Category Archives: Career Management

5 tips for busy people using LinkedIn

I’ve often said that my use of LinkedIn can be classified as extreme, almost bordering on a sickness. No lie; I’m on LinkedIn every day of the year for at least half an hour a day. There are other people like me, maybe worse.

busy people

You might be wondering why I use LinkedIn as often as I do. First, I teach hundreds of LinkedIn workshops and individual sessions a year. Second, it’s great advertisement for my side hustle, LinkedIn profiles and training. Third, I enjoy using LinkedIn.

If you think this article is about using LinkedIn as often as I and others do, don’t fret. In fact, I’m going to suggest that you don’t follow my lead. As I tell me clients, “Don’t be like me.”

So let’s talk about you. You are unemployed, underemployed, trying to leave your current job for a better one, or running a business. You don’t see using LinkedIn as often as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. LinkedIn’s not your priority. You’re busy.

However, you realize that you have to use LinkedIn to accomplish your goals.

This article is for you busy people. I’m going to make LinkedIn doable for you by offering five tips.

  1. How much time to dedicate to LinkedIn.
  2. How you should create your profile.
  3. How to connect with other LinkedIn members.
  4. How to engage with your network.
  5. What to do after your land your job or have established your business.

But first, why you should use LinkedIn

Perhaps you’ve been told by do-gooders that if you use LinkedIn alone, you will land a job easily and quickly or business will pick up in a snap. That’s bunk. LinkedIn is part of your networking campaign; you’ll also have to network face-to-face. Consider LinkedIn a supplement to your face-to-face networking.

Here are three strong reasons why you should be on LinkedIn. One, anywhere between a 78%-95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent. Two, LinkedIn is a great research tool, which will allow you to locate and follow or connect with pretty much anyone you want to. Three, LinkedIn can be a great professional community.

1. How much time to dedicate to LinkedIn

I’d like to say, “Whatever makes you comfortable,” but some of you might follow the average LinkedIn user who is on LinkedIn a mere 17 minutes a month, according to various sources. You might consider me judgemental when I say those people should leave LinkedIn immediately.

If you fall under the 17-minutes-a-month category, heed what I write next or close your account.

I suggest you use LinkedIn two days a week, 10 minutes a day, at a bare minimum. Better would be four days a week, 15 minutes a day. You’ll make more progress. But I know you’re busy, so do what you can.

2. How you should create your profile

Do yourself a favor by having a professional who won’t break the bank write your profile. This is if you have the resources. Most people don’t have the resources, so I’ll make this short and sweet. Copy your résumé to your profile for the time being.

Some of you LinkedIn profile pundits are groaning, even cursing me for saying this; but I’m not finished. After this—when you have time—revise your profile.

If you are struggling with verbiage, look at other profiles that reflect what you do, but do not plagiarize.

Read this article to learn how to take your profile to the next level.

3. How to connect with other LinkedIn members

Here’s the thing: despite what you’ve been told and what you’ve seen written, connecting with others and networking online strategically, is more important than creating a kick-ass profile. More groans from the pundits in the wing.

Here’s my challenge for you: send connection invites to 10 people a week. This might seem like a lot, but my goal is to get you to 250 LinkedIn connections as quickly as possible. The question now is who to connect with? Connect with the following people:

  1. Your former colleagues, if you haven’t done this already;
  2. like-minded people who do the same type of work you do and are in similar industries;
  3. people at your desired companies, and;
  4. your alumni.

At this point, you’re wondering how you find said people, how you properly invite them to your network, and what you do after you’ve connected with them. To answer how you find them, let me simply say, “Make All Filters your best friend.” Read this now, or come back to it. But do read it.

The key to properly inviting LinkedIn members to your network is by the personalized messages you send. You might want to create templates that fit most connection-types, strictly to save time. The proper way to write invites is to tailor them to each position.

I’ve included some examples at the end of this article of the messages you can send.

The last part of the “invite process” is where most people fall down. Don’t be this person. Of course I’m talking about following up with the people you’ve invited to your network. I believe that the people who fail to do this are afraid of rejection or insulting their new connections.

4. How to engage with your network

You’re busy, so this component will also trumps a kick-ass profile, for now. You’ll have time to create a profile worthy of greatness, one that demonstrates your value through compelling narrative and knock-em-dead accomplishments.

The goal is to be noticed. To be top of mind with your network, you have to be present on LinkedIn. The old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” is so true when it comes to LinkedIn. People in your network will see in their timeline your photo and Headline.

However, the Notifications feature will alert you to when:

  • you react to or comment on a post your connections have written,
  • your connections have commented or reacted to a post you’ve written,
  • they’ve tagged you in a post or article,
  • they’ve shared something you’ve written,
  • basically anything your network has done concerning you.

You’re busy. I get that. So I’m going to ask you to take a few actions at first. See the little buggers below? When you read a post or article, hit one of them in the response to a post from one of your connections. Gasp from the LinkedIn pundits.reactions

Next you will be writing a comment on something you’ve read or a video you’ve watched. Nothing huge, because you’re busy, but something that shows you’ve read or viewed the content. Contrary to what you might think, you do have the right to write your own content.

Total time to do this, 15 minutes. You can break it up into chunks throughout the day.

Read this article on how to engage on LinkedIn. You can simply react to it or write an insightful comment.

5. What to do after your land your job or have established your business

I know you don’t think I’m going to say, “Put LinkedIn to bed.” To the contrary; use LinkedIn as much as I’ve told you. This especially goes for you business owners but also applies for you former job seekers.

I wrote a post that has had more than 40,000 views about 8 reasons why you should still use LinkedIn after you land. It’s called I HAVE A JOB. WHY DO I NEED TO USE LINKEDIN. Read it to better understand why using LinkedIn is important after you’ve landed your next job.


Three invite examples

The cold invite

Hello Susan,

We met at the Boston Networking event. You delivered an excellent presentation. The way you talked about interviewing resonated with me. As promised, I’m inviting you to my LinkedIn network.

Bob

The reference invite

Hi Dave,

You and I are both connected with Sharon Beane. She and I work for MassHire Lowell Career Center as workshop facilitators. She strongly encouraged me to connect with you and would be willing to talk with you about me. I believe we can be of mutual assistance.

Sincerely,

Bob

The introduction invite (probably best sent via email)

Hi Karen,

I see that you’re connected with Mark L. Brown, the director of finance at ABC Company. I’m currently in transition and am very interested in a senior financial analyst role.

Although there is no advertised position at ABC, I’d like to speak with Mark about the responsibilities of a senior financial analyst role in ABC’s finance department. It is early on in the process, so I’m also scoping out the companies on my bucket list.

I’ve attached my resume for you to distribute to Mark and anyone you know who is looking for a senior financial analyst.

Sincerely,

Bob

PS – It was great seeing our girls duke it out in last weekend’s soccer match. I hope the two teams meet in the finals.

 

8 ways you can benefit from a great mentor in your career

I had a mentor once who taught me all I knew about the job search up to a point where I was ready to fly free. My mentor, Ellen, was extremely knowledgeable about the job search. She set the foundation of my career.

mentoring

Ellen was also one of the best speakers I knew. I used to say she could talk like an angel, so fluid and effortless. Yet, she never over acted like some speakers do; she was a natural. Ellen was also meant for the role of a mentor.

I learned from Ellen that a mentor can be a valuable person in your career. Without a mentor, you go it alone; you don’t benefit from their sage wisdom and career support. So, what are the aspects of a great mentor?

1. Provide advice and support

The Oxfords Learner’s Dictionary describes a mentor as simply “an experienced person who advises and helps somebody with less experience over a period of time.”

It’s a given that your mentor will have knowledgeable of your occupation and how you should perform to positively impact the organization. You can trust that what they advise will only help you succeed in your job.

Whether you ask for advice or support, your mentor will give it when needed. They might see you failing in an important aspect of a project or assignment and let you know how to approach it in a better way.

2. Allow you to fail

A mentor will also let you experiment and allow you to make mistakes from which you will learn. Failing is part of the learning process. If you’re afraid of failing, you’re not going to advance in your career. You should seek out a mentor who understands the learning process.

Your mentor should give you that leeway and not step in before you make that small error. Sure, your mentor can see it coming a mile away, but they will allow you to make that mistake and call it a learning moment. A great mentor will then explain how not to repeat that mistake.

3. Go to bat for you

I remember a time when I had totally forgotten about a workshop I had to deliver. It slipped my mind. I went to lunch and didn’t check the multiple text messages sent by Ellen, which told me I had a workshop. What did Ellen do? She did my workshop even thought she had a ton of other work to do.

Naturally I was called to the carpet for spacing my workshop, but Ellen was there to tell our boss that all ended well and that I wouldn’t repeat that mistake. Because if I did, Ellen would kill me. Needless to say, I didn’t repeat the mistake again.

4. Give you credit

A mentor will never take credit for what you’ve accomplished; rather they will share your successes with the organization. At staff or department-head meetings, your mentor will purposely and clearly announce your accomplishment.

The opposite of this would be taking credit for what you’ve accomplished. Someone who does this is not a mentor. Similarly, a mentor will not describe your successes using the pronoun “we.” They will say, “Joe wrote the all the content for our Product X page.” You will do the same for your mentor.

5. Point out their own weaknesses

A mentor will not be afraid to point out their weaknesses. By telling you what they did wrong can also be a learning lesson for you. If your mentor blames others for their mistake, they are not mentoring you; it is telling you that blaming others for your mistakes is acceptable.

Ellen would not blame others from her mistakes; rather, she would talk about them openly and end by telling me not to commit her mistake. I appreciated this because it gave me the freedom to talk about my errors.

6. Will ask for your advice

Your mentor should recognize your strengths and emulate them to better perform their job. When I created the first LinkedIn program at the career center, Ellen would ask me to share my knowledge. I was glad to provide it because I saw it as an honor to be asked.

You should not keep your “secrets” from your mentor in fear of losing job security. Your mentor doesn’t hold back advice and information. Neither should you. Your mentor is secure in their position and, as such, freely offers advice when you ask for it.

7. Their door is always open

I mean this literally. You might need a place to vent or talk about personal issues. A good mentor will give you that space. Just make sure you don’t take advantage of your mentor and constantly use them as a shoulder to cry on.

Your mentor is not your therapist, so don’t treat them as such. One of the things I miss about Ellen is the ability of talking shop with her. We would bounce ideas off each other. And, yes, we would vent every once in awhile. We tried to keep these venting moments to a limit.

8. Keep things real

Of course there will be moments when you’ll need to talk about difficulties happening in your workday. This is an important time where your mentor can provide advice as well as tell you to “suck it up.”

When my attitude became unnecessarily negative, Ellen would tell me to snap out of it. Your mentor will do you the favor of keeping it real. They will not let you complain when there’s nothing to complain about.


Your mentor can be a part of your professional and personal growth. Don’t underestimate the importance of a great mentor. Does your mentor have to be your boss? No, they don’t. Can your mentor be someone younger than you? Of course they can. You can learn from anyone who has the right qualities.

There came a time when I had learned all I could from Ellen. I started revamping the workshops which she had developed. She approved of my changes, realizing I was learning at a faster rate. I will forever be grateful to Ellen.

10 reasons why you should use LinkedIn after you’ve landed a job

I’ve come across thousands of job seekers who believe in the power LinkedIn provides to help them land a job. I haven’t, however, come across as many people who believe in using LinkedIn after they’ve landed. They feel that once LinkedIn has done its job, it’s time to part ways.

LinkedIn for Business

Why is that? Do people not see the value of LinkedIn in their work?

In a LinkedIn post* I wrote on the fifth of September, I asked the question, “I have a job. Do I still need to use LinkedIn?” Following are 10 versions of the reasons I provided for continuing to use LinkedIn after being hired. Some folks from career development and sales have weighed in with great answers.

1. Continue to build your network as insurance, if you need/want to move on

Unless you were born yesterday, you don’t believe that any job is secure, except for Supreme Court Justices. What if you want to move on to another position? Whether you have to move on or want to move on, having an established network of trustworthy people, will be extremely beneficial.

Susan Joyce writes, “So sad when people stop using LinkedIn after landing a new job. Unfortunately, NOT unusual. What will happen the next time they need a job—start over with LinkedIn? That means a much longer job search. Instead, stay active, support the new employer, and remain professionally visible. Much smarter!”

2. Continue to build your brand

Make sure you update your profile with your latest accomplishments. Only connect with the people who provide value, as well as those to whom you can provide value. And, yes, share posts that are relevant to your network. This is all part of branding. Read The ultimate LinkedIn Guide series to learn more.

Perhaps your interest is gaining more visibility in your new role. Wendy Schoen suggests, “If you are engaging on LinkedIn, it is much easier for others in your field to reach out to you with speaking engagements or panel appearances. These are the ways in which you establish your ‘chops’ in your field!”

3. Be found by recruiters who are cruising for passive candidates

You might have landed your dream job and think you’ll retire from the organization, or you might have landed at an organization that didn’t turn out to be what you thought it would. In either case, there are always recruiters who are looking for good talent. You want to be found.

Cynthia Wright is a recruiter. She uses LinkedIn Recruiter and warns that passive job seekers never know when they’ll be approached: “It’s a great tool, and as a recruiter, 60% of my hires are made from LinkedIn Recruiter. Most are passive candidates (those who aren’t necessarily looking for a job). As a job seeker, you just never know.”

4. Give back: let people know of openings in your organization

The best of the best networkers will continue their efforts of helping others after they’ve landed. Some of my former clients have shared openings at their company, almost the minute they’ve started their job. They were paying it forward, which is the true definition of netowrking.

Employers are hiring. The questions is who are they looking to hire. The answer is clear; they’re filling positions with people who’ve been referred by those they trust and know. Be that person they trust and know; mention people with whom you’ve networked. Bonus: you might receive a finders fee.

5. Use LinkedIn for professional development

Let’s say you’ve landed at a company where there’s no money in the budget for professional development. You can reach out to other employees in your industry, or you can use information you gather on LinkedIn. One great source for professional development is LinkedIn’s Learning (Lynda.com).

Brian Ahearn, has produced four courses for LinkedIn. He speaks about persuasion in sales, personal relationships, and coaching. I have learned a great deal about the art of persuasion from him. Check out his courses: Persuasive Selling; Advanced Selling: DEALing with Different Personality Styles; Persuasive Coaching; and Building a Culture of Coaching Though Timely Feedback.

6. Research companies and people before meetings for business transactions

Let’s say you applied for a marketing director’s position. You were smart and researched the positions to which you applied and companies who were going to interview you. Did you also research the people who would be interviewing you? You were smart if you did. Now it’s time to research people in your industry or the company for which you work.

Sarah Johnston writes: “LinkedIn can be a great place to learn about your new colleagues. Individual profiles often reveal their, past jobs and non-profit involvement. This information can be helpful during water cooler conversation. One of my favorite things to do to look at the written recommendations that they’ve given to other people. This can provide you with insight into their work relationships and qualities that they value in others.”

7. Share posts and articles of your own, as well as those of others

If you didn’t share articles or comment on other’s posts while job searching, now is the time to do it. Share and comment on articles, write posts expressing your thoughts, attach a whitepaper in Rich Media sections. You want to stay on the radar of your network (related to reason number one).

Hannah Morgan writes, “Your goal in regularly sharing articles on LinkedIn is to stay top of mind among your network. Don’t just re-share the articles, though. Explain why you are sharing them and tag several people, including the author, to make sure they see it. Commenting on posts related to your field—either from people in your network, or those you do not know yet—is a way to expand your network and solidify your relationships with existing connections.”

8. Increase business and/or visibility of your organization

If you’re a salesperson or business developer in a B2B role, using LinkedIn is a no brainer. Even if you’re not directly involved in selling products or services, LinkedIn is instrumental in building relationships. Any employee in a company can be the face of the organization.

In support of this reason, Bruce Bixler makes an excellent point: “ONLY 20% of LinkedIn is used for job search the OTHER 80% is for business enterprise, sales, networking, lead generation, entrepreneurs, business development, and even small business.” By the way, he might not be far off with this figure.

9. Use LinkedIn to find talent

You’re on the other side of the table now as a hiring manager, recruiter, or HR: you are now searching for candidates. The company for which you work doesn’t have the budget for a Recruiter account or even Recruiter Lite. Your only tool for finding talent is using LinkedIn’s Search.

No problem; you used Search to find people who were hiring. You became proficient at LinkedIn’s All Filters, which allowed you to search for people by title; current and previous company; industry, location; school; and language, if you’re looking for someone who’s bilingual.

10. LinkedIn is fun to use and teach

This is my personal reason for using LinkedIn. I enjoy the platform, more so than Facebook or Twitter. Some of my colleagues tease me for my devotion to LinkedIn (one said I need an intervention), but I shuck it off. I enjoy it for disseminating information and gathering information. This isn’t to say it frustrates me at times.

I also teach job seekers to use it in their job search; having led thousands of workshops on LinkedIn strategy and building your profile. As well, I also help clients one-on-one. Using LinkedIn is my most enjoyable part of the job search to teach. Where some might not see its value, I do.


In my LinkedIn workshops I encourage my attendees to continue to use LinkedIn after they’ve landed their next job. Many nod their head in agreement, but I’ve yet to see most of them to do it. Hopefully if they read this article, they’ll see the value of using LinkedIn after they’ve landed their next job.

Here’s to hoping.

*Here is the post I reference in this article.

Brainstorming: does it work for introverts?

On a visit to my brother’s school (he was a principal at the time), I noticed a whiteboard in his office with various notes on the school’s vision written on it. “Brainstorming session?” I asked. He nodded with a smile on his face.

Brainstorming

I thought to myself that I wouldn’t want to have been in that room when a group of people who were throwing ideas against the wall to see which ones stick. Furthermore, there were probably others who felt the same. Brainstorming is good, right?

One of my valued connections recently alerted me to an article, Is Agile Stifiling Introverts? The article decries the concept of a system that values brainstorming sessions as part of open work environments. While extraverts may prosper in an Agile environment, introverts may find it disconcerting.

Agile is often credited with company success, but opponents have concluded that its productivity is in question. The article states: “For years Agile has been encouraging teams to work together collaboratively in open spaces and encouraging developers to pair program, but lately these types of practices have been coming under fire.”

Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, explains that introverts excel in closed environments as opposed to open ones. A self-professed introvert, she supports the belief that a closed environment brings out creativity in introverts, not open environments like those depicted in the movie about Facebook, Social Network.

As an introvert I consider brainstorming sessions a waste of time if there is no semblance of order and structure. I grow weary of meetings that resemble a social gathering. However, a well-run meeting that covers all the topics in a quick manner can be extremely effective.

What has proved to be effective with introverts is paring them up with someone to solve problems, rather than chaotic brainstorming sessions, even if one works with someone who is not in total agreement. “Working alone is good for creativity – but being paired with someone who thinks differently from you can lead to more creativity yet,” states the aforementioned article.

Why introverts appreciate closed work environments with offices and cubicle supports a number of beliefs about I’s, such as they learn and gather more through independent research. They don’t want the distractions of colleagues walking into their workspace uninvited. A closed environment also gives them time to recharge their batteries if they’ve been interacting with groups or speaking in front of an audience.

Does this mean introverts are anti-social? No, but they’re not like their counterparts who seek out the company of others. Although it’s true some introverts, such as the stereotypical programmers, need almost complete privacy; many introverts can join the fracas and engage in office conversation. But, again, their preference is to be alone when it’s time to get down to work.

Cain is quoted in the article about the importance of solitude for introverts: “Solitude, as Cain says, is a key to creativity….Steve Wozniak claimed he never would have become such an expert if he left the house. Of course, collaboration is good (witness Woz and Steve Jobs), but there is a transcendent power of solitude.”

Pay attention in interviews

Job seekers can gain a lot from understanding their introversion or extraversions preference. At interviews they should make careful note of the work environment and ask questions pertaining to collaboration (brainstorming).

If introverts get the sense that it’s an Agile-type environment, it may not be the organization for them. Extraverts, on the other hand, would be happy to know that they’ll be among the social, freewheeling types.


Leaving my brother’s school, I asked him if he gained results from brainstorming. He smiled, saying that he finds it a great way to gather ideas, as well as letting people get to know each other better. Hmm, my ears were hearing “social gathering,” which to me doesn’t equal productivity.

Photo: Flickr, Michael Carli

7 reasons why brevity is important in your job search and at work

I began reading what started as a great blog post. The topic interested me, the writing was humorous and demonstrated expertise. I was settling in for a good read, but there was one major problem; this post was too long.*

boared

When the scroll bar was only a third way down the page, I was wondering when this darn thing was going to end. So I scrolled down the rest of the way only to find out that, yes, my suspicion was correct, I was reading a novel on the topic of the résumé.

Sadly, I stopped reading this promising article.

My purpose today is not to write about the ideal length of a blog post. No, I’m writing about the importance of why brevity is important in your job search and at work.

Brevity in your written communications

Résumé

The debate over the one- or two-page résumé has some merit. My answer to this one has always been, it depends. If you can write a one-page résumé that covers all your relevant accomplishments, do it.

Otherwise your two-page résumé has to be compelling enough for the reviewer to read. Often we’re in love with our own words, but this doesn’t mean others will, especially if what you write is superfluous.

LinkedIn profile

Thankfully LinkedIn puts limits on characters for its profile sections. For example, you’re only allowed 2,000 characters for the About and Employment sections, 120 for your Headline, and other character limitations. This has caused me to think more carefully about what I write on my profile.

For everything you want to know about character limits, visit Andy Foote’s article which addresses this topic in great detail.

Twitter

Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter, had something going when he launched a social media application that allowed users to tweet only 140 characters (now 260). At first I was frustrated with the limitation—and I still think it’s too short—but I’ve since come to see the brilliance of this model.

The twesume was created to make the hiring process quicker. One simply wrote a 140-character tweet with their résumé attached. If the recipient was drawn to the tweet, they would open the applicant’s résumé. Sadly, the twesume didn’t take hold.

Email

Don’t you hate long e-mail messages? If you’re nodding in total agreement, you and I are on board with this one. The general rule is that if your e-mail to a supervisor or colleague exceeds two paragraphs, get your butt of your chair and go to his office.

A good rule of thumb is to write your brief message in the Subject Header, e.g., Meet for a marketing meeting at 2pm in the White room on Tuesday, 11/18. The body of the e-mail can contain the topics to be discussed.

Brevity in your verbal communications

Listen2

Networking

Brevity is also important when you’re networking. People generally like to be listened to, not talked at. Allow your networking partners to explain their situation and needs, and then try to come up with solutions.

Conversely, your networking partners should want to hear about you. On occasion you’ll come across people who don’t get the listening aspect and will make your networking experience painful. Do people the favor of listening to what they have to say, and give your advice with concise answers.

Interviews

While in an interview is not a time when you want to ramble on about irrelevant details. Answer the questions as concisely as possible, while still demonstrating value. If the interviewer needs to know more, he’ll ask for clarification or deliver a follow-up question.

Many people have lost the job opportunity because they talked too much. When I conduct mock interviews, I sometimes feel as though I’ll nod off and lose my concentration.

I’m not the only one who feels this way. People who’ve interviewed others will concur that long answers can be so painful that they’ll end the interview before asking the remaining questions.

At work

At work you must practice brevity when required. It’s said that extraverts tend to talk more than introverts, whereas introverts are better listeners. Try to be an ambiverta mixture of the two dichotomies. Apply the proper amount of listening and talking.

Keep this in mind when you’re speaking with your manager, as she is extremely busy. So state your business as clearly as possible and listen carefully to her suggestions. The same applies to meetings. Don’t dominate them by interrupting and talking on too long.


I’m brought back to the blog post I couldn’t finish, which I’m sure is very good, because it was too long. It’s a shame I’ll never find out, and I wonder if those who provided comments actually read the whole post.

*Apparently the ideal length of a post is approximately 750 words. I’ve failed this rule by 52 words.

Photo: Flickr, jamelah e.

 

Employers, 5 ways to retain your older workers

I’ve marveled at the number of posts that have been written about how employers need to retain Millennials. How important it is to provide an environment that promotes learning, advancement, technology, etc. Yet, ne’er a word has been written about retaining older workers. Why is that?

older workers

For employers who recognize the job experience, maturity, and dependability that older workers offer; consider the values older workers seek in a work environment.

Read this article on how millennials should stay at jobs longer.

So what are the values older workers desire? Here are 6 important ones:

1. Professional, results-driven environment. I remember the days when I was in marketing. I had reached the ripe ole age of 40. And I sat adjacent to the Sales department, most of whom were in their late 20’s. It was a common practice in their department to let off steam by playing Nerf football. It was also common for the football to whiz by my ears.

The environment I just described does not represent a professional, results-driven environment. The Sales department got their work done, albeit it took them longer to accomplish it. (Not a great example of time management.)

Older workers prefer a team-oriented environment where everyone is focused on the work at hand. They want to dig in, work hard, and not waste time. I consider this an important goal of any company, even ones that employ younger workers.

2. An environment that provides proper motivation. In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink asserts there are three factors that motivate workers. They are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Older workers aren’t motivated by the carrot and stick method, despite what managers think.

Although all three factors are important, autonomy is the one employers can control the most. Older workers will develop mastery through repeatedly performing their tasks. If there is no purpose in what they do, they should find another job.

When I ask older job seekers which type of management style they appreciate most, the majority of them say a hands-off approach. This, I believe, is because they want to be treated like adults, rather than having someone constantly looking over their shoulders.

3. An environment that’s youthful. Recall the description of the sales department playing Nerf football in the office? That isn’t what I’m talking about; although, I did find it humerus and even participated every once in awhile.

I, for one, am not all about a stodgy, “professional” environment where it’s all about work. I enjoy letting off steam and having fun, perhaps playing some practical jokes and engaging in fun banter. To me, it’s about having fun doing what you’re doing.

I’ve worked for organizations where many of the employees were older than 50…and they showed it. I think their attitude had more to do with the management style that would have required the same behavior from 20 somethings. In other words, older workers can behave young, while still maintaining professionalism.

4. Work they look forward to when Monday roles around. Do any of you feel this way. I’m talking with a client who told me that he wants a change. He’s more than 50-years-old and wants out of what he is doing.

“Bob, I want to be excited about going to work,” he said to me. So when Friday roles around he won’t have one foot out the door, looking forward to the weekend like he has been. And when Monday arrives, he’ll not dread going to work.

In other words, he’ll have purpose. When Pink talks about purpose, he means the type of work you do. Do you feel it’s valuable to humanity? And if you don’t have purpose in your work, you’re saying to yourself, “Why am I doing this?” This can be a sad feeling.

5. Disperse the work appropriately. This is where I say that, true, older workers can’t lift 100 pounds as many times as they used to. It’s a given that older workers lose some of their physical abilities. They, as well as companies, have to realize this.

Companies need to groom workers to become supervisors or train them on automated tasks and other technologies. Older workers don’t lose their capacity to think and reason. If given the opportunity, they will take on roles that require more advanced knowledge.

Read this post on 5 strengths of older workers.

Older workers also make great mentors to younger, less-focused workers. One of my customers was hired by a larger corporation to mentor their technical writers. What a great job, I thought to myself. Older workers have possibly lived through harder times and have learned from those experiences. This makes them great problem solvers.


Employers, retaining your older workers makes plenty of sense. Most likely they’ve been loyal employees who have been with you many years. You’ve invested in training them and they’ve learned your system. Keep in mind that training new, younger workers will be expensive. Also keep in mind that today’s younger workers probably won’t stick around very long.

7 reasons why it’s important to keep learning at work

Are you feeling like you’re going through the motions at work? Do you feel like you’ve mastered your role and there’s a lot more to learn? Are you being denied the opportunity to learn? And, worse of all, do you dread Monday mornings and live for the weekends?

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If you have any of these feelings, you’re not alone. Lack of training  and other opportunities to learn is a key reason why employees are unhappy with their job, and the reason why they eventually leave.

If you’re not growing or learning anything new, it might be time to leave, says an article from Forbes.com. “…when you’ve outgrown the position and there is no opportunity for advancement–or you seem to work the same job day in, day out without any opportunity for growth, even though you crave more–it’s time to get out.

Here are seven reasons why learning at work is essential to your happiness.

1. It’s important to stay current in your career to prevent stagnation. Stagnation has killed many a promising career. We are naturally inquisitive beings who require mental stimulation. People who allow stagnation to set in end up hating their job and perhaps making those around them miserable as well. We must avoid stagnation at all costs. here are six reasons why:

2. The landscape of the labor market is changing rapidly. Employers are paring back on apathetic employees and sticking with those who demonstrate an ability to grow with the company. In other words, they’re cutting out the dead wood. They want hungry, lean, ambitious workers. This is simply the trend of the present and future, and it makes complete sense.

3. You owe it to yourself to be the best you can be. Forget for a moment that you don’t make as much as you’d like, or that you find it a bit odd to read work-related literature before bedtime. (Guilty as charged.) Keep in mind that when you stop bettering yourself, you essentially stop reaching the goals you strive to obtain.

4. You’re a role model for your colleagues. The more effectively you work, the more effective your colleagues become; the better the company or organization for which you work becomes. You are concerned with the success of your company. You want your colleagues to feel the same. Success for your colleagues and ultimately the company won’t come unless you are proactive in your quest to become better.

5, You are judged by your expertise and performance. If not by your boss, you’re judged by the customers who depend on your service or products. When you can’t keep up with the demands of your customers, you have become stagnant. You shrink into the shell of self-defeat. Don’t give up on your goal to be the best in your area.

6. When people ask you what you do, you’ll want to tell them with enthusiasm; have a glint in your eye and excitement in your voice, when explaining the job that offers you stimulation and challenge. Some interviewers ask the question, “What did you like most about your last job?” When you can’t answer that question, you come across as someone who wasn’t challenged and motivated to perform. And that’s your fault.

7. The final, and one of the most important,  reasons to learn at work is preparing yourself for future employment. One thing employers are looking for is increased responsibility at your former job. Have you stayed idle, or have you shown the willingness to do more? Think about your future in this precarious economy.


Staying current in your job may not be a priority of your employer. It may require that you read literature on your own, or take a college class on your dime, or reach out to other experts in your field. It may seem implausible at the moment, but if you think about how damaging stagnation can be to your career, you’ll either make the effort…or find a new job.