Tag: career transition


How to Gain a Little Protection From Ageism (Part 2)

In last week’s Part 1 post, I talked about the unfortunate reality of ageism that still occurs in the hiring process. I also talked about several things you can avoid on your resume to reduce your risk of age discrimination and increase your chances of landing an interview.

This week I want to share several ways to reduce your risk via your LinkedIn profile.  

What to Include on Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile doesn’t have to, and nor should it, be just a repeat of your resume. There are several things you can include on a LinkedIn profile you can’t include on a resume. Do the following suggestions and you’ll convey the spark and energy you still have to offer an employer.

1. Talk about your future goals and show some personality!

Your resume only allows you to discuss your past work experience. But your LinkedIn profile also allows you to share your future professional goals. Your headline and summary section are the perfect places to do this.

Sharing your goals shows you still have a lot left to accomplish in your career and a lot to offer a company.

Your LinkedIn profile also allows you to show a little personality since you can use wording that paints a picture. Be yourself by including your passions, personal mission statement, and hobbies. Just make sure you remain professional in your descriptions.

While you should never write in first person on your resume, it’s better to write in first person on LinkedIn (at least in the summary) to be a little more personable. And so it doesn’t sound like you had someone else write it for you.

The LinkedIn profile is where readers of your resume go to learn more about you. Give them something more than just what’s on your resume!

2. Include the current buzz-words of your industry.

Sprinkle your industry’s current buzzwords throughout your descriptions in your summary and experience sections.

Not only will this make you appear up-to-date on the latest industry trends, it will also make you more searchable when recruiters do a keyword search on those terms. Your profile will likely pop up in their search results.

3. Share trending articles about trending ideas in your industry.

In addition to including your industry’s buzzwords in your profile, you can also show you’re up on the latest trends by posting articles about the current and future issues facing your industry.

You’ll not only want to post these articles in the general news feed, but also in the relevant groups where your industry’s recruiters are likely to be a member.

4. Join the right groups.

Speaking of LinkedIn groups, you want to make sure you join the right groups!

Recruiters can go to your profile and see which groups you’re in, so you’ll want to stay away from any groups with the words “mid-career” or “mid-life” in their name.

You’ll want to join more industry-related groups than you would job search groups. Being a member of a bunch of job search groups will scream desperation.

Instead, join the groups of the industry you’re in (or trying to transition to) since these groups often announce job openings within the industry. (To see jobs in groups, go to a group’s page and click on the “Jobs” tab to the right of the “Conversations” tab.)

This saves you time from having to sift through any job announcements you may not be interested in.

5. Include your updated skills.

Include your new skills, programs, platforms, and technologies you’ve been learning on your own time. (See #5 in Part 1.)

6. Include online courses.

LinkedIn offers a lot of online courses. So do MOOC (massive open online courses) sites like Coursera. These are great places to learn new methodologies and technologies in an affordable way. And many courses give you a badge to add to your LinkedIn profile once you’ve successfully completed them.

Listing these courses on your profile shows you’re constantly learning new things, you know how to use current technology, and you’re staying abreast of the latest knowledge.

7. Decide if you should include your photo or not.

If you look young for your age, or you have a photo from a few years ago that’s not obviously out-of-date (i.e. you’re not wearing out-of-style glasses frames), then definitely include it on your LinkedIn profile.

If you feel like you may be at risk of age discrimination based on your photo, you may decide not to include one. But you should know recruiters are also wary of profiles without a photo. In this case, you’ll need to decide for yourself which risk you’re willing to take.

Conclusion

You’ll never be able to completely eliminate your risk of ageism. But, by following the above suggestions, you’ll at least reduce your risk and increase your chances of getting an interview.

When you do land the interview, you’ll want to walk in with confidence and wow them with your competitive advantages by addressing their pain points and showing how you can be a problem solver for them.

To learn how, purchase my on-demand course Steps to Acing the Interview and Reducing Your Interview Anxiety.

LinkedIn

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 Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question we all got when we were children.

My own answers to that question were all over the place and would change pretty frequently.

In trying to remember what my answers were, I’m sure I probably said any of the following on any given day: a teacher, an author, a businesswoman, an artist, etc.

But the only one I distinctly remember being the most sure about was a fashion designer. That was after my grandmother gave me some Fashion Plates for Christmas one year.

 

I loved my fashion plates and enjoyed the creativity of them. They made me want to learn how to really sketch clothing designs by hand. 

Ask yourself:

What did you want to be when you grew up? What do you still want to be?


So when I got to high school I decided to take art all four years to learn how to sketch. 

That is until I got into my first year of art where I ditched the idea of becoming a fashion designer (or an artist) after my art teacher made my life a living a hell. 

She was such a rigid woman, too rigid to be teaching anything that’s supposed to be creative. Her teaching methods and personality made me never want to take another art class again.

Ask yourself:

Has there ever been a person or an experience in your life that was so negative it turned you off from what you wanted to be when you grew up? How did that affect you?


So next I looked to the subject I was enjoying the most at the time…beginner-level Spanish. I really loved it and thought I’d like to eventually major in foreign languages once I got to college. 

But then came Spanish II, which was really difficult for me, much more than Spanish 1 where I was making all A’s.

Ask yourself:

Have you ever lacked the skill or ability to be the thing you wanted to be when you grew up? How did you shift your focus?


Finally, I discovered psychology…which changed everything for me.

I found psychology so interesting, and my understanding of it came naturally to me. It was becoming my passion.

Ask yourself:

What comes naturally to you? What are you passionate about?


But when I announced to my family I was going to study psychology as my college major, they weren’t as enthusiastic about it as I was.

I kept hearing, 

“Oh, how in the world are you going to make any money with THAT kind of degree?”

My dad said I should major in business (his passion)…because I’d make more money.

My mother said I should be a nurse…because I’d make more money.

Even my brother chimed in and said I should be an accountant because, again,… I’d make more money.

Ask yourself:

Did anyone ever try to discourage you from becoming what you wanted to grow up to be? How did you respond?


So why didn’t I listen to any of my family members? Several reasons:

  1. I can’t stand the site of blood. And I can’t stand the smell of a hospital. Hearing people talk about their surgeries or ailments literally makes my skin crawl.
  2. I’m completely bored with math and number crunching. While other people find numbers fun and fascinating, I do not.
  3. Business didn’t interest me at the time. At least not enough for me to have done well in business classes.
  4. I get good grades when I’m studying something I find interesting. If I’m the one who has to take the classes and do the homework, the material has to keep me awake.
  5. Loving what I do is more important to me than making a lot of money.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why choosing a career path that paid well over choosing one I loved was important to my parents. 

They were both born in the late 1930s, still early enough to have felt some of the long-term effects of the Great Depression. 

Their parents drilled into them the importance of being financially secure in the event of another depression, so they were just doing what they thought was best for me by trying to encourage me into fields considered more lucrative.

My brother is a lot older than me. In fact, he’s closer in age to my dad’s generation than he is to mine. Therefore, his mentality has also been “get a job that pays well regardless of whether you like it.”

Ask yourself:

Is there something you’re passionate about even though it may not make you a lot of money? Which is more important to you?


I stood firm in my decision to major in psychology (and minor in sociology), did well in all my psychology classes, and made the dean’s list several times.

It wasn’t until the summer between my junior and senior year that I knew what I wanted to do with my degree.

That summer I had been an orientation leader at my alma mater and had also been working the previous two years in the Provost’s office as a student worker.

I loved the college atmosphere, loved working with incoming students, and had developed a strong understanding of the organizational structure of a university.

I decided to ask my Dean of Students how do I get a job like his? (This was my first time conducing an informational interview and had no idea at the time that was what it was called.)

He explained I would need a master’s degree in a field I had no previous idea existed. I started researching graduate programs in higher education administration and student personnel services. 

Ask yourself:

Have you explored a career path that was previously unknown to you? What is it? What have you learned about it? What else do you want to learn about it?

The more I found out, the more I realized my psychology degree was the best foundation for what I would study in graduate school. 

In fact, much of what I learned in grad school was just an extension from undergrad.

Unlike my fellow grad students who came from other majors like finance and business, I already had familiarity with a lot of the theories and material.


Once I had decided on higher education as a career path, I still had to narrow down what area of higher ed I wanted to go into. 

My degree was readying me for so many possibilities.

I could go into financial aid, housing/residential living, Greek life, admissions, orientation, career services, academic advising, first-year programs, student activities, study abroad, international student services, and on and on.

Ask yourself:

Do you sometimes have so many career options or career interests you find it hard to narrow down your choices? 

I narrowed my choices down into three areas based on the ones that interested me most: orientation programs, freshman year experience programs, and career services. 

I delved into those three areas by gaining practical experience through internships, volunteer work and special projects while finishing my degree.

It was while volunteering in the university’s career center I knew I wanted to help students figure out what they wanted to be “when they grew up” based on their own interests and passions instead of their parents’ wishes.

Ask yourself:

Has a previous personal experience inspired you to a career helping others facing the same experience?


After earning my masters, I went on to be a college career adviser at various universities and even held the title of director of career services at one time. 

I also got to teach some college level courses.

I loved what I did. 

My job even allowed me to use my creative side in developing career-related programs for my students.

But when my creativity began to be stifled, I decided to make a bit of a career change and started my own image consulting business (click here to read the story on how that happened).

Ask yourself:

Have you ever felt so stifled or burned out in your career you knew you were ready for a change?


For 8 years I worked independently as an image consultant but in that time I also continued to do career coaching on the side. 

The image consulting fed my childhood interest in fashion since it included some wardrobe styling work. 

And I even became an author when I released my first book, an Amazon #1 bestseller about image and style.

Then, after 8 years of image consulting, I was ready for another career change, but also a bit of a return to my roots.

I became an independent career coach with a focus on helping people discover and pursue their passions.

Ask yourself:

Have you ever had a yearning to go back to something you once did before?


It’s an interesting story how I shifted my image consulting business back to a career coaching focus (click here to read that story).

I knew I wanted to go back to career coaching but I had two requirements for myself:

  1. I still wanted to work for myself, so I avoided applying for jobs at college career centers. Instead I re-structured my business’s mission.
  2. I wanted to work with people going through mid-career transitions with a focus on helping them pursue their passions and the things they once wanted to be when they grew up.

My background and own personal experiences have served me well in accomplishing those two goals. 

Ask yourself:

What are some of your career goals? What are some of your “must haves” for your work? How has your background prepared you for your goals?


Unlike most other career coaches, I didn’t just decide to be a career coach after having worked in another industry. Career coaching has been part of my entire career.

It has evolved out of a combination of childhood interests, natural gifts and talents, and passion. 

And it has taken some exciting twists and turns along the way.

I’m thankful there’s been more than just one way to pursue my passion. 

I’m also thankful my current situation allows me to combine some of my other passions like writing and stand up paddle boarding with my work as a career coach. 

And I love helping others find unique and creative ways to pursue and combine all the passions they have, helping them become some of the things they always wanted to be when they grew up.

Ask yourself:

What are some ways you can pursue your own passions? How can you combine your passions? What steps will you take next to do so?

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan to help you start taking the next steps to becoming what you want to be when you grow up (again)!

 grow up

Get Unstuck! How to Know When It’s Time to Invest in a Career Coach

We all eventually find ourselves at a career crossroads at one time or another. We’re either sick of our jobs and itching for something new, or we find ourselves no longer needed in a job we love.

In those times we need some clarity and vision on the next steps of our career path.

In fact, you’ve probably heard that most people change their careers (not just their jobs) SEVEN times in their lifetime. For some of my clients, that number is even higher.

fork in the road

Navigating these career crossroads usually requires the advice and assistance of a career coach. How do you know when it’s time to invest in a career coach?

#1 When you need a job.

The most obvious time is when you’re in the throes of a job search and you’re looking for work related to your experience.

There are a lot of new, unwritten rules of the job search that only career coaching can show you how to maneuver. In fact, if you just rely on the information on the internet, you’re relying on information that’s about as old as the internet itself and is highly outdated.

A career coach can help you learn the new rules of the job search and provide personalized advice specific to your unique situation that no web site can provide.

#2 When you’ve been (or might be) laid off or fired.

“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.” (from “Want More Job Security? Do This One Simple Thing.”)

You may not need a job, until you lose yours. I’ve written several posts before on job loss.

When you’re forced to find a new job, what I shared in #1 applies in this situation as well. However, there are additional needs when a job loss is involved.

First, there’s a more emotional element that must be tended to – the grief some experience that comes with the loss of a job.

Then, in the case of a firing, there’s need for improvement in certain areas in order to “fire-proof” yourself in the future.

Finally, there’s figuring out what skills you need to update or add to your skillset to make you more marketable in the job market. This is especially true if you’re mid- to late-career and may face potential age discrimination.

#3 When you’re contemplating a career change to another role or industry.

You may find you’re bored with what you’ve been doing and want to explore something new and different.

Career coaching can help you determine what your transferable skills are and what other industries or job functions those skills easily transfer to. It can also teach you how to market those transferable skills so you can open the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers to your potential.

#4 When you want to grow in your career but feel stuck.

“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.” (from “Want More Job Security? Do This One Simple Thing.”)

You love what you do but you want to see growth. Whether that’s in the form of more responsibility, more money, a bigger title, more purpose, etc.

But what if growth isn’t coming as quickly as you’d like and you feel stuck? Career coaching can provide you an actionable plan to help you grow at a more rapid pace than before.

#5 When you’re wanting to leave your current job to work for yourself.

You’re tired of working your butt off to make someone else rich. Or, you would just like to be able to set your own schedule and have more work-life balance.

Career coaching can help you determine if you have what it takes to go out on your own. It can help you determine if freelancing, consulting, or creating a start-up is the next best step or not.

It can also give you the confidence to do so in the face of the fears you’ll experience when stepping out on your own.

#6 When you’re reentering the job market after an extended leave of absence.

Reentering to the job market can also be just as scary. And, as I mentioned in #1, the rules of the job search may have changed since you last had to find something new.

Career coaching can help you not only explain, but also market your time away as an advantage to an employer.

Are You Facing a Career Crossroads? Is It Time For You to Invest In Some Career Coaching?

“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.” (from “Want More Job Security? Do This One Simple Thing.”)

Can you relate to any of the above scenarios? Each has their own unique challenges. Challenges you don’t have to face alone.

paNASH offers a variety of resources and career coaching services to choose from, including:

  • Free 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan when you subscribe to the paNASH newsletter.
  • Free blog posts to provide you tips for a successful job search.
  • Affordable video resources available on-demand allowing you to work at your own pace to improve your resume, interviewing skills, and more.
  • Personalized coaching services designed to help you pursue your passions and find work that gives you purpose and opportunities for growth.

To find out more about how you can benefit from career coaching, sign up for a complimentary initial consultation.

Taking this first step could mean the difference between staying stuck in your current work situation or getting unstuck and pursuing your next exciting career endeavor.

get unstuck

How to Know If You’re In the Wrong Job

It’s a New Year. Time for a New Career?

“How long does it take to realize you’re in the wrong job?” 

This is a question I recently came across on Quora. I’ll share my response with you. But first, I want to ask you:

Are you also wondering the same thing?

Or is it already clear you’re in the wrong job? 

Could it be time for a new career for you? 

It’s a new year, so why not a new career?

Especially if you already realize you’re in the wrong job.

The question posed isn’t, “How do you know you’re in the wrong job?” 

Instead it’s, “How long does it take to realize it?”

My response on Quora actually answers both of these questions.

The Quick Way to Know

It doesn’t take long to know if you’re in the wrong job when you spend a few minutes taking some personal (and honest) inventory. 

Here’s an exercise that’s much more effective than a traditional pros and cons list:

First…

Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three columns. 

The first column should include the things you must have in a job (i.e. your “dealbreakers”). 

The second column should be the things you’re willing to compromise on. 

The third column should be the “icing on the cake” things (i.e. things you would LOVE to have in a job, but don’t necessarily need to be content).

Next…

Compare your three lists to your current job. 

Does your current job have at least 60% of the things listed on your sheet of paper? 

Or at least 60% of the things from the “must have” column?

Then…

If not, it’s time to start looking for the right job that matches the majority of those things on your 3-column list.

Need help looking for the right job? Complete the paNASH intake form to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

The 60% Rule

I always tell my clients,

“You should love at least 60% of your job.”

Why?

Because nobody loves 100% of their job 100% of the time, but if it’s less than 60%, you’re in the wrong job or career. 

I once had a client who, when he first came to me, was so miserable in his job that there were some evenings he said he would find himself in the fetal position on his couch near tears at the thought having to go back to work the next day.

After reviewing the results of some inventories he’d done with a previous career coach, I said, 

“Do you realize you only enjoy less than 20% of your current job? No wonder you’re so miserable!” 

Another surprising thing I discovered from the results of his inventory was he has a very entrepreneurial spirit. 

This all came as a shock to him because the results had not previously been interpreted to him in such a way.

Revealing these insights to him with a new lens of “passion” instead of just “job” or “career” opened up a whole new outlook for him.

He’s now been able to make extra money on the side doing the art work he’s passionate about and very talented at, which could possibly lead to his own full-time business as an illustrator and cartoonist, or provide him the financial means to leave his current job in search of something more fitting with his foreign language skills. (The guy speaks 3 languages, including Japanese!)

https://www.instagram.com/artbyrobert/

 

Where a pros and cons list would’ve been more limiting, my client is instead more diligent in not compromising on his “must haves” and more open to opportunities that meets at least 60% of the criteria from his 3-pronged list.

I’ve personally found the 3-column list exercise to be more helpful than a pros and cons list when it comes to my own big life decisions. 

The benefits are that it helps with analysis paralysis and keeps you from overthinking or second-guessing your decisions.

It also helps you stay realistic when considering different opportunities.

The More In Depth Approach

Another thing that’s helped me personally and also helps my clients is to spend some time coming up with your own personal mission statement. 

This may take a little time to nail down, but it’s well worth it. 

Why? 

Because you can use it as a filter for your decisions.

For instance, my personal mission statement is: 

“To boldly pursue my passions and purpose, and to teach, encourage, and inspire others to do the same, resulting in lives overflowing with joy, peace, and fulfillment.”

When I’m faced with a difficult decision, I look to see if the choice in front of me supports my mission statement or not. 

If it doesn’t, I don’t select that choice. 

This helps me to live authentically and be true to my purpose.

Click here to read more about my process of writing a personal mission statement.

So where are YOU in this all-important decision?

If you know it’s time for a new career, a career coach can help you figure out your options and how to make the transition. 

Don’t wait until the end of 2018 where you’ll find yourself in the same situation. 

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive tips to help you get unstuck and start moving into the right career!

wrong job