If it Doesn't Sell ...

Brian Clark, CEO of Copyblogger delivered a smart message about how to define creativity.  And no, creativity isn’t just important for public relations firms and media-related outlets.  Job and career seekers alike can benefit from understanding how creativity can help their employment prospects. Just as David Ogilvy, master public relations exec recognized that ideas matter for landing public relations accounts–the client has to be moved by the pitch–looking for work successfully means:

– figuring out what the employer wants

– convincing him or her we’re the candidate to fit the bill

And how do we find out what the employer wants?  One important first step is to identify who we might know in that company or institution or industry and begin the process of networking with people. Need more resources?  Check out my blog posts on the AARP Work Blog.  It’s aarp blog. And then click on the “work” category.)

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Alison Doyle, career expert at About.com offered some great advice for LinkedIn users yesterday:

“If you’re not going to do it right, there is no point wasting your time (and everyone else’s) on LinkedIn.”

And part of doing it right, is creating a complete profile and making it visible for people to see.  For the rest of Alison’s posting, check out http://tinyurl.com/7asstpj.

And for more on LinkedIn, check out my AARP Work blog posting, LinkedIn: A Job Seeker’s Best Friend. (http://blog.aarp.org/category/work)

LinkedIn Isn’t for Passive Networking

Job seekers may think of LinkedIn as a networking site where it’s okay to be passive, where simply filling out a profile and hoping someone (especially a hiring manager) will notice.

That’s not the way it works.  Actually, LinkedIn works best when its users are actively involved, adding value to the networking experience.   For example, a good way of doing this is by joining and participating in groups and responding to questions asked by others in those groups.

As valuable as LinkedIn is as a networking tool, it’s not the only networking tool.  Another fruitful way of job hunting?  The old-fashioned way:  face-to-face.  But using both approaches is best.

First step in becoming an active user:  create a complete profile.

What’s a complete profile look like?  Check out LinkedIn’s Learning Center for great tips.  (http://learn.linkedin.com/profiles)

How active a user are you?

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When it comes to job security, most of us recognize that in the current economy, all bets are off.  Job security, if not an outdated notion, certainly doesn’t mean what it used to mean.  Today’s worker has to rely much more on his or her ability to make contacts that will get him or her to the hiring manager.

LinkedIn has made that process a lot easier for the job seeker.  Networking becomes a matter of cultivating relationships with our contacts.  That’s because earning their trust and belief in our competence and reliability means we gain allies in our job search, somebody who can vouch for us.

So in this, the month we celebrate romance, fall in love with LinkedIn.  Get started by making a list of your contacts.  Developing a robust network of people who are connected with others who can ultimately connect us  with the hiring managers–that’s the ticket.

So make LinkedIn a regular part of your routine.  Start by committing just a few minutes a day or each week, and then evaluate, asking, How much have I learned?  How much closer have I come to connecting the people I’d like to reach?

(To read an AARP Work blog post about LinkedIn, check out http://blog.aarp.org/

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When we’re looking for work, no one wants to start from scratch, especially if we’ve been out of work for awhile and we’re anxious to find a satisfying job.

But what if the job search isn’t really yielding interviews, much less job offers?   Starting the job search over from scratch may be just the ticket.

And what’s starting from scratch really mean?

It means REALLY getting to know ourselves.

It means, asking ourselves hard questions like, What am I good at?  What work do I like to do? Where do I want to work, and  in what kind of environment?

– It means committing ourselves to a full-time job search every day.

– It means finding the strength in ourselves to keep going–even when no job offers come your way.

And maybe most of all, it means mustering up the emotional strength to remember that finding a job is well within our reach–when we use the proper tools.

Having trouble getting started?  Don’t know what job to seek or what companies would be the perfect match for our skills?  Check out these Department of Labor sites for help:



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The downsides of unemployment are easy to list:  no income, no professional status, no workplace.  The list can go on.

And while it’s easy to see the downside, and nothing but the downside, consider the bigger picture.  In the bigger picture, unemployment means something else, too: opportunity.

Opportunity to explore all kinds of possibilities. As a job seeker, looking for work can provide the opportunity of a lifetime, to pursue a path unexplored.

Who’s got time to navigate a path unexplored, when earning an income is so important? You do.  And here’s why:

–Job hunting full time, five days a week is an exhausting, draining exercise.  From resume revamping and networking, to researching companies and keeping up on the latest information about particular industries takes time.  Alot of time.

–So when you’ve completed a full day’s work of job hunting, sketch out a plan for the the next day’s full time job search. (In fact, it’s a good idea to prepare a schedule for the next few days, to help clarify the direction of your efforts.)

–Then take a break.  If done properly, all the effort it takes to find a job can leave most of us pretty depleted, intellectually, physically and emotionally.  An important way to replenish our energy is by doing something we really enjoy.

It doesn’t need to be costly or complicated.  For one job seeker I met, relaxation meant finding out more about cherry blossoms that  bloom in Washington, DC this time of year.  For another, it’s renting foreign language films or taking a walk or biking on a scenic path.

–So work really hard at finding a job every day of the work week.  But then schedule yourself a break.

If you ever said when you were working full-time, “Boy, if only I had time to do X,” right now, between jobs just might be the time to do it.

No Comments | Category: Careers, Jobs

My client recently described the tasks she’d performed at her old job and together we made a surprising discovery:  she had many more qualifications than she realized.

It turns out that instead of straight administrative work, she had single-handedly overhauled a department, writing proposals for her executive director.  But not only that, she developed a new recordkeeping system that moved the organization from an index cards(!) reporting system to a computerized one.

Clearly, she hadn’t given herself credit for a great many talents.  But to make her resume stand out in a way that fully reflects her accomplishments, she and I had some work to do.

My client is like so many of us in the midst of a job search.  We all so desperately want to find satisfying, good paying work, that often we forget that one of the best ways to achieve that is by first assessing our skills and interests.  Doing that shortens, not lengthens the job hunt because the assessment enables job seekers to identify exactly the kind of work we want.

Need help in figuring out your skills and the right kinds of jobs for you?  Check out the Department of Labor’s MySkillsMyFuture and MyNextMove and aarpworksearch.org websites for assistance.

No Comments | Category: Careers, Jobs

My client today expressed fear that his gray hair would scream “Old!” whenever he applied for a job.  He may be right, since age discrimination exists and yes, it can hurt an applicant.

But think about it.  If hair is all that you think you have to offer, chances are that job hunting was already going to be a problem.  (Unless, of course the job was as a model for a hair product.)

Is hair really all you’ve got?

No, of course not.   You’ve also got talent, experience and charm.

Show that to prospective employers and you increase your chances of finding the job you want.

Spend time zeroing in on the things that you can control, like what strengths you would bring to the job, how familiar you are with the company and how it operates, and how well you present yourself in interviews.

No Comments | Category: Jobs

Great news for job seekers: there is a clear way to shorten the job search.

And it’s deceptively simple.

It’s from Richard N. Bolles, author of the mega job hunting hit, What Color Is Your Parachute? and The Job-Hunter’s Survival Guide. Bolles has been sending the same message for decades now.  And it’s a message that has an 86% success rate. He suggests that the first and perhaps most important step for job hunters seeking satisfying work is to look in the mirror and ask these questions:

What skills do I have?

What do I do well?

What do I like to do?

Where do I like to do?

By providing a very detailed answer to those questions, job seekers become clearer about what it is they’re looking for and then better target their job search.  That shortens the time it takes to find a satisfying job.

How about your job search?  Have you conducted a self-inventory?

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Happy new year to readers of the Money Matters and More blog!

To help job seekers navigating a particularly tough market, the Money Matters and More blog launches a new project that focuses solely on jobs and careers.

As part of  AARP’s WorkSearch project, I’ll be serving as a job coach for people 40 and older who are looking for full and part-time work.   Over the next three months, I’ll report what I learn about what it takes to find job hunting success and include information and tips about what I learn.  (Check out aarp.org.)

For fresh insights from the field, check the Money Matters and More blog.  Reports from the project begin this Wednesday, with first interviews starting the week of February 7th.

In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with questions and comments at the following addresses:

Facebook & LinkedIn:  heathertaylormedia

Twitter:  moneyandmore

Email:  heathertaylormedia@gmail.com

Thanks for reading the Money Matters and More blog!

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When it comes to branding, how you stand out as a personal brand is just as essential as a company brand–maybe even more so.

That’s because so much of entrepreneurial success has to do with building good, solid relationships with clients.  How you’re viewed by them as a personal brand, apart from your company can determine whether or how effectively your company continues to grow, stagnate, or falter.

So how do you create a memorable personal brand?

Personal branding expert Dan Schawbel offers a primer for newbies, entitled How to Brand Yourself:  An Introduction in the magazine Entrepreneur. Here are some of his helpful tips on becoming a successful brand:

Become an expert on something related to your product or service

Establish a website or blog under your full name.

Become the go-to source of information for media outlets.

Network to connect with other entrepreneurs in your industry.

(To read Schawbel’s complete article, click on http://tinyurl.com/273vbql.)

Do you have a personal brand?  If so, how does it differ from your company brand?

(Photo: http://tinyurl.com/2458s5h)

No Comments | Category: Careers, Entrepreneurship, Jobs