Tag Archives: job search

Employers, job seekers, students, and career strategists—stay the course

As a career strategist at a MassHire career center, I’m asking employers to keep the hiring wheels in motion. Employers, you might have to close your doors, due to the Coronavirus, but this doesn’t mean you can’t stay the course.

man climbing

Job seekers, I’m talking to you, too. This is not the time to give up. Especially not now. There will be some who will give up; don’t be one of them. Develop a competitive mindset and don’t let other job seekers beat you to the jobs that are available. There are jobs available.

These are certainly tough times. We get this. My clients are stressed enough trying to get their careers on track, so taking 14 days or more off is not what they want. They want to work and need a job “yesterday.”

Employers, you have time to fill positions

Employers, you have more time than ever to interview candidates for open positions even if you have to shut your doors or limit access to the public. If you have open requisitions for positions, fill them. Be creative in the ways you employ your new hires.

Our career center has been instructed by the state to deny access to the public. This is smart. But we’ll continue to work and communicate with our clients via telephone and Zoom. We’re going to make it work.

I’ll offer my customers the option of Zooming and advising via the telephone. This is not ideal, especially in a service industry where that human connection is so important. But, for now, these are the best ways our career advisors and I can service our clients.

Recruiters, you can go about business as usual. You have technology like Zoom/Skype, assessments, the phone, and text—to name a few—to continue interviewing job candidates who are already in the pipeline.

Hiring managers, you can still communicate with recruiters, HR, and most importantly candidates. Consider how job seekers are feeling about this new normal. It doesn’t feel that great for them. Many of them will sink into despondency.

My LinkedIn colleague and good friend, Mark Anthony Dyson, offers some great ideas for technology to use in his article, Increase Your Work-From-Home Efficiency: 9 Handy Tools for Remote Workers, published on Job-Hunt.org. These tools are free or inexpensive. Use them.

Job seekers, more than ever you need to stay the course

I don’t want you to give up your search. Reach out to recruiters at the companies you’ve been communicating with. Also reach out to hiring managers, if possible.

Demonstrate your desire to work. Show employers you’re not giving in to this temporary pandemic. At the same time prepare ahead of time; drive forward networking with new and existing connections. Use Zoom or Skype to conduct virtual meetings.

Continue to update your resumes for potential jobs. Write tailored resumes to each job. Complete your LinkedIn profile, continue building your focused network, and engage on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn at least four times a day, 20 minutes each day.

Reach out to new recruiters and staffing agencies in your industry. If you are engaged with employers, don’t disregard other possibilities. Things going slow? Don’t rely on employers who are dragging their feet.

For my clients who have job offers but haven’t started, consider approaching other employers to begin communications. If you’re asked whether you’re working, you can truthfully tell them you’re not.

Consider volunteering until you land your next gig. Volunteerism has proven to be one of the best ways to conduct a job search. Think about it; you can volunteer 20 hours a week and spend the rest of the time using other methods to job search. If you volunteer in your industry, use it to fill a gap on your resume.

Lastly, get out of your house. Take walks, go on road trips, do your hobbies. In other words, don’t let life stop.

Students, you need to stay on track as well

My daughter is a senior who is supposed to graduate in May. Her senior year has essentially been ruined. You probably have the option of completing courses online. Take advantage of this. Don’t let your studies slide.

And professors, don’t let your students down. I’ve heard of professors who refuse to adopt new technology to teach their courses. Don’t perpetuate the stereotype that older workers cant’ use technology. Accept help. Hire an assistant.

Seniors, your goal is to graduate. You may have been robbed of the last semester of your senior year, but there’s still the possibility of having a party to beat all parties when this disruption as ended. My daughter will.

Career strategists, you’ll play a large role in helping job seekers land

Job seekers need your guidance. They need your expertise as well as your moral support. You know what employers are looking for in resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and interviews. You know how to brand your clients.

If you’re in the public realm, like me, be empathetic and stretch yourself further than before. I’ve found that some of our clients arent’ shy about reaching out, but there are others who don’t know how to ask or think they don’t have the right.

Career coaches and resume writers, you’ll be in high demand. I know how hard you worked in the past. Now your plate will be overloaded, not simply full. Perhaps you’ll have to outsource your resume writing.

Your client base will change. Whereas you had employed clients, your new ones will increasingly be unemployed. The might not be able to afford your high-end services. Consider offering a menu that is more affordable.


Employers, I know the pandemic has changed business as you knew it. There are more fires to put out. Don’t forget the most important fire at hand; hiring an employee to make your life easy.

Job seekers, the search goes on. Don’t give up. Don’t rely on an extension of your unemployment insurance benefits. If you’re newly unemployed, apply for benefits immediately.

Students, make us proud and ace your online classes. I know the future seems scary, but eventually the economy will right itself.

Career strategists, your role is more important than ever. Be prepared for more demand. And be that supply job seekers need. I’m dedicated to helping my clients and taking on more MassHire clients.

Photo, Flickr, Y-Shumin

Are recruiters to blame? 4 tips for working with recruiters

Recruiters are often the front line of the hiring process; they advertise an open position, read more résumés than they’d like, interview and screen multiple candidates, and finally present the best of the best to the hiring manager (HM).

Recruiterman

And for this service, employers pay a hefty price—25% to 30%—of the new hire’s first annual salary. You could say recruiters are the middle-person between job candidates and employers. You could also say it’s a pressure-filled and thankless job at times.

Recruiters earn their salary from their employers. Some candidates don’t understand the pecking order of the hiring process. In this sense, these candidates might feel slighted. I witness this in my role as a career strategist in an urban career center.

Said job seekers feel that recruiters are unresponsive, clueless about the role, don’t have their interest in mind, make them promises that fall through, ghost them, among other faults. In some cases, job seekers’ complaints are warranted, but in other cases their blame is unwarranted.

Understand that recruiters are humans, too

No one takes a job to fail. They don’t start on day one with the mission of being a lousy employee. Some people may approach their job halfheartedly, not quite sure what they’re doing, but they don’t say to themselves, “I want to be the worst employee possible.” This applies to recruiters, as well.

Recruiters face the possibility of failure on a daily basis. Agency recruiters, who get paid only when they place a candidate in a company, face rejection from the companies that employ them.

Likewise, corporate recruiters who have the ear of HM—more so than agency recruiters—get frustrated when they find the ideal candidate, only to be rejected for one reason or another.

According to Steve Levy, a principal recruiter, and social media consultant, a very small percent of recruiters are cut out to succeed in their trade. I talked to him recently to get a feel for the life of a recruiter.

Steve’s goal is foremost to find the most qualified candidates for his boss, but he also aims to help candidates succeed in their job search. The two are not mutually exclusive. If a candidate is not a fit for Steve’s boss, he’ll refer them to other companies where they might be a fit.

Hiring managers ARE the bottleneck

But it’s not this simple.

It’s often said that HMs are looking for the purple squirrel, someone who meets all the requirements of the position, plus some. This might be true, but only because of their reluctance or fear of hiring the wrong candidate and having to start over.

Hiring the wrong candidate is costly. This can include opening a new requisition for a replacement; paying a recruiter fee, yet again; weeks of searching for a replacement; setting up benefits; training; and, if the employee was customer-facing, the possibility of lost customers due to damaged relationships.

Recruiters and candidates are both victims of HMs who are unresponsive, making them wait days, if not weeks, for the verdict. The candidate is in a state of limbo, waiting anxiously by the phone for a yea or nay from the recruiter.

The recruiter on their part tries to keep an open line of communication, but they only know as much as the HM tells them. Being in a state of limbo is disheartening for the candidate and recruiter.

Then there’s the fact that HMs aren’t necessarily astute when it comes to interviewing candidates sent to them by recruiters. I asked recruiters who frequent a Facebook group, Recruiters Online, how they feel about hiring managers.

One respondent, Steve Lowisz, added, “Most hiring managers have never been trained on how to work with internal or external recruiters….We need to stop, and educate them on the process of how to interview”

4 tips to make the recruiter’s job easier

Apply for jobs for which you’re qualified

One major complaint recruiters have of job seekers is that they apply for jobs for which they’re not qualified. If you have little to no experience in program management, don’t apply for a program management position.

“Carefully read the job description,” Levy advises, “to make sure you are qualified. If you’re not, don’t apply.” Sounds like a simple directive, right? Unfortunately some job seekers don’t heed this advice and use what’s called a “spray and pray” approach.

Write a sound résumé

This starts with expanding more on positions that are relevant, not positions you performed in the past. Shelby Mangum weighed in from Recruiters Online about telling the proper story with your résumé:

“The jobs most relevant to what you’re applying to, typically most recent, and had the most seniority should have the longest bullet points. Too many times I see people with barely an explanation of their current director job, but they tell me all about that entry-level coordinator job from 7 years ago.”

There is some difference of opinion when it comes to the length of your résumé. Levy, for example, says, “I don’t care if a résumé is three-pages long. If it has great content, I’ll read the whole thing.”

Other recruiters require that their candidate submit one-page résumés, presumably because they’re too busy to read the deluge of résumés they receive. Levy says this is laziness.

These are two of the basic tenets of résumé writing. Candidates must also sell themselves with their résumé. Keep the summary short, but provide an accomplishment or two within it to entice the recruiter to read more.

In the experience section, this is where you really want to hit recruiters on the head with accomplishments that include quantified results. Trish Wyderka, a résumé writer and coach writes, “The advice that I give to all my clients is to be sure [they] address how [they] can help a company make money, save money or save time.”

Finally, candidates need to submit résumés that can pass the applicant tracking system (ATS). this speaks to a tailored résumé that fits the job’s requirements. A generic résumé, which fails to address the required skills and experience, will fail miserably when it is “read” by the ATS.

Ace the interview

Interview older man

Job candidates need to be better prepared for various types of interviews. Gone are the days when you received a phone call telling you to come in for a face-to-face interview, perhaps followed by another.

Today, the interview process is more complicated, to say the least. Many of my clients who haven’t had to look for work in the past 10-30 years are shocked by the way companies are interviewing candidates.

The interview landscape is changing. Traditional interviewing isn’t going away anytime soon; however, newer innovations are emerging on the scene.

Employers are using personality and analytical assessments. To job seekers, these are challenging not only because of the questions that are asked but also because candidates are timed.

Despite the failings of traditional interviews, recruiters still use telephone interviews to determine a candidate’s salary range, as well as if the person can actually do the job. Recruiters also conduct in-person and Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and other electronic interviews.

The first bit of advice is to arrive at an in-person or Skype interview prepared to answer the difficult questions. Former recruiter, Jenn Gorius Gosselin, advises, “Know what you can do, what you want to do and why the job and this company interest you. Ask for the job if you indeed want it.”

Recruiters want to hear your enthusiasm for the job and company. During a telephone interview, recruiters need to hear the enthusiasm in your voice, and they need to see it in your body language in an interview.

Know where recruiters hangout

Jobvite.com claims that 87% of recruiters and other hiring authorities use LinkedIn to find talent. However, the majority of job seekers are on Facebook (approximately 65%). This might be the case because two billion people use Facebook compared to 650+ million LinkedIn members.

If you want to know where recruiters hang out, it’s not as simple as you’d imagine. LinkedIn is certainly populated by recruiters, but Facebook has become a platform of choice for many recruiters. Levy says he’s disenchanted with LinkedIn and uses Facebook and Twitter as much, if not more, than LinkedIn.

Louysa Akerley says, “I use primarily LinkedIn, but I really feel that Facebook is an untapped market for recruiting since the majority of the population is on Facebook, while only a certain percentage are on LinkedIn.”

Lastly, create a strong presence on social media

Do yourself a favor by cleaning up your Facebook profile eliminating any incriminating photos and reference to politics. Then befriend recruiters who serve your industry. As for LinkedIn, make your LinkedIn profile complete, connect with recruiters and industry leaders, and engage with your connections. This way you’ll cover the two major social media platforms.

Photo: Flickr, Les Roches Global Hospitality Education

Photo: Flickr, Seattle Search

No job is permanent: 20 career-development pundits weigh in

This article is the result of a post I wrote recently, answering the question, “What was the best career advice you received from someone?” Currently, there are close to 84,800 views, more than 850 reactions, and more than 130 comments. I’ve compiled the best comments received from this post.

laid-off

Four years ago I was leading a LinkedIn workshop at a local community college. One of the members arrived early and was quietly working on his laptop. To start a conversation, I asked him why he was taking the workshop.

He responded by saying he was told he had to take it. You see, he really didn’t need it to find a job. Smugly he told me he worked for the City Mayor; he would never have to look for a job. I wasn’t going to debate with him about job security. My workshop was about to begin.

People were entering the room. The young man continued to work on his laptop and ignore what I was teaching.

Months after our conversation, when the City Mayor changed hands, I saw him working at a local coffee shop. I asked him how things were going. He responded by saying that he had lost his job.

What the career-development pundits have to say

“We have insurance for our homes and our cars, but not for our careers. Career development is like career-insurance. It’s having a plan in place, should, heaven forbid, you lose your steady income.Maureen McCann

“There is never job security. The first problem is that people see LinkedIn as just a job search tool. I start off my workshops stressing that LinkedIn is NOT a job search tool, but a career management tool.” Greg Johnson グレッグ ジョンソン

“…A great reason to etworking and helping others on their Journey. Do all of it for the right reasons but also know that strong social currency may be the down payment on your next big opportunity.

“The tough truth is that no job is truly safe, and no one’s employment future is set in stone. With so many variables beyond our purview—I advise clients to control what they can. We should always have a plan B. Period.” Virginia Franco

“And we career professionals aren’t immune either. I too was laid off, but I followed my own advice & got a new job long before my severance ended. It’s a hard lesson to learn though.” Edythe Richards

“One of the best things you can do for yourself—and your career—is to stay prepared, even if you feel comfortable in your job. Research, foster your network, keep your resume updated, and invest in professional development.” Adrienne Tom

“A recent lay-off caused me to face my pretense about “permanent” placement, and I now consider the full range of employment possibilities having let go of the self-importance that formerly kept my options self-limiting.” Justin Birnstihl

The parachute applies in cases especially like this. We should always be developing ourselves for inspiration, professionalism, but also in case we have to make a switch unexpectedly.” Sarah-Joy Kallos

“I’ve said many times that the jobs of the future are entrepreneurial in nature, yet our schools prepare us to be the same kind of employees they always have. With a little sense of business, we can see a layoff coming a mile away and be ready for it, including when it might impact us.” Phil Kasiecki

“I am always prepared to put my best foot forward in the workplace and continue to build my skills but also remember in the back of my mind that the job market is always changing and nothing is entitled to me.” Caitlin Outen

“A career search shouldn’t just be when you want/need a role. It should be part of your ongoing career strategy. Things like: ✅ Keeping a record of your career achievements. ✅ Keeping your CV up to date. ✅ Consistently building your networks. ✅ Establishing & maintaining a personal brand ✅ Using LinkedIn regularly for posting, establishing expertise and building connections.” Elaine Weir

“I read recently that 80% of people will lose their job at some point over their careers—and it is rarely ‘a good time.’ As Diana YK Chan, MBA coined, ‘You have to ABC—always be connecting’ and looking for the next opportunity.Sarah Johnston

“The good news is you are in charge of your own career: continually improving your skills and developing yourself, becoming an expert at something, delivering quality work, maintaining a strong reputation, building a solid internal and external network, etc.” Karine S. Touloumjian

“I suggest to any young person that they ought to continually work on developing their skills and adding to their toolkit…Also, work on a side hustle. I see a side hustle as an insurance policy in case the day job disappears. Lastly, networking is your best friend…Those seeds you plant bear good fruit for your soul and career.” Maisel Mazier

“Ideally, yes, where the business and the employee’s goals, aspirations, etc. align, it can be a great thing – but it doesn’t mean it’s forever….making connections, becoming more visible, and promoting your career when you don’t need to is far easier than having to do so when you’ve lost your job.” Barry Braunstein

“A recent lay-off caused me to face my pretense about ‘permanent’ placement, and I now consider the full range of employment possibilities having let go of the self-importance that formerly kept my options self-limiting.” Justin Birnstihl

“Had I not been proactive, this could have caused me great financial hardship. This is why you ALWAYS need to network, no matter how long you have been in a job. You just never know what will happen.” Shelly Piedmont, SPHR SHRM-SCP

“Think not just employment but go even further and envision the possibility of being an employer yourself! All the above can only be achieved with flexibility and open-mindedness.” Everline Griess

“It’s easier to stay ready than to get ready. Always prepare for your next opportunity as if you’ve already thrown your name in the hat for consideration.” Ashley Watkins

“I was laid off back in August and am proud that I had ‘packed a reserve parachute’ by way of savings and several side hustles as a website builder, marketing ghostwriter, and an EMT. It truly is up to the individual these days to write and stamp their own ticket.” James Finn


As a career coach and workshop facilitator, I see many people who tell me that they never saw their layoff coming. At 50-years-old and 30 years at the same company, they thought they would retire from their company. They never saw their layoff coming.

The majority of our career-development pundits say that staying ready while working is key to rebounding after losing one’s job. I like Maureen McCann’s term “Career Insurance” as describing the process of being prepared for the inevitable.

#LinkedInTopVoices

Photo: Flickr, Martin Sharman

3 types of job-search mentors who can guide you in your journey

And five places you can find them.

When you think of mentors, you probably think of someone who advises you through school or your career. But have you thought of someone who can offer you sage advice and nurture you through your job search? This, I argue, is one crucial time in your life when you should have a mentor.

wise man

You might wonder who could mentor you through your search, and where you can find a mentor. These are fair considerations. But first consider how important a mentor could be in your job search.

Like a mentor you might have had at a job, your job-search mentor would make you far more successful in finding your next job. Would your mentor cut your job search in half? Perhaps not.

You should look at your mentor as someone whose goal is to guide you toward a rewarding job, whether it takes three weeks or three months. Your mentor wants you to stay at your next job for years to come. This is how important a mentor can be.

Three types of mentors

Who makes a great mentor? There are three characteristics of a great mentor. A person who possesses one of these characteristics is a find. A person with all three is gold.

The wise person

In the job search, this person can be invaluable. You might have questions about various aspects of your job search. You wonder how to best represent yourself in your written and verbal communications. This person will guide you, based on our occupation and industry, with the proper verbiage.

You’re an engineer. Your former director of engineering will help you structure your résumé and LinkedIn profile. They’ll help you with your networking and interview techniques. They speak the language and know what people who have the authority to hire. They’ve hired many people of your status.

The facilitator

Where are the jobs? That’s what every job seeker wants to know. Here’s a fact: most jobs aren’t advertised. They’re hidden and to find them requires a facilitator to lead you to them. A facilitator is someone who’ll connect you to almost anyone you want. They are well known in your industry and know the key players.

You want to connect with someone in Fortune 100 companies. No problem. Start-ups are your target companies. Again, no problem. If they don’t know someone at a company, they’ll find out who you need to know and make the introductions for you. “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen.”

The cheerleader

Better known as a closer, this person won’t let you quit. They are enthusiastic and stand in your corner. You feel like giving up on a possible position, they won’t let you. I’ve spoken to many job seekers who say they’ve just had a bad day or week. I get this; the job search is a grind.

I can offer a pep talk, but a dedicated cheerleader will do more. They’ll call you in the morning; and if you don’t answer the phone, they’ll drive to your house. If you’re a member of a buddy group, the cheerleader will be the one who’ll stay later to provide encouragement. Have an interview, they’ll encourage you to the point when the interview begins.

Where you can find a mentor

Have I convinced you to find a mentor? I hope I have. Now you’re wondering where to find the person or people I’ve just described.

Former colleagues

One person to turn to is a former colleague. Perhaps you had a director of marketing who always offered you sage advice related to work. That person even gave you career advice while you were working for them; when you were laid off they told you to contact them at any time.

Little did you know that your former director knew many people in your industry. They could make phone calls or introduce you on LinkedIn. Think about people like this and reach out to them. Ask if you can call them occasionally. You might find that they’ll reach out to you on a regular basis.

Networking buddies

I’ve had the privilege of knowing many job seekers who made it their mission to help their networking buddies. One person who comes to mind was a true facilitator. He started a networking group. At meetings he was always throwing out names during Needs and Leads.

You’ll know when you’ve found the networking buddy who will fit the role you need, be it the wise person, facilitator, or cheerleader. Don’t look at this relationship as one-sided. Your networking buddy is looking for work as well, do your best to help them.

Career advisors and coaches

As a career coach working for a One-Stop career center, I’ll tell you I see thousands of people a year. There are so many job seekers coming through our doors that it’s hard to keep them straight. One type of job seeker who stands out is the one who is totally dedicated to their job search.

Should you find a mentor, show them that you’re motivated to succeed in your job search. Make the effort to send pings on a bi-weekly basis, letting your career advisor/coach know your progress. This will keep you on their radar—especially important if your career coach is extremely busy.

Searching online

Although a slower method, finding people who are thought leaders in your industry is a possibility. When you send a potential mentor an invite, don’t make the ask immediately. Develop a relationship first. Get a feel for some of your connections and, if they’re local, ask to meet with them in person.

The ideal person might not live locally. No problem; use Skype, Zoom, or even Facetime to conduct sessions. I have a friend who I’ve Zoomed with on many occasions but never met him in person until just recently. He was like I had imagined. Over the years he has given me sage advice, so I consider him to be my online mentor.

Happenstance

It’s true that things happen when you least expect it. Your goal might be to find a mentor, and you try your best to find one. However, “that” person is nowhere to be found. Perhaps you’re trying too hard. Does it make sense to write on the Internet that you’re looking for a mentor? No

Like that great job that happens when you don’t expect it, meeting your mentor might be by happenstance. Imagine you’re at a holiday party and you strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. That person comes across as very knowledgeable in your industry and others. Furthermore, they know almost everyone who you should meet.


A great mentor in your job search can be the difference between landing a rewarding career quickly or enduring a long job search. Of the three types of mentors, either one can be important.

9 false stereotypes interviewers have of older workers

I have the privilege of working at an urban career center where the average age of our clients is 53. For older workers, the job search can come with challenges—one of which being stereotypes, due to their age, they face from employers.
talk

This is unfortunate, as it leads to many qualified older workers being passed over simply due to their age. Here are nine common stereotypes older workers face when searching for work:

1. Older workers are overqualified

Sometimes older workers might be overqualified. Some of my clients admit to me they’d be bored if they took a job for which they were overqualified. I tell them not to apply for such jobs.

On the other hand, there are some older workers who simply want to move into low-stress roles. One of my clients told me he no longer wanted to deal with the day-to-day tension he faced during his 20 years as an executive program manager. Now, he works happily as a business developer for a local plumbing business.

2. Older workers expect higher salaries

Many older workers have reached the pinnacles of their careers and, thus, they tend to earn high salaries. However, many older workers also face different financial situations at this stage in their lives. They no longer have mortgage payments, college tuition is paid off, and their children have flown the coop.

As a result, many older workers have little problem adapting to lower salaries. Perhaps they’ll have to downgrade from a Lexus to a Honda Accord, or forego their third vacation in the Alps. For many older workers, this isn’t a big deal.

3. Older workers won’t work as quickly as younger workers

Sure, older workers might not be able to finish an assignment as quickly as their younger colleagues. They probably won’t spend weeks putting in 12-hour days, nor will they gather around the ping pong table to boast with coworkers about staying later than the “old fogeys.”

But do you know what they will do? They’ll work meticulously to complete a project right the first time. Older workers will work smarter, not harder. They won’t make as many mistakes, because they won’t rush.

4. Older workers are trying to steal the interviewer’s job

A common complaint of my older clients is the lack of knowledge many hiring managers demonstrate. These older workers might have 20 or 30 more years of work experience than their younger hiring managers, so it makes sense that they would know more than the person interviewing them does.

However, my older clients also say they simply want to be hired for the job for which they’re applying. They’re not interested in taking the hiring manager’s position. Some of them simply want to step back and rid themselves of management responsibilities altogether, or they want to mentor younger workers.

5. Older workers aren’t dependable

You’re mistaken if you think older workers will miss work more often due to illness, child care, and any other reason. Older workers have strong work ethics and senses of professional dedication, both ingrained in them throughout the courses of their careers.

My father worked six days a week, and I try to emulate his work ethic. I arrive early, even though I don’t have to, and am willing to stay late if necessary. Enough said.

6. Older workers can’t solve problems

Many older workers have experienced loss. In some cases, they’ve lost loved ones or jobs. They’ve had to adapt to adverse situations in real time. They know how to put out fires.

The ability to adapt to adverse situations makes older workers natural problem solvers. They think calmly under pressure because they’ve seen these problems before. They have learned from their mistakes and are less likely to make mistakes at work.

7. Older workers are lazy

A common misconception younger interviewers hold is that older workers are just biding their time until retirement comes. The fact is that if the work is stimulating, older workers will work for years beyond retirement age.

One of my colleagues is beyond retirement age, yet she says she’ll work as long as she can because she enjoys the responsibilities and the people with whom she works. Trust the older candidate when they say they have no plans to retire soon.

8. Older workers aren’t team players

Older workers have more job experience than younger workers, which tends to mean they also have more developed emotional intelligence (EQ). They understand their own limitations and the limitations of their teammates. They know when to pitch in, when to take direction, and even when to act as a mentor.

9. Older workers don’t understand technology

Don’t take it from me, as a mature worker; ask my 78-year-old mom who delves into technology whenever she can. More to the point, many of my clients are software and hardware engineers. They learned their trade through school or on their own, and now they’re at the top of their game.

What is comes down to is having the desire to learn technology. Am I interested in Pinterest or Instagram? No. Can I learn C++ or Python? Not because I’m 56 years old, but because I don’t have the aptitude for it. (My father, who was an electrical engineer recognized this fact when I was a young adult.

Thanks, Colleen DelVecchio for the reminder.


Younger interviewers, when you’re interviewing an older worker, don’t judge them before getting to know them. Keep in mind the misconceptions I’ve explained above. Prove to be the better person.

Am I saying you should hire an older worker simply because of their age? Of course not. Just give them a chance, as you would for any other worker of any other age.

This post originally appeared in Recruiter.com

8 ways to take a break during your job search

If you’re searching for articles that tell you how to write a better résumé or LinkedIn profile, network more effectively, provide answers to the most difficult interview questions; you’ve come to the wrong place. In fact, this article is going to take an about face and strongly suggest you take a break once in awhile.

Relax

You read it right. Take. A. Break. Once. In. Awhile.

Today, I’m interested in what’s going on in your mind. Concerned might be a better word. I’ve been out of work, so I get how emotionally demanding the job search can be. I’ve heard the stress and anxiety in the voice of my clients, seen the unhappiness in their eyes.

Taking a much needed break on occasion can also prevent burnout. Here are 8  suggestions for taking that much needed break.

Don’t neglect your family or significant others

Here’s a great place to start. As consumed by your job search as you are, these important people matter. Their lives are affected by your unemployment; they’re worried about you, rely on you for security and love, might be dealing with their own issues, or might think it’s their fault.

Keep an open dialog with your young children. Plan family outings, even if you’re not up to them. You might find that a long drive, apple picking, going to the beach, picnicking, or other activities will take your mind off being unemployed.

Call on available friends or family members if your children are grown. Meet them for coffee. Keep the conversation light, as tempting as it might be to talk about your situation. No friends or family available. Join a support group. They exist.

Take care of some business

Do you remember that dentist appointment you put off for five years? When was the last time you had a physical? Does your car need an oil change you couldn’t get around to getting it done? You have some time to do this now. Take the whole day off to take care of business.

Here’s another consideration; don’t go without health insurance. It’s expensive, but it allows you to take care of some of the aforementioned. In Massachusetts you can shop around for less expensive health insurance through http://www.masshealthconnector.org. See if you have a similar service in your state.

Become comfortable being alone

Rule one of the job search: you will be alone. So embrace your alone time. Take some time off from the job search by taking a walk, gardening, fixing things that are broken in your home, going to your favorite coffee shop, or even going on a retreat.

One of my good friends, Jim Peacock, takes a day off without devices in order to reflect. He goes to a room where there are no distractions and writes. Yes, he writes with pen and paper. Am I suggesting to go to this extreme? No. I am suggesting that however you choose to be alone is fine.

When I was out of work, I would tell my wife I was going to take a walk, a very long walk. I had time to clear my head from the anxiety I was feeling. I valued this alone time and felt no guilt spending two hours walking around the city.

Allow yourself to enjoy the activities you do

If anyone in your life criticizes you for taking a break, don’t let it get to you. You don’t need to defend yourself. Some people who are gainfully employed don’t understand that job seekers need to take short breaks for their own well being.

When I ask my clients what they did the past week for their job search, some of them sheepishly say they took some time off to be with family, vacationed at the beach, or simply took a break at home. They probably expect me to criticize them for taking a well-deserved break.

“Excellent,” I tell them. “How do you feel now?” Usually my clients are ready to attack their search with vigor. Don’t look at your job search as an all-out sprint; rather treat it as a marathon, which requires pacing yourself.

Invite people over for dinner

Holding your own dinner parties is a great way to take a break. To be clear, the purpose of these parties is not to network. These are times when the job search takes a back seat. If people ask you how your search is going, politely tell them your focus is on them and making sure they enjoy the night.

A former client of mine invited me over for a holiday dinner. Neither she or I had an interest in talking about her unemployment. I’m sure she needed a break from the job search and wanted to enjoy the company of others. Shortly after the dinner she landed a job.

Take a trip with family or friends

One of my biggest regrets when I was unemployed was calling off a camping trip my wife and I had planned before I was laid off. I argued it would have accrued unpredictable costs. This was wrong for me to punish myfamily and wallow in my grief. I’ll never get that trip back, but I can advise people to TAKE TRIPS.

A close LinkedIn connection, Austin Belcak, advocates, in a recent LinkedIn post, for taking time off to attend to one’s mental health. Austin is successfully employed but says he needs to take a break every once in awhile, just as job seekers have to do.

Have a pity party

“What?” you say. “Sit around and complain about my unemployment?” Exactly. Not too frequently, though. I firmly believe that you shouldn’t keep your emotions bottled up, as the saying goes. Everyone needs an outlet, including you.

How does a pity party go? Invite other people to your home (perhaps they’re in your buddy group), dressed in pajamas or whatever is comfortable, and let your emotions loose over a glass of wine.

I heard about this at a conference for career coaches, and at first I thought the idea was crazy. Now I see the value in it. It’s therapy in a different way. I repeat, this is not a frequent activity. When it becomes frequent, it is self-destructive.

Seek professional health

Are you unable to get out of bed or spending too much time on the couch? This might be a sign that you should seek therapy. Job coaches, friends, close neighbors, and family can only offer so much health. Take the day off for a therapy session.

Many of my clients say they are talking with a therapist. How do I know? I ask them. You might think I’m overstepping the boundaries, but I’m beyond caring about offending them. I’ve persuaded many people to seek therapy, while offending one person I can think of.


If you’ve read this far, I assume you see the value in taking a break in your job search or suggesting you clients take a break in their job search. If you want to read articles on how to properly conduct the job search, visit my blog: www.thingscareerrelated.com.

Photo: Flickr, Osane Hernández

32 days in the life of a job seeker

The waiting is killing you. It’s been 29 days since you sent your résumé to Mack, the recruiter, for a job that’s perfect for you. You are finally going to have your interview with the VP of Engineering. But not before a lot of time and anguish. Welcome to the world of a job seeker.

Stressed young businessman

On the 4th of the month, Mack called asking what your salary requirement is, to which you said $85,000. Fine, Mack said. Wait, you thought, that was too easy. Mack asked you questions about your ability to perform the tasks of a Project Manager. He seemed convinced you can do the job.

He set you up to have a telephone interview with the Manager of Project Managers the following week on the 11th. You hit it off great. She said you could be a very strong fit, but other members of the team (Accounting, Sales, and Marketing) will have to talk with you via Zoom. It’s scheduled for the 16th.

In the meantime, you’d have to take a personality assessment that would take half an hour, an hour at most. It took you 45 minutes. Your were questioned on integrity, honesty, dealing with conflict and other traits you can’t remember.

On the 14th, Mack called to tell you that one of the team members is out of the office on “emergency” business. The Zoom interview will have to be pushed to the 16th at 10:00 am, the day you were supposed to attend your kid’s pre-school pageant. It killed you to miss it.

The Zoom interview went extremely well. You were definitely in the running. There were three other candidates they had to interview via Zoom. Once they conducted those interviews, you would be brought in for a face-to-face. They all waved bye as they ended the session.

You called Mack on 18th to ask if he heard anything. No, he hadn’t, but he said he’d call you as soon as he does.

You started thinking about looking for other jobs, as your networking buddies had suggested since the outset. There were a ton of Project Management positions, but they all seemed wrong for one reason or another. You didn’t apply to any.

The weekend came and went. Still nothing.

You called Mack on the  21st. He didn’t answer. You sent him an email on the 23rd.

He called the next day, on the 24th. They love you, he said. It’s down to you and another person. Internal, you asked. He wasn’t sure. That’s above his pay grade.

On the 25th, Mack called to say you would be contacted by the Manager of Project Managers to schedule an interview. It should be the following Monday. They want you to meet with her boss, the VP of engineering.

The present

It’s Monday the 28th. You wait with your phone on all day and throughout dinner.

Finally the phone call comes on the 30th from the Manager of Project Managers. She apologizes for not getting back to you. They were waiting for the VP to return from Europe, who was vacationing in Italy.

They want you to come in tomorrow, the 31st, at 2:00 pm. You’re supposed to pick up your daughter at the bus stop, but you’ll make it work. Your retired neighbor gladly agrees to pick her up.

It’s been 29 days after the recruiter has received your résumé.

You’ve had a phone interview with Mack; another phone interview with the Manager of Project Management; and a Zoom interview with her, Accounting, Sales, and Marketing. Hopefully this will be the last one.

The interview goes well with the VP; you address the pain points that were previously discussed with the team in great detail. You talk about how both of you traveled to Europe. You hit it off.

The VP offers you the job, much to your excitement. There are some hoops you’ll have to jump through, though. They’ll have to do a background check and contact your former bosses. Other than that, you should start in a week’s time. He hopes you understand. They want to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts.

On the 5th of the following month Mack notifies you that all is clear. Your former  supervisors gave you glowing recommendations and your background check came back fine. You can start in two days after they’ve set up your computer. You are amenable to that.


Your situation, although grueling, was not  uncommon. You were extremely lucky in that you didn’t look for other work and put all your energy and faith in one company…and got away with it. Smarter job seekers would have continued looking for other jobs.


According to a study by Jobvite (2019 Recruiting Benchmark Report) this example is not extreme. Their most recent statistics cover 2016-2018. The average time to hire was 38 days in 2018, depending on variables, such as logistics, level of occupation, and geographic location, etc.

What have you learned through this whole process? You’ve learned that it takes time to land a job. You thought it would be quick. You were always good at what you did. But the landscape of the job search has changed. Employers are moving slower for a number of reasons like above.