Looking for Your Next Encore Career? Free e-book!

January 16, 2010

Many older job seekers are looking to do something more meaningful than just another job or what they’ve been doing for years in their next career chapter. Some have quit their regular jobs voluntarily, but many have been cast adrift against their wishes due to the severe recession.

For these people, the hardest question to answer is “What am I going to do next?”

According to Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures and author of Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life, “searching for a new job, a purpose-driven job, isn’t easy
at any age. It’s certainly not easy at, or beyond, midlife. What exactly do you want to do now? Can you afford to work for less? Is it worth going back to school? Will employers be receptive to what you have to offer?”

Encore.org has published a free e-book that tackles this dilemma. “The largest generation in American history is in transition, moving beyond midlife to a new stage of life and work. Tens of millions of people between the ages of 44 and 70 say they want encore careers that combine personal meaning, continued income, and social impact,” says Friedman.

The book provides answers to the following questions in a short, visually pleasing format with case studies for each:

* Now that I’m ready to get started, what should I expect?
* What do I need to know about job hunting these days?
* How do I prepare for the possibility of earning less money?
* How can I update my job skills?
* How do I finance the transition to an encore career?
* How can I turn volunteering into a job?
* How do I transition from a corporate job to a nonprofit one?
* What does it take to break into health care?
* How do I become a teacher?
* What is a green job, and how do I get one?
* What are the encore career opportunities in government?
* What are the options for striking out on my own?

Click here for your copy of the e-book.This e-book was published with the support of the MetLife Foundation.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1

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10 Great Tips for an Older Job Seeker

December 10, 2009

Are you older and out of work? The sad fact is that it’s harder for the more mature worker to get a job offer in this employment climate today.

We’ve all heard of the glass ceiling, but there’s another insidious workplace phenomenon that can be especially galling for older job seekers: the “gray ceiling.” According to AARP, it often takes considerably longer for people to find jobs if they’re over age 55. To combat this trend, consider these tips:

(1. Convert your resume into a date-free zone. Graduated from college in the ’70s? Really got going in your field in the ’80s? As impressive as your history is, those dates don’t need to be in your resume. Neither does a detailed listing of every single position you’ve ever held. Focus on your most impressive career successes and highlights from the past 10 to 20 years, and don’t spell out the year you graduated.

(2. Network, network, network. It’s always easier to find a job if you know someone on the inside. Think about all the friends, colleagues and contacts you’ve ever made in your industry and start reaching out to them. Let them know you’re looking for work and ask whether they know of any openings.

(3. Look to every possible resource. Another way to network is to get career and job-search assistance through One-Stop Career Centers (www.careeronestop.org or toll-free 1-877-348-0502) and through programs offered at many public libraries. If you’re a college graduate, contact your school’s career services department; many colleges and universities provide their alumni with lifelong assistance. Local offices of any professional associations for your field also could be helpful.

(4. You are experienced – Use it!. True, potential employers may send you packing with lines like, “You’re overqualified for this position,” but you may be able to counter such quick dismissals with a few one-liners of your own. Tory Johnson, founder of Women for Hire, suggests these responses: “I thought about that very issue before I applied. I realized that because I’m committed to this line of work, my experience would be a tremendous asset.” Or: “I have 20 years of experience in this industry. I’d love to apply that insight to solving problems and creating successes for this company and mentoring other people.”

(5. Highlight your flexibility — and be flexible. A rap against older workers is that they’re not willing or able to adapt to new technologies and new ways of doing things. Depending on your industry, give examples of how you’ve stayed current and how you plan to keep doing so.

(6. Keep your skills fresh. Find free or low-cost computer classes offered at libraries, churches and continuing education centers. Also check with local colleges and universities about extension programs that offer courses for professional development, and look into classes offered through community colleges, and accredited online degree programs.

(7. Find a new career or industry. Let’s face it: Your entire industry may be imploding on you. So, for instance, if you’ve worked in finance for years, do you know of any former colleagues who made the leap to positions that allow them to work with numbers for different kinds of employers? Or if you’re thinking about transitioning out of real estate, can you brainstorm other areas where you could apply your sales and negotiation skills?

(8. Research your industry. Especially if you’re changing careers, study occupational data so you can find out which sectors are hiring right now. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook can help you learn about job sectors that may be crying out for your specific skills. CareerBuilder.com also publishes information about who’s hiring in its “Advice & Resources” section. Finally, don’t forget LinkedIn’s Companies section.

(9. Stay positive and optimistic. Negative thinking and speaking can hurt your search. Are you viewing yourself as experienced and knowledgeable, or just old? Most employers want to hire energetic, positive people. To stay positive, remember how much you have to offer. Stay focused and confident about all the ways you can help employers succeed.

(10. Consider consulting or contracting. If you’ve been spinning your wheels for far too long trying to find a full-time job, remember that you can always make yourself available as a consultant or contractor. Companies may be reluctant to hire you permanently in this economy, but they may gladly tap your expertise for projects where they could really use your help.

What are some other tips you are using to stand out from the other younger job seekers?

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott and his articles on Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/x-31324-SF-Career-Coach-Examiner
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What Are You Doing To Stay Sharp?

November 23, 2009

We all know the recession is over, right? The media announced that some weeks ago. But we also know this is like no other recession in most of our lifetimes – in fact, the job landscape may never return to the way it was. The days of starting with one company and retiring from that same company are pretty much gone.

If we believe that the recovery will be slow and lasting much longer than in the past (and we do), then the short term looks a lot like contract and temp work. Many people are looking at these types of employment, hoping they will lead to full time work. Others are re-tooling in a different way.

I’ve heard many talk of the renewable energy sector as the holy grail for new jobs, and it may indeed create new careers. Some are trying to learn as much as they can about the industry (solar, wind, biomass, etc.) and transfer their skills from other industries. Still others are taking this time to learn entirely new skills.

I have a friend who retired a few years ago from a major tech company. He has a PhD. in Engineering. He is now in a program at UC Berkeley learning a totally new discipline and is looking to share his new learnings with others in a paid or volunteer capacity.

Still others are starting side businesses – many as infopreneurs – learning how to use social media for their new businesses. Learning these skills will most likely help them in whatever new jobs or careers they find when the recovery takes hold.

Here’s an example of one such individual from the WSJ’s blog, Laid Off and Looking.

What are you doing to learn new skills, keep the ones you have sharp and apply them?

JP Headshot1JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. He is also a career and financial coach, has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations, most recently helping those in transition. His philosophy is to help others be more successful and to enjoy the benefits of meeting new people.

JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott