Tag: career advice


How to Gain a Little Protection From Ageism (Part 1)

While ageism is illegal in hiring processes, it unfortunately still happens to those over 40. Also unfortunately, there’s not a lot a job seeker can do to fight it.

My clients who’ve previously experienced age discrimination often say,

“If I could just get in the door for an interview I could really market my experience and show them I’m the right person for the job. I could show them how I’m an asset for their company instead of a liability.”

But much of the discrimination comes prior to the interview, usually at the first glance of the candidate’s resume or LinkedIn profile. This is when it’s hardest to prove or fight.

The timing of the discrimination makes it darn near impossible to advance to the interview where the candidate can really show his or her competitive advantages.

So, what can a 40+ candidate do (or not do) on his or her resume and LinkedIn profile to increase the chances of landing an interview?

Several things!

What to Avoid Doing on Your Resume

There are several mistakes older job seekers make on their resumes that quickly give away their age. These are mistakes you can easily avoid and therefore increase your chances of landing an interview.

1. Avoid using outdated contact methods.

If you still have an email address ending in aol.com or hotmail.com, this just screams over 40 (more like over 50)! Instead, create a Gmail account you can use just for your job search correspondence.

Also, don’t list both a landline and a cell phone in your contact info. Only include your cell phone.

You probably also don’t need to include your mailing address since most companies no longer send snail mail. Just your city and state is fine.

2. Avoid specifying exactly how many years of experience you have.

Announcing immediately in the profile summary exactly how many years of experience you have is not always a selling point. The only time it is a selling point is if you have the same amount of years of experience as the job ad requires.

But, if for example you have 20 years of experience for a job only requiring 15 years, you probably want to re-word your summary from “20 years of experience” to either “15+ years of experience” or “extensive experience.”

3. Avoid listing jobs from more than 10 years ago.

Many candidates want to show every job they’ve ever had, but employers really only need to see the last ten years of your experience.

If basing it on requirements like the one in the example above, adjust accordingly.

4. Avoid the outdated typing rule of two spaces between sentences.

If you’re over 40, you probably took typing in high school on a type writer. And you were probably taught to put two spaces between each sentence.

Well, this rule no longer applies since people no longer use typewriters (Google it if you think I’m wrong).

So break the habit now before you give away your age! Trust me, it’s not as hard of a habit to break as I thought it would be.

5. Avoid listing outdated (or obvious) technical skills.

That software program you learned at your old job which is no longer used anywhere else – leave it off!

Also, unless the job ad specifically states Microsoft Office as a must-have skill, don’t list it. At least not the programs EVERYONE uses, like Word or Outlook. Almost everyone has (and should have) these skills so they’re kind of “a given.”

And if you do feel like you need to include Microsoft Office, indicate your level of proficiency for applicable programs if you can honestly say you have “intermediate” or “advanced” proficiency.

Or name some of the advanced features you know how to use that will be useful in the potential job.

This will make you stand out from those who only list the program names.

Next, go and start learning some of the software and platforms required for the job you’re not already familiar with.

Many programs and platforms have free demos or online tutorials you can do right from your own computer. Start there and then play with them! Then, you can at least say you have “working knowledge” of those programs.

An example would be Slack, a platform many companies are now using as a team collaboration tool.

I have a Slack channel set up for me to communicate with my clients and for them to communicate with each other (both openly and privately) in one place.

By making this available for my clients, it gives those new to Slack the opportunity learn it and add it to their skillset.

6. Avoid listing your graduation dates.

You can take your graduation dates off your education if you’ve been out of school for at least 5 years.

There’s no need to have them on your resume. (And you definitely don’t want the hiring managers doing the math in their heads from your grad date since you’re trying to protect yourself from ageism.)

Just list all the other information about your education, and use the most up-to-date name of your institution. (For example, if your alma mater’s name changed from “_____ College” to “_____ University” after you graduated, change it on your resume.)

7. Avoid including your photo.

This advice isn’t just true for older candidates. It’s true for most candidates of all ages. While it’s okay and even encouraged to have a photo on your LinkedIn profile, it’s still not widely accepted on the resume.

This is true even though there are several online resume templates with a designated space for the candidate’s photo.

But, you can appear younger to employers by using one of these more modern looking templates (check out Canva) and just deleting the placeholder for your photo.

The templates found on Canva are good if the job is in an especially creative field where graphic resume designs are more appropriate. I would advise you not use these templates if you’re seeking employment in a more traditional or conservative industry.

How to Protect Yourself from Ageism, Part 2

But what about LinkedIn? Should you include a photo there? And how far back should you go on your experience in your profile?

Stay tuned for next week’s Part 2 post!

In the meantime, get more resume writing tips and advice when you purchase my on-demand course Resumes That Get You the Interview: Surprising Secrets to Getting Your Resume Noticed.

ageism

What You Need to Know to Ensure A Successful Career


As both a career coach and a creative thinker, I’m always brainstorming ways to help my clients be successful in their careers with unique and out-of-the-box strategies.

It’s important to be innovative and unconventional when competition for opportunities is fierce.

It’s the only way to get the attention from the right audience (those who have the opportunities to offer) and to stand out from the competition in a good way.

That’s why I’ve shared posts like:


However, there is some career advice that stands the test of time, but only when it’s put into practice.

The problem is, some people still don’t even know about this timeless advice.

And even if they do, they fail to implement it and then wonder why they’re not having the success they’d like to have in their careers.

Don’t be one of these people!


Career Advice That Never Goes Out of Style

To have a successful career, you have to always work at your career, even when you think your job is secure. (Understand that it rarely is!)

So what is the best course of action and best use of your time? Following these career success strategies that never goes out of style!


1. Keep your resume updated every 6 months, even when you’re not looking for another job.

It’s a lot easier to remember what you’ve done in the past six months than in the past six years.

By then it will be nearly impossible to remember how you impacted the company’s bottom line with each project you worked on.

So, every six months, take an inventory of your most recent on-the-job accomplishments.

Ask yourself how each of your duties, ideas, or efforts made an impact on the bottom line.

  • Did they increase profit or revenue? By how much?
  • Did they decrease spending? By what percentage?
  • Did they save man hours? How does that translate to dollars saved?
  • Did they increase customer satisfaction or decrease customer complaints? By what percentage?
  • Did they make processes more efficient? How much time did this save?
  • Did they boost staff morale? How much did productivity increase with this boost?

Add your accomplishments to your resume each time you update it.

If you do this, you’ll be prepared for three possible scenarios:

  1. When you’re up for a promotion.
  2. When you’re ready to ask for a pay raise.
  3. Or when you need to look for a new job.

There have been times when I’ve been asked for a copy of my resume when I wasn’t even looking for a job, like the times I’ve been hired for a speaking engagement.

When that happens, I’m always glad I’ve got something up-to-date to send them.

(For more details on updating your resume, see my post Why You Should Update Your Resume Every 6 Months.)


2. Find a mentor. 

You should always pinpoint someone in your industry or company you aspire to be like and get to know and learn from that person.

Also, a mentor is something you can negotiate for when you’re offered a job and are negotiating salary and perks.

Asking for a mentor makes you look good because it shows your initiative to learn. It’s a perk that doesn’t cost the company any additional money, and you’ll gain priceless lessons and advice.


3. Serve on committees that match your interests. 

Every company or organization has various committees that need people from different departments to serve on.

Find one that matches your interests and dedicate a reasonable amount of time to it (1 to 4 hours per month).

Doing this will get you out of your daily routine and your everyday surroundings, introduce you to new people in other departments, help you develop your soft skills, and build your resume.

For instance, I have an interest in both sports and international travel.

When I worked in the career center at a university back in North Carolina, I volunteered to serve on a committee that initiated the athletic department’s implementation of the NCAA’s life skills program for college athletes.

I also represented the University of North Carolina’s Exchange Program and served on the Australia Exchange Student sub-committee.

And when I worked in the career center at Vanderbilt University, I partnered with both the Study Abroad Office and the Athletics Department to provide presentations to their students on how to market their unique collegiate experiences to potential employers.

These experiences enriched my career because I got to work with others in areas that fascinated me and I got to develop skills in public speaking and program development.


4. Take advantage of professional development opportunities offered by your employer.

This can include professional association memberships, conferences, in-house professional development programs, etc.

These opportunities also help you build your knowledge, skills, resume, and network.

In fact, there’s a company here in the Nashville that’s hired me to present my program on personal branding to several of their employees.

It says a lot about a company, its culture, and its dedication to the holistic development of their staff to offer such programs to their employees on the company’s dime.

So if your company offers it, take advantage of it of the free self-improvement!


5. Always build your network and maintain professional relationships, even when you’re not looking for a job. 

You’ll benefit from professional relationships whether you stay within the same field throughout your career or if you change industries or start your own business.

And because relationship building takes time, the sooner you start building and maintaining your professional relationships, the more your connections will be willing to assist you when you find yourself in need of their help.

But you have to be realistic about networking. While I’ve had some professional relationships that resulted in immediate career benefits, most have taken years of investment and being of assistance on my part before I fully experienced the benefits.


6. Prepare for a layoff, even if you don’t think one will happen

This goes hand-in-hand with #1 and #5.

You don’t want to find yourself suddenly without a job and having to scramble to write a resume because it’s been 15 years since you’ve last had to write one.

And you don’t want to have any awkwardness when reaching out to your contacts because it’s been WAY too long since you last spoke with them.

Instead, you want to always be prepared with the tools needed to find your next opportunity when the need arises.

Other suggestions to prepare for a layoff:

  • Always have a few months worth of expenses saved up.
  • Develop your transferable skills and your soft skills (i.e. communication skills, presentation/public speaking skills, interpersonal skills, etc.).
  • Develop the skills of an entrepreneur in case you have to (or desire to) work for yourself for a while.

Yes, it’s easier to be short-sighted and just do your job, focusing on the bare minimum and most immediate items on your to-do list.

But investing time and energy into the above strategies will lead to long-term success in your career and will pay off in spades down the road!

If you need help to ensure success in your career, sign up for a complimentary initial consultation by completing the paNASH intake form.

successful career

What Are The Biggest Career Mistakes You Should Avoid?

The below post was originally published on Quora as a response to the question, “What are the biggest career mistakes to avoid?”

The number one career mistake to avoid is to go into a career someone else is pushing you into, whether that includes parents, spouse, friends, etc.

The number two career mistake to avoid is going into a career just because it pays a lot of money.

In either situation, you’re likely to end up hating your job, resenting those you’re trying to please, and regretting your decision.

Regret Caused by Career Mistakes

As a career coach who works with people who are in career transitions, typically in the middle of their careers, I see a lot of regret.

They come to me looking back on their decisions realizing they were climbing a ladder that was leaning against the wrong wall.

While for most it’s not too late to make a career change, it is more challenging due to more financial responsibilities at that age.

Even if they’re making really good money, they often find that having taken a job just for the money was at the expense of:

  • Doing something they enjoy.
  • Making a positive impact on the lives of others and doing something with meaning and purpose.
  • The time to enjoy the money they’ve been making.
  • Time with their family.
  • The courage to take a risk and make a change to something that fits all of the above but maybe pays a little less.

A Time to Experiment

While you don’t have to start out in your career knowing exactly what you want to do, early career is probably the easiest time to experiment with different jobs to help you discover your passion because at this stage in life you have:

  • The time to try out various jobs/careers and build your career portfolio. It’s easier to work for a place for a year or two and then switch to something else early in the game.
  • The freedom from being responsible for anyone else but yourself. Once you have a mortgage and a family, it’s a lot harder to leave a miserable but good paying job.

But It’s Never Too Late

This doesn’t mean if you made any of the two mistakes listed above in your early career you can’t go back and correct those mistakes or avoid them in mid or late career. You just might have to be a little more creative in your approach.

 You can still experiment in some (or all) of the following ways:

  • Talk to others who are doing what you now want to do and/or have made a career change of their own. Find out how they did it, what challenges they faced, what rewards they gained and what advice they have for someone like you.
  • Take some intro courses on an area that piques your interest. You can do this through local community classes or online classes.
  • Start a side-hustle in your spare time. Don’t worry yet if it will make you money or not. Just see if you enjoy working on it more than you do in your current job. If so, then start brainstorming some ways to monetize it either by offering the same service to a company in need or starting your own company.

The Bottom Line

There’s a lot more I could write about in response to the above question, but it would be a novel. The bottom line is, pay attention to:

  • Your strengths and the things others tell you you’re good at.
  • The things that energize and excite you instead of drain you.
  • The things that give you peace instead of stress you out.
  • Other people who are doing the things you’re interested in. Talk with them. Find out how they got to where they are.

If you pursue those things, they will build upon one another, leading to new opportunities that will eventually make up the whole of your career.

A career you can look back on with satisfaction and without regret.

For more tips on how to pursue your passions in your life and your career, subscribe to my newsletter at and receive a free downloadable 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

career mistakes

paNASH’s Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017

Check it out! Below are paNASH’s top 10 most popular blog posts of 2017. They include topics such as such as pursuing your passions, career and life advice, interview tips and more.

This past year I’ve been posting my blog entries not only here on the paNASH web site but also to the awesome platform Medium. This has allowed for more reach and therefore the ability to accomplish my 2017 goal of using my business to help more people get unstuck in their careers. 

Please remember to “clap” on Medium for the articles you find most interesting. Doing so allows me to continue sharing my content with you and other readers!

paNASH’s Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017:

  1. The One Surprising Tip That Guarantees a Good Interview
  2. 8 Simple Hacks to a More Passionate Life and Career
  3. 7 Comfortable and Easy Networking Tips for Introverts
  4. 5 Books That Will Make a Huge Impact On Your Life and Career
  5. What NOT To Do In a Job Interview
  6. Modern Interview Advice to Make You Stand Out From the Competition
  7. How to Think Like an Entrepreneur (Even When You’re Not One)
  8. 10 Lessons I’ve Learned From 10 Years of Freelancing
  9. The Secret to Answering Behavioral Interview Questions
  10. Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You

Note: If you have trouble with any of the above links, you can view the same articles here on the paNASH blog.

Want more job security? Do this one simple thing.

Want more job security? Quit your job. Not an option? The next best option is to invest in career insurance.

What’s career insurance? I’ll answer that, but first let’s not just gloss over the first option.

I’m serious. If you want a guarantee of job security, then quit your job and you’ll eliminate all chances of ever losing it. Then you can become your own boss and make all the hiring and firing decisions. Including the decision to never fire yourself.

Since leaving my full-time job with benefits where there were constant hiring freezes and multiple firings, I’ve had more job security than ever before. I’ve been able to develop the grit and skills required to work for myself and bring in a steady stream of clients, to supplement my income at times when the stream was unsteady, and to eliminate the salary cap I had at my previous job.

Not only that, owning my own business has helped me develop skills I never would’ve developed in my previous job. This has made me more marketable for even more job opportunities if I ever decide to close my business and work for someone else again.

But, if quitting your job isn’t a feasible option for you right now, there’s still one more simple option available to give you a little more job security. Invest in career insurance.

What is career insurance?

What is career insurance? It’s basically another term for comprehensive career coaching designed to prepare you for any event that may arise in your career. This includes the expected, like a promotion, voluntary job/career change, or starting your own business. And it includes the unexpected, like a layoff or a loss of business.

Think you don’t need career insurance?  Let me share a few stories with you.

job security

Photo by Tyler B on Unsplash

The Unexpected Layoff

I’ve recently been hired by a company to provide career coaching for the employees they’re laying off. This isn’t something all companies provide their pink slip employees. So don’t assume your company will do the same for you if you get laid off. If they do, take advantage of it!!! It’s on the company’s dime and it can help you find your next opportunity much faster than trying to do it all on your own.

This particular layoff came as a total surprise to those affected by the company’s decision. Each of them have said to me, “I always thought I’d retire at this company. I love my job and the people I work with. And I had no intentions of ever leaving and never thought I would get downsized.”

Lesson #1:  Never assume you’re not at risk of losing your job. Even if your company is growing and promises to be loyal to you. Business is business and things change. If your company doesn’t provide you any outplacement services or career coaching, you may want to invest some severance money into career coaching so you can find your next opportunity quicker and learn how to negotiate a higher salary. Learning such skills will pay for any coaching expenses, and then some.

The Need for a Change

Teresa* hired me for some career coaching services because she was very unhappy in her current job due to a lot of changes in that job. She wanted to start looking for a new job and also explore the possibility of working for herself. So I got to work on helping her meet these goals.

After only three coaching sessions, Teresa found out her current job was being eliminated. When she got the news, she felt a sense of relief that she already had (and had already paid for) a career coach and had already begun the steps to a successful job search, making the news less of a blow.

She knows our first few sessions and our remaining sessions will put her in the best possible position to find her next opportunity more quickly. She also knows the coaching will help position her for promotion by this time next year.

Lesson #2:  It’s better to already have some career insurance in place if and when an issue arises, than to not have it and wish you did. Especially if you don’t receive a good severance package.

Prepare for the Worst, and the Best

I started working with Shane* at the beginning of the summer. He chose my basic package of just four sessions which we completed at the end of July. I recently received an update from him and he had this to say,

All of my worlds have been colliding since our last session, and I’ve only been able to handle it all because of the great place we got to through our sessions. So thank you. I just had my interview for my promotion that was in the works earlier this summer. Whatever shakes out, the confidence and clarity I gained from our sessions made the interview process really rewarding.

Lesson #3:  Career coaching isn’t just for leaving your company. If you like where you work, coaching services can also help you advance in your company if that’s your goal. It can also prepare you for any career curve ball (good or bad) that may come your way.

How to Increase Your Job Security

While you have no control over your company’s decisions or the current job market, you do have control over your own career strategy. paNASH’s career coaching services help you develop a strategy to leverage your skills and market them for new opportunities, providing career insurance no matter what happens with your career.

Is it time to for you to invest in some career insurance? If not now, when? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Click here to get started.

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*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

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