to accumulate unemployment compensation if the termination was not due to delinquency that was intentional and repetitive, the employment was for a certain amount of time, the worker received a certain amount of salary, the worker is capable of working immediately, and the worker is physically able of working.

3. Healthcare Coverage 
Former employees have the right to continue a healthcare coverage for up to 18 months or longer, depending on the employer’s plan. This is under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1986. The previous employee must fully-pay the damages but the cost is actually cheaper than obtaining coverage of your own.

4. Apply for a Part-time Job 
A part-time job will provide you income temporarily. While looking for a full-time work, you can consider doing handy work, baby sitting or house sitting. In this case, you will still become productive while waiting for the update of your permanent job application.

5. Remove Unnecessary Expenses 
You will probably know the importance of saving in times of unemployment. Every single cent counts and you will not have the guts to spend for needless commodities and activities. Sort out your grocery list. Buy stuffs that are of high significance. Do not engage in activities which used to be part of your leisure time. Be more practical.

6. Do not Commit to New Debts 
If you do not have any important monetary matters to spend to, do not acquire debts because it will just lead you to bigger financial dilemmas. It is vital for you to impose strict budgeting to manage your lifestyle.


Jester Maru used to write several articles for a Law Group in Los Angeles, California. He personal loves writing articles on the topic los angeles employment lawyers and california employee rights<.

Toward Greener Pastures: Older Americans and Sustainable Solutions

Many older Americans with manufacturing backgrounds are beginning to find themselves in precarious employment situations. While they might have decades of experience in highly skilled manufacturing areas, they are facing uncertain futures. 

 Manufacturing jobs were one of the best tickets into comfortable middle class lifestyles from the postwar manufacturing boom until the last few years. Unfortunately, these manufacturing jobs are increasingly moving overseas to nations like China and India. And as they begin to recede into the distance, political rhetoric and campaign speeches often emphasize bringing back the glory days of American manufacturing might. And it’s true that there is a bright future for American manufacturing—but the old manufacturing jobs that have disappeared are never coming back.  They’re gone for good. 

 Instead of wasting time bemoaning their loss, we ought to start looking at how to harness the power of American ingenuity that made us a manufacturing powerhouse because of our unique innovative spirit.  

 Green Manufacturing

One of the ways that the United States can continue leading manufacturing innovation is in the rapid expansion of green manufacturing.  Manufacturing workers, faced with the prospect of needing to start a second career later in life, are finding it difficult to translate their skill sets into dramatically different jobs. The growth of green manufacturing presents a unique opportunity for older workers to offer their wealth of experience in a job sector that may have the potential for better pay than other alternatives. As the importance of sustainable and responsible manufacturing processes continues to move into the mainstream of public opinion, workers in the United States have the opportunity to create the new standard that the world will follow.

The Growth of Greener Living

The move toward sustainability has begun to permeate all aspects of our lives.  Earthship homes are good examples of ideas moving from the fringe into the broader mainstream. Back in the early 1970’s when Mike Reynolds began constructing these rammed earth and tire homes in the desert of the American Southwest, they carried connotations of the hippy dippy fringe. But earthship homes are quickly becoming popular throughout the United States and Europe. The popularity comes from their passive solar design and the heavy use of recycled materials. These factors combine to create energy efficient, low cost homes that can operate entirely off the grid in a self-sustained manner.

 Green Education

The growing understanding that sustainability needs to be an integral part of our collective outlook comes in large part from the Baby Boomer generation. The hippy movement may not have lasted, but the drive toward a greener future survived to flourish into a mainstream ecological consciousness.

It’s appropriate that America’s move forward into the new frontiers of making sustainability and green manufacturing both profitable and aesthetically pleasing is possible by teaching young students about old ideas. The students at the Waldorf School in Costa Mesa, California experienced the opportunity to learn about practical green living solutions in a visceral way. These students go to school every day in a new 10,000-square-foot addition composed entirely of recycled steel shipping containers. Rather than the temporary mobile structures so often seen clustered around schools, these four new additions form a permanent part of the Waldorf School. There’s no better way to teach students about responsible recycling and sound environmental practices than building classrooms from recycled materials. When schools adopt green building practices, that’s evidence of green going mainstream in a big way.

How to Handle a Career Change Late in Life

Changing your career is a nerve-rattling experience no matter what age you are. But it is particularly difficult for individuals who are thinking of changing their career late in life. For people over 40, there are many factors that may pose an obstacle including age discrimination, lack of financial resources, and opportunity to further education among others. The opportunity cost of switching career is also usually higher.

The challenges ahead may be difficult but there are countless career shifters who had made the change successfully after 40. Some important factors that allowed them to do it include the following:

Take a Skills Inventory

While there are tests that will let you know where your strengths lie, it might be a better idea to list down an inventory of your skills yourself. Divide a blank sheet of paper into two lengthwise: on the left side, write down the type of work you've enjoyed over the years and on the right side, write the type of work you really disliked. Consider your work history, leisure activities, hobbies, mechanical abilities, and other skills. Some examples you can write down include working with people, working with your hands, and influencing others, etc.

Get Additional Career Ideas

It is important to pursue a career you love. At the same time, you should remain practical. What if there is no longer any demand for the type of work you want to do? Seek alternatives that are similar in nature to your chosen career. Some ideas may include joining career fairs, researching classified ads, and looking into the most in-demand skills in your area. From here, you'll get a better idea as to what opportunities are open to you.

Paint a Clearer Picture of your Career Path

It is one thing to think about changing your career, it is quite another to put it into action. Before doing anything drastic, it is crucial to have a more in-depth idea about your career path. Try to be very specific in terms of how much income you expect to have, who will help you accomplish these goals, and what training you will require to make the change. In addition, you should answer the question, "How do I see myself in 5-10 years?"

Seek Financial Resources

If you're not a multimillionaire, you'll undoubtedly take a hit on your way to changing careers. Some people are fortunate enough that their companies provide opportunities for career transition within the organization. For people who do not have this option, it may be a good idea to seek government grants. There are many programs that are designed to help career shifters get the training required to enter an emerging industry.

It is possible to change careers late in life successfully. However, in navigating unfamiliar waters, you should remember that the unexpected can happen. Be ready to face further challenges ahead but with perseverance, patience, and passion for what you're doing, it is highly likely that you'll ultimately succeed in your chosen career path.

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