5 Simple Steps to a Successful Telephone Interview

Telephone Interview

telephone interviewWe have all had a telephone interview. They are a very important part of the initial screening process for filling a position. If you do not get past the initial screen, well…you will not get the job.

Let me give you five simple steps to follow for a successful telephone interview.

Step 1 – Research the Interviewer

It is critical that you know something about the person you will be interviewing with.

Look them up on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

If you are interviewing with a recruiter or HR person, send a connection request immediately after getting the interview notice.

What are they posting? Where have they worked? Do you have any hobbies in common? This is where Facebook helps!

You want to be able to personally connect with the interviewer.

For more, read: Understanding the Hiring Manager Prior to the Interview

Step 2 – Prepare Probing Questions

I want you to think like a consultant during the telephone interview. You should probe for pain points. In an initial telephone interview, this might include the following:

  • Is this a newly created position?
  • What are the responsibilities of the position?
  • Are these responsibilities new to the department, organization, or company?
  • What are the new business requirements that are causing you to fill this position?

You are looking for reasons that the position is open. Once you understand the reasons, you can properly position yourself as the best candidate.

For more, read: Probing for Pain Points in an Interview

Step 3 – Prepare Yourself Mentally

You want to feel confident and poised in the interview.

One hour before the interview, get some moderate exercise. This might be going for a fast walk or climbing stairs for 15-20 minutes. If you are nervous at all, this will help take the edge off.

It is not important if you are sweaty during the interview. They cannot smell you over the phone!

The next step is based on the premise that your body shapes who you are.

Amy Cuddy was a TED Talk presenter, and in her video Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are, she explains that, when you take on powerful and winning body shapes, it will increase testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain.

You will feel more confident.

For this activity, you will probably need to go into a bathroom stall. Stick your hands up like Usain Bolt when he won the 100 meter dash at the Olympics. Keep them up for two minutes and soak in that winning feeling. If you still don’t believe me, read her paper, Power Posing.

Yes, I know this sounds crazy, but it does work!

For more, read: 3 Steps to Walking Into Your Interview with Confidence

Step 4 – Setup Your Interview Space

Prepare to take the telephone interview in a quiet space where you will be standing up.

Use a headset on either a land line or your cell phone. If you are using a cell phone, make sure you have a very good signal. If you have to go outside, be sure to find a spot away from wind.

It is critical that you be standing up and have the use of your hands to gesture.

If you are a pacer when you talk, make sure your shoes do not squeak. You may even want to take them off.

For more, read: 4 Steps in Creating Your Video Interview Environment

Step 5 – Be Positive and Tell Stories During the Telephone Interview

One key way to stay positive during a telephone interview is to smile!

Yes, I know that the person on the other telephone cannot see you, but if you are smiling, it is really tough to be other than positive.

When you are asked a question, try to answer by saying, “Let me tell about the time that…” Do not simply tell the interviewer you can do the job. Instead, answer the question by telling a story of when you demonstrated the skill required for this new position.

For more read: Adding Storytelling to the Interview Process

If you follow these five simple steps you will improve your chances of moving forward in the interview process.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Should I Take the Buyout Package

Buyout Package

buyout packageHave you or someone you know been offered a buyout package?

If you work for a large multinational corporation or the US federal government, the answer is probably yes.

How do you determine whether to take it or not?

The idea for this post came from a New York Times article, Making Money Decisions When You Lose Your Job.

I have also had multiple clients who were offered a buyout package or severance. You will find references to them in my post, 4 Signs That You Are Working for a Failing Company.  Rather interesting—I reposted that same material on LinkedIn Pulse and it went viral. Check out the comments.

I then recorded a podcast with Roger Whitney, the Retirement Answer Man, on this topic.

Evaluating the Buyout Package

You need to consider the following:

  • Immediate financial needs
  • Tax implications
  • Health insurance
  • Provisions of the separation, including non-compete clauses
  • Long term financial needs
  • Mental health and well-being

Immediate Financial Needs of the Buyout Package

How are you going to make ends meet financially?

  • Check out unemployment benefits
  • Consult your financial adviser immediately
  • Perform a careful budget analysis. How much money do you actually need to live?

If you plan to return to work, a good rule of thumb is to allow one month of unemployment for every $10,000 of annual income. If you are making $100,000 annually, you can expect your job search to take 10 months.

For a deep perspective on this topic read my post How Long Will My Job Search Take?

Tax Implications

If you get a lump sum severance in the second half of the year AND you get 6 months or more of severance, you may move into a higher tax bracket…especially if you find work quickly.

I had one client get contract work within 6 weeks of being laid off. This was in the September/October time frame. He told his new employer to withhold pay until the following year. This helped him in two ways:

  1. He did not need the money now, and the extra money would’ve pushed him into a higher tax bracket
  2. He would receive a lump sum check in January, which was an emotional relief

If it is late in the year, you may be able to negotiate to delay receiving your severance until the following year. Larger multinational companies may not do this, but smaller companies will likely negotiate.

Consult your tax accountant.

Health Insurance

This is less of a big deal than in the past. Now, you can buy individual health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). You will get sticker shock!

Group health insurance via your employer is EXPENSIVE! You paid for it indirectly via lower wages and your employer purchased it. Check last years W-2 statement. It clearly states what your employer spent on your health insurance. When you continue your company health insurance via COBRA, it will be pricey.

Consult with an insurance broker who can spell out your options. You will have many of them, but, since you will be paying for your health insurance at least for a while, it’s worth it to go through them all.

Provisions of the Separation, Including Non-Compete Clauses

Read through the separation agreement. I suggest you take it to your lawyer.

If you have a non-compete clause in your contract and you live in a right to work state like Texas, that non-compete is likely not enforceable. Contact an employment lawyer.

Long term financial needs

Review your retirement accounts with your financial adviser. When I left my last company, I was completely stressed out. My blood pressure was very high and I was becoming physically ill from working there. I had to get out.

I went to my financial adviser and asked, “Can I retire? Can I retire now?

After running numerous Monte Carlo simulations, the answer was yes. I had no plans to retire and I had already started Career Pivot legally, but it gave me piece of mind to know that I would be okay.

I have had multiple clients who have been offered both voluntary and involuntary packages. I always tell them to talk to their financial advisers.

Mental Health and Well-Being

Your mental health and well-being is critical in evaluating a buyout package. One of the key factors to consider is that you will likely not have a paycheck. No matter how well prepared you are, emotionally giving up the paycheck is really difficult.

When I gave up the paycheck, I still woke up at 4 in the morning in a cold sweat saying to myself,

“I do not have a paycheck!!”

Do not under estimate the emotions that will surface. Find someone—a spouse, friend, counselor, clergy, social worker, etc.—to help you work through these emotions.

For a deep perspective on this topic read my post Demise of the Paycheck – Good Riddance.

When a buyout package is offered, evaluate it using expert advice. You may be tempted to wait for the next round.

When a buyout package is offered, the next round is almost never more lucrative.

Have you been offered a buyout package? Tell us about your experiences!
Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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The Best and Worst Parts of Working from Home

Working from Home

working from homeWhen you’re stuck in the throes of commuting and cubicle life, working from home can seem like the light at the end of the tunnel. And for the most part, it is. But there are aspects of telecommuting that can be taxing, particularly if you’ve never done it before. Here are just some of the best and worst parts of working from home—and how to handle them.

The benefits of working from home:

Your schedule is your own.

Doctor’s appointments. Your child’s writing celebration. Gym time. There are so many demands on your day that it’s hard to fit them all in, especially when you work in an office. Having a flexible schedule means you can adjust your schedule to meet the challenges of your day—and still get all of your work done. It might mean starting your workday earlier or finishing up later, but having complete control over your schedule is truly the ultimate in work-life balance.

No interruptions.
When you worked in an office, you had a steady stream of chatty colleagues stopping by your ‘cube to talk…and talk…and talk. Phones were ringing and machines were beeping. Sitting in your home office, though, you can savor the silence—and zero interruptions. Being able to work in a more focused manner without incessant interruptions is definitely a bonus of working remotely.

Increased productivity.
Studies have shown time and time again that remote workers are far more productive than their in-office peers. Why? Without having a lengthy commute, a micromanaging boss breathing down your neck, and typical office interruptions, telecommuters can experience greater productivity without anything to interrupt their workflow.

The downside of working from home:

It can be lonely.
When you first started to work from home, you couldn’t believe how absolutely quiet it was. You could hear the slight hum of your computer being on. In fact, you could hear yourself think! At first, that was a huge benefit. But after awhile, working from home can get a bit lonely, even for those former office workers who were once desperate to ditch their office mates. One way to combat this is to stay in touch socially with your virtual colleagues, either by instant message, email, phone, or even sites like Yammer or Sococo, which can give you the virtual feeling of working together as a team. Another option is to take your office on the road with you, working at a local Starbucks, the park, or even a co-working space where you’ll be around people but still be able to get your work done, too.

You have to be very disciplined.
Sure, you have a project due by the end of the day…but there’s a Walking Dead marathon on that you want to watch. While there are a lot of distractions when you work in an office, there might be even more when you work from home (your comfy bed, anyone?). So it’s important to treat working from home as if you were working in an actual office. Set up your home office away from other distractions, such as the TV or the kitchen. Even though you have flexibility as to when and how you work, you still need to take your remote job seriously and treat it as such.

You must be able to problem-solve.
You can’t connect to your company’s videoconference. Your landline connection is spotty. A myriad of tech issues can happen when you’re a telecommuter. Whereas you could always reach out to the IT department when your computer glitched on you, now that you’re working from home, you are the IT department. Being a telecommuter means that you’ll need to be able to problem-solve fast—and also on your own.

But fixing issues isn’t always just of the tech kind; you might get what reads like a testy email from a coworker. Or you might get a confusing IM from your boss. Instead of letting issues slide (and then having to deal with the emotional aftermath later), it’s up to you to exhibit your superior communication skills to handle anything that comes your way. That way, you can clear the air and continue working peacefully (and productively) from home.

Just like anything else, working from home has its pluses and minuses. But if you go into it knowing what to expect—and knowing some traits about yourself, too—you’ll be able to thrive as a remote worker and find the Holy Grail that is work-life balance.

Jennifer ParrisThis post was written by Jennifer Parris, career writer at FlexJobs, the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible job listings. FlexJobs lists thousands of pre-screened, legitimate, and professional-level work-from-home jobs and other types of flexibility like part-time positions, freelancing, and flexible schedules. Jennifer provides career and job search advice through the FlexJobs Blog and social media. Learn more at www.FlexJobs.com.

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US Educational System is Broken – Let Me Explain!

United States Educational System is Broken

educational systemI am passionate about our educational system—and disappointed with its failings. I just finished reading a Washington Post article called Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous.

wrote:

If Americans are united in any conviction these days, it is that we urgently need to shift the country’s education toward the teaching of specific, technical skills. Every month, it seems, we hear about our children’s bad test scores in math and science — and about new initiatives from companies, universities or foundations to expand STEM courses (science, technology, engineering and math) and deemphasize the humanities. From President Obama on down, public officials have cautioned against pursuing degrees like art history, which are seen as expensive luxuries in today’s world. Republicans want to go several steps further and defund these kinds of majors. “Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists?” asked Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott. “I don’t think so.” America’s last bipartisan cause is this: A liberal education is irrelevant, and technical training is the new path forward. It is the only way, we are told, to ensure that Americans survive in an age defined by technology and shaped by global competition. The stakes could not be higher.

The problem is they are missing the point entirely. The current educational system is broken.

K-12 Education

Our K-12 educational system is broken.

After a near-fatal bicycle accident in 2004, I left the high tech industry to teach high school math. I taught Algebra I and II for two years.

(More: Being Hit by a Car Changed the Course of My Life)

Question: When was it decided that one should take Algebra I, Geometry, and then Algebra II—in that sequence—in high school?

Answer: 1890s

What I have discovered is that very little has changed in our public school curriculum in over 100 years. YIKES!!

When I was teaching Algebra II, I discovered that I was required to teach logarithms. WHY??

When I was in high school in the early 1970s, you needed to understand logarithms to be able to use a slide rule. Click here if you have never heard of a slide rule! Other than that, logarithms were pretty useless.

So, little has changed in our K-12 educational system, but the kids have changed a lot. It is failing so many of our students (especially those who are gifted artistically).

Now, we have a proposal called Common Core. It radically updates the way we teach English and Math.

99% of those who oppose it politically do not understand the problem and have never read common core methods. It is a political hot potato.

The vast majority of students leave of our K-12 educational system ill prepared for higher education.

Why?

They only learn what can be tested via multiple choice test. Common Core fixes this, at least for Math!

By the way, to fix this, we need to start with pre-kindergarten!

Our Higher Educational System is Broken

Why do we go to college for four years? Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, etc. all take four years to attain. Why is that? I sure would like to know.

I spoke at the Women Communicators of Austin Speed Networking Event this last weekend. It was a thriving audience of University of Texas students who aspire to be great communicators. They were all worried about getting an education, gaining employable skills, and garnering experience from internships so that they will be find a job when they graduate.

The problem is the cost! They cannot pursue a liberal arts education that teaches them to think…something that many baby boomers pursued via the higher educational system.

Today, when students graduate from the higher educational system, most come out with hefty student loan balances.

So, when Fareed Zakaria writes articles like  Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous, he misses the point. Most are obsessed with getting a STEM education because then you can get a job to pay off the student loans.

Our higher educational system was built to create students who can think. What students need from their higher educational system is the skills to get a job to pay off their student loans.

What our higher educational systems should produce are students who can think, have enough skills to get a job AND not leave them hopelessly in debt.

Fixing our Educational System

Not much has changed in our educational system in over one hundred years. The needed changes will take a long time. We need to ask ourselves some hard questions:

  • Why do we have summer break for three months in the K-12 educational system? We know having such a long break hampers students’ progress when they return in the fall.
  • Why do colleges have summer break, when a significant portion of the student population are over 25 years of age?
  • When we know not all children learn at the same rate in all subjects, why do we structure schools this way? (By the way, this drove me nuts when teaching Algebra!)
  • With the availability of the Internet and video conferencing, why do we have college campuses?
  • Given the diversity of our younger population, why are we not teaching both English and Spanish? Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore!

I have taught adults for close to 20 years in approximately 40 different countries. I taught Algebra I and II from 2004-2006 in an inner city high school. I can tell you these other countries do not have the answer for teaching to our highly diverse population.

It will take a long time, but the current system needs to be re-evaluated from the bottom up.

Unfortunately, we have politicians in control who have not a clue of the real problem.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Boomer Labor Power: The Experienced Dividend

Boomer Labor Power

boomer labor powerFor years, companies have sought out younger corporate talent to replace aging executives. What has evolved is the appreciation for the 50+ sector that brings a broad span of experience in human development, generational understanding, fiscal needs, and more.

In a recent survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employers agree that the Boomer Labor Power of 50+ employees has many advantages. A few statistics that emerged from this survey:

  • 77% of older workers have more knowledge and skills than their younger counterparts
  • 71% are more mature and professional
  • 70% have a stronger work ethic
  • 63% are good mentors
  • 59% are more reliable than their younger counterparts

The SHRM survey of its members also indicated that only 36 percent are beginning to examine internal policies and management practices to address the issue of the potential loss of experienced talent through retirement.

Is you company prepared or will Boomer Labor Power persist?

The shift toward older executives working longer …

The number of executives working in and through retirement years has been building for the last decade. They are proving that they can make a greater contribution as the Boomer Labor Power to an organization in a shorter period of time. They are healthier than their counterparts from 10 to 20 years ago. In addition, most have been in the workforce throughout the computer evolution so they have kept up with technology and learned to adapt quickly to change.

According to some executive recruiters, more organizations are hiring older employees – a trend that has picked up speed in the last few years. Their rationale is that age doesn’t matter if you have the right skill set and experience. They don’t worry so much about length of the hire because many employees today tend to move on within three to five years anyway. (source: http://www.diseco.com/more-companies-are-hiring-older-workers/)

Are you seeing this shift to Boomer Labor Power?

On the other hand…

A recent article, “Why Aren’t Firms Planning for an Aging Workforce,” by Jim Emerman, Executive Vice President of Encore.org, revealed that many companies are undervaluing older workers and how a few forward-thinking companies are implementing programs to tap the strengths of the Boomer Labor Power.

You still need to “sell” your assets…

To get the job the formula remains the same.

You need to demonstrate to the hiring manager or recruiter who you are and what you can do for an organization. As a 50+ executive job seeker, you have the advantage of highlighting your seasoned reliability, good judgment, ability to listen, problem-solving ability, and comfort level in working with different types of personalities. Also, it’s critical to emphasize how your valuable life experiences, perspective and ideas can benefit a team comprised of different ages and add a positive, new dimension to a diverse workforce.

What are you or your company doing to be prepared for the Boomer Labor Power shift?

LouiseGarver(Jan17-2014)Louise Garver is an award-winning, certified resume writer, executive career coach, branding, online identity, and job search strategist. Previously her career included recruitment and corporate management experience. Co-author of “Win Interviews!: The New Must-Have Game Plan”, Louise earned 13 career-related certifications, a master’s degree, and post-graduate certification in career counseling.

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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Middle Skill Jobs Going, Going and Gone

Middle Skill Jobs

middle_skill_jobsMiddle skill jobs—jobs that do not require a four year college degree—are rapidly disappearing.

Last week, I wrote in my post Can Disruptive Technologies Disrupt Your Career about technology changes that could eliminate or disrupt careers. These jobs will primarily fall in the middle skill jobs category.

As was written in the DallasFed Economic Newsletter by Anton Cheremukhin:

Employment in the United States is becoming increasingly polarized, growing ever more concentrated in the highest- and lowest-paying occupations and creating growing income inequality. The causes and consequences of this trend are often considered in the context of what has been a relatively “jobless” recovery from the Great Recession.

hollowing_out

Classic Example

A classic example of the elimination of middle skill jobs can be seen in just about every airport.

Fifteen years ago, if you walked into an airport, you would be holding a paper ticket. There were gate agents who would check you in at the departure section of the airport.

Today, there are kiosks where you check yourself in. The issuance of boarding passes is completely automated. In fact, most of you check in before you leave your home or hotel.

Thousands of middle skill jobs have been eliminated.

Liberal Art Education

At one time, a liberal arts education would, at the very least, land you into many middle skill jobs. That is no longer true.

I am working with multiple clients who attained liberal arts educations at prestigious universities. Many ended up in administrative positions. They proved their worth by making processes work within their corporations. This might be in areas like Human Resources, IT, or Manufacturing.

They made things “just happen” in a human-centric process world, then, their jobs were automated. A common job title that has been nearly eliminated is Administrative Assistant.

Today, just about any process-driven task can be automated and then outsourced to any place in the world.

Why did this happen to them? They had really good soft skills, but soft skills can be easily eliminated in a hard skills environment. Their liberal arts education that led to middle skill jobs could easily be eliminated.

What to do?

Can your job be automated?

Get serious! Even customer-facing service jobs are being automated.

Should you go back to school?

I recently wrote the post College Degree After 50 – Worth It  where I asked whether going back to college made sense. My conclusion is that, unless the education is highly targeted towards a specific skill that is highly desired, it does not make financial sense.

It may make sense from a personal development perspective, but financially—NO.

Should you get training and certification in a highly desirable skill?

YES, but do your research first.

Middle skill jobs have been eliminated during every recession in the last century. That is not going to change!

Are you working in a middle skill job?

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Can Disruptive Technologies Disrupt Your Career?

Disruptive Technologies

disruptive technologiesI am attending SxSW Interactive  this week. I am amazed at the possibilities for market disruption in so many areas.

Twitter was launched at SxSW in 2007, and now you see hashtags on just about every news outlet.

Will disruptive technologies disrupt your career, industry, or both?

Automobiles

New collision avoidance technologies are being implemented throughout the auto industry. As vehicles are able to avoid collisions, the economic impact on society will be reduced. When driverless cars are introduced, it has been hypothesized that possibly as much as 90% of collisions could be eliminated.

How will these disruptive technologies affect:

  • Insurance industry
  • Auto parts suppliers
  • Auto repair shops

Just 10 years ago, it was predicted that driverless cars would not be technically feasible anytime soon.

Healthcare

We have seen many disruptive technologies emerge, described as wearable devices. My wife has a fitbit which she uses to track how many steps she takes each day.

Even more important is the development of EKG apps for your smartphone. For about $200, you can have a portable EKG machine.

How will these disruptive technologies affect:

  • Hospitals – Hospitals charge for EKGs
  • Physicians
  • Clinics

Finance

Bitcoin, which is digital currency, has the possibility of changing the world of finance and accounting. It has the possibility of completely eliminating the credit card industry.

Mobile payments could very well change how we pay for everyday products. Are you ready to give up your credit card?

How will these disruptive technologies affect:

  • Banks
  • Credit Card companies
  • Governments

Publishing

We have already seen the rise of e-books within the last five years. Now, audio books have become progressively easier to produce and publish. My book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers is now available on audio. It was not feasible to self publish an audio book just two years ago.

I sat in a session where comment moderation was discussed by employees from the NY Times and CNN. The NY Times has a large staff that moderates thousands of comments a day.

How will these disruptive technologies affect:

  • Magazine publishers – They are already disappearing
  • Newspapers – Same
  • Book Stores – When was the last time you went into a book store?
  • Publishers – Traditional publishers are progressively becoming inconsequential

Sharing Economy

We have entered into the sharing economy by being able to rent our house, condo, or apartment on AirBnB or HomeAway.

Disruption is occurring in the local transportation markets with Uber, and Lyft. Will taxis become obsolete?

How will these disruptive technologies affect:

  • Hotel industry
  • Taxi industry

Next Disruption – Higher Education

I just walked out of a session called Higher Education: To Get a Job or Create a Job?

It was discussed that the skills needed in three years to be competitive are still unknown. Therefore, going to school for a 4 year degree no longer guarantees you the skills needed to be employable.

Higher education must become more nimble and entrepreneurial. If it does not, it will progressively become irrelevant.

All of the disruptive technologies I have written about are creations within the last 2-10 years.

What does this mean for your career?

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Re-entering the Workforce – Marketable Skills After 50

Marketable Skills After 50

marketable skillsAre you over 50, re-entering the workforce, and wondering about your marketable skills?

There are those of you who have served as housewives; still others, who raised their children, then raised other people’s children. You may have taken extended time off to care for a parent.

You who have lived great lives but now desire to get busy and get a job outside of the home may feel that you can’t compete in today’s workforce. We will shed light on your dilemma.

Let’s look at 3 recommendations for those re-entering the workforce with few marketable skills after age 50.

People are willing to hire others to attend to the things they no long have the time to do.

Marketable Skills Recommendation #1

Think about your talents, passions, and the things that you want to learn. Think about how your skills fill a need.

Present your talent to those who need it.

Sometimes, you can do this with a business card announcing your services, or with a postcard noting that you have the answer to a problem.

Try asking a needs-based question that your potential client is looking for someone to help them answer.

And don’t think that these jobs can’t lead to a lucrative salary. For example:

  • Home workers are generally excellent at organizing.
  • Event planners, personal shoppers, or home health aides are ideal professions for those with are excited to use those skills sets.

You have lived and have noticed many issues, concerns, and problems in your community, nation and worldwide.

Think about the solutions that you feel would best address any particular problem. For instance, you may have noticed a few businesses that have recently opened in the community. Although they might offer competitive prices for their products, you notice that a few workers are young and lack good customer service.

Marketable Skills Recommendation #2

Offer new businesses your service as a customer service trainer, working to help employees learn great ways to offer excellent customer service. Job creation starts with company’s needs.

Craft a short bio and offer your services to new businesses in town, based on your talents.

Go to the chamber of commerce and grab their members’ directory and start there. You’ll be surprised how many companies would be interested in hiring people for subcontracted assignments based on direct need.

These opportunities do not require that people possess a PhD, but rather, pertinent skills.

For example, accounting firms would welcome a smart, intelligent bookkeeper assistant to help with audits, tabulate clients’ documents during tax season, and help with paper pushing at the end of the fiscal year.

Companies need the obvious:

  • Capitalize on trends
  • Respond to problems in the company
  • Improve on the way things are being done now
  • Use of old things in new ways
  • Increase customer base
  • Expand business
  • Help save or make money

Recommendation #3 Connect with opportunities that will help connect your talents. See Government Senior Citizens Resources (http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Seniors.shtml), Work from home computer customer service jobs (http://www.segroupllc.org/), and Opportunities for online writing jobs (http://bit.ly/1DDCz3C).

Realize that you should not limit your ideas about your talents. They include:

  • Personality
  • Assurances
  • Vision
  • Age
  • Perspective
  • Insight
  • Credibility
  • Skill
  • Information
  • Authenticity
  • Reputation
  • Values
  • Wisdom
  • Research, data
  • Understanding
  • Experience

You have remarkable employ-ability skills that most employers would be glad to have on board.

First, consider only the jobs and career areas that are of interest to you. Next, connect with a professional organization. This affiliation will teach you, help you to earn continuing education credits, and introduce you to like-minded people. Most importantly, they will help connect you to opportunities to work, learn, and give within your industry of choice. 50+ people have a dynamic place in the workplace!

Go find your place!

Debra Ann Matthews, M.A., JCTC is a passionate career coach and resume writer who works with debra ann matthewshundreds of clients throughout her career to achieve their dreams. Her extensive experience includes helping in President Clinton’s AmeriCorps, Up With People, and Job Corps. She loves to help motivated career changers in her business Let Me Write It For You. She’s noted in USAA Military, NBC Chicago, MSN Latino, Monster, Monster Working, Calgary Sun, Money Mix, & Careerbuilder.co.uk. Connect with her on LinkedIn at letmewriteit4u or via FB at www.facebook.com/letmewriteit4u.

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Working for a Family Owned Business – Pros and Cons

Family Owned Business

family owned businessHave you considered going to work for a family owned business?

These businesses have their own special qualities.

What prompted me to write about this was an e-mail I received after I posted my LinkedIn Publisher post, Are You a Perfect Fit for the Job? Then You Will Not Get It!

The author of the e-mail said she had been a perfect fit for her last job, but had to quit after one year. She wrote that her predecessor lasted only seven months. The job was crazy! The boss was crazy!

My response was, “I bet it was a family owned business!”

She said, “Wow. Yes. The owner, her husband, and son worked there.”

From my experience, there are pros and cons when it comes to working for a family owned business.

Pros

Family owned businesses tend to be smaller. If you are a generalist (versus being a specialist), this is a good thing. You will likely get to wear more hats—getting a greater variety of assignments.

A family owned business can feel like a family for the whole staff. I have known many owners who treat their employees like they are part of the family. For the right person, this can be quite comforting and create an inviting environment.

Cons

A family owned business is exactly that—family owned. Did you grow up in a dysfunctional family like I did? If the family is dysfunctional, then it is highly likely the family owned business will be dysfunctional. I have worked for a non-profit that was dysfunctional, and cannot imagine working in a dysfunctional family owned business.

Do you want to move up? Well, if you are not family, the likelihood of taking a leadership position is small. Well-run family owned businesses also tend to have very low turnover. This can make moving up within the organization difficult.

Is the business growing? Yes? Will the business grow past the capabilities of the owners to manage it, and are they willing to bring in outside talent? If you are in your 50s, you will remember a book titled the Peter Principle. The premise of the book is all of us will inevitably rise to his or her level of incompetence.

I have seen this with multiple clients who work for a family owned business. The business grows and grows, but the management team rises to their level of incompetence. The family cannot see that they need to bring in talent from outside of the family.

Family Members After the Business Fails

I have worked with multiple clients who were part of a family that ran a family owned business. They were left jobless when the business failed during the great recession. Many of them find it difficult to find jobs with traditional employers because they simply do not fit into a corporate role.

Have you worked for family owned business?

What was your experience?

Are you a good fit for a family owned business?

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Are You Seeking Respect and Failing in Interviews

Seeking Respect in Interviews

seeking respectAre you seeking respect and backing off your usual style when you first meet someone?

I have several new clients whose natural style is to be direct in their communication. In contrast, they have a high need for respect in their dealings with other people, as defined by their Birkman Assessment.

In other words, the way they communicate is not how they want to be treated. Hmm…an interesting combination. This is far more common than you think. Most of us communicate in a more direct fashion than we want others to communicate with us.

These clients, who are seeking respect, will often back off their usual style when they first meet someone. They will ask more questions and listen more to get the respect they desire.

Does this work in an interview situation? Not necessarily!

Have you been failing in interviews because you are not your authentic self?

Interviewing with Unfamiliar People

It is very common that you will interview with the hiring manager and potential future peers that you are unfamiliar with. What can you do? Try the following:

Probing Questions

Bring a set of probing questions with you to the interview. You want to probe for pain points. The more insightful the questions you ask, the faster you will gain the respect you want.

We are setting ourselves up to get the respect we want as fast as possible. We want to revert to our natural communications style early in the interview. We all are human, and should seek to become comfortable with the situation as quickly as possible.

Closing the Interview

Be prepared with a set of questions that will help you determine whether the job is a good fit for you. Please rehearse asking these questions so that they roll off your tongue. Practice asking these questions with others and in front of a mirror. Be as natural and direct as your usual style.

Pay Attention to You

Do you know what is your natural style of communicating? Pay attention to how you naturally communicate. Ask your friends and colleagues (who you trust) to describe your communication style.

The more you understand how you communicate, you will be able to identify when you are seeking respect in an interview and adjust accordingly.

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers or join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group