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Over 40 and Looking For a New Start?

Those of us seeking a new job may understandably have some doubts about our chances of+. Will I be hired if they work out my age? What do I have to offer that someone younger doesn’t? What careers are there for women in their 40s? However, we can actually use our maturity and experience to our advantage. It’s never too late for a career transition so conquer and banish all fears about being ‘past it’ just because you’re over 40. Simply refuse to entertain such a mindset and  inner confidence and ability instead.

Draw inspiration from all those who only ‘made it’ in later life and who credit their earlier experiences as being instrumental in equipping them for the role they (eventually) found success in.


However, do not confuse confidence with complacency. Be sure not to fossilise: ensure CVs use the latest jargon and drop anything that has lost currency. In some industries the lingo moves on quickly so it’s pointless to use old terminology which is long gone.


Use your maturity as a woman over 40 to stand out in the job market:


Ensure solid awareness of track record, key strengths, career highlights, and sectors where you’re most likely to create interest. Produce a relevant, high-quality CV – get help to achieve this. Research the ‘way in’ to potential employers. Receptionists are only a phone call away and they’re usually very willing to provide information and help Telephone potential leads first so as not to send a CV ‘cold’. Become familiar with and use online tools like LinkedIn Get networking-tell the world what you are doing and want to do. In accordance with the ‘six degrees of separation’ model, you’re bound to be directly or indirectly connected to someone who can help you make things happen. Attend meetings of relevant institutes and have some business cards ready to hand out. Exchange them with anyone who offers you theirs and be proactive in passing them to those you talk with. If you’re planning to change careers altogether, it’s important to be realistic. Possible routes in to careers for those of us in our 40s could be via consultancy or pro bono work for a contact within your chosen field. Thoroughly consider your personal position from all relevant angles. Assess your financial situation and other practicalities you’ll have to account for. Be sure you’re not viewing a certain career through rose tinted glasses; talk to those already doing it, research it widely, and develop a genuine passion for it that’s so absolute it’s almost tangible. You will need to completely believe in the goal to ensure others will do too!


Remember:

It all comes back to belief and confidence. If you think you can, you can and if you think you can’t, you won’t. Whatever your hopes and challenges, embrace your maturity and experience and future employers will appreciate them as advantages too.

Mary Cope is a Career Guide at Position Ignition, a very personal careers advisory service for professionals. Position Ignition works with individuals through their careers transitions supporting them through to achieving their goals. Mary is interested in taking careers advice to the next level! Website: http://www.positionignition.com - Blog: http://www.positionignition.com/blog

Everybody Needs A Resume Coach

Can you imagine any competition, serious endeavor, an Olympic athlete or top performer in any field where a coach, consultant or mentor is not employed to achieve excellent results? That is why sports coaches, fitness coaches, executive coaches, sales coaches, life coaches and experts are sought. They provide the strategy, tactics and best practices to quickly and easily achieve results.

Yet on many career blogs you will see that, usually to save a few dollars, people often insist on doing their own resumes and their own interview prep without using any type of career coaching. While this do-it-yourself approach may result in finding jobs, in today’s competitive world it usually means a longer job search or a suboptimal result. The questions to ask in a buyers’ market are: “How can I get a competitive edge?” and “How do I win this resume game?”

Are you a job seeker facing this highly competitive, more demanding world? Have you experienced how the new systems, technologies, and the economy have made the hiring process much more complicated, impersonal and time consuming? Much to the job seeker’s frustration, it has become a distinct two stage competition – first: the resume competition and second: the interview process.

Perhaps you’ve tried to reach the hiring manager and tried to sell yourself into an interview. Maybe you’ve left multiple messages to the recruiter in HR to follow up on the resume that you submitted. It’s difficult to get any personal response. So your resume is forced to do your selling for you.

So how can you get an “edge” using a “resume coach”? Here are some facts:

When thousands of resumes are searched by recruiters, if you’re not on page 1 or 2, you’re probably not even in the running. A poorly qualified candidate with an elegant, professional looking resume may get called for a job interview, while a stronger candidate can be left behind because of poor resume aesthetics or subpar presentation, and no one will ever know. It’s a one way street. A poor resume might generate a 1/20 interview ratio, while an exceptional resume should generate a 1/6 ratio or better. Resumes are often read with a negative bias. “What is this candidate missing?” As a longtime recruiter, 50% of the resumes that I screened were poorly written. About 40% were average and only 10% were effective selling resumes. Most resumes are narrative, unfocused and are not “selling resumes”. A Selling resume is at least 31% more likely to land interviews, 40% more likely to receive a job offer, and 38% more likely to be contacted by recruiters, compared to an average resume. A Selling resume is about 70% more likely to get interviews than a poor resume. So in order get an edge in the paper competition, your document can’t be just a resume —- but a Selling Resume!

Since many of us do not have sales experience, and are too close to the topic to really sell ourselves objectively, we need to consult a sales-oriented advisor, a “resume coach” to guide us in the presentation. A selling resume is not about “you “, but about “how you can help solve a problem”. Every job exists to solve a business problem. Your resume has to sell you as a solution.

There many sources of resume information, “misinformation” and outdated advice in the marketplace. Poor results, even after spending a lot of money, are not uncommon. Here are the choices:

Free resources and resume templates that rarely yield an exceptional resume. Most of these resumes never clear the Applicant Tracking Systems that recruiters and companies use. Resume builders and free sources don’t care about quality or uniqueness. They usually just want a resume for their primary purpose and agenda, or it’s merely a “freebie” service leading you in to entice you purchase other products or services. HR recruiters are limited to their own experience. Agency recruiters simply can’t spend the time. They take an average resume and try to present it with their own write ups – their own elevator pitch – in hopes of filling jobs that they will get paid for. It’s easier than rewriting your resume and honestly, they don’t have a real investment in your career if it doesn’t serve their immediate purpose. When we do it ourselves, without specific coaching, we rarely create a selling resume because we are too close to the topic and too distant from the hiring process. Are we the experts? A professional resume writer can produce good, average or poor results depending on their skills & background, and price is not necessarily an indicator of quality. The blogs are full of mixed reviews. Since this is a lifelong skill, the best choice is to seek out the proper guidance and advice so you can quickly learn to craft and tailor an exceptional resume whenever you need it throughout your career. A resume also becomes a branding tool for social networks where you are checked out and found by recruiters. Who would be the best sources for a Resume Coach?

If you want to win the resume game, your resume must be a selling document. Therefore, a talented career coach or third party recruiter, who understands both sales and the recruiting process in your field, is the most obvious choice. Paying for their time and guidance is a minor investment compared to the upside and the results it could yield. Ask yourself — if your job search is even 2 days shorter, your job offer is $2000 more, or the position obtained puts you on a faster track, is there a better investment for your career?

Therefore a “selling resume” is more than an advertisement in today’s world. It is a marketing proposal for your services. Get the edge. Get a sales-oriented coach to help you win the resume game.

Howard Cattie is Founder and Head Coach of CareerOyster, an innovative online career and job transition coaching to help executives and professionals direct their careers throughout their working lives. Services include resume help, interviewing help, job leads and customized career coaching via multimedia products. The theme of the company is simple:

“The world is your Oyster….. be the pearl”.

To get started, and to get your free video career advice and job search tips newsletter, visit http://www.careeroyster.com.

Howard has had over 30 years of Career Coaching, Recruiting, Sales and Sales Management experience before founding CareerOyster LLC. While he has been a hiring manager for most of that time, his real passion has been in helping individuals identify their longer term goals and position themselves to get there. He has extensive experience in coaching jobseekers and recruiters in effective career planning, resume writing, interview coaching and job closing strategies. He has trained over 400 recruiters and thousands of candidates in job seeking techniques with a true specialty in candidate interview preparation. Prior to that he founded and managed Custom Recruiting Services for 11 years, a specialized recruiting firm for Technology and Technology Sales and Marketing professionals. Howard was also an Executive in three national Recruiting and Staffing organizations: Source Services, Romac International (now Kforce) and Norrell (now Spherion).

Howard was a certified member of Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC) and provides Executive, Sales and Career Coaching to Management Clients. Education: MS in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan MBA in Marketing from Temple University BS in Engineering Physics from St Joseph’s University. contact: [email protected]

Top 5 Ways to Find a Mentor and the Best 5 Strategies For Asking Someone to Be Your Mentor

Most entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, and successful business people have, at one time or another, had mentors that assisted them in their career, business or psychology. And, most of these professionals will continue to have mentors throughout their lives and will go on to mentor others. A mentor is someone who can guide you (or take you under his or her wing) in becoming a better professional. But finding a mentor can be a daunting task. In this article we give you the top strategies for finding a mentor and for asking someone to be your mentor.

Here are my top 5 ways to find a mentor for you and your business:

#1 Do your homework first.

Never tell a prospective mentor you are not sure how they can be of assistance to you, or that you do not have a business plan. Lay some very real groundwork on your project or idea, such as having all the financials in place, or a brochure describing your product or service. When asking someone to be your mentor, find out what you can do in preparation for a mentoring session and be willing to do the work necessary for your first call.

#2 Know yourself and your business or project.

List your strengths and weaknesses. Describe your goals, business and/or project to help clarify where a mentor can be of assistance. Write down the types of qualities you desire in a mentor. Evaluate your own personality type. Think about what you are looking for in a relationship. The clearer you are about this, the better idea you can give a mentor of what type of support you need.

#3 Use your connections.

Your alumni associations, professors, clients, social media friends & connections, all are good resources for finding a mentor.

#4 Join a group.

Utilize social media; Linkedin has numerous entrepreneur groups you can join and post a discussion. Investment groups, local business groups and networking groups have been established to gather like-minded people and to assist them in their business growth.

#5 Ask for referrals.

Tell everyone you know – your friends, family, co-workers, retired executives, neighbors – that you need a mentor. Everyone you talk to is a potential resource for finding a mentor. Now that you have identified some prospective mentors, it’s time to ask someone to be your mentor!

Here our my 5 Top Strategies for Asking Someone to Be Your Mentor

#1 Bring something to the table.

Analyze what you have to offer in exchange for a mentor’s time. Do you have a database or a highly trafficked website where you can highlight the mentor’s business? Are you able to joint venture on a project by offering a resource the prospective mentor doesn’t have? For example, you have a distribution center that does not offer a product similar to the mentor’s service or product and you make your distribution center available for their product.

#2 Be complimentary.

Before approaching a prospective mentor, become familiar with their business, service or product. If they have a website, visit the site. If they speak in front of groups, attend a speaking engagement. Tell the prospective mentor what you admire about them and where you see they might be able to compliment you and your business.

#3 Ask how they got started.

This is a good reminder of the fact that they probably had mentors that helped them along the way and they may have a desire to repay the generosity of others. Ask for ideas, based on their experience, of ways you might find a mentor and how their mentor helped them. This is a way of establishing a good framework for that person’s assistance.

#4 Offer to pay.

When you are asking someone for their valuable time you should be willing to honor the value they bring to the table with some financial compensation. In all likelihood someone who is willing to mentor you will not ask to be paid for their support, but the offer to pay should be made to show that you truly value the other person’s contribution.

#5 Appeal to common interests.

Chances are you are approaching an individual because you already believe common interests exist. This could be that you both share the same level of passion for business, have the same values, belong to related industries or groups, have the same level of commitment to goals and visions, to name a few.

Lastly – don’t assume.

Don’t assume the other person has time. Don’t assume they would be a good fit for you. Don’t assume they would be willing to mentor you. Don’t assume they have a genuine interest in your growth. The best mentors share the same level of interest and commitment as you.

Be prepared to be a good mentee. Always take the advice of a mentor seriously and follow-up on suggestions or “homework” assignments. And, always send a thank you letter or email to everyone who supported you or mentored you. I wish you great success with your mentoring experience.

Theresa Bradley-Banta, co-creator of http://www.bigfishtopdogs.com, has been a self-employed entrepreneur for the last 25 years and is a mentor, musician, award winning graphic artist, blogger and owner of multiple businesses.

Retiree Jobs – Baby Boomer Retirement Means Work For Most

Retiree jobs will be important to 72% of all baby boomers. According to a Del Webb, who should know something about retirement, survey of baby boomers… 72% is the percentage of baby boomers that plan to work in retirement.

Why is working in retirement necessary? Over 50% of boomers have saved less than $25,000 for retirement.

Since the average American family has over $8,000 in credit card debt…There is no incentive to save at 1% interest when you pay 18% or more on your credit card balance. Why are so many in debt is another story…it is reality that many boomers are facing.

Since almost half of retirees move when they retire, there is a lot of demand for retiree jobs in Arizona and Florida, where most retirees relocate. There are just so many Wal-Mart greeter jobs to go around. Some choose real estate; there are certainly those jobs available to proven producers.

For those planning to retire overseas for the much lower cost of living…you should not plan on traditional work. The jobs available will be given first to locals…the way it should be.

For most, a part time job will supplement their Social Security…again in the popular retirement states they will be lots of competition for these jobs.

Virtual retirement or retiring online will be sought for those who would like to work at the time and place of their choosing…doing what you want is why you retire in the first place.

Unless you are that rare person who actually knows, as much about computers as the average 12 year old, you will need some help in training for a productive online career. The learning curve is steep…but doable…for us baby boomers.

I found the answer to my knowledge gap in computing and websites after 2 months of floundering. Others are not so lucky…I hope you discover what I did early on. Interested in how I did it?

Gary Pierce is the webmaster of http://www.best-retirement-living.com he retired early at 49, he is still retired at 64. He has experienced some of the retirement realities that baby boomers are facing.He can show you how to make lemonade from the lemons the baby boomer generation has been dealt. It is 2010 and many are wondering if they can ever retire…you can still retire. Don’t give up until you check out this website.

10 Tips For Finding a Job When You Are Over 40

Here are 10 top tips for finding a job if you are over 40. I encourage you to read them all because any one of them could make the difference for you. As a qualified leadership trainer I am very conscious that breakthrough ideas may come either from what you read, or they may just come as a flash of inspiration triggered by something in your unconscious mind as a result of reading. In other words, this is a process that stimulates creative thinking and forces you to consider new ideas. I hope you find it useful.

Here are the Top 10 Tips:

1. Specialise

There has been a trend in recent years for employers to seek out increasingly specialised skills in their recruitment process. Think about what your specialist strengths are and how you could help an organisation by applying them. Then seek out opportunities that require these specialist skills. Although there may be a smaller number of jobs in your particular specialism, your chances of securing one of them are much better. So for example, if your skills lie in sales, think about what industry sectors or geographies you might have built experience in. Which other companies need to sell into those customers?

2. Broaden your search

It may be necessary to look outside of your immediate geographic or industry area in order to find the right job. By broadening your search you expose yourself to the opportunity of finding something that you would otherwise have missed. This may give you a difficult decision to make but at least it will be your decision which is always better than not having a decision at all.

3. Register with agencies

It may sound too obvious to mention but it is important to register with a reasonable number of appropriate recruitment agents. The opportunity to use the internet to do this makes life a lot simpler. It does however remove the human element and you do run the risk of just becoming a statistic if you don’t insist on a face to face meeting or at least a telephone conversation. Furthermore there are some agencies that specialise either directly or indirectly on more mature or experienced workers. Search out this type of agent in your area and make friend with them!

4. Dedicate a specific amount of time to job searching

With plenty of time on your hands it is easy to function without urgency. Treat your job search as if it was your job. Start at a particular time, form a to-do list of activities you need to complete during the day, schedule your own coffee and lunch breaks and decide how many hours per day you wish to spend on it. This is important to enable you to make structured progress but it is also important because it should allow you to switch off when you have achieved your objectives or tasks for the day. I cannot stress how important it is to switch off and don’t forget to celebrate your successes or progress each day.

5. Exercise

Use your spare time to keep in shape. We have all heard the saying that a fit body = a fit mind. By doing exercise and getting the oxygen flowing around in your body you will make yourself far more productive on a day to day basis. You will also feel good and present yourself better when you meet people.

6. Do something for the community

Most working people are so busy with work that they never have time to get involved with local activities. Why not use your temporary spare time to support a local charity or help to organise local events in the community. You will be amazed at who else you might meet in these “unusual” places. I know CEOs who help out at the local boy scouts or girl guide associations

7. Consider part time work

There are numerous part time job opportunities that you may be able to use to bring in some short term income. Many of these may expose you to new people, new industries, with the potential of turning into a permanent job or business opportunity. it is worth registering with at least one agency that specialises in part time work. I know people that do any of the following part time: HR, finance, sales, IT support, training, restaurant and bar work, community work, charity work.

8. Take a sales job

For many people who have never sold, this may seem like a fate worse than death. But rest assured that many sales people are among the top earning employees in most organisations. If you have never sold before, you will possess knowledge and experience that is valuable to another company. They are often prepared to provide you with some selling skills training and are also willing to pay you handsomely for your contribution (albeit partly commission based). If you are nervous about this type of move, try to negotiate a bigger basic salary and other perks such as travel, car, phone, pension and laptop.

9. Networking sites

Most people now have some experience of social networking through Facebook, Linked-In and many more. They provide a great way to cost effectively build a community of connected people. Although I resisted for a long time, I specifically selected LinkedIn because it seemed to be more business orientated than Facebook. I now have hundred of people that I can communicate with on a regular basis and it automatically updates me on their movements.

10. Retraining

Some people are horrified by the idea of retraining after the age of

40. But this may not be as ridiculous as it may sound. Many mature people have become web designers or developed some other specialism as a result of retraining and many have gone on to become very successful as a result. The beauty or retraining in the modern world is that it has become much cheaper and much easier than ever before, particularly with the advent of the internet. With the pace of change and the emergence of new technology, it is possible to become a leading expert in almost anything in just a matter of months. Just imagine how much free information is available on the web on any subject you can imagine. Did you know that if you were to read the top 20 articles or 5 books on almost any new subject you would probably be in the top 1% in terms of your knowledge expertise? Why not pick a subject and just go for it!

Joe Nathan has been training management and leadership skills for 10 years. As a result of recent recessionary times he now spends much of his spare time helping people over 40 to get back into work. You can read more tips and advice on jobs for over 40s at http://jobsforover40s.info/about/

7 Readiness Factors For Leaving Your Corporate Job to Work Independently

If you are thinking of leaving your corporate job in favor of working independently, it’s a good idea to take a good look at your reasons. There is a pretty good chance that they are similar to the list below.

  1. You are frustrated about the fact that your strongest skills are not realized in your current job. This factor can be particularly important if you are thinking of leaving your current work place in favor of moving on to work independently. If you are truly frustrated it is likely that your attempts to gain recognition, within your company, for your strongest skills have failed. Or you may have found that there is really no room to utilize your greatest strengths in the context of your present position.
  2. You are finding yourself getting excited and energized about working on your own. You may notice a shift in the way that you feel when you think about working on your own, or when you speak to others about the possibility of working on your own. You may find that whether or not people support you in the possibility of leaving your position your own feelings about the possibilities are beginning to strengthen.
  3. You get immersed in tasks that interest you and are related to your strengths. This is really important. You will need to immerse yourself in your new business endeavor and your energetic focus will help keep you on track. This focused energy or “flow” will help you stay on track and maintain interest throughout the many steps involved in fully realizing your goal.
  4. You follow through on less interesting tasks if you know they are necessary to realize your goals. Unless you have the resources to hire people to do every conceivable task that you would define as boring, be prepared for the fact that developing your business – at least initially – is not all excitement. One of my greatest discoveries was that there are indeed individuals who absolutely love to do many of the tasks that I find boring. So I managed to hire a wonderful Virtual Assistant once I got my business going successfully, to take care of some of those less than exciting tasks, like billing and editing my website. Of course if you have created a great business plan, and have financing for you business, you can often factor in costs for assistants. Just remember that you will need to start producing a reasonable income to finance these expenses, so make sure you consider what you can do on your own – at least initially.
  5. You are willing to seek out mentors who have done what you want to do. People don’t always do this, particularly when they know that their idea is absolutely novel. Nevertheless, even if that’s the case, it’s always a good idea to talk to people about what they have learned in starting up their own businesses. It can certainly help prevent some costly mistakes and save time. I have to admit that I neglected this step in one of my business endeavors. It was a great lesson for me since it probably took twice as much time and money to get the business off the ground.
  6. You are willing to take the time to plan. If you do not take the time to plan your new business idea, whether your work involves consulting or is related to the creation and sale of some other product, you may find that you have exhausted your financial and emotional resources before you have reached your goal. If you are left at “Square One” it’s very hard for most people to muster the energy to needed to do it all again.
  7. You are willing to network and find out the needs of your potential clients and customers. Whether you network online or in person or both, it will be crucial to find out the needs of your clients or customers. You have probably heard of the importance of developing a “niche”. Well if you are able to continually track what clients/customers want then you will find that they will come to you for assistance as opposed to someone or some company who creates products in a vacuum. If you already have a clear niche, you are well on your way.
  8. If you have endorsed most of the above items, and you have appropriate support, then you have an exciting journey ahead.

Jeffrey Fisher, M.A., Personal and Executive Coach, and Professional Counselor, works with mid-career professionals who are at any stage in the process of leaving their corporate positions to realize their solo entrepreneurial dreams. He personally knows the power of making such a transition and his mission is to help others successfully do the same, and with passion. Sign up for his newsletter to learn ways to make this shift the most exciting and successful transition of your life. Website: www.oneyearandout.com

Fifty Questions You Need the Answers to Before an Interview

These are just some of the questions you could be asked at an interview. Because most of us view interviews with the same sense of anticipation as we would about a visit to the dentist we often do not think about them. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Tell me about yourself?

2. Why do you want to work here?

3. How do you feel you can help or company / organisation?

4. If you were choosing someone for this position, what kind of person would you select?

5. Why do want to go into the ________________field?

6. If you feel you have any weakness with regard to this position, what would it be?

7. What are some of your weaknesses?

8. What do you expect in this position that you were not getting in your past positions?

9. How do you feel about working extra hours?

10. Where do you see yourself in 3 years? In five years?

11. How would you handle this problem? (After the interviewer describes a complex problem)

12. Are your considering other positions at this time? How does this one compare with them?

13. Why did you leave your last position?

14. How long have you been out of work?

15. What have you been doing since you left your last position?

16. How did you like working at ______________company? Why?

17. What are your short / long range goals? How do you expect to meet them?

18. What does success mean to you?

19. What motivates you? How do you motivate others? Especially those with performance problems?

20. Do you plan to get further education, degrees?

21. What have you done to improve yourself during the last year?

22. How do you spend your spare time?

23. Tell me about your health?

24. If you could relive your last 15 years, what changes would you make?

25. Tell me about your greatest achievement / disappointment in life

26. What did you like best / lest in your last position?

27. Do you prefer working alone or as part of a team?

28. What are some of the more difficult problems you encountered in your past positions? How did you solve them?

29. When was the last time you felt enthusiastic about helping a colleague or staff member succeed? Explain.

30. Did you ever make suggestions to management? What happened?

31. What do you think management could do to make you function more effectively?

32. What has kept you from progressing as fast as you would like?

33. Tell me about the best / worst boss you ever had?

34. What do people criticise you about?

35. What are your pet peeves?

36. What is your leadership style?

37. Are you geographically mobile, either now, or in the future?

38. What else do you think I should know about you?

39. What is your philosophy of life? Of work? Of your field?

40. Can we check your references, and what would they say about you?

41. What kinds of people do you find difficult to work with?

42. What can you offer us that someone else can’t?

43. Can you work well under stress?

44. Describe the biggest crisis in your life?

45. Have you ever been fired?

46. Tell me about the last incident that made you angry? How did you handle it?

47. What do you really want to do in life?

48. Does your employer know that you are planning to leave?

49. How would your subordinates describe you? Your peers?

50. What is the biggest mistake you ever made?

These are just some suggestions for sample job interview questions which is why you should sign up for my 5 day job hunting course at http://www.careers-advisor.com

Peter Robson has over 20 years experience in the career guidance industry. he has worked with people from a variety of job backgrounds and industries. He works with people individually as well as project managing large outplacement assignments.

A Cover Letter is a Sales Presentation of You

A cover letter’s only objective is to compel the reader into contacting you. In some ways, it is also to introduce yourself and set the stage for the resume. Yet, if you can write a cover letter that compels the hiring manager to call you, then the resume simply becomes what it is meant to be; a documented list of past experiences and accumulated skills.

Let us look at this from a sales perspective. A sales presentation is essentially composed of four parts:

– Approach

– Presentation

– Proof

– Close

The cover letter is the presentation and the close. The resume becomes the proof that supports your presentation as laid out in the cover letter. The approach is simply what you do to get the hiring manager to read your offer.

If the presentation is solid, the proof is something buyer needs to reinforce his belief that he made a good buy. So, in that light, the resume becomes the afterthought in a sense. If you have written a cover letter that effectively convinces the hiring manager to call you, then the resume simply reaffirms that, “yes, I am doing the right thing in calling this person, why; look at how sterling the resume is!”

On the other hand, if the cover letter fails to impress or convince; all the hard work of putting together the resume may be for nothing. A person must already have a “buying” predisposition for the proof to work, otherwise all the testimonials and proofs will probably not be enough.

Most people are familiar with the features and benefits of a product and what the differences are. In short, features are what make a product unique and the benefits are “what’s in it for me.” Yet in making the presentation, it is not enough to simply state mostly the benefits or mostly the features.

A good sales presentation makes the connection between a feature that the buyer most cares for and the benefit to the buyer. It is the connection that you draw that sets the stage for the close. It is not enough to say, “I am proficient in sales management, having directed 6 sales representatives in achieving 106% of sales quota for 2000.” That is the feature, that is nice; but so what.

It is not enough to say, “I can generate an increase in sales for your company by building a team of aggressive sales representatives.” That is nice, that is a benefit to hiring you I suppose, but what makes me believe that? And do I have to go back to the previous statement and make my own connection?

The feature and benefit must flow to something like, “I can bring increased sales and revenue to your company; as I did for Wily E. Acme Inc., where I achieved 106% of sales quota for 2000,” or words to that effect. You state the benefit first, and then, bridge to the feature. In this case, you are the product and so the cover letter is your sales pitch of you.

As you write your presentation, as much as making the connection for the hiring manager is critical, even more critical is making the right connection between the feature she is looking for and the benefits she needs. And the answer to that riddle is in the job description and your research of the company. You should not send form letters, willy-nilly, to every job you are interested in.

Select the position and the company that is a match for you, and then, you must dissect the job description. Make a bullet point list of what they are looking for. Then make a list of your skills and qualifications. And as you did in grade school, draw a line between what they are looking for and what you have to offer.

Research the company and industry and attempt to pinpoint which of the bullet pointed items seem to be the most important.

Mirror the words and descriptions that you picked out of the job posting and description. Nearly every job posting is pretty exact in what they are looking for. So,give them what they want in the words they wrote it in. If you use a template to get the flow of ideas down first, fine; then tweak the letter to mirror what the company is looking for.

And of course, you must close the letter by asking for a decision, “I suggest getting together immediately to discuss the possibilities between us, you may call me at (000) 000-1234.”

In concept, I suggest you write the cover letter as though it was a sales presentation. As you write the letter, write it in terms of what the buyer is looking for and in the words the company uses. You letter will be far more compelling.

Although not a job getting guru, Hyo Kim’s been around the block a couple of time. So, come over and take a look at some of the strategies, tips and advice, a few laughs and a couple of words of wisdom that he’s dispensing, plus his great list of resources at Landing on Your Feet Blog. Come on in, take your shoes off, stay awhile; can I get you a cup of coffee?

20 Simple Twitter Tips for Your Job Search

Whether you’re starting your career or looking for a change, if you’re on a job search, you may have heard that Twitter is a great resource. You’ve heard right. Twitter offers a great way to ramp up your job search, and we’ve highlighted 20 great tips that can help make it work for you.

  1. Use your real name: You use your real name when searching for a job, so make sure you do the same on Twitter. Set up your first and last name in your profile, and if you can, use your name as your Twitter username.
  2. Tweet before you follow: Be sure to share useful content before you start following friends, colleagues, and industry professionals. This way, you’ll give people a reason to follow you back.
  3. Search for opportunities: Don’t just expect an opportunity to fall into your lap — seek it out! UseTwitter’s search to look for jobs in your niche.
  4. Use a Hire Me! ribbon: Put a ribbon that advertises your desire for work, so even when you’re not tweeting about your job search, followers know that you’re looking.
  5. Keep a web copy of your resume online: If you get in contact with someone who would like to see your resume, it’s handy to have one that you can just send in a tweet. A tool like VisualCV comes in handy.
  6. Follow your target companies: If the company or companies you’d really like to work for are on Twitter, follow them, and any employees that are on as well. You’ll be able to connect better than before and stand out among candidates.
  7. Share on multiple networks: Integrate Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn so that contacts on all networks hear your message. If you can, use tools that can push updates from one service to another.
  8. Follow industry leaders: Follow the leaders in your industry to learn more about it and benefit from their network.
  9. Toot your own horn: Put yourself in the Twitter stream by describing your specific skill set. Be descriptive — if your specialty is selling phone systems to food service companies in South Florida, say so!
  10. Use hashtags: Find hashtags for upcoming conferences in your industry, hot topics, and more to become part of the conversation as well as identify people that you need to be following on Twitter.
  11. Look for a job posting account: If there’s a certain company or industry you’d like to work in, try to find specific Twitter accounts that offer updates on new job postings available.
  12. Ask for help to close the deal: If friends or contacts work where you’d like to get a job, ask them for a recommendation to increase your likelihood of getting hired.
  13. Give good karma: Don’t blatantly self-promote. Take some time to retweet and interact with others.
  14. Make your presence employer friendly: Use your bio as a job pitch, use a professional-looking avatar, and tweet about your job search. You can even link to your online resume.
  15. Be worth following: Don’t be rude or boring — share interesting and useful updates with your followers, and focus on interacting with them as well.
  16. Always keep SEO in mind: Your Twitter profile and tweets are indexed by Google and other search engines, so any time you put information out there, think about how you can better make it found.
  17. Retweet industry news: Pass on news and tweets that are important, and you’re one step closer to being found.
  18. Have a “Twitter pitch” ready: Much like the elevator speech, you need to be ready with a pitch you can deliver in 140 characters or less.
  19. Don’t tweet about unemployment: You don’t want to come off as whiny-keep your complaints about unemployment to yourself.
  20. Look for job search advice: Find posts from career gurus and other people who can help you find a job on Twitter.

Courtesy OnlineCollege.org

'Boomers' Enjoy Career Down-Shifts

With our current pink-slip job market, it is no wonder that the mature worker (45+) is enjoying and/or seeking positions that are, for the most part, considered a substantial down-shift in positioning, given their tenure, and thus, assumed levels of expertise.

One of the major reasons that mature workers are willing to engage in lower level positions is of primary importance to this particular group of professionals.

For one thing, lower level positions offer a significant decrease in the ‘stresses’ often associated with higher level roles. While the salary is not comparable, this decrease in stress level assumes more value and attraction for the mature worker.

In addition to this, having accomplished their desired career goals prior to taking career down-shifts, other factors come into play that offer potential employers with mature workers that are able to hit the ground running, are dedicated, and have a realistic, mature attitude toward their roles and the professional contributions they intend to impart.

The mature worker is reliable, conscientious, can think on their feet and make intelligent decisions through their well-honed critical thinking skill sets, and have a different attitude toward their employer, and their roles within an organization.

Gone are the days of healthy competition with their co-workers, reaching for the promotions, or votes of popularity amongst their peers. The mature worker is present simply to perform their job, and perform it well, often beyond the expectations of their employer.

One of the primary reasons for this is the fact that mature workers tend to take an ‘own business’ type of mentality toward their roles versus coming in, learning what they can, and moving on to another firm, or competitor in the field.

Some Major Benefits of Hiring the ‘Mature Worker’

Hit the ground running; Pose no career threat to co-workers; Mature attitude and understanding of responsibility; Willing to work hard; Reliable and dedicated to their firm; Typically a quick study – ready, willing, & able to learn new routines; Normally well liked and immediately accepted into group; Solid work history and references – knowledge to share if/when asked; Can lead by example; More likely to adhere to and accept company core values; Willing to take on ‘rote roles’ – decreased ‘pressure’ or ‘stresses’; Do not pose employee retention challenges for HR; and Typically ‘cost effective’ expense (salary, added value, thrifty, practical, low absenteeism). Trish Johnson @ CorpSecrets Career Columns Receive  Career Advice when you Subscribe to my site I provide Professional Resumes & Cover Letters, VERY LOW set Rate! Please visit me @ http://corpsecrets.ca and Subscribe,  E-book coming soon!

Why Your Job Interview Didn't Bring You a New Job

A job search has many components. Perhaps none is more critical than the job interview. In a tough economy, just getting an interview invitation can be a significant milestone along the journey to full employment. One of the most common questions job seekers bring to a career counselor goes like this:

“I’ve achieved some success in getting interviews. Sometimes I even get a second interview. Then…nothing happens. What’s wrong?”

Typically, job seekers look for answers in the interview process. They wonder if they need to practice their interview skills. Sometimes, they can benefit from coaching on basic interview techniques. For example, when you are asked, “Do you have questions?” your interviewer doesn’t expect questions about hours, workload and benefits. She wants you to demonstrate your interest in the company. It’s an opportunity to show you have done your research. Once you have an offer, you can dig deeper into working conditions and compensation structure.

However, many seasoned executives and managers have superb interview skills. They know how to field even difficult questions and they know how to conduct themselves professionally.

Therefore, sometimes interview challenges begin at the beginning of a job search. Your resume might be getting you interviews, but your resume is not targeted properly. As a result, you wind up talking to hiring managers who are very impressed but recognize, “There’s just not a fit here.”

Finally, you may be dealing with pseudo-interviews. These employers have no intention of hiring you. However, they are going through the motions because (a) their HR person said they need to look at more candidates or (b) they are just curious to see “what’s out there.”

When I was an academic, I went on lots of pseudo-interviews. University officials were extremely concerned about meeting EEO regulations. They also had to follow arcane policies and procedures that called for committee meetings.

Once I went on a pseudo-interview in Boston. I told the dean I’d be staying an extra night in the very nice interview hotel at my own expense. No problem, he said. They paid for the whole thing…probably out of guilt.

Companies sometimes feel they are doing you a favor if they talk to you, even if they won’t hire you. Occasionally you will impress an employer during a pseudo-interview and you’ll get a job you didn’t expect. More often it’s a hassle and expense: after all, they won’t pay for dry cleaning your suit or boarding your dog.

A job interview is just one step along a very long road. Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., has worked with many career changers to plan an interview strategy that helps them reach their goals. Download a free Midlife Career Strategy guide and get suggestions you can use immediately for your own career growth. Visit http://www.MidlifeCareerChoice.com

50 Body Language Secrets You Need to Succeed

A professor from UCLA performed a study that indicates 55% of communication comes from body language and only 7% from the words we use. In light of this study, it makes sense for anyone, whether a student just starting out in life or a seasoned business professional, to pay attention to what their body language is telling others as well as learning to read non-verbal cues from others. The following 50 body language secrets will provide you with tips you can use in job interviews, boosting your career, enhancing your social life, learning how to read other people’s body language, and what you should not do when it comes to body language.

Job Interview

Pay attention to your body language using these tips to ensure you are giving the best impression during a job interview.

  1. Handshake. Everyone knows that a handshake is an important element of first impressions. Offer a firm handshake that shows confidence in yourself.
  2. Don’t cross arms and legs. Crossing your arms or legs is seen as a defensive position and is not what you want to present to your prospective employer.
  3. Sit or stand with legs slightly apart. When you sit or stand with your legs slightly apart, this gives the impression that you are self-confident.
  4. Keep your hands and legs still. Fidgeting exudes nervousness. Instead, keep your handsrelaxed in your lap and be aware of what your legs are doing.
  5. Chair movement. If you are sitting in a chair that swivels, be sure you aren’t accidentally turning back and forth as it can be distracting and also makes you appear nervous.
  6. Voice tone. Be aware of your voice tone qualities. Don’t be monotonous, yet don’t let your voice tone vary to such extremes that you sound excited or nervous. One helpful tip is to take a deep breath before speaking.
  7. Be aware of the interviewer’s body language. Pay attention to what the person interviewing you is saying through her body language. Not only can you determine if she is interested in what you have to offer, you can also match your body language to the level of formality.
  8. Palms up. Use hand gestures that keep your palms up, which indicate you are open and friendly. Gestures with palms down tell the interviewer that you may be dominant or aggressive.
  9. Keep eyes focused. Shifty eyes moving all around the room will give your prospective employer the feeling that you are being dishonest, or at best, uncomfortable.
  10. Active listening. Be an active listener during the interview. Make eye contact, nod your head while others are speaking, and interject a few verbal acknowledgements such as “yes” or “I see.”

Business and Career

What you say with your body language can convey as much to your business colleagues as your words. Learn how to manage your body language in a business setting to help promote your career.

  1. Relax your shoulders. When many people feel tension, they pull up their shoulders. Be conscious of this and relax your shoulders. Not only will this help prevent neck and back pain, it makes you appear less stressed, too.
  2. Be mindful of your head position. Holding your head level both vertically and horizontallyindicates confidence and asks others to take you seriously. If you want to show that you are listening and open to the other person, tilt your head slightly to one side.
  3. Use your hands. Hanging your hands down by your side during a presentation indicates depression. Instead, keep your hands active and use gestures to show involvement and energy.
  4. Remove the opportunity for eye contact in conflict. If negotiations have turned sour or co-workers are disagreeing, moving them to a different form of communication that does not involve eye contact, such as email or IM, may diffuse the situation and allow for a better flow of communication.
  5. Keep your hands out of your pockets. Standing with your hands in your pockets may send several signals to those around you, probably none of them what you intend. Unless you are trying to look less confident, as if you are holding yourself back, you are bored, or you are hiding something, then take your hands out of your pockets.
  6. Women, learn the “business gaze”. For women, a key element to being taken seriously is the“business gaze” or holding your line of sight on the area from the eyes to the mid-forehead. A gaze held lower indicates a more “social gaze.”
  7. Make eye contact with everyone. If you are in a meeting or giving a presentation, make it a point to make eye contact with each one of the people involved (unless it’s a packed house and physically impossible to do).
  8. Watch your stance. Standing in a commando stance, with legs spread and hands on hips, tells others you are feeling disapproving, superior or are arrogant.
  9. Keep your hands from behind your head. Sitting back with your hands clasped behind your head is another position that communicates arrogance or superiority.
  10. Interruptions. If you are in the middle of a conversation with a superior or in a meeting that has been interrupted, it is best to look away from the person dealing with the interruption in an effort to give them privacy and to indicate you have disengaged yourself from something that is not your business.

Relationships and Dating

Whether you want to improve your love life or your social life, study these body language techniques so you are sure you set the right tone in any social setting.

  1. Make eye contact, but not too much. This one may feel a bit tricky, but it is important to make eye contact, yet you don’t want to go overboard on it. Not making eye contact appears weak, but staring too long makes others feel uncomfortable.
  2. Smile. Smiling while in conversation with others shows you are welcoming, relaxed, and interested in what they have to say.
  3. Give personal space. Don’t stand or sit too close to others. Personal space is important, and when you breech that invisible boundary, others feel incredibly uncomfortable. How much space you give depends on the situation, how well you know the person, and cultural expectations. In the US, good friends should be about 1.5 to 4 feet away and acquaintances, 4 to 12 feet.
  4. Good posture. This is another body language with a fine balance. You want to stand or sit up straight to give off that look of confidence, but standing or sitting ramrod straight just looks odd.
  5. Lean in or away. While talking with someone, lean in to them to indicate you are interested in what they have to say. Leaning a bit back shows self confidence.
  6. Mirroring. Mirroring is an unconscious act that people do when they have a connection with each other. Pay attention the next time you are sitting down with a good friend or close family member. Do you see how when one of you leans in, the other does too, or when one of you picks up your drink, the other will also? This is mirroring and is an indication to the other person that you share a connection.
  7. Face the other person. Whether sitting or standing, face the person squarely to indicate you are engaged and paying attention to them. Turning your body away or looking away for long periods indicates you are not interested in them.
  8. Learn signs of flirting. Flirting body language may include casual touches, leaning in toward you, and women touching or playing with their hair.
  9. Start a conversation. Use body language to start a conversation. Something as simple as a smile or the expression in your eyes can start a conversation as easily as words.
  10. Facial expressions. Your emotions are easily communicated via your facial expressions. If you are trying to communicate happiness, surprise, fear, anger, or any other emotion, learn what theface looks like while experiencing these emotions.

Reading Body Language

Understanding the body language you observe in others is as important as managing your own body language. Brush up on these secrets to learn what others are saying.

  1. Going from open to closed. If someone starts out in a conversation with you in an open way–with arms relaxed, leaning forward slightly, and nodding in agreement–to a more closed presence that may include folded arms, leaning away, and steepling fingers, then you have lost your audience.
  2. Scrunching forehead. If you see someone sitting still and scrunching his forehead, he is probably deep in thought or concentrating hard on something.
  3. Hand over mouth. If someone is covering their mouth, they are either feeling insecure or may be lying.
  4. Lying. Learn a few simple ways to recognize when someone is lying, such as avoiding eye contact, scratching their nose or behind their ear, gestures and expressions don’t match, and stiff arm and hand motions.
  5. Palm position. If someone offers you a handshake with their palm down, they are demonstrating their sense of dominance or authority. Likewise, a handshake or a significant-other’s hand-hold with the palm facing up indicates they are open and more submissive.
  6. Take it in context. One single element of body language may not tell the whole story, so be sure to take into consideration several different non-verbal cues, the social situation, and any cultural differences that may affect body language.
  7. Precision grip. When someone is speaking to you and uses a precision grip, or the thumb and forefinger touching with the other fingers closed on the palm, they are trying to relate something to you that they want you to understand.
  8. Body turned away. If someone turns their body away from you while you are talking, they are telling you that they want to leave and are finished talking to you. Ignoring this signal means you will irritate them further if you continue to talk.
  9. Walking away while talking. This is probably a sign that the person is in a hurry and is trying not to be rude. If you see this, let them go with an acknowledgement that you can catch up later.
  10. Embodied cognition. The idea of embodied cognition is that the body reacts to what the brain is thinking in a literal way. If someone is thinking about the past, they may lean back slightly as opposed to leaning forward when thinking about the future. Also, someone holding a warm mug of tea may react differently to the same situation as someone holding a glass of iced tea.

What Not to Do

In order to make the best impression in any circumstance, stay away from these actions that may impart a negative image of yourself.

  1. Lean way back. Leaning too far back while engaged in conversation puts off a negative signal, saying you are too confident in yourself.
  2. Touch your face. Touching your face appears insecure and can also be distracting to those talking to you.
  3. Cover your heart. Don’t hold a drink or anything else right in front of your heart as this indicates a guardedness that you probably don’t intend to project to others.
  4. Blank stare. If you have stopped listening to someone and have let your thoughts take you away, it will show as a blank stare, indicating you are no longer listening. If you feel yourself drifting away, at least try to keep your face animated in an attempt to indicate you are still listening.
  5. Tap your feet. Tapping your feet indicates boredom, so unless you are trying to drop a not-so-subtle hint, then make sure to keep your feet still.
  6. Clench you fist. Fist clenching is an overt sign that you are angry, frustrated, or holding back your opinions.
  7. Slouch. Slouching down in your chair tells others that you are not interested in what is going on. Whether sitting in a business meeting or listening to someone talk, sit up straight to show you are paying attention and engaged.
  8. Drumming fingers. Nothing shows boredom like drumming your fingers on a table or desk. Well, except maybe rubbing the back of your neck or pointing your body or feet toward the door.
  9. Bright red lipstick. Ladies, if you want to make a professional impression in business, save your bright red lipstick for your night on the town and opt for a more muted shade instead.
  10. Coughing or yawning. While it may be difficult to suppress these physical reactions, they usually indicate restlessness or boredom.

Courtesy of CareerOverview