Why the US Presidential Election is Good News for “Older” Workers

cts(The hardest part of writing this article was finding a flattering photo of all three candidates!)

This post is not about politics.  All three candidates are equally bad (or close enough).  One is under investigation by the FBI for, according to some, espionage and treason.  One has the demeanor, subtlety and grace of a schoolyard bully.  And one is a socialist who does not appear to understand what that philosophy is doing to and has done across the globe.  Criminal.  Kook.  Commie.  What’s your pleasure?

(I have a Ph.D. in International Relations.  I know that socialism is not communism.  No need to write in complaining .  I just wanted an alliteration.  And please, no KKK jokes!)

And, yes, to be fair, they all have their good points.

So that’s two things they all have in common.  The third is their age.

On election day Mrs. Clinton will  be 69 years old.  But let’s pay tribute to the Arab world which gave us the number zero.  You see the Arabs count the first year of birth.  So when you are born, you are “in your first year.”  That means that when Mrs. Clinton turn 69 she will be entering her 70th year.  On election day Mr. Trump will be 70 and Mr. Sanders will be 75.  So for present purposes let’s say they are all in their seventies.

I have not been able to find anything that clearly indicates the age group of Clinton supporters.  But what is out there, while not recent, tends to show that she gets most of her support from older voters, as does Trump.  On the other hand Sanders has the support of the young voter.

What does all this mean for “older” workers looking for a new job.  The only certainty is that in November the US electorate will vote in a septuagenarian.  The old, in this case meaning those over 45, and the young, are both fine with that.  So if they are all willing to elect an old fart-hing (let’s be polite!) as POTUS, why would they not want to hire you?  After all when you vote for someone you are offering them a job.

Let’s forget about Clinton and Trump since older workers are not concerned about age discrimination by employers close to their own age.  It’s Sanders’s supporters who are of concern to them.

Why does a twenty-something support a 75 year old socialist who had his honeymoon in the former Soviet Union – a country that imploded before many, if not most, of them were born?  Because he shares their concerns.  And, more importantly, their passion.  And, even more importantly, they believe he can achieve their goals.

So when you are being interviewed by a twenty-something, feel the Bern.  Do your research so you know what is important to them.  Convince them that  you share their principles, values and desires and, most importantly, that you can get the job done.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor.  He is the author of Success! As Employee or Entrepreneur and A Hooker’s Guide to Getting a Job: Parables from the Real World of Career Counseling and Executive Recruiting.

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Creating a Personal Business Plan for Your Job Search or Career Change

Yesterday’s very disturbing unemployment survey has made me look differently at the best way to conduct an effective job search.  Perhaps job seekers and those looking to change career should assume the perspective of the entrepreneur and write a personal business plan.

There are two reasons someone starting a business needs to write a business plan:  First, it is a great way to focus on what you want to do.  Second, you have to have one if you are looking for funding.  For job seekers, the latter is obviously irrelevant, but the former is most definitely relevant!

That said, a business plan is a living document.  It is always subject to change.  Remember that!  What you will write is written in a computer, not stone.

Also, this is not the structure of a real business plan.  For example, you will not need an “Executive Summary,” nor will you need the intelligence gathering of an entrepreneur nor an analysis of your competition.

Company Description

Yes, you are a “company,” the company of you!  So who are you?  What is it that you have to offer?  Why should someone hire you?  Why should they interview you?  Why should they network with you?  Who are you?  What do you want?

Service/Product Line

Previously you wrote about you as a person.  Now comes you as the professional.  What do you have to offer?  What have you actually done?  What are your professional accomplishments.  Under “Company Description” you engaged in self-praise, now is the time for objective proof.  How can you reassure a nervous employer that you are the person for the job?

Market Analysis

Start with a SWOT Analysis.  What are your Strengths?  What are your Weaknesses?  What Opportunities exist for you?  And what Threats will you have to confront?  Strengths and opportunities complement each other, as do weaknesses and threats.  The important thing is that the former outweigh the latter.  Ideally, you want the latter to be eliminated by the former.

For example, your strength is your years of experience.  Your weakness is that you lack education/training in a new software/program or foreign language.  But being unemployed, ironically, provides you with the opportunity to get the education you lack.  The threat is that, being unemployed (if you are), you can’t afford the cost.  Which means you have to take advantage of the opportunity of studying on-line where there are plenty of very good free programs.

Having completed the SWOT Analysis, now you have to start researching yourself.  Google yourself.  See what’s out there.  Ask friends, relatives and (former) colleagues to evaluate you.  Tell them you want brutal honesty and will not be offended.  Prepare a form indicating your strengths and weaknesses.  Ask for examples.  And ask for a face-to-face meeting to discuss the good and the bad.  And make certain to be grateful not offended.  Take the high road.  Be mature.  After all, these are the people – your network – who will no doubt be the ones to get you a job.

One more question to ask:  Is what you want (as indicated in the first section of the Plan) realistic or a pipedream?  The answer to this could be the most difficult thing to hear.

Marketing Plan

Now that you know you, the question is, How are you going to get a job or start your new career?

The easiest and least effective thing to do is to apply for jobs.  Why?  Because only 20 to 30 percent of jobs are advertised.  The hardest and most effecting thing to do is to network.  Why?  Because the remaining 70 to 80 percent are not advertised; you will only hear about them from persons with whom you network.

Of course, the best thing to do is to have employers come to you.  The way to do that is by building your brand.

So you need a good networking plan, a application process, and phenomenal interviewing skills.  You can either teach yourself or get outside help.

Financials

Prepare a budget.  You have to know your financial needs.  Having a written document can also help you when negotiating a salary.  In any event, if asked for your salary requirements, you have to have an answer.

Appendix

The two documents you need are your cover letter and resume.   Additionally, you should organize copies of any licenses, certifications and academic degrees that you have, just in case you are asked to produce copies.  And, depending on your profession, a portfolio of work samples.

Now that you have finished writing, go out and get that job.  You are already ahead of most.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor.  He is the author of Success! As Employee or Entrepreneur and A Hooker’s Guide to Getting a Job: Parables from the Real World of Career Counseling and Executive Recruiting.

One Thing Never to Say in a Job Interview

In a previous post I explained that you should never say “transferable skills” in a job interview because while you mean, “I want the job and I can do the job,” the employer hears, “I don’t meet the minimum qualifications but do me a favor and consider me anyway.”  Employers do not have to do you any favors.

My solution was to talk about transferable accomplishments.  Let the employer know what you have actually done and let her draw the conclusion on her own that you can do the job.  But that may not always be correct.

It’s possible that you may not have any impressive accomplishments.  I’ll use myself as an example.  Years ago I was a fundraiser.  I brought in the largest gift in the history of my 150-year old non-profit.  I am very proud of that.  But if I had applied for a job at Harvard as a Major Gifts fundraiser, and I had told them that my largest gift was $25,000, hopefully they would have waited for me to leave the building before they had started to laugh.  Twenty-five grand may be impressive for me; it’s not for Harvard.

So instead I would have talked about my “transferable experiences.”  There is a subtle difference between accomplishments and experiences.  The former refers to what you did, the latter to how you did it.  That may make up for any deficits you may have.

Want to learn more about how to answer questions in a job interview, and what questions to ask?  Join me Friday, June 10 from Noon to 1:30 PM at the Science, Industry and Business Library, 188 Madison Avenue, New York, NY and receive $100 off my full service career counseling package.  (There is no charge for attending.  Registration is requested but not required.) Not in Manhattan on the 10th?  No problem.  “Like” this post and e-mail me your resume (bh@hsstaffing.com) and I will e-mail you the code on the 10th.  (This offer will expire on June 17, 2016.)

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