Wednesday, April 8

Workplace Marketability is Age-Neutral

Yesterday’s Baby-Boomer (today’s mature worker) may be facing for the first time a bias towards younger workers. Age discrimination, right? Only if you can prove it. The question is ‘what good would it do you if you did?’ … A job with that organization? … NOT! Here’s the deal: Put your energy into developing your unique value-mix of talent, experience, skills, core competencies, etc., you know – your Branding - to ultimately illustrate your value and benefit to the organization. “The Key for the mature professional conducting a job search” according to Randolph L. Stevens, Founder and President of R.L. Stevens & Associates, a 28-year full service career firm, “is authenticating relevancy, fit and adaptability; and when you can do that better than the next person, you get hired.”

Workplace marketability is almost always age-neutral. If the mature worker does not successfully illustrate the right message or demonstrate the right value proposition, he or she may feel a bias; nonetheless, it’s a bias towards the more relevant, better fitting, most adaptable candidate, not necessarily a bias against age. Prove your value and benefit and you’ll be hired.

If you are a baby boomer seeking a career change, role transition or are switching industries or know someone who is, here are 10 tips that should help.

1. Use your marketing letters and documentation to show employers a history of growth in and dedication to professional development.
2. Prove your continued intellectual vitality: Be prepared to outline completion of recent coursework, certifications, programs and other skill enhancements relevant to today’s business challenges and needs.
3. Show how you stay on top of technology trends.
4. Develop a “Webfolio” to show cutting-edge market awareness.
5. Be knowledgeable on the use of the Internet and Windows-based programs.
6. Eliminate everything that makes you appear older and possible out-of-step: Update your physical appearance, wardrobe and communications skills.
7. Demonstrate your marketplace knowledge i.e. industry changes and trends
8. Be knowledgeable of the day-to-day challenges (problems, concerns & opportunities) employers face; be able to draw a connection between such challenges and you as a solution-provider.
9. Demonstrate your adaptability and flexibility regarding hours and compensation: Consider proposing alternatives i.e. project work, contract work or consulting.
10. Entertain the idea of working part-time for multiple employers rather than just one. (Demonstrated value could lead to permanent positions)

The REAL Deal: Employers weed-out job candidates whose skills are out-dated or who exhibit low energy or little flexibility ... or any combination of these. Some may call it ‘age discrimination'. I call it fielding candidates for the most relevant marketability. Follow these 10 simple tips and in no time, you will see that there is no lack of opportunity for the mature worker.

RT - a mature worker

Monday, April 6

Re-Post of Interview with Rob Taub of ResumePro Plus and "Job Searching with Rob"

The Expert: Rob Taub, RésuméPro Plus

Katie Kemple of the Blog, Love Your Lay-off. Well, here's a real treat. Rob Taub, veteran job search consultant and creator of
RésuméPro Plus took some time out of his busy schedule for a Q&A on best practices. In addition to his impressive credentials, he's also someone I've turned to for expert career advice since entering the work force. Believe me when I say: He's the real deal. Here's the skinny on resume writing, networking, layoffs and more, from a pro!

You started your career as a teacher. What was the catalyst for your transition to career consulting?
Oddly enough I answered an ad in the Boston Globe that read, “Sales Opportunity - “work in a beautiful office, talk with professionals all day, make good money and never make a cold-call”. That was 23 years ago.

What is the most common mistake you see people make on resumes?
(a) Leaving off an objective and (b) putting in a self-serving objective: Let me explain.

I liken the objective on a resume to the title on a book cover. If the title read “Indy 500” you would assume that it has something to do with racing; even if only the backdrop. You wouldn’t have to read through several pages to know. In fact, you may never have picked up that book in the first place; especially when there are so many other books on the shelf with titles, saving you time and guess work. With regard to “self-serving” objectives, such an objective might read like this: “Looking for a growth opportunity in a growth organization that will utilize my skills and experience and provide opportunity for advancement” Duh! … Who isn’t?

Now more than ever, companies need to make smart moves and hire good people. Companies need to see how you can help them advance their agendas not your own. Candidates need to target their assets to the employer’s needs. It begins with “Positioning” the product and that starts at the very top of your resume with the objective.

CV or Resume: what's the difference and does it matter?
CV is a history of where you’ve been and what you’ve done; the Resume is the potential you have for where you are going and what you will be doing. CV’s are mostly used for Federal, Institutional and Academic positions; and all too often mistakenly used for private openings when a Functional resume would be more effective. By the way, there are 10 different resume styles of which Functional is only one; Chronological is another.

When a company asks for applicants to include a salary range on their resume, what's your best move?
Include it. If you don’t you will be automatically disqualified. Most people try to get around because if they’re too low they’ll be disqualified or if too high, too, they’ll be disqualified; nonetheless you have some chance. Leave it out? “Auto-disqualifier” – no chance, nothing…nada…nil…nichts…neit

When writing a cover letter, should you go for the hard sell or stick to the facts?
I would have to settle somewhere in the middle. You do want to “sell”, but not “hard”; and you want to sell using facts – concrete info that positions you as a viable candidate, for example you may say in the middle of your cover letter, “Some of the skills I developed over the years that would be of benefit in a college teaching/administration capacity would include the following:

  • Solid professional presence & significant relationship development experience
  • Administration, staff development and operations management
  • Highly perceptive in ascertaining individual and group needs
  • (Etc…)
Is it better to email or snail mail "thank you" notes?
It really depends on who it is that will be receiving it. Similar to resumes … what’s the best resume format to use? Depends on who will be reading it. Also remember that every contact including rejections should receive a “thank you”. You might want to consider as a rule of thumb, to send a hand-written “thank you” (regular mail) to those who reject you. All your other contacts are on going while these are ending. If you respond with something relevant, professional and memorable (which in this digital age may very well be a hand-written “thank you”), you may keep the door open for another day.

Has social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter… changed the job hunt?
Considerably, yes. Making and staying in touch with networking contacts is a must; and about 70% of your time in a job search should be spent networking. (You can limit the time you spend applying online to 1 hour a day). Social networking like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. are great portholes because you can network without drawing attention to the fact that you are looking for a job! To be most effective you must make sure your updates on these sites are full of valuable ideas and resources for the readers. And update often.

What's been your best moment as a career consultant?
I know this sounds a little hokey, but everyday is filled with some really great moments. Everyday you help someone; and when they know it, they let YOU know it. If I didn't feel this way (been at it going on 24 years now) they'ed have had to "put me away", if you know what I mean, a long time ago!

If you could give job seekers one piece of advice, what would it be?
Something I read just this morning! “By believing passionately in something that (still) does not exist, we create it. The non-existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired” –Kazantzakis

Ok - ok … something less esoteric then: I said it on my
blog Back in March– When communicating with others, don’t make them plow through jargon. If they understand it they’re unimpressed; if they don’t, they’ll take out a book and read.

Do you have any other advice?
I guess I’d go with the Four P’s I invented back in the day: “Prepare to Practice Patience or P_ _ _off”. The impatient person (a) speaks without thinking and (b) is less likely to listen and consequently will miss all the signals.

And, finally, since this is a Blog about layoffs, have you ever been laid off? If so, what were your "lessons learned" from the experience?
Yes, 3 times in 4 years; and the biggest lesson learned, years later, is that you shouldn’t take it personally EVEN IF resultant of personal differences or personality conflict.

Other lessons learned?
Yes, u
nemployment can leave plenty of space on your calendar. I learned that unless you’re careful, free time can be squandered easily, and important momentum will be lost.

A layoff is also the perfect time to assess where you belong (specific industry, job function, company culture); most people never do. Many employed professionals are misaligned in their careers but lack the time or energy to do something about it. Unemployment frees you up to give full attention to defining what it is, clearly, that you CAN and WANT to do, WITH WHOM, for HOW MUCH and to WHAT END.

Finally, there’s a temptation after you’ve been laid-off to take a time off to spend with family or to take on projects or go on vacation. DON’T DO IT! DON’T DO IT! The longer it takes for you to return to the marketplace, the harder it’ll be.

For expert advice on resumes, interviewing and more visit Rob Taub online at
RésuméPro Plus and the Blog Job Searching With Rob. --Posted by Katie Kemple at 5:25 PM

Visit Katie Kemple's Blog Love Your Layoff for some great posts. Here are two recent posts for your convenience, enjoyment and benefit:

Transition = Creativity
Today I was feeling absolutely giddy. The spring weather teamed with daylight savings meant one thing: change. And it made me realize something, it's not just spring that I feel this about. I also love the transition from spring to summer, summer to fall and fall to winter. I love the change from day to night and night to day. The transition from high school to college, college to work, from one city to another, and from job to job.

Social Networking and The Organic You
It strikes me how completely different the start of my job search is this year than last year. For starters, social networking. I know there have been a million blog postings and articles about this already. But it's one thing to read about it, quite another to experience it.

Wednesday, April 1

Resume Makeover: Here’s why Generic Resumes Don’t Grab Employer Attention

A one-size-fits-all resume guarantees you’re not going to capture employer attention. Ever. There is even more logic in structuring a resume that’s targeted to an employer need during a recessionary job market where unemployment or underemployment is high.

An interview-generating resume is similar to a 15-second media commercial. The advertising message conveys a reason to purchase the product. Companies spend large amounts of marketing dollars to win you over from their competition. Case in point: There are many beverages you can choose to drink. Your selection will be the result of the targeted advertising message the soft drink manufacturers used to create brand loyalty from you.

Likewise, you’ll be invited to an interview based on a 15-second review by a resume screener or hiring manager. Your resume must precisely speak to their needs and prove your value in overcoming employer business challenges.

Here are three quick tips from R.L.Stevens & Associates, a Career Marketing firm based in Waltham, MA, to ensure your personal brand is bought and you obtain a better job, faster:

1. Research the job market locally, regionally and nationally. Even if you can’t relocate, know the hiring trends and identify growth-oriented organizations.

2. Don’t exclusively rely on open or posted positions. Identify near and future hiring trends. Those "Spot opportunities" give you power to create your own niche.

3. Create a 40-50-word Qualifications Summary to place under your heading (objective) and above your professional experience so that it becomes in itself, a mini-resume showcasing your value and specific key-worded knowledge areas.

An unfocused, generic advertising message will neutralize your competitive advantage. Make sure your resume is relevant and demonstrates strong ability to cost-effectively solve problems.

Provided by R.L.Stevens & Associates, the oldest and most successful privately held full-service career firm in the United States, doing good business well, since 1982