The Value Older Workers bring to the Market Place

This week AARP Bulletin’s cover article is “Ageism in the Workplace, it’s time to end the last acceptable bias.”1 They report statistics from a 2018 EEOC report on age discrimination that include high percentages indeed. Dislocated older workers now number in the hundreds of thousands if not a million or more. This many affected workers could unite and start a movement that might swing the pendulum the other way.

Another way to look at this can be seen in a recently published Harvard Business Review article, “The Case for Hiring Older Workers.”2 This report speaks to the increased diversity, wisdom and stability older workers can bring to teams. It states knowledge and expertise increase after age 30. The story also offers solutions that companies can use to enable older workers. Fortunately, there are companies that are already doing this; SafeStreets USA, H&M and Wegmans to name a few.

To be fair there are realities companies need to deal with. For one, healthcare costs for older workers are much higher than younger workers. Not even Obamacare is cost effective at age 60. Another very important point is the digital age is redefining work and the workplace daily. New jobs that never existed before are embraced by younger more tech savvy workers because they are born into this age. It is tough to compete with that when decades of experience do not correlate with something brand new. Still a diverse mix should include older workers for a truly balanced team.

For me the job search is longer than I would like it to be, but I remain optimistic. Perhaps the gig economy is the right place to be. I’m taking online training to update my skills and have contacts to sell my expertise to. In the not too distant future maybe Baby Boomers and Gen X will see a rebalance in the system. To be sure there is much more discussion and action to come on this issue.

  1. From AARP Bulletin, January/February 2020
  2. From Harvard Business Review online, Generational Issues | The Case For Hiring Older Workers
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Happy Holidays and Happy Networking!

If you’re in job hunting mode around the holidays you’ll hear that the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is dead time – no hiring is happening, no one is around. Hearing that, you may think “I may as well take the holidays off and get ready to restart my search January 1”. Understandable, but if you take this approach, you may miss out on some of the best networking opportunities you’ll get all year long!

Because the holidays tend to be a slower time at many companies it can give folks the chance to catch up with their emails and phone calls. Which gives you the chance to reach out to those you haven’t connected with in a while. If you catch people when they are less frenzied at work and perhaps in a festive, charitable frame of mind you may have some great conversations—and get some great information or great leads. So, ask for that lunch or coffee date!

A recent article from dice.com offers some great specific tips as to how to set your holiday networking goals for maximum effect. Here are a few:

Make a List of People You’d Like to Meet

Any endeavor is more successful when you take a strategic approach—and that applies to networking, too. Start by making a list of the 10 people you’d like to meet in person over the holidays. Then, increase your chances of connecting by figuring out where they like to hang out.

Take full advantage of seasonal events by calling to introduce yourself to the people on your networking list. See if they will be attending some of the same parties and events, and let them know that you will see them there.

Here’s another tip: When you are trying to build your network, never turn down an invite to a holiday party. No invite? No problem. See if you can tag along with a friend or someone from your network.

Turn Acquaintances into Connections

Use the holiday season to turn the influential people you met this year into stronger connections and allies in the job-hunting process. How? Send each one a holiday card with a personal note that not only expresses good wishes but one or two of your key achievements, and how you hope to expand on those in the coming year.

You’ll not only stand out; it’s the perfect opportunity to ask if they want to grab lunch or coffee and catch up. Even if they want to hold off on getting together, try to schedule a time to meet after the first of the year, and you will be further along in the networking cycle.

Expand Your Circle of Influence

Most people think of networking only in traditional venues and business-oriented gatherings, but that’s not using the power of networking to its fullest, stated Dr. Ivan Miner, founder of BNI.

Leverage the holidays to meet people outside your industry or specialty by attending events that you don’t normally attend. Frankly, non-traditional networking settings offer the most bang for your buck, he added.  

For instance, many businesses host appreciation events for clients, vendors and even prospective hires. Charity events, alumni parties and fundraisers are other great places to rub elbows with key influencers around the holiday season.

Prepare a Teaser Topic

If you happen to connect with someone near the end of the year, have an idea ready that describes how you can improve the industry or increase profits and performance. Use that idea as a springboard to set-up a face-to-face meeting.

For more tips and insights check out the entire article:https://insights.dice.com/2019/11/25/networking-strategies-holidays-technology/

Happy Holidays, Happy Networking and Good Luck!

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Getting Ready for the New Year

The winter holiday season is a perfect time to get ready for job opportunities in the new year. Fortunately for New Jersey’s workers in transition, job creation is also a focus of many local groups. As Chief Business Relationship Officer at the NJ Business and Industry Association, Wayne Staub knows a great deal about the opportunities and challenges involved in promoting sustainable economic growth in the Garden State. For example, although NJ already has a clean energy law and expects to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050, Wayne realizes that “energy costs for NJ businesses are some of the highest in the country.” To uncover other industry trends, pain points, and opportunities, or prepare for interviews at specific companies, the association’s news outlet, New Jersey Business Magazine, can be accessed online at https://njbmagazine.com.

For mature workers, his office has run seminars on multigenerational staffing for businesses, and he conscientiously promotes the PSG websites. Browse career openings on the association’s home page, https://www.njbia.org.

Interview by Debby Freeman

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Life’s Virtues for Job Seekers

What if transition had a positive side? What if it enabled you to learn positive life skills? The following is a reflection by one of our members, the kind and calm Mary Anne Usher.

As a job seeker I’ve been asked by many individuals, “What is your secret in keeping your sanity during your job search?” When being asked this question, the “Four P’s of Life” come to my mind: Practice, Patience, Perseverance and Positivity.

When I was an undergraduate college student, a statistics professor taught this valuable lesson. Early one morning a new mathematical concept was being introduced in class. Both the students and professor were frustrated as not one student was comprehending the new concept. In the middle of the lesson, the professor stopped and noted a few things we all need to do with our studies and when we encounter some difficult life challenges. He said, “Think of the Four P’s and you will never go wrong.”

1) Practice. When children learn to tie their shoelaces, at first, they become frustrated as they are not able to see immediate results. However due to children’s natural curiosity and determination, they will practice, eventually becoming agile with the routine. As job seekers, we need to practice our elevator pitches and perfect our interview skills. This will pay off in the long run. Your confidence level will improve and hiring managers will give feedback. Remember practice makes perfect!

2) Patience. Patience is also part of the equation; it is a virtue every person on Earth needs to possess. As a job seeker you had a great interview and sent the well-crafted thank you note to those who interviewed you. Then there is the long pause, waiting for the result. That long pause feels like an eternity. You start to wonder what you could have done or said differently.

Fate was my best friend several years ago, as I was at my “ropes’ end” one day with no prospects for interviews. Just like the play, Six Degrees of Separation, I had a networking associate, Phil, call me one day. Phil had another networking associate, Bill, contact him about a role he needed to fill with his company, Racal. I was at the right spot at the right time and landed the job at Racal. Patience played a big part with my success in landing the position.

3) Perseverance. This is the toughest virtue. I have heard many job seekers say that they can land a job in three weeks. As we all are aware, life happens—when we are making other plans. Family issues or health issues may supersede your search.

Learn to take the criticisms in stride and roll with the punches. The “Great Recession” of 2008 taught all job seekers how to persevere and be humble. During that period, I learned to knit. The benefit was tremendous. I learned a new craft, joined a knitting circle and thus expanded my network. My confidence in my abilities soared.

4) Positivity. This is so true. I had many interviews where there was no feedback. Lately I have taken things in stride and learned to say, “Next!” I look at each rejection as one step closer to where I want to be.

Living in the enigma of life is an art. Life—and the job search—does not need to be a veil of constant tears and struggles. We can rise above our tribulations by following the “Four P’s,” live a life of happiness, and find the job we want.

Mary Anne Usher

linkedin.com/in/mau128

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Back to School or Back to Work?

PSGCNJ believes that transition is a time to improve your marketability. There are many online resources available to help you find either current openings or educational pathways that will help you position yourself for future possibilities.

Go back to work directly.
Although Robert Half, the world’s largest staffing firm, lists itself as the top online site to find employment, it also describes the benefits of other sites, most notably LinkedIn and CareerBuilder, as well as specialty sites like TheLadders.com (for jobs paying over $100,000), and dice.com (if you have a technical background) in a post at: https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/job-market/10-best-job-search-websites.

According to an article published by Inc., the top job search engines are, as of May 2019, in order of relevance for employers (https://www.inc.com/larry-kim/the-16-best-job-search-engines-in-2019.html):
LinkedIn.com
SimplyHired.com
Indeed.com
Glassdoor.com
jobs.Google.com
LinkUp.com
cnj.craigslist.org
US.Jobs
RobertHalf.com
Monster.com
ZipRecruiter.com
Facebook.com/jobs/
Job.com
USAJOBS.gov
CareerBuilder.com
Snagajob.com (if you want to pay a membership fee to find gigs paid by the hour)

Go back to school to get to work.

Get back to work indirectly by going back to school virtually. Online sites can offer inexpensive and convenient ways to improve your skills and return to work more quickly. With optional certificates, in alphabetical order, online education options include:
CodeAcademy.com
Coursera.org
edX.org
KhanAcademy.org
Lynda.com (now LinkedInLearning at https://www.linkedin.com/learning/me)
Microsoft Learn (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/)
Skillshare.com
Udacity.com
Udemy.com

PSGCNJ offers monthly Accelerated Career Training workshops. These 2 1/2 day workshops cover self assessments, employment search tools, and how to network and target companies, prepare for different types of interviews, and use social media in your job search.

Or position yourself as a Subject Matter Expert by creating your own online class and posting it at:
Alison.com
TedX.com

Good luck out there!

—Debby Freeman

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Inspirational Quote

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

― Norman Vincent Peale

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PSGCNJ Annual Picnic! June 24, 2019

PSGCNJ Picnic Flyer

PSGCNJ_Picnic_Flyer_20190624

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