Older Job Seekers

Older Job Seekers

Recent Thoughts:Job Search and Older Job Seekers

Older job seekers – I’ve been thinking about the challenges that older job seekers face. Yes, in my experience they do have it tougher. But with the right approach you really can increase your chances.

I left the Civil Service at 60, a few years ago. I’d decided to launch out as an independent contractor so I did a lot of careful brand management. Working hard on projecting an energetic and delivery focused image, that didn’t actually include how old I was, paid massive dividends.  I showed evidence of capabilities without saying how long I’d spent honing them. Looking for work as a contractor is different to job search in subtle ways. But the result was that I was actually offered two good jobs as an employee before I picked up my first contract. It took quite a lot of resolve to turn them down and hold on for what I really wanted. But I did. And I’ve never regretted it. Now, of course, I enjoy my life as a coach.

Now, I’m not telling you this story because I think I am exceptional – I don’t think I am. Except that putting so much into “managing the brand” probably was exceptional. I learned a lot from the experience about committing to good presentation, as well hard evidence of what you can deliver. I now encourage that in all my job seeker clients, and particularly the older ones.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

 

Volunteering helps the community and improves your career

Volunteering helps the community and improves your career

Today we have the second post in this series from Tamara M. Williams. Tamara publishes articles in topics such as Software and Marketing.  Learn more about Tamara at EzineArticles and Squidoo.

Volunteering is usually recommended while you are at college. However, it is essential to give back to the community even after you have graduated. You learn new skills, meet new people and add new experiences to your CV. This shows prospective employers that you are willing to work without pay in order to develop your career.

Volunteer work means that you perform various tasks offline or online without pay. Sometimes you already have the skills to perform the tasks but other times you learn from others. If you already are very skilled then you can train other persons or supervise a team. If not then you will be assigned to perform simpler tasks under supervision until you have gained enough skills. Volunteer activities in the United States can be completed at many popular organisations such as the American Cancer Society, The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Clubs, and YWCA. However, there are many more that can be found by asking at your community center or searching online at neighbourhood websites.

Volunteering at college is easier because you go to the Career center and ask for the recommended organisations that you can join. You can also ask your roommates, friends and lecturers for organisations that they have worked with in the past. During the academic year when you attend various events you will often hear about volunteer work. Always join and contribute a few hours regardless of how busy your academic schedule is. You get to meet new persons and contribute to worthy causes. This shows that you were also thinking about the community instead of just about your books and parties.

Some corporations have communities that they volunteer with.

Some corporations have communities that they volunteer with. The projects are usually aligned to the company’s objective. Usually you are allowed to perform your volunteer activities during work hours. This means that you get to work with co-workers from various departments and get to see a more relaxed side of their personalities. This improves your relationship with them because it is easier to bond. It also gets you exposed to the various needs of the community that you might not have been aware of.

If prefer not to take on volunteer opportunities at college or at work then you can ask persons in your community or neighbouring communities. Volunteering closer to home means you get to save time and money on transportation. You get to learn more about the people, places and events that are an important part of your neighbourhood.

Each time you volunteer record the persons, activities and places that were involved. Make a note of the skills you learnt, knowledge you gained and how these contribute to your career. Then add these to a document so that you can see your progress over time. Afterwards, update your CV and explain the benefits that you gained and what you gave in return. Remember that it does not need to be continuous so you should plan it around your schedule and be willing to be flexible.

As you can see, volunteering is a great way to meet new people or improve your relationship with those you already know. You also get to learn or strengthen your skills. Ask for more information at your college, employer or community center. Take the time to search for organisations that are close to work and home so that you spend more time volunteering and less time on the road. Then add your experiences to your CV to show that you care about the community too.

About the Author:

Learn more about Tamara M. Williams at EzineArticles and Squidoo.

Top priority – what is yours?

Top priority – what is yours?

Top priority – is the work you do first always the most urgent and most important?

How can you make sure your critical work is getting done, and getting done early?

Are you tempted to work on a low priority project because it’s more fun? Perhaps it is less difficult than an working on a high-priority project.

Yes, well, we all tell ourselves that trawling right through our emails first thing each morning is really important! It is always satisfying to find out what is in there, isn’t it?  But it doesn’t get that board paper written, nor the monthly report completed.

How can you make sure you’re on the right track?

Well, here is help!

Create a list with two columns. On the left side, list the three to five most critical priorities you are accountable for! On the right side, list all the activities you do during the day.

At the end of the day, match it up.

How much of what you accomplished on the right side was in direct support of your key priorities on the left?

If you don’t have a good match, re-evaluate the work you’re choosing to do.

What are you choosing to first?

Getting your most important priorities done first, will help you feel more satisfied about the work you accomplish.

Of course you can do a quick scan of your emails beforehand, but make it quick!

This new approach should also leave you time to deal with lower priorities later in the day.

Who knows, you might even get to leave on time for once!

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Does Your CV Let You Down?

Does Your CV Let You Down?

Does Your CV Let You Down? Here are some mistakes it is only too easy to make when submitting your CV.

Your CV doesn’t make it clear that you are qualified for the job.

You don’t show a clear connection between your background, skills and achievements and what the employer needs. It’s likely that a computer scanning system, known as an applicant tracking system, will check your CV for the keywords and phrases necessary to match you to the employer’s requirements.

Even if it is very clear to you that you’re well suited for the job, it is up to you to make sure that you show how you have what they are looking. Make sure this is in very straight forward terms.

You shouldn’t rely on the cover letter or anything else you may send with your CV (or application form where that has to be completed) to describe the key reasons why you are well suited to the role. It is quite probable that your potential employer will not see any further information about you until you pass through the CV/resume/application form screen.

You make grammatical or spelling errors in your CV, application form or cover letter.

This is a frequent complaint when recruiters discuss applicants.

It is important for all roles that you check for typos but you would be surprised how often there are mistakes in applications for jobs that involve writing. For example, when applying for administrative roles, one typo or an error can make the difference between landing an interview or being cast aside. But errors throw doubt on credibility at a more senior level too.

It’s difficult to proofread something you write yourself – as I know all to well.

Think about asking an eagle-eyed friend to review your cover letter and resume before you send them in. I am a creative writer, as well as a business blogger, and my two very best friends are my content editor, who makes sure the story is worth reading, and my dear, dear copy editor. Find a good friend who can check your job application for both typos and common sense! Of course, always spell-check your work, but be very much aware that spell-check doesn’t pick up every error.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Dealing with Passive-Aggressive Colleague

Dealing with Passive-Aggressive Colleague

Dealing with Difficult People – Three Ways to Deal with a Passive-Aggressive Colleague

Dealing with a passive aggressive colleague can be very challenging. For example, it can be very frustrating when someone you work with agrees with a plan of action and then goes off to do their own thing. This can have a number of results as well as not being good for harmony in the team.  But it is frequent and it can mean that you do not achieve your own goals. When you have to deal with someone who says one thing and does another, try this:

  • Talk to them Explain to your colleague what you’re seeing, hearing and experiencing. Describe the impact of their behaviour on you and provide your suggestions for how they might change.
  • Focus on work, not the person. You need to get the work done despite your peer’s style, so don’t waste time wishing they would change. Concentrate on completing the work instead.
  • Ask for commitment. At the end of a meeting ask everyone (not just the troublemaker) to reiterate what they are going to do and by when. Sometimes peer pressure can keep even the most passive-aggressive person on task.

Adapted from “How to Deal With a Passive-Aggressive Peer” by Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Job Search And Resilience

Job Search And Resilience

Job search and resilience – resilience is that quality that allows you to be knocked down by life but come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome you and drain your resolve, you find a way to rise from the ashes.

It has been a component of many successful job searches!

Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make people resilient.

These factors include:

  • Optimism and a positive attitude,
  • The ability to regulate emotions,
  • The ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback.

Even after having suffered a failure or rejection with this kind of attitude, resilient people are able to bounce back, possibly change course and keep going.

Having a loving support system, learning to make plans and follow them through and improving your communication and problem-solving skills really can help to improve your resilience.

But you also need to work on having a positive view of yourself and your abilities! Try to look at the big picture of life, and avoid viewing difficult times as insurmountable. Take small steps towards your goals and take one day at a time.

Keep working toward your goals! Ask yourself “What can I do today to move in the direction I need to go?”

Take care of yourself! Get enough food, sleep, and exercise to keep healthy. This is especially important during times of stress when looking for work.

Seek professional help from a coach or counsellor, if you feel that the situation is too hard for you to handle on your own. They can help you develop a strategy for moving forward in your life and finding that role you seek!

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

How To Resign Gracefully

How To Resign Gracefully

How To Resign Gracefully! Another great post from Alison Doyle on About.Com

Once you have decided to resign from your job, there’s no point in criticizing your company, your boss, your co-workers, the job or anything else. Even if you hated your boss, hated the job, and can’t wait to get out of there, don’t burn your bridges. You might need a reference in the future and you don’t want to give anyone any ammunition to use against you. Save your parting shots and keep your feelings to yourself.

Instead, write a formal resignation letter, so it can be placed in your employment file. Keep your resignation letter simple and short. Don’t go into too much detail about why you are quitting and what you are doing next. Your letter shouldn’t be negative or nasty – it honestly isn’t worth venting.

You can read the rest of this post on how to resign gracefully  at this link

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Grieving in the Workplace

Grieving in the Workplace

Lots of people I know seem to be dealing loss in its various forms right now!  I found this very wise advice from the Alberta Learning Information Service and thought the time might be right to pass it on! 

Grieving in the Workplace: Coping With Loss

Grief is the process of dealing with loss and it is a normal part of life.

Many kinds of loss can affect your performance at work or that of your colleagues: divorce, retirement, job loss, failure of a project and so on. This tip sheet focuses on grief following the loss of a loved one. The suggestions will help you cope with your own loss or support a bereaved co-worker.

Understanding grief and its effects

Many of us experience powerful emotions when we’re grieving. The stages of grief are shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance, which may eventually move an individual into healing or growth. Because grief is a very individual experience, we may not experience all stages or we may go through them in a different order.

We can’t attach a timeline to grief—many signs of grief may not appear until weeks or months after the loss. The circumstances of the death and the depth of our connection to the individual can affect our emotional response and the time we need to grieve. For example, a grieving co-worker who seems to be coping well may burst into tears during a meeting many months after a loved one’s death….

You can read the rest of this post at this link http://alis.alberta.ca/ep/eps/tips/tips.html?EK=11611

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Sending Mixed Messages

Sending Mixed Messages to Potential Employers

Mixed messages are all too easy to send in these days of part-time working and portfolio careers. Lots of us do more than one thing to earn money. But this can mean we send confused messages to potential employers and customers.

For example, I work as a career and life coach. On top of that, I am a creative writer and poet.  So how do I describe myself? If you are looking for a coach, knowing that I write novels may not always inspire confidence. Things can become even more problematic when you are looking for work.

Be clear about the message you are sending

You need to be clear about the message you send in any particular situation. While some potential employers may see the benefits your complex experience may bring, others may not. Make sure you send very clear messages about what you can do for a particular employer or customer.

Focus on how you can deliver real value to that particular employer, at that particular time. Demonstrate how you will bring your complex skills set to bear to meet their needs. And don’t be tempted to brag too much about past achievements not relevant to what their needs.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Listening at interviews

Listening at interviews

Listening at interviews is important. To be able to listen well is a skill.  And it is a skill that you need in job search at interviews.

What matters at interviews is that you really hear the question asked. That question is the one you answer.

It is all to easily, particularly when you are nervous, to hear headline words. You hear just the “keywords” and respond to them.  For example, you hear the word “experience,”! Then, you don’t stop to think, you just pour out all your experience.  You don’t take in that the question was about a particular part of your experience.  Or perhaps, more importantly, you don’t answer a question about how your experience is relevant to this role.

So, try to settle any nerves before you go into the interview room. There is relaxation exercise you can use at this link.  Then to determine to listen carefully to all the words in the question. Take the time needed to put together a response in your mind before speaking.  If you need to, ask for clarification. Much better that then to take a wild guess and give an inappropriate answer.

Listen carefully, pace yourself and answer the question asked!  The extra time you take will make you a far more impressive candidate. Remember how you answer will tell the panel a lot the qualities of both your judgement and your decision making ability.

If you need advice preparing for an important interview, then get in touch – working with a career coach can make all the difference.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link