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By Guest Author Judy Bitterli, Senior Vice President of Marketing for AVG: the free antivirus software provider.
This is not about resume writing, networking or Monster.com. This is about the right frame of mind if you are over fifty and looking for a job and some everyday technology which can help.
During the past few years, I have witnessed some amazing job interviews by people over fifty and sadly observed many dismal failures. Here are five tips to make sure your skills shine through:
Get your head in the right place. Remind yourself, this is not about you. This is about what you can offer the company. No one owes “boomers” anything. Start with a mental list of what you would bring to the company and keep the list succinct and ready. Then, learn everything you can about them. If the company is public, read their annual report. If they are private read their press clippings.
Show up with energy. No, I’m not talking about hitting up Starbucks. What I mean is that you need to convey you can still “hang” through the hours and have intensity. Simple things like sitting up straight and speaking with conviction will hit this. Also, practice at home. Practice standard interview questions with your friends and record them on your phone. Playback. Practice. Playback. Practice. How you sound may surprise you but by using this tool you’ll get a head start and make a great impression.
Relax and Smile. People want a coworker who is a pleasure to be around. If you make the experience stressful, you’re less likely to be hired. Create a music play list for that last half hour before an interview. Make sure it’s happy music that keeps you relaxed. Or try an app like Simply Being to get in touch with your inner Zen. But don’t get so relaxed you fall asleep. Pre-install extreme Alarm Clock just in case.
Convey passionabout the opportunity. Frame this job as a calling, but don’t go over the top. Tell them why it gets you out of bed every day. Whatever it is from answering a phone to driving a bus. Be passionate about the position.
Start off with the question, “What skills are you looking for in the person you hire for this position?” It creates a conversation and gives you time to frame your skills around the requirements.
Make sure you express no technology gaps, are proficient on Microsoft Office, have an up to date LinkedIn profile that matches your resume and recommendations on your LinkedIn account. When putting together your resume, make sure it’s in a file format accessible to all computers, such as a PDF or Word document saved in a .doc format. And scan that resume with your antivirus software before you send along to ensure it isn’t blocked by your Internet Service Provider or a company’s firewall system.
There are two generations of Baby Boomers, early and late.
The early generations of baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1955, are now "empty nesters" with adult children. Their spending priorities have changed from spending money on children's upkeep and education to upgrading their homes, clothing, travel and funding their retirement accounts. This group travels the most to see their grandchildren or to have adventures all over the world. The early boomers join country clubs, tennis and golf clubs, gardening clubs and participate in community activities.
The early boomers spend a little differently than the late Baby Boomers who were born between 1955 to 1964. More of their disposable income is still going to their children's education. When their children start to have families of their own, the late boomers join the ranks of disposable-income spending just as the early boomers.
Once a boomer, always a boomer continues. You can take the boomer out of the nostalgic decades, but you can't take the nostalgia out of the boomer. Their mentality is an optimistic, tackle-the-world and live-well attitude. Life is full of so many options for the boomers. Second or third careers have become appealing to the boomers.
The Best of Boomer Bloggers illustrate some of the options boomers have as they continue to live and learn well:
Baby Boomers are smart enough to realize that they may run out of money sooner than later.
They understand that their life expectancy may go well into their 90s and try to prepare for this in their 50s and 60s. They are hiring business and life coaches. Financial advisors are not just managing their portfolios, but are also tutoring the boomers, since they want to be involved and monitor their finances along with their advisers.
Workers and employers in the U.S. are bracing for a retirement crisis, even as the stock market sits near highs and the economy shows signs of improvement.
New data show that powerful financial and demographic forces are combining to squeeze individuals and companies that are trying to save for the future and make their money last.
Fifty-seven percent of U.S. workers surveyed reported less than $25,000 in total household savings and investments excluding their homes, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Only 49% reported having so little money saved in 2008.
The survey also found that 28% of Americans have no confidence they will have enough money to retire comfortably—the highest level in the study's 23-year history.
More people may be spending their “Golden Years” at the office.
A new study from CareerBuilder shows that retirement no longer means the end of one’s career. Sixty percent of workers age 60-plus surveyed said they would look for a new job after retiring from their current company, up from 57 percent last year.
When asked how soon they think they can retire from their current job, more than one-in-ten (12 percent) respondents said they don’t think they’ll ever be able to retire. Other responses included:
1-2 years – 27 percent
3-4 years – 20 percent
5-6 years – 27 percent
7-8 years – 6 percent
9-10 years – 5 percent
More than 10 years – 4 percent
There is good news for mature workers who are putting off retirement.
Employers are looking to hire more seasoned staff, with 48 percent of employers planning to hire workers age 50-plus this year, according to the survey. Forty-four percent said they hired workers age 50-plus in 2012. Seventy-six percent of the employers surveyed would consider an application from an overqualified worker who is 50-plus, with 59 percent of employers saying mature candidates bring a wealth of knowledge to an organization and can mentor others.
“We’re seeing more than three quarters of mature workers putting off retirement, largely due to financial concerns, but also as a personal decision made by people who enjoy their work,” said Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America. “The majority of workers who have talked with their bosses about staying on past retirement found their companies to be open to retaining them. If you’re approaching retirement age but hope to continue working, an open line of communication is very important.”
Mature workers can find job search success by emphasizing the qualities that set them apart from other workers. CareerBuilder offers these tips:
Highlight professional and personal experience – When updating your résumé or interviewing for a job, think about your experience in terms of both work-related and life skills. Whether it’s your strong leadership skills or your wherewithal to weather a tough economy, use your age to your advantage and play up the strengths that come with having more years under your belt.
Stay current – Workers of all ages are going back to school to increase their marketability.Attending seminars and workshops or taking formal courses is a great way to keep your skills up to date and can come in handy during an interview.
Find new ways to benefit the company – If you’re looking to stay with your current company beyond retirement, come up new ways to contribute to the organization outside of your day-to-day tasks. Running mentorship programs or training new hires are examples of how some mature workers have reinvented themselves within their organizations.
Utilize your network – Being in the workforce for an extended time gives you the advantage of a broad professional network. Whether it’s offline or online, reach out to former colleagues, vendors, clients, etc. to see where opportunities may arise.
Consider part-time or freelance work – Fifty-two percent of workers age 60-plus said they will most likely work part-time once retired. Check out job boards, staffing firms and other resources for part-time, freelance or temporary work.
Here are some information places as you begin to build your encore career:
In the current listless economy, every generation has a claim to having been most injured. But the Labor Department’s latest jobs snapshot and other recent data reports present a strong case for crowning Baby Boomers as the greatest victims of the recession and its grim aftermath.
These Americans in their 50s and early 60s — those near retirement age who do not yet have access to Medicare and Social Security — have lost the most earnings power of any age group, with their household incomes 10 percent below what they made when the recovery began three years ago, according to Sentier Research, a data analysis company.
Their retirement savings and home values fell sharply at the worst possible time: just before they needed to cash out. They are supporting both aged parents and unemployed young-adult children, earning them the inauspicious nickname “Generation Squeeze.”
The share of older people applying for Social Security early spiked during the recession as people sought whatever income they could find. The penalty they will pay is permanent, as retirees who take benefits at age 62 will receive 30 percent less in each month’s check for the rest of their lives than they would if they had waited until full retirement age (66 for those born after 1942).
Those not yet eligible for Social Security are increasingly applying for another, comparable kind of income support that often goes to people who expect never to work again: disability benefits. More than one in eight people in their late 50s is now on some form of federal disability insurance program, according to Mark Duggan, chairman of the department of business economics and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans between the ages of 45 and 60 say they plan to delay retirement, according to a report by the Conference Board. That was a steep jump from just two years earlier, when the group found that 42% of respondents expected to put off retirement.
The increase was driven by the financial losses, layoffs and income stagnation sustained during the last few years of recession and recovery, said Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at the organization and a co-author of the report, which is based on a 2012 survey of 15,000 individuals.
The labor force has been getting older for decades for reasons that range from longer life spans and better health to companies' replacement of defined-benefit pensions with higher-risk 401(k) plans.
But the stark increase in workers expecting to stay on the job—now 62%—was a surprise.
"Keeping older Americans in the work force is a good thing," said Kevin Cahill, an economist at the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College. "Those workers have more financial security, employers have a larger labor pool to draw from, and we have more people to produce goods and services. There may be bumps like the recent contraction in the labor market, but we need to look beyond the short term."
Studies of 1,500 men and women by the Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center's Alzheimer's Disease Center show that having a purpose in life can help stave off cognitive decline and promote a broadly healthier, longer life.
The following comments are edited excerpts of an interview with Patricia A. Boyle, a neuropsychologist and researcher for the Rush Memory and Aging Project who is also an associate professor at the medical center.
What role does having a purpose in life play as we age?
DR. BOYLE: Our study showed that having purpose in life is robustly protective. Those who reported having purpose in life showed a 30% slower rate of cognitive decline than those who did not. Having purpose reduced the risk of Alzheimer's and its precursor, mild cognitive impairment. Even those whose brains had the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer's had better cognitive brain function. It's a remarkable finding.
Why and how does having purpose provide these benefits?
DR. BOYLE: We don't know exactly how, but we think that people who are purposeful are actively pursuing goals, and by virtue of doing this they are enhancing their brains, either bringing in or developing other areas of the brain.
In addition, if you're pursuing goals, you're probably engaging in a whole host of behaviors that we know to be beneficial for health, such as being socially involved and connected to other people and going out and being physically active.
How does this translate into the actual things people do and how they live their lives?
DR. BOYLE:There are so many ways. Philanthropic types of activities, such as volunteering at a food bank, and finding ways of helping others. Maintaining connections with family and friends. One woman who is essentially homebound writes a letter to someone every day, often a note of appreciation. it keeps her social connections active and it gives her something to look forward to.
Many people decide to become mentors. They have a lot of wisdom as a consequence of their having done so much in their lives, and they want to pass along that knowledge to others. Other people want to accomplish new things. They learn a new language or take up a new area of study, even at the age of 80.
Boomer Retirement Life Tips explores their personal strategy and saving for retirement to where they will retire, how to handle aging parents and adult children, to health and wellness tips for aging like fine wine and deciding on a phased retirement or encore career.