Posted on: January 21st, 2020 by
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The marketplace is strong compared to 10, 5, or even 1 year ago.  With a strong marketplace comes greater opportunity for those who need or want to better themselves.  As you reach 50 and older, there are certain things you need to know and do.  These are the realities of the job market for older and talented professionals:


  • The higher the job and pay you aspire to, the longer the job search
  • There are many jobs available, but hiring managers are being very picky
  • Your experience is the primary driver and must define your strategy
  • Your next job may or may not be at the level and pay you anticipate
  • Your career plan should consider the next 10 or more years, not just the next job
  • You may need to make compromises and alternatives due to family considerations, changes in location, health issues, industry volatility, economic status, and the like.


The strategies you deploy will determine your degree of success.  Consider the following:


  • Sharpen your skills sets: Make sure you’re up-to-date in technology and required knowledge within your function.  One question answered “I don’t know” is deadly.
  • Demonstrate experiences toward solutions: Present yourself as a problem-solver who has gotten terrific results.  Give measurable examples that parallel the needs of the manager.
  • Be a “supporter” not a “competitor”: Market yourself as a support to others – boss peers and subordinates.  Help them get promoted and you might move with them.
  • Show that you are flexible: Give examples of a quick response to a problem in the past, where you provided new ways of operating that gave a competitive edge.
  • Emphasize “the team” effort:  Hiring managers look for someone to contribute to the group results and “fit” the organizational culture.  You want the light to shine on others first, then on you.
  • Anticipate a diminished title or pay level: Leave the title and pay discussion until the offer, then see if you can move the bar higher.  Chances are there is another candidate right behind you who will accept the job in a millisecond.
  • Look for the “special” situation: Examples of an opportunity – A family-owned company where the younger generation is taking over and needs guidance.  Or, the business that has a problem that you have successfully solved somewhere else.  Or, the transitional situation that requires an experienced hand during a major change effort.
  • Plan for a continuum out to age 65 or 70. Your strategy may change from climbing the success ladder to playing out your productive years leading to retirement.  Choose your plan carefully, as the time to change direction again, is shrinking.


Take a hard look at your career situation for the next 5, 10 or 15 years.  Can you remain in your current position, move up, or be expected to make way for others?  Rather than have someone else make the decision for you, plan where you want to be and how to get there with a coach.


For a FREE critique of your resume, send it to:


Posted on: January 14th, 2020 by
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The hiring process is never perfect.  You need to figure out how to improve your skills of interviewing even if you didn’t get the job.  The important point is to continue believing in yourself.  You did a great job with the telephone screen.  You thought the face-to-face interviews went great, but you probably came in second.


WHAT HAPPENED???  Did you say or do something wrong?  First of all, don’t beat up on yourself.  You may have been the perfect candidate, but not gotten the job.  Why?  Here are some of the things that may have happened:


Someone else was connected – The hiring manager’s brother-in-law is a candidate, and to make it seem legitimate, others were brought in to interview.  They all “fell short”. You just happen to be one of the interviewees.


Someone else was better prepared – Another candidate did more research and really understood the issues:  Financials, competitors, industry, strategic direction, products, supply chain, customer issues and so on.  You need to do much more investigation.


An internal candidate was always in the wings – The hiring manager heavily favored an internal candidate.  The organization wanted to see who else was out there.  You had a slim opportunity to demonstrate performance against an insider.


The computer can’t read, only add – In larger organizations, the computer does the initial screen.  It counts key words and decides who gets to move forward based on how many times certain key words show up.  It cannot tell about quality, only quantity.  Move on.


You were seen as over or under qualified – A decision was made that you were over or under qualified for the job.  You’ll never know who or why, nor will you have the opportunity to state your case.  Longer term you could have been superior, but you’ll never know.


For some reason you’re the wrong fit – The organization has a working outline as to who will best fit, and you didn’t match their model:  This is another mystery of the marketplace.  On the other hand, if you were not a good fit for their culture, better you didn’t take the job with a low percent for success.


You could never have matched the real qualifications – The expectations of the organization were far above what the position description showed.  The steep learning curve that was required exceeded your background or experiences.


You were duped – It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.  The organization has a problem and seeks out people who have solved the issue somewhere else.  They bring in candidates and interview them to find potential solutions.  However, no one is ever hired.


The answer? – You can only do your best to present your results and fit in the most favorable light, based on what you know and have done.  Always ask penetrating questions about the job and expectations that present you as a results-oriented candidate.  You may get some good information, and then you decide whether to pursue the job, or not.


For a FREE critique of your resume, send it to:


Posted on: January 7th, 2020 by
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Most everyone is a bit nervous just prior to a job interview.  The problem arises when your nervousness becomes a liability to an effective interview.  So, what can you do about it?  Saying “just relax” and doing it are two separate things.


Below are some practices that others have found useful.  Try them out to see which ones work for you.  Pre-interview jitters can be conquered with concentration and practice.  And don’t be intimidated if you come in second as a candidate a few times.  Since the economy has rebounded, more jobs have opened up.  However, internal candidates have been moving up the career ladder creating a higher hurdle for external candidates.


There is one element where you may have the upper hand over all candidates, internal or external.  Hiring managers will favor candidates who have already successfully achieved the results that they are looking for in the open position.  Most internal candidates have not attained that level of performance.  If you have that experience from which to market your accomplishments, you will most likely be a finalist candidate.


Here are some confidence building exercises:


  • The night before, practice answering questions you believe will be asked. Since interviewers normally have not met you, they know little about you except what is written on your resume. The key questions will be about your experiences on prior jobs:  What did you do, how did you do it, and what were the results.
  • During these practice sessions record your answers, then during playback refine your answers until you are satisfied the answer is the best possible way to respond to the interviewer’s question.
  • Research the industry, company, competitors, product lines, history, financials and anything else that will help you understand the issues and potential opportunities, to recognize the best way to respond to interview questions.
  • Take the position description for the open job. Make a list of all the skills, experiences or results you have achieved that may parallel the responsibilities on the position description.  Your chances of becoming a finalist candidate may depend on the parallels between what you have done and what the hiring manager is looking for to fill the job
  • Warm up your voice just before interviewing. Usually a lower, calm voice is more soothing and reassuring than a high squeaking voice.
  • Think about positive thoughts before going into the interview. A wonderful family vacation, an award you received, praise from an executive about a project, and so on.
  • Make sure you haven’t recently woken up from a nap, feel a bit groggy and not as sharp as usual. Vitality will provide you with higher energy and a quicker mind
  • And last but not least, practice smiling. Sounds simple, but some people frown during an interview.  Both a smile or a frown will come through to the hiring manager and affect your interview success.


Preparation is the key to reducing the pre-interview shakes and make a success of the interview itself.


For a FREE critique of your resume, send it to:


Posted on: December 27th, 2019 by
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If you think you can piece together a resume then get offers surging in, you’re living in a fantasy world. Today, hiring managers want to know your measurable results, why you’re better than others, how you’ll fit in, and what’s your potential for the future. More thoughts:


  • Unless you know your destination, you can’t know your next step. You need to define your accomplishments, then match them with your next job to advance your career.
  • Design a COMPELLING resume.  A hiring manager must say, “This is someone I want to talk to because they have what I need!”.  Measurable results must be included.
  • You should receive an initial telephone or skype screening interview with about 50% of your applications if you’re targeting correctly. This means you are one of ten to be contacted. They will be checking your background, education, experiences and communications skills.  This will be the first of three interviews.
  • The top 2 or 3 will be asked to interview in person. Research the company to understand their history, products, issues and opportunities. Practice answering the questions, “What did you do?  How did you do it?  What were the results?”
  • If you are a finalist candidate, you will be asked back for a second interview. Will you fit the culture and working environment to improve performance with the existing “team”, or will you be an impediment to results?  You will usually meet the “team”, peers, the boss’s boss and maybe even subordinates.
  • At this point there may be an offer. With two finalists of equal experiences, the one that is a better fit will get the offer.  Be seen as a team player, who is a supporter not a competitor with others, and can add value, not duplicate the skills already there
  • With an offer, make sure you understand each point. Never say “no” to any part of the offer, but simply say, “Is this point flexible as I would like to discuss it further”
  • An offer may be contingent on your references. References should first be asked if they can serve as a reference.  They should be able to favorably support and articulate the key points of the position description of the new job
  • An offer should be in writing with your acceptance in writing, sent to the hiring manager with a receipt requested, or by Fed Ex documenting the delivery.  Job offers have been lost in the mail or withdrawn because of a miscommunication.
  • Resignation from your current job should be done professionally. You may have to come back to them for a positive reference later. Written resignations should be short.
  • Advice: When starting a new position, two approaches are critical.  First, create relationships for the long term.  Second, choose low hanging fruit where results are visible and your credibility can be established.


Last word:  No two job searches are the same.  Each one is tailored not only to the individual, but to the position and organization to which you aspire.


For a FREE critique of your resume, send it to:


Posted on: December 17th, 2019 by
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Take a look at the past 20 years compared with today as it relates to the differences in education, careers and pay. Then predict those same items over the next 20 years.  What does the future hold for you if you continue along your current track?  Here are some points to consider:


  • Manufacturing was a major driver in most industries 20 years ago, which provided a higher level of income for all levels of employees: From hourly to executive
  • Jobs in the hospitality industries have currently taken the place of manufacturing as a major driver of jobs in the United States
  • The shift from higher paying manufacturing jobs to low wage service jobs has caused a shift in family income. It may mean dual incomes and needed child care
  • Almost 50% of U.S. workers between 18 and 64 are employed in low-wage jobs
  • The value of a high school diploma has declined in value, with less manufacturing, craft and vocational programs available
  • Approximately 70% of American workers have a high school diploma
  • Special training programs have increased, especially in technology and trades
  • In 2016, high school graduates earned an average of $33,000 a year, college graduates $61,000, with graduate degreed professionals averaged $78,000 per year
  • The cost of college and health care is accelerating faster than the cost of living
  • Advanced graduate degrees have increased over the past 20 years, in numbers of graduates, number of different degrees and income potential
  • Pay increases have been substantially lower than that of prior years and has not kept up with raising expenses in food, healthcare and education

Other changes?

  • 10 years ago, on-line retail was a novelty. Now Black Friday sales were $7.2 billion in retail sales, up 14% over last year. Brick and mortar retail stores are struggling
  • 20 years ago, I don’t remember GPS, iPad/Pod, cell phones, robocalls or hackers,
  • We now have Flex jobs, electric cars, driverless cars and a concern for personal data
  • If we currently have 2% of all cars electric, what will the future bring? What happens to auto mechanics?  (80,000 jobs have been lost with the transition to electric cars)
  • Currently, those who work-from-home are 5.3% nationally in 2018 and 5.6% in Virginia. Will this trend expand? How will it affect interpersonal communications?
  • On-line degrees are increasing, while small colleges are closing
  • Whoever thought you’d talk to a computer? Hello Alexa. Hello Siri
  • Whoever thought Apple / Google would become a bank or pay with cryptocurrency?


My point is that change is accelerating in multiple areas that affect you directly.  Unless you’re aware of your current status and the future implications to your job, you’re behind the career curve.


So, what are the implications for you?  Where will you be with all these changes?  Are you prepared?  Will you be leading or trailing the future?  You may need someone to help you figure out what your next steps need to be and how to position yourself for the future.


For a FREE critique of your resume, send it to: