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Over Fifty and Jobless

Not what we planned for ourselves when we graduated from high school 33 plus years ago. Full of hope and dreams and ready to conquer the world we were. All we had to do was get a college degree or learn a skill, stay the course, and wait to enjoy the fruits of the “Land of Opportunity”. Our parents and mentors told us to seek employment with a solid company, work hard, live a little for today and to put some away for our golden years. It all seemed like sound advice and wise counsel at the time. Some of us where adventurous and chose to reach even higher. We chose to leverage our education and experience and start businesses. Surely that would speed up our savings process and free us to retire in our fifties.

We bought houses because we were told they were sound investments. Over the years we paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest and property taxes because we were proud homeowners. We would receive tax breaks and the values of our properties would grow steadily over time. Sure there would be a few blips along the way but eventually our house would be paid for and it would be worth a bunch of money. We were leveraging other peoples’ money. Life was good. We even managed to tighten our belts and put our money into this wonderful investment vehicle called a 401k. We could fund this account with pre-tax earnings and enjoy tax deferred growth on the entire balance. The companies we worked for were so generous some of them even matched a certain portion of our contributions. Our prosperity was assured. It was good to be alive.

Truth be told we didn’t actually love our jobs. We worked more hours than we would have liked. We missed most of the important events in our children’s lives. We had a miserable 1 or 2 week’s vacation a year. If we lingered long enough to be rewarded with 2 or 3 weeks we were then “discouraged” from taking the weeks consecutively. If we didn’t (couldn’t) use the vacation days during the fiscal year we lost them. They were a privilege and not a right. We usually anticipated we would have so many e-mails to respond to and so much work waiting for us when we got back that we never got to really relax on vacations anyway. We suffered on the receiving end of the great corporate motto “anything is possible as long as we don’t have to do it”. Our stress levels grew steadily over our careers as we were pressured to meet arbitrary deadlines and were encouraged to take pride in our world-beating productivity. We suffered under foot of corporate climbers that were willing to step on anyone and anything to climb the proverbial ladder.

We were compensated only just sufficiently to keep us in the job. The very definition of free enterprise dictates that we had to be paid less than we were worth. In order for the captains’ of industry to make a profit they had to sell products or services for more than what it cost to produce them. We were in the production side of the equation. That being said, we had jobs. They kept a roof over our families’ heads and food on the table. Many of us even derived a certain prestige in the titles that we were so graciously awarded. We weren’t the bosses and we weren’t wealthy but we had direction and we had value in society.

Then all hell broke loose. A minor downtrend in housing evolved into a terrifying rollercoaster plunge. Moving downward at break-neck speed we eagerly anticipated the rebound that surely must come. For many that transition is still nowhere in sight.

Now we find ourselves in a most uncomfortable situation. Many of us have lost our jobs, our homes, our businesses and large portions of our retirement funds. We are still energetic and eager to be productive but the roadblocks are formidable. As a reward for dedicating years to a given company or industry we are now told that our experience is too limited. We only know the construction industry, for example, and would have no clue how to apply the same basic GAAP accounting principles to the hospitality industry. We put our pride in our pockets and apply for positions paying one half or less of what we were earning previously only to be ridiculed and grilled by human resource gurus. Why would we accept such a large pay cut? We have to explain being over-qualified if we even get blessed with the opportunity of an interview.

Those fortunate ones who have survived the retrenchments, and who have found themselves in the right industries to ride the storm, now play “God” with the rest of us. Rummaging through the huge excess of applications they receive for every legitimate job posting, they demand ludicrous qualifications for even the most mundane opportunities. To add insult to injury they do not offer even a courtesy computer-generated rejection e-mail or letter. We spend countless hours wading through scams to discover a legitimate job opportunity. Then when we find one we spend time completing exhaustive application forms and personality tests only to be totally ignored. It is easy to become frustrated and disheartened but we cannot give up. What is the alternative? We must provide for the basic necessities of life.

In the midst of this nightmare we start to neglect basic maintenance of our bodies and our possessions. There is no money for dental cleanings and annual physicals. There is no money for routine car maintenance. We stretch every dime we have and tighten our already austere budgets. The reality though is that at some point we must have income. What do we do? Unemployment insurance is not the answer. Who can live in the United States on $1,000 a month? Do we move in with family? Do we join the homeless?

We tell ourselves logically that we are great employees. Employers fear that we will take the modest jobs and then jump ship as soon as the economy rebounds. The hot shot corporate climbers with the fancy degrees and finely tuned interview skills will do exactly the same thing, and probably a lot sooner. We know the cost of training new employees and we have an intimate understanding of the value of a job. The risk to an employer of taking on an experienced loyal employee who might need a short period of adjustment to a new industry must be far smaller than trying to keep the hot shot happy. There will always be thoroughbreds but there will also always be a far greater need for honest faithful workhorses. We may not jump up and down and shake our pom-poms at company meetings, but we are dependable, efficient and dedicated to getting the job done.

So what do we do? We try to become self-sufficient and find legitimate work-from-home opportunities. We consider moving to other states or even foreign countries like the United Arab Emirates. We keep pounding the sidewalks hoping that business owners and corporate hiring types will catch the vision. We rely on our family and our circles of influence. We continue to adjust our dreams and expectations downward. We manage health and personal possessions on a crisis-by-crisis basis. We keep hoping that at least part of the American Dream can be restored.

You can no doubt tell that we are not too enamored with corporate life. As the old adage goes, “the only thing worse than having a job, is not having one.” We have also very likely ruffled more than a few feathers with the cliched descriptions of certain corporate individuals. They will even probably cite our comments and stated attitudes as justification for their hiring methods. The truth is at 50 years of age most of us are wise and mature enough to know that life involves doing things we don’t like at times. The hope is that those who are hiring will humble themselves and acknowledge that the major motivation many of us have for working is money. The fact that we don’t love our jobs does not preclude us from being valuable long-term employees. These were supposed to be our peak earnings years. We would now settle for far less.

By Brian Hancock at

Stop Being Lost in the Crowd, Capture the Hiring Manager’s Attention With a Branded LinkedIn Profile

Is your LinkedIn profile a verbatim recreation of your resume? Or is it a unique and complementary representation of you and your job search? I know a plethora of job seekers who simply cut and paste their resumes right into their LinkedIn profiles. Let me tell you why this is NOT the best job search strategy. I’ll also tell you how to capture the hiring manager’s attention and-potentially-the interview.

1. If you’re putting your LinkedIn profile address on your resume, then you can expect employers to go there (You are putting this on your resume, right? Please tell me you’re including this on your resume!). So instead of just repeating what they’ve already just read, give them something new, inspiring, and something that makes them want to connect. Hiring managers don’t just hire skills-they hire personalities. Let them see part of yours-and make it shine.

2. 90% or better of employers are now going online to research their potential candidates. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather they find my LinkedIn profile and the information I’ve put together in it at the top of their search results rather than some college kid’s rants on his personal blog or FB page about a drunken party (who just happens to share your name). They will search for you; give them great information to confirm that you are the best candidate for the job.

3. People want a personal connection and to know you’re a great match on paper and in person. You can be slightly more laid back on LinkedIn and discuss interests and expand on your background and expertise in ways you can’t on your resume. Reading lists, blog articles, groups, connections, etc. These are all ways to show the employer who you are and-again-what you have to offer. Position yourself as a subject matter expert-and when the hiring manager needs someone in your industry, they’ll know just who to come to.

I could go on and on about why branding your LinkedIn profile is so important, but the bottom line is: If you want to be found by recruiters and hiring managers, if you want to cement your reputation and brand in their mind and secure the interview, start branding your profile today. Otherwise, you’re just the same as every other Joe Jobseeker among the millions of people on LinkedIn. Stop being like everyone else and blending in and be discovered today. Learn more about professional LinkedIn profile development here.

Expert resume writer Jessica Hernandez is the President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast a top-tier job search and resume writing firm. Jessica and her team’s work has secured top careers for forward-focused executives and professionals. Named to numerous career expert blogs, Web sites and Twitter lists, she is a credentialed writer, former fortune 500 hiring manager and frequent media source, author, columnist, and published contributor to multiple career, job search and resume advice books. Jessica is also the Resume Makeover coach for the JobTalkAmerica radio program and offers her expert advice and tips weekly on the show.

How to Sell Yourself in the Job Search Process If You Are 40+

Most organizations are looking for young talents with some existing experience. They are seen as flexible, adaptable to the structure and working culture and have less demand salary-wise in return of developing their skills.

While working in recruitment, I personally also received requests from my clients to consider age in the selection process – which of course I refused. Not only is it illegal to discriminate people based on age by European law, but also strategically it is not a wise decision for a company to act so. Why?

In only 2-3 years’ time, on European scale there will be more workforce of the generation 40+ than younger. This means that aging society will start showing its signs in employment. But if the average age in companies will move up and it will be difficult to find replacement for the experienced and soon-to-retire staff, organizations need to value more the generation 40+.

There are lots of companies out there that don’t even bother doing evaluation or career planning with their employees over 40, whereas their interest should be exactly the opposite – keeping them motivated and building on their strengths and experience. A young and motivated new hire might be more engaged in cold calls, but why not use the experienced ones for key account activities due to their client knowledge or how about product development / marketing due to their product and market knowledge? In general, this generation is already clear with expectations in terms of promotion, so why not give them more varied activities, let them coach or train new staff or involve them in strategic planning?

The 3 most important things that a company should do:

Evaluate also senior workforce and develop a career plan for them Hire a coach to set up the inventory of their skills and see how they could be transferred into a potential new job Make sure you are aware of aging within the company and assure a good working relationship between generations, by looking at how to capitalize on the strength of both groups If you are one of the heroes of this article, here are 3 steps to follow:

Make a balance of your career – Are you sitting in your dream job? What are your skills and interests? Where do you want to be? What skills do you need to develop to get there? If you find it difficult to go through this process by yourself, hire a career coach to help you guiding. Check whether your desired opportunity exists within your current company or whether you can create it! Act! Upon losing their jobs, one of the biggest challenges that I hear from 40+ people is they are getting rejected by new employers, being labelled as overqualified.

Indeed, in this economic situation, many companies tend to look at the budget first, forgetting the benefits that experienced people can add to their team. This doesn’t mean though that all companies are doing this deliberately – sometimes they just don’t see the value a senior person can bring on board. And it is your job to get them known this!


You need to start already with your CV. Once the recruiter takes your resume in their hands, the benefits and value of hiring you must come across in less than 15 seconds (this is by the way the same for job seekers of any age). So your CV is your number one tool to show them what you’re worth. Forget the cover letter, recruiters getting 200 CVs per day, will not even bother to open it, unless they got interested in the candidate by the resume.

So keeping these in mind, what are the benefits of your experience?

These might include:

Short (or non-existant) learning curve. Sometimes employers tend to forget that not only hiring has its cost, but the initial learning period as well. Once you highlight that due to your existing experience this learning curve would be dramatically shortened, it will mean to them (a) less training costs and (b) better productivity and instant results leading to profitability. So in the summary/skills part of your CV, whatever way you formulate it, you need to show them the direct link between your experience leading to profit. Developed soft skills. Young hires do not only need an investment in technical training but also in developing their skills. These might be organisational, time management, communication, work ethics, adherence to rules and much more. Again, companies tend to neglect this hidden cost, therefore it is up to you to draw their attention of what they gain with your background. Training / Coaching skills. Again, due to the already elaborated technical and market knowledge of 40+ employees, they are the best people to train or coach the juniors. In your CV, highlight any training/coaching experience you have and show up what results it had in your previous company (for example if you trained sales staff and they brought a certain revenue after the training). Consultant status. As you are coming in to the organisation as an experienced person, you have a fresh, external and therefore more objective view on the company, its strategy, products etc. Use your experience to show them in what way it can contribute to improving profitability by giving them your consultative approach, sharing industry best practices and trends. Of course, these are just some examples of strengths you can come up with in your resume.

As for the interview and salary, a trend that I am seeing more and more often among 40+ “overqualified” people, tired and sick of job search that they agree to settle with a less than ideal salary level, but with the condition to get a raise either bond to a timeframe or results. This could be a good strategy to follow. Just imagine if you show your flexibility by signing a contract with the less than expected amount and you specify that an x% raise would be given to you tied to y result, this y result will bring money to the company, which will enable it to pay you better, leading to a mutual win-win situation.

Career Wellness Coach Erika Kalmar helps you clarify your true career path, find the job you have been longing for and design your career to move towards the goals you set.

Having spent the last 10 years in recruitment, Erika realised the importance of career wellness as opposed to career success and applies this in her approach with clients. She is working with knowledge worker professionals who want to bring in more balance and fulfilment in their career lives, by offering f*ree career tools, articles, career support community and coaching.

Get your complimentary 29-page Job Search Toolkit with top tips, mistakes to avoid and templates at

International Job Search

In this tight job market, you sometimes have no option but to ‘take it where you find it’. This article gives an overview of the global market for expatriate ‘contract work’ in developing countries, isolated and high-risk environments.

There are three main types of overseas work:

1. Fixed Term Contract as an Expatriate.

2. Contract or permanent, with the aim of becoming a citizen of that country.

3. Overseas Assignment (secondment or transfer) whilst employed by your home company.

Work Permits

Most countries are capping the number of foreign nationals allowed to work there, and changing rules for Points-based entry. Before spending hours on the internet applying for jobs, check what types of skills are in demand. There are specialist emigration agencies and law firms that can advise you on the permit or visa that will enable you to live and work in the country you’re interested in. Many of these also have useful (free!) advice on their website.

What kinds of jobs are available?

There is a huge variety of jobs, especially in a good economic climate. The recent world market financial crisis has dampened this prospect but it will pick up again. Everything from technical (engineering, electrical, mechanics) to management (HR, finance, training) and security-related work.

PRO’s: Why should I consider working overseas?

– It builds good experience which can help you to get a job when you return home. – In most cases, it pays very well, always in US dollars.

CONS: What are the main negatives?

– Most jobs are in places where no-one wants to go – either very isolated, high-risk or 3rd world environments. – It is difficult to start a new life and career without a good support network, e.g. family and friends. You need emotional and psychological resilience – the loneliness and homesickness may result in poor concentration, or depression. – Long distances and poor infrastructure means that travel to and from home (for rotational leave) can be exhausting and frustrating. – Cultural differences play a bigger role than you may expect. It is difficult to make friends. – The cost of living can be high – although accommodation may be supplied by the employer, food and extras can be exorbitant.

Client Feedback

“I recently arrived in Ghana to start a new contact and did some sight-seeing in Accra (capital) this weekend. They have a Woolworths, Shoprite/Checkers, Game Store, Mr Price Clothing and good pharmacies but it is all very expensive. One box of Breakfast All Bran Flakes = USD 12.00!”

What kind of salary can I expect to earn?

In most cases, Expat contracts include accommodation, food and travel (to country of origin and back for rotational leave) on top of the salary. Salaries range from US$3,500.00 to US$15,000.00 – obviously depending on the position.

What are the main criteria for overseas applications?

1. A qualification from a recognised tertiary or training institution.

2. Excellent health – full medical checks are mandatory.

3. Clean criminal record – you need a Police Clearance Certificate.

4. References plays an important role…have them lined up!

5. Credit record verification will be done for most senior and financial positions.

Useful CV hints

– Your CV should be 100 % correct in terms of dates worked at companies.

– If you’re a senior professional with a lot of detailed information for your CV, have two documents – a 2-page Resume which is sent first, and a detailed version which can be sent on request if the recruiter wants to shortlist you.

– Ensure you have all the international dialling codes for your contact numbers, including your referees. For international calls to South Africa, this is: +27-31-5723193 (Durban). Also include e-mail addresses for referees.

– Include your passport number, Visa status (e.g. whether you have a work permit) and any other passports you hold, in the CV.

Two good recruitment websites to try:

International Development / Aid organisations:

Global mining recruitment (full spectrum from technical to admin):

How does the interview process work?

The first ‘screening’ interview is often by telephone, if the recruitment consultant is in another country. Skype is used extensively

– it may be a good idea to open a free Skype account and invest in a webcam.

The second interview is with company officials and if shortlisted to the final round, directly with management.

CLIENT FEEDBACK from Len Heynecke, HR Manager for Boart Longyear, a US-based company. This job involves the HR management of BL operations in English West Africa (Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia). Len was previously the HR Project Manager for Barrick Gold Mines in Tanzania.

“I was actively job searching for six months in 2010, and what an experience it was… I applied for over 100 positions and was in contact with more than 30 agencies – some of the worst which I dealt with are in Johannesburg and London and some of the best in Australia, Cape Town and USA. I have travelled more than 30 000 km’s for interviews, crossed rivers, lakes and drove by 4X4 vehicle, was body searched 18 times and had to unpack my bags more or less the same.”

Antoinette Tigar (founder of CV Makeovers has written more than 2000 CV’s for a variety of clients working in every type of profession. Based in South Africa, she specialises in CV’s for engineers, electricians, trainers, managers, security specialists and logistics experts doing contract work in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Should You Be Worried About Age Discrimination?

Almost every client I work with who’s above the age of 40 asks the same question at some point: Do I need to make myself look younger on my resume? The fear that they are being skipped over for younger candidates is clearly a widespread concern among today’s job seekers.

While I certainly encourage those with 30 or more years of work experience to only include what’s most relevant on their resumes, this article in the Wall Street Journal last week caused me to wonder whether age discrimination is really as rampant as people fear. One passage in particular jumped out at me:

Meanwhile, the share of people age 25-34 living with their parents jumped to 13.4% in 2010 from 12.7% in 2008… The poverty rate for adults age 25-34 living with their parents was 8.5%, but in that case they are considered part of a household. If their status was determined solely by their own income, 43% were below the poverty threshold for a single person.

This is data from the U.S. Census Bureau-generally a fairly credible source-and it states that almost 43% of our young workers are living below the poverty line. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that those aged 25-34 suffered the highest unemployment rate of any age group in August 2010-9.8%. Those 55 and over actually had the lowest rate of unemployment at 7.3%.

I’m not suggesting that age discrimination doesn’t exist. If coloring your hair and buying a trendier interview suit will help you feel more confident during your job search, then go for it. However, the reality is that younger workers are facing a job market that’s just as tough as it is for older workers-and in many cases the younger ones have an even harder time getting hired because of their lack of experience. With more than 13% of the young worker population still living at home with their parents, it’s clear that even many with jobs are not making enough to live independently.

These statistics show that the job market has been tough on everyone. To increase your odds for an interview and an offer make sure your resume is completely customized and tailored to each position you apply to. For strategies at overcoming the “age issue” on your resume, speak with a certified resume writer today.

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, speaker and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. She creates high-impact, best-in-class, resumes and cover letters that transform job searches into interviews and ultimately job offers. For more information about professional resume writing or to read more career and job search related articles visit or call 1.800.991.5187.

Third Act For Women Over 50 – Preparing For Joy and Fulfillment in Midlife

We are the first generation of women who have had careers for most of our lives. We are entering a period of life that is virtually uncharted, a time in which we are free from social expectations and reduced family obligations, with the freedom, resources and desire to engage in new activities with meaning and purpose. It is not news that we will live longer and with generally better health than previous generations. Science and medical advances have extended our years. This will give us the opportunity to turn our dreams into realities, to consider options previously considered impractical, and prioritize how we want to spend our time. Now, it’s up to us to decide how to plan for our continued vitality. Most of us are uncertain about what we want from the next 20, 30 or even 40 years ahead of us. Although we may be clear that we don’t expect to follow in the steps of our parents and grandparents and retire, few of us have maps for how we want to proceed. Many of us in our middle years share in conversations with friends comments like the following:

I don’t want to retire, but I want to work less. I want something more meaningful than just playing golf and traveling. While these are fun, they are not enough. I want to make a difference in my community, in the world. What will I do with my time, if I quit work? Will I be satisfied? I want more leisure time, a more balanced life. I want to continue to learn and be challenged. I want to do those projects I’ve never had time to do. How can I stay vital and healthy? I don’t want to feel old!

These are all important questions and considerations. The unspoken question often underneath them is, “What am I feeling called to do?” We often don’t stop long enough to ask this question, let alone wait for the answer. Yet, if we want to find meaning and fulfillment in our later years and be in charge of our lives rather than having them run us on autopilot, it is important to take the time to explore these questions.

This phase of our life that we reach during mid-life, might be called the third act. Our first act revolved around our growing up years, which morphed into our second act of finding a partner, raising a family, and establishing a career. Yet, as we enter our third act, we are often now free from social expectations, we have reduced family obligations as our children have grown, we may be divorced or living alone, and we might have accumulated savings from years of hard work. What will we meaningfully do with our time? How can we shape the life we choose to live?

What Is Waiting in the Wings?

Preparing for your third act means first reviewing your second act and identifying what scripts or themes connect the stories in your work and career, your family, volunteer and social life. What scripts are assets that you can build upon? Which ones are liabilities that you need to adjust or learn to manage? In addition, reviewing your second act may bring back interests and passions from earlier years that you want to resurrect. With this review you can begin to explore the opportunities that are waiting for you in the wings and that you might want to bring onto center stage. In preparing for the rising curtain of your third act, we have found it helpful to raise questions about the various facets of our current lives,the emotional, physical, professional, personal and spiritual,to clarify for ourselves what is waiting in the wings for our third act. Below you will find some thoughts about each area and some questions to explore.


Popular stereotypes would lead us to believe that most of us go through a mid-life crisis between 40 and 60 leading to unhappiness and depression. But researchers report that, far from being a time of turmoil, dissatisfaction, and dread of getting old, only a small percent (23%) of participants report having a midlife crisis.1 In many cases it had nothing to do with aging. Based on the results of this study, most people are entering their sixth or seventh decades with an increased feeling of well-being, equanimity and sense of control over many parts of their lives.

Questions to explore: What brings you joy, pleasure, and deep satisfaction? How can you express your appreciation for those pleasures? How can you continue to find those emotional rewards in the coming years?


We know that many of us have two, three, four or more decades of life remaining and that each generation is more active with more health and vitality than ever before. Yet we also may have neglected our fitness and gained some weight, and now find our cholesterol or blood pressure too high for good health.

Questions to explore: How is your current health and fitness? Do you need to take some action to lose weight, quit smoking, improve your diet or get more rest? What will it take to improve your health and fitness?


As we mentioned in the opening paragraph, we are a generation of women who have pursued careers for most of our lives. For many, those careers have brought achievements and the personal and financial rewards of success in our chosen fields. Such success has also often meant the stressful demands of long hours and hard work to meet unfair expectations or to challenge traditional stereotypes. Many of us are ready to slow down, to have more time for relaxation and to enjoy other interests. And we may not want to or financially be able to quit working. Others of us want to leave one career behind and launch a new and perhaps more entrepreneurial venture that we have always dreamed about. Others of us want to use our professional skills in ways that contribute and make a different to our community or to the world.

Questions to explore: Do you want or need to continue to work? Are you interested in launching something new? How much do you want to work? Do you want to use your skills, experience or your time as an activist or leader contributing to the solution of global issues or volunteering in your community?


Full time work and raising a family leaves little time for women to pursue hobbies, leisure time activities or make contributions as a volunteer. As our family obligations are reduced and we think of working only part-time or even leaving our work and careers, opportunities open up. We can pursue long-delayed dreams, complete neglected projects, learn to play the piano, speak Spanish, study history, or make a meaningful contribution to causes about which we are passionate.

Questions to explore: Do you have a passion to make a difference, to contribute to your community? Do you have dreams or projects you have longed to pursue? Do you have subjects you want to study or skills you want to learn?


The multi-tasking, over-scheduled life, cruising on auto-pilot, leaves little time to explore the questions of deeper meaning in our lives. When time does emerge, we are often at a loss, listlessly drifting from one thing to another, and feeling somehow empty of purpose, meaning and direction.

Questions to explore: Are you wondering if you will be satisfied, if you quit work and leave your career? Are you asking what you are called to do and what will provide meaning and purpose in this next phase of your life? Is your life fulfilled and guided by your spiritual beliefs?

Creating the vibrant, rewarding script for your third acts requires the review of the second act. It also requires intentional focus on how to bring these important qualities that bring satisfaction into our lives. Some of us can find that focus on our own. For others of us, we may need to combine the space for our reflective focus with an opportunity to explore our questions in dialogue with others and seek feedback and encouragement. We need to take the time and intention to implement our hopes, dreams, and goals to shape and create a vital, vibrant, and engaging script for our third act.

(Endnotes) 1- Study of nearly 8,000 Americans by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Midlife Development. Quoted in a news article. Paper unknown

Bev Scott offers The Third Act, a program for those in mid-life to create the script for what is next. As an organization and management consultant, she has supported leaders, teams and individuals to find meaning and develop their full potential for over 30 years. She has also served as an educator, presenter, author and executive. She can be reached at

4 Tips For the Boomer to Bounce Back

Bounce Back and Bounce Better Regardless of your age or situation, the time for you to take action is TODAY! ‘Cause it’s NEVER too late! It has been gratifying to see that even if you have had a rocky financial road, you can make a change anytime you decide. No matter where we fall on the Baby Boomer age scale and regardless of our financial circumstances, it’s important that we ACT NOW, this minute, to make changes that will affect how we manage our finances for the rest of our lives.

The critical thing to remember is that no matter how bleak your financial situation might seem at this moment, you will be pleased to know it’s possible to get “back into the game” and make changes whenever you decide. As long as you have the desire to effect a change, there is no reason why your age will stop you from taking a different path in your career. Or, from doing so successfully!

Four Tips for the Baby Boomer to Bounce Back

o Evaluate and Set Goals Know what you have and where you’re going by setting aside some time to evaluate your finances in relation to your goals. What do you see are your needs for the coming year? Unless you are able to specifically define these, you’ll be unable to move forward. It may be necessary for you to set aside a month or so in order to get a truly clear picture of how your income correlates with your expenses. For instance, if you have from time to time been somewhat wild with your credit cards, in the future you may want to consider making “cash only” purchases/expenditures for a specified period of time. You can also keep track of the purchases you make by recording the amount each time you buy something. Being able to actually “see” in front of you where the money has gone can be a jarring wake up call. It can also help you evaluate your future financial moves. One very effective “trick” is to use “only cash” when purchasing anything. By the time your cash is gone you hope the month is, too, because you will have been able to manage your money well. Of course, if you still have bills and no longer have any cash, you’ll have a problem. Or, as a new money management tool, put cash into envelopes marked for each expenditure; for instance, “rent or mortgage”, “groceries”, “home repair”, “medical”, etc.

o Put it in Writing As mentioned above, list your goals and display them where they will be easy to see. One of the best ways to put something into memory is to write it down and to then refer to it often. By doing so, you take ownership of the goal, and you acknowledge what has to be done to resolve the situation. Call this your action plan.

o You’re Not the Only One in the Boat In all this, it’s important that you know you are not alone. No matter how tough this all seems! Sometimes when we find ourselves in a financial bind, it’s fairly common to want to feel ashamed for getting into our predicament. There really is no need to do this. Unfortunately, in today’s times it happens more often than not. So, you may want to seek out a friend who will listen to your concerns. Or find a group of like-minded individuals. You’ll be able to help each other. Above all, get out and get help, if you need it. It’s one way to feel relief and to get your joy back.

o Sometimes We Need a Third Party Intervention You’ve found yourself in a financial predicament that you just can’t quite unravel. Rather than unsuccessfully continue to agonize over the situation or to try to unproductively fix your financial mess, look for assistance with your financial matters to help you turn your situation around. There are many financial consultants, trained in such matters, that will be able to provide you with materials and support that will help alleviate your situation. In some instances, they may even be able to go to bat for you with your creditors. And, they’ll be able to direct you to referral resources in your area. Stepping out and seeking guidance will also help you to realize you are not alone in dealing with issues like these.

“How to Practice Guilt Free Self Care in Times of Stress”; to download Janie’s report visit

Janie Behr is a qualified life coach specializing in helping people find their purpose, achieve their goals, and explore all the possibilities that life has to offer. She is available for private individual coaching, group coaching and public speaking engagements. She runs frequent teleseminars dedicated to helping people find and live their most positive lives! For more information please visit

The Real Truth About Change Management – How to Successfully Manage Resistance to Change

Let’s get real! The main reason people don’t want to change is because no one wants to be a senior beginner. If people believe their value or expertise will be undermined as they’re forced to adapt to the new way, resistance to change is the natural reaction.

Transition does not feel the same for everyone.

Some adapt well (but not as many as you’d think), some struggle but manage to adapt, and some lose the will to live! Several studies show that when an organization’s most talented people decide to leave, it’s during times of change. The people who are committed, naturally good at what they do, and driven compulsively to succeed have the most difficulty with change. It’s a lot easier to be totally flexible when you pretty much sucked anyway. My (melodramatic) point is that adaptability is a wonderful trait to have in an employee; it’s just not a trait you are likely to find in your superachievers.

If you hope to not alienate your superachievers (and your regular achievers) during times of change, you’ll need to make sure they feel valuable during and beyond the transition. That means the people in your organization have to be influential and not just knowledgeable about how change works. It means you’d better have their trust or be real good at rebuilding it quickly when a message like “We need to double our production with existing resources” hits the street. It means the change has to make sense to the people who can make or break your success, not just to your liquidly flexible, mediocre masses. And if you do not like what I’ve written and you are having a hard time adapting these concepts, congratulations – you’re a talented superachiever!

So what’s actually working?

Spend some time proving to your people how valuable they are during transition by making the change as easy as possible. Also, make sure the people with giant mouths in your organization who have the ear of masses know how the change will benefit them personally. You want to make sure those big mouths are flapping for you, not against you. And finally, quit using the phrase “We need to do more with less” as if it’s somehow motivational. It’s tough even for your diehard leaders to get behind that verbiage when in reality the goal of most humans is to actually do less with more! Instead, tell people the truth behind the change: “We are trying to be more profitable so we don’t have to cut your pay, which might cause you to scare off the customers!”

Garrison Wynn is an internationally known motivational speaker, trainer and consultant. He is the president and founder of Wynn Solutions, specializing in turning talent into business success through performance. Garrison is panelist for the Washington Post’s “On Success” column and is the author of the top selling book “: What the top 1% do differently.”

How to Write a Resume For Those Who Don’t Know Where to Start

Sitting down to write your first resume can be a mind-baffling event. If only for the fact that this one (or two) sheet of paper can affect whether you get a job or not, writing a resume can be rough. But it doesn’t have to be necessarily that bad.

There are tremendous resources available to help you. A great place to start is your local library. But if all those resume guides seem intimidating, start by considering the following points.

You should always begin by conducting a self-assessment. Take a weekend and thoroughly examine what you have done. And by the way, just make it very straightforward; for each job you have held, answer the following questions:

1. What were you most proud of during that time?

2. What was your legacy, or impact, on your work unit?

3. And if you were not there, how would they have been affected?

If some of those answers are hard in coming, a good source can be a confidante, or even your spouse. Ask them if they remember what you bragged about. Also, look at your past evaluations and use the good comments that your supervisors wrote about you. This is all fair game.

And don’t forget letters of recommendation and written “attaboy’s or attagirl’s,” these are all good sources of real-time testimonials. I think testimonials, as Kevin uses in Guerrilla Resumes, are great.

As you write the meat of your resume, assuming that you have decided on the format, keep these points in mind:

1. Your results and accomplishments must be quantified. Hiring managers need to see specific results. You should not think because you “only managed 2 people and increased sales revenue from $59,000 to $81,000 while increasing gross margin from 18% to 27%,” that the numbers are not impressive; therefore you would be better off being vague. So what if you did not save the company $120 million (if you did, great, write it down), your accomplishments are in context with your job. Be specific.

2. If you are an employee of the month, quarter, year, or have any level of recognition for anything, it should be on your resume. Leave nothing out. Worse, do not let your sense of what is important or trivial guide you. If you are in doubt, use your friends or mentors as sounding boards. If you do not want to do that, use a forum on a job board to ask whether your recognition was trivial or not.

3. You should write your resume for the hiring manager to read. It should not be “stuffed” with keywords because you read that all resumes are scanned into resume scanning software. You should never write your resume for software. But mostly, a resume built around keywords reads funny and weird. Still, scan through the job ad or posting, and pull out a few, important keywords. Sprinkle the keywords around so that they sound natural.

4. Particularly if you are older, you should make note of your computer skills or technical knowledge on your resume. Industries move fast and believe they are always innovating (even if they still stuck in last century), so their main concern with older workers is that the worker is not current. Your resume should immediate remove that one little barrier.

5. You should always use action verbs. More specifically, use action verbs that show you were front, rather than in the group.

Finally, before you do anything else, have someone you trust to be brutally honest review your draft resume. You should join a job club and ask for their opinion. You should also take all criticism with a grain of salt. Do not constantly revise your resume from one person to the other and back again. Once you are satisfied with your resume, tweak it here and there; but keep wholesale revisions to a minimum.

That is until you either get a job or determine the resume is not working.

Write your best and most effective resume with free advice, guidelines, and examples at While you’re at it, sign up for the newsletter with free EBooks and resources to help you. Loaded with great articles to help you find a job, this is where to go for commonsense, straight shooting info.

Job Interview Tips: Top Interview Tips For Women Returning to the Workplace

Have you taken time out of your career to raise a family? Are you now ready to enter the labor market again? Starting to apply for jobs and worried about the job interview?

Getting back into work can be a scary and exciting prospect for women who have been busy raining a family. For many the idea of facing the job interview can be very intimidating.

But there is no need to feel worried if you are well prepared, know what to expect and practice in advance, you will feel more comfortable and be much more likely to succeed.

Job Interview Tips To Help You Get The Job

In this article I describe some simple steps and I provide guidance to help you prepare for the job interview.

Firstly read the Job Description in detail. Get a copy of the Person Specification and find out as much as you can about the interview format. This will help you get a good idea of what’s required and you can then match your skills and experience accordingly.

Another great job interview tip is to spend time listing the interview questions that may be asked. Don’t forget to include Competency Based and Behavioural questions as they are now used very commonly in large and small organisations. Compile a list of questions that you may want to ask perhaps about the job or about the employer.

Conduct a search of the employer online to see what they do, what their culture, plans and philosophy is and what their recent success have been. This will help you answer questions about the organisation and show how keen you are to work there.

Top Interview Tip: What To Prepare For:

All job interview questions relating to family, children or your personal life and are illegal however be ready for questions asking about your career break.

You may be asked interview questions which examine your reasons for taking a break. Turn these into something affirmative and sell yourself to say how fortunate you were to be able to learn a new set of skills while also having the opportunity to spend time with your children. Talk through these new skills and show how these will be useful to your future employer.

During the interview, give examples that demonstrate your ability to acquire and perfect new skills and complete new tasks. Remember too that raising a family requires a unique set of competencies such as an ability to cope under pressure, to plan and organise and to make quick and effective decision, all of which are essential in any role.

Be prepared to demonstrate any measures you have taken to keep your skills up to date such as training or study. This can be a potential worry for a new employer who may not have the budget for a significant training. Perhaps you have been able to improve your computer skills for example or are in the process of improving a particular skill which is essential for the job. This shows keenness and an ability to develop yourself independently.

Finally, an important interview tip for those returning to work is to raise the subject of child minding arrangements. The employer will almost certainly be interested in the actions you have taken in this regard and will want to make sure that you will not be distracted in any way from the job. This will show that you have taken the initiative and are ready to get back into the work place.

Annette Lewis is an accredited interviewer, job coach and career consultant. She provides free advice for job interview candidates at and was involved in developing the highly successful online interview skills training system InterviewGold

Smart Resumes

When filling out the employment history section of your resume, you will want to record some bullet points on what you did. For many people, there is a tendency to use expressions such as ‘responsible for’, ‘involved in’, ‘worked on’, etc. But the potential employer, when reading your resume, is really looking to see what you achieved, how much money you made or how much money you saved. In other words, the potential employer is looking for ‘what’s in it for him’ if he takes you on to fill the vacancy. He wants the benefits.

The result is that you need to focus your resume any more specifically on what the potential employer is really looking for.

Now, everyone in business is trained to use SMART criteria in almost all areas of their work. The general interpretation of these smart criteria is often taken to mean, S for specific, M for measurable, A for achievable, R for relevant and T for timely.

If we translate these smart criteria into the world of resumes we could interpret them as follows for each of your achievement bullet points:

– Firstly, be Specific in what you actually did. Do not talk about activities going on around you, but be clear on what you did and what you personally achieved.

– Secondly, make what you achieved to be Measurable. Here you should use numbers of dollars for savings, or percentage increases in productivity, or percentage measures for efficiency savings, etc.

– Then, say what you actually Achieved in clear and simple English.

– Make sure what you say you achieved is still Relevant. Be aware that things you did 10 years ago may seem commonplace or even rather dated now. So, if you cannot make it relevant in some way to enhance your current value than the best left out.

– Finally, assert how you achieved whatever you did in a Timely manner. Perhaps you beat the competition, or maybe you met the deadline, or maybe it was somehow appropriate at that time. You need to use your own judgment here.

You will notice that in writing your employment history to meet these smart criteria, that you will be using what are often called ‘action words’. These are simply words that say what you did. Examples of these words are ‘trained’, ‘developed’, ‘ managed’, ‘ conducted’, etc. and a list goes on.

Let us now take an example of what I mean in the real life situation. Supposing you had an achievement in your employment history like:

* Responsible for supervising a small team of programmers to install a set of changes to a departmental system as part of an overall cost review exercise in the organization. This was due to the economic downturn. The effect was to increase departmental productivity and save staff costs.

Instead, using our SMART criteria, you might change it to something like:

* Managed, developed and implemented a systems project to a tight 3 month deadline, which resulted in a reduction of operating costs of $60,000 per year.

We can quickly check that it does indeed meet the smart criteria discussed above. Firstly it is much more specific than the original few sentences. It’s more concise and succinct. Secondly, it uses numbers for both time and cost. These are measures that are precise. Thirdly, the sentence show now clearly what you actually achieved. That is you managed, developed and implemented the project. Notice also the use of these ‘action words’. Notice too how the subject of relevance is actually skirted around. Instead of bothering about what the nature of system was, you are focusing instead on the project nature of the task and the fact that you completed it on time. The system itself may indeed be out-dated, but the fact that you can run a project is still current and relevant. Finally, the timely nature of the project is borne out by the fact that the cost saving was made and also that the project met the 3 month deadline.

As you can see, the use of SMART criteria helps in many ways to structure and make sense of your employment history and also make it relevant to today’s environment.

Peter Draper is an expert resume writer. For further information see

Re-Entering the Workforce After 40 – Why Older Can Be Better

So you’re feeling discouraged. All around you, you see young people who are always hooked in, online, surfing and texting and Tweeting. They know all the latest industry buzzwords. And they have so much energy! Meanwhile, the only Blackberry you’re familiar with is the one you put on your bran cereal in the morning. You haven’t learned to text on your cell phone because the screen’s too small to see without your glasses. And now you’re looking for work. You wonder what you have to offer, and why an employer might choose you over someone young.

To help build your confidence, let’s look at some of the reasons employers often prefer older workers, and the special skills they have to offer:

1. Loyalty. Older workers were raised in an era when you found a job and stayed with it. It’s much less likely you’ll be job hopping as is becoming so common today.

2. Work ethic. Older workers are less likely to take sick days when they aren’t actually sick. It feels wrong to them.

3. Experience. You can teach someone a job, but you can’t teach them the wisdom, discernment and good judgment that come with years of experience.

4. Contacts. Older workers who have stayed in one place tend to have endless contacts and a great ability to network that a younger person just won’t have.

5. Freedom. No worries about an older worker needing time off to care for a sick child, no maternity or paternity leave.

6. Maturity. Certain professions, particularly those dealing with people under stress, require a person who can project authority, dignity, empathy. This comes with age and life experience, and isn’t something you can learn at school or online.

Remember, as you go out into the workforce, you have a lot to offer that a young person doesn’t. Don’t feel embarrassed or defensive: you’re not old and out of touch – you’re mature and experienced! Any employer would be lucky to have you. If you keep this in mind, you’ll be able to approach this challenge with new confidence and energy.

Lorraine E. Wright of 21st Century Resumes designs technology-friendly, attention-grabbing resumes and cover letters, customized uniquely for each job seeker, to present them at their very best in today’s crowded and competitive job market.