Baby boomers reinvent their careers in the art world


One was a stockbroker, another a computer whiz. There's a therapist and a small-business owner. Each retired from a traditional career and launched into another in the arts. 

"Do I still have nightmares about the other (job)? Yes," says Bill Sanders, a Steamboat Springs, Colo., ceramics artist who is retired from the lumber and wood flooring business he owned for 20 years. He says he still wakes up sometimes in a cold sweat worrying about whether some shipment is making it to a job site on time. Then he realizes he doesn't need to worry about that anymore. 

These days, Sanders, 64, keeps to the outdoors - he skis during the winter and volunteers for the U.S. Forest Service during the summer - and creates his artwork, which includes dishware, decorative pots and sculptured horses. 

He learned the basics of ceramics as a teenager living in Southeast Asia. He kept at it while growing his Honolulu lumber and flooring business to include eight employees and more than $1 million in inventory by the time he sold the company in 1997. 

Then, he and his wife, Barbara, also an artist, moved to Colorado, and he turned to his lifelong love of ceramics more intentionally. 

"Clay is kind of cool. It's just dirt," says Sanders. "If you don't like what you did, you just throw it back in the bucket and then you can make something else." 

Jennifer O'Day, 61, of Austin, Texas, is a former stockbroker who says her mixed-media artwork nourishes all her senses. 

"It really sharpens my ability to see visually and perceptively and I think tactilely," says O'Day. "It's not just about my mind and my hand accomplishing something. It engages that whole mind-body-soul thing." 

She was born into a business-oriented family, so that was in her blood, she says. The art she nurtured. 

"I wanted to do something that was closer to the bone and less about the money," O'Day says about the portraits she now assembles. 

It's not just about my mind and my hand accomplishing something. It engages that whole mind-body-soul thing," she says. 

There's one aspect of her old stockbroker life that she sometimes misses: engaging with clients. 

Geri deGruy, 59, also enjoyed her previous career, as a therapist in private practice, although it was emotionally gruelling working with many of her clients, who were abused women.

"Toward the end of my practice, there was a feeling sort of like PTSD," she recalls.
She turned from being a therapist to the textile arts, which required that she slow down. 

"I started seeing form differently. I started seeing repetitive patterns," says deGruy, who creates small art quilts and mixed-media collages. "My eye was developing, my seeing was changing." 

She still works every day. 

"Always our time is short - we never know," deGruy says. "I have that urgency every day. I don't want to waste this moment. I don't want to miss this opportunity to play with color." 

Judy Hoch, 72, of Salida, Colo., finds parallels between her former career, as a computer engineer, and her current one as a jewellery maker. 

"Jewellery making is just engineering on a very small scale," she says. 

Hoch spent a dozen years at IBM, where she became a senior engineer and earned two patents, then moved into a computer software job, from which she was laid off in the early 1990s. 

"I had to do something after that," she recalls. "Going back to work in high tech when you're 50-something, it wasn't a real good idea. It wasn't going to work." 

She took jewellery and metals classes at a Denver-area community college and got hooked. She relies on her mechanical engineering training when fusing metals or cutting stones. 

"It's a lot of fairly sophisticated measurements," Hoch says. "There are so many technical things . Engineering is a very useful skill to have." 

While she describes her years in high-tech as fun - "like working with puzzles" - jewellery-making taps her creative energy. 

"You spend a week away from it and you get terrible withdrawal," she says.

This post originally appeared here: 

6 Ways to Land a Job When You’re Over 50

By  Kerry  Hannon

Are you kidding? Save for retirement? Seriously, there are far more pressing financial issues–like making ends meet right now and clinging to your current job, or worse, finding one, which I will help you with in a minute.

Financial advisors recommend socking away a whopping 15 percent of pay for retirement. Easier said then done.Backburner, baby.

The 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey published Tuesday by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Employee Benefits Research Institute once again told us what we already knew–workers and current retirees are less confident than ever in their ability to live comfortably in retirement.

That’s in large measure because most of us have no idea what that might cost.

Plus, retirement planning rarely has the pull of, say, saving to scoop up a vacation home on a lake, or socking money away for a sojourn around the world.

Few of us run the numbers about what we might really need to save in order to be able to stop working. We guess. We don’t seek out financial advice. We turn the switch. We wring our hands.

We justify our unrepentant lack of gumption to save and even think about saving to the rotten hand we’ve been dealt by the economy.

We need to save for living expenses today, not lock it away for the future. I hear this all the time when I talk to 50 + workers looking for a career transition, a new job, hope.

That’s what EBRI found: Asked to name the most pressing financial issue facing most Americans today, both workers and retirees are most likely to identify job uncertainty (30 percent of workers and 27 percent of retirees), debt and making ends meet (12 percent each). Just 2 percent of workers and 4 percent of retirees identify saving or planning for retirement as the most pressing financial issue.

The ‘what else can I do’ solution: We accept it. We’ll just keep working and never retire.

The age at which workers expect to retire has risen. In 1991, just 11 percent of workers expected to retire after age 65. In 2013, 36 percent of workers report they expect to wait until after age 65 to retire and 7 percent don’t plan to retire at all.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that idea. I am a big fan of working not only for the money, but the mental engagement, at any age. And there are lots of ways to make that a reality with part-time, contract, seasonal gigs, and simply, more flexible options.

But the truth is my friends in their late 50s, who are out looking for work, tell me about roadblocks all the time.

They blame their age. And there’s more than a grain of truth to that.

But as I write in Great Jobs for Everyone 50+, there are jobs out there. And in my recent New York Times article, A Gray Jobs Market for All Ages, I highlight some jobs to ride the age wave.

There are plenty more to add to the list I mention there-senior fitness trainer, patient advocate, home modification pro and senior move manager. New ones are coming on line every day, but you need to look around you and use your imagination. And you probably need to add some skills and certifications to qualify for these positions.

Start now and ask: What goods and services are in demand by an aging population? What ways can those of us in our 50s, 60s and 70s tackle those needs for the 80 and 90+ set?

First, look to fields that are growing. These include healthcare (think a broad definition here), education, nonprofits, and even small businesses are eager to snap up an experienced worker who brings leadership, proven management, and problem-solving skills to the table every day.

The enthusiasm of youth only goes so far.

If job worries are what’s keep you from saving for retirement, here’s what to do.

1. Get physically fit. Employers worry about your future health. No need to blast out a fast mile, but when you are in shape, you exude vibrancy, energy. It’s positive juju. The real issue is not age, but oomph, curiosity, confidence and a desire to keep learning.Hiring managers are concerned that you may have age-related health problems, or are likely to, and that will be a problem if you take too much time off for sick leave. And, there’s the nagging issue that you’ve got an “expiration date,” and you’re not in it for the long haul.

2. Ramp up your techiness. Employers think you’re a Luddite. This is nonnegotiable. “Googling” should be a verb you use frequently. The best way to show a potential employer this is to have a social media footprint. That means a LinkedIn profile, an active presence in discussion group. LinkedIn can help you get job leads and seek advice. Stay active. Join alumni and industry groups. Build your professional network. A Facebook page and a Twitter account are often smart too, depending on the kind of job you are aiming for. In general, though, employers want a variety of ways to check you out beyond your resume.

3. Play up your knack for working with the younger set. Employers think you’ll bristle about taking orders from a younger boss who is probably making more than you. This is the time to weave your narrative about your mentoring skills. Use real examples of how you’ve worked successfully with younger colleagues and sought their reverse mentoring help with technology challenges and more. You demonstrate your willingness to learn and ask for help from someone younger, and how that relationship has worked in tandem with you coaching them on leadership and management strategies.

4. Spin your flexible nature. Employers think you won’t be open to change. You need to speak up about your flexibility in terms of management style, your technological aptitude, and your knack of picking up new skills. One of the biggest raps we 50+ get is our stubborn refusal to try new ways of doing things.

5. Find someone you know to hire you. Employers want someone else to vet you. People want to employ people they know, or someone they know knows. This reassures them that someone else trusts you. No one will tell you this straight out, but it’s true.

6. Seek out workplaces where you feel comfortable. Employers want you to “fit in”. Remember interviewing is a two-way street. Many employers want to hire someone who will be right for the culture and play nicely with others. If it’s a workplace filled with younger workers, and you really aren’t keen on the vibe, then move on.

If you really want to get motivated to save for retirement, I recommend you try out the calculator. This tool, from the founder and director of the New England Centenarian Study, Dr. Thomas Perls, helps you estimate your life expectancy.

I discovered that my life expectancy is 93. Egads. But then again, my Irish grandmother lived to 98.

Looks like I’d better save even more for retirement.

You can follow me on Twitter, @KerryHannon I’m the author of Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy … And Pays the Bills (John Wiley & Sons), available here Check out my column at AARP. My weekly column at PBS’s is here.

Insider’s Secrets to Uncovering Contacts and Jobs (VIDEO)

By Neil Patrick
One of the facts I return to again and again is that the job hunting process no longer works in the way it used to. If you don’t know this already, I can tell you that right now around 80% of jobs are never advertised. And the way to get into this sector of the market is through effective networking.

But it’s about working smarter, not harder. Part of this involves powering up your network and Linkedin profile so this works better for you. And I’ve posted a lot of tips here about this (if you want to find all of these, just type ‘Linkedin’ into the search box top right).

But you shouldn’t just rely on this alone. Networking into you next job isn’t about going to countless events and giving out your business card to as many people as you can. It’s about targeting the RIGHT people and the right organisations.

Put another way, it’s Ready, Aim, Fire, not Fire, Fire and Fire again!

Too many people think that effective networking is about self promotion and meeting as many people as you can. Wrong. It’s actually much more like detective work. So use your forensic and research skills to uncover WHO you should be talking to and find the right way to get to them. And that’s often by indirect routes.

Research them on Linkedin. Learn everything you can about their business and it’s challenges. Find out which Linkedin Groups they are in. See who may be in their network that may be in yours. See if they are on Twitter.

Do not find them and then lamely tell them that you are looking for a job. Connect with them and engage on topics that they are interested in. Be inventive. If they post about a topic on Linkedin, use it as an opportunity to bring yourself to their attention, by sharing your knowledge. And if you don’t have any, go and find some. It doesn’t matter how you got the information. It’s not about you, it’s about them and bringing yourself to their attention in a way which doesn’t ask anything of them. This is called ‘paying it forward’.

I have hired dozens of people in this way. Not because they applied for a job vacancy, but because they did their homework and reached out effectively to me. When I discovered people in this way, the chances are that I would pass the information to the relevant line manager, asking them to check the person out. And you could be sure that at the very least that we’d discuss that resume and quite probably invite the person for an interview. Not because we had a vacancy, but because the person had shown me they had something we needed.

This film from NYU will give you a lot more ideas to about how you can get creative in penetrating this market. No more lukewarm coffees and awkward chats with total strangers in hotel lobbies will be needed either!

Job-Hunting Tips For Mid-lifers You Haven't Seen A Million Times Before

By Ann Brenoff Senior Writer, The Huffington Post

A few years ago during a job interview, a young recruiter asked what I hoped to be doing in five years. I suppressed a guffaw. It's a question recruiters have been asking for decades with the goal of learning about an applicant's career ambitions. The fact that I was pushing 60 at the time was what made it funny to me.

In my head, I said "In five years I hope to be collecting Social Security and laying on a beach in Hawaii, you little Pipsqueak" but out of my mouth came something like "I want to be working in a vibrant newsroom like yours, teaching younger journalists how to maintain professional standards by my example."

Midlifers get lots of advice about how to compete with younger applicants on job interviews. I'd like to throw out a few tips of my own based on nothing but personal experience. I'd point out to skeptics that I landed a job here at Huffington Post and will share that I had other offers before taking this one.

1. Emphasize your experience -- and yes that means acknowledging your age.

Lots of people tell you to make your resume age-neutral, meaning remove the years you graduated school. To those people I have to ask: Really? You think I'm going to pass for someone right out of college?

I would respectfully suggest that instead you emphasize the skills you acquired because of your experience -- your wisdom about workplace dynamics, your maturity at dealing with conflict, your grace under pressure and track record of success.

2. For those who lost their last job in the recession and remain unemployed in the corporate world, add what you learned from that experience as well.
Unemployment is a humbling thing -- and something we can grow from. Talk about it bluntly, calmly, objectively. You were laid off because of a contraction in the economy, not because you weren't competent.

If you are still eating and sleeping under a roof, chances are you have strung together enough gigs to eek by. In today's parlance, that makes you an entrepreneur. At the very least it speaks to your determination to plow through adversity. I think it's fine to let recruiters know that you suffered some hard times but also that you are someone who gets down to business and gets the job done. Just say it all with a smile.

And if you were smart enough to get some retraining so that you have a skills set that matches up with today's jobs market, discuss that too. Not even Millennials were born knowing how to figure out Facebook's privacy settings. Someone taught them, just like someone taught you.

3. Learn today's lingo but be true to yourself.

If you want to be hired by that insanely awesome company, you need to be confident about your place in it. But be yourself. If they wanted another 20-something hipster for the job, you wouldn't be sitting in the room with the interviewer.

Don't dress like a college student and don't talk like one either. Be yourself.

4. Don't act like a parent.

Nobody wants to work with their mother. This one was the hardest thing for me during interviews. I'm outgoing and personable. It's a trait that made me a good journalist. I make people comfortable when we talk.

But I also nurture by nature. I notice things like the absence of a wedding band on the hand of a 30-something and have to bite my tongue. The point is, I bit my tongue. You are there to discuss a job, not offer personal life advice.

A friend relates the story of being interviewed by a 20-something for a job working on a large travel website. The interviewer actually remarked that my friend was older than his father. Instead of lecturing the interviewer on the inappropriateness of his comment, my friend turned it around and started talking about what he was doing when he was the interviewer's age -- which was traveling the world hitching rides on barges throughout Asia and eventually working in management on a cruise ship. The interviewer suddenly stopped seeing his father and began seeing a fantasy version of himself. My friend got the job.

5. Don't assume that you're the smartest guy in the room.

This is an attitude midlifers slip into sometimes on the basis that they worked at a job for more years than the interviewer was perhaps alive. Truth is, the workforce has changed. And the skills required to do our jobs -- all of our jobs -- are different now than they were 35 years ago. Instead of doing the "been there, done that" thing, accept that your younger colleagues in fact know more than you do about a lot of parts of how to do the job. Treat them as peers, respect their knowledge and share yours freely.

6. Address the stereotypes head on.

We all know what they say about us, that we are techno-illiterates and can't be taught new tricks. Navigating the online world isn't brain surgery. What I don't know about, I know how to find out. I don't think midlifers are techno-illiterates as much as it is that our lives aren't as techno-centric as the lives of Millennials.

A few months ago, an editor asked me if I had a "texting relationship" with a source. I admit I hadn't before heard the term. She meant, do I text with the woman? No, but I routinely call her. Texting relationships feel one step removed from phone calls, but offer the benefit of not disturbing the person if they are asleep. Note to editor: They also are easier to ignore. I called.

This post originally appeared here:

Australia shows the way ahead to keep older workers in the workplace

By Terry Hayes

The issue of how to take advantage of the skills and experience of older workers is becoming more important as baby boomers age and leave the workforce. All that experience "walking out the door" is a loss for any business. And many older people simply don't want to retire at the age of 65 (or earlier).

SMEs in particular don't need barriers raised to them employing mature age workers; after all, many of them are family businesses that highly value the input of older more experienced family members.

The federal government recently launched the Australian Law Reform Commission's report, Access All Ages - Older Workers and Commonwealth Laws. In the report, the commission identifies legal barriers to older persons participating in the workforce and made recommendations across superannuation, social security, employment, insurance and compensation law. Several recommendations were to the effect that the social security and superannuation systems should not discourage or prevent workforce participation.

ALRC president Professor Rosalind Croucher said the recommendations had been developed in the light of six interlinking principles – participation, independence, self-agency, system stability, system coherence, and fairness – that assisted in balancing a range of competing priorities. The ALRC suggests a combination of legislative and regulatory reform is needed, together with measures to increase education and awareness and address perceptions and stereotypes surrounding mature age workers.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus acknowledged there were "enormous opportunities" that come with an ageing population, including a more experienced workforce and the availability of mentors for younger workers. If laws need to be changed to take advantage of those opportunities, then many would argue that should be done.

Employment Minister Bill Shorten noted the government has also abolished the Super Guarantee maximum age limit, enabling employees aged 70 and over to contribute to their retirement savings for the first time. He said the government would consider the recommendations made.

The government says that for more than five million baby boomers, there's a realistic chance of 20-30 years of life after work, but it said around 60% want to keep working beyond 65 for a range of reasons, with most preferring a phased withdrawal from the workforce. No doubt many SMEs would agree.

In its 36 recommendations, the report recommended:

  • the work test for superannuation be reviewed;
  • the legislation that provides for government co-contributions to be payable only for people aged under 71 years should be repealed;
  • the Government review the "Transition to Retirement" rules. The report said the review should determine what changes, if any, are required to ensure the rules meet their policy objective. Among issues for review would be the relationship to the concessional superannuation contributions cap;
  • mature age workers be provided with longer periods of notice for termination of employment;
  • the Australian Human Rights Commission should, in consultation with key insurance and superannuation bodies, develop guidance material about the application of any insurance exception as it applies to age under Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation; and
  • the Guide to Social Security Law should be amended to provide that undertaking paid work for fewer than 30 hours per week will not trigger a review of qualification for Disability Support Pension.

The other recommendations in the report are specific strategies in the implementation of a national plan, designed to provide:

  • a coordinated policy response to enable mature age workforce participation;
  • consistency across Commonwealth laws and between Commonwealth and state and territory laws to support mature age workforce participation;
  • a reduction in age discrimination;
  • a greater awareness of mature age workers' rights and entitlements;
  • support for maintaining attachment to the workforce for mature age persons;
  • work environments, practices and processes that are appropriate for mature age workers.

The value for a business in harnessing the skills and experience of an older worker is obvious. It's a shame that over the years, too many obstacles have been put (mostly unintentionally) in the way of that.

The age-old idea of an older worker moving on to make way for younger people is not of itself unreasonable, but that doesn't mean that "older head" is no longer useful – quite the reverse. Perhaps this latest report will spur some concrete action on the part of governments to rectify this. SMEs could be a winner from such action.

Terry Hayes is the Editor-in-Chief of tax news reporting at Thomson Reuters, a leading Australian provider of tax, accounting and legal information solutions.

How to network into the hidden jobs market (VIDEO)

If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I am a strong advocate of targeting your effort into building strong personal networks. In today’s job’s market, this is without question, the most powerful strategy for securing your next role.

But we have to do this in the real world as well as online. It’s easy to be fooled into thinking that we are networking effectively whilst sitting in front of a computer. For sure, the internet provides a lot more options than were previously available, but it is a supplement, not a replacement for real world networking.

The most successful networkers know how to combine both, and if you know the tricks, you really can become so well connected that jobs and opportunities actually find you.

Successful networking doesn’t come easily to many of us however. How can you become more successful at doing this in the real world? And how does this connect with what you do online?

As with so many things, it is actually easier if you know a few simple tricks. And better still, these don’t require you to change who you are, just what you do.

So I was delighted to find this conference video segment from NYU which provides about a dozen great tips to improve your networking whether you are seeking your next role or just looking to invest in your personal career future.

It’s just 9 minutes long, so by my calculations, that’s one idea every 45 seconds!

8 Secrets for Using LinkedIn to Land Your Next Job

by Michael S. Seaver
Career advancement in the 21st century looks drastically different than it did even a decade ago. Climbing the proverbial corporate ladder isn’t as much of an option as organizations outsource, offshore and flatten their hierarchies. Instead, you have to continually develop your personal suite of skills by taking lateral moves, and sometimes steps backwards, that help you move towards the fulfillment of your larger personal mission. There are thousands of online portals that allow you to look for meaningful work, but the most important piece of professional online real estate you can have is a LinkedIn profile. Here are eight (8) insider tips to ensure your profile is robust and noticed daily.

1. 85% of Job Opportunities Come Out of 2nd Level Connections
– A LinkedIn employee shared the research at an event I attended recently. I encourage you to review your connections’ profiles, learn about who they’re connected to and ask for appropriate introductions. There is a high probability that your connection’s connection will help you land your next job.

2. Success Patterns of Other People – If you review the profiles of five people that currently hold your ideal job, look back at the progression in their careers to help you craft your story and resume. Attempt to use their keywords or phrases in the development of your resume and LinkedIn profile. The steps in their careers will open your eyes to paths that you may not have considered before. 

3. Contact Information Section – At the top of your first level connections’ profiles, you can click on the “Edit Contact Info” button and enter information as though you were keying in into a contact management system. After every interaction with him/her, enter key data like interests, family member names or specific tasks you promised to deliver.

4. Interests – Near the bottom of your personal profile is an Additional Info section for Interests. When conducting informational interviews, use the person’s interests as a warm opening to break the ice and get a robust conversation going.

5. Your Top 5 Endorsed Skills = Your Personal Brand – There is significant power in how people perceive you. If you are struggling to identify your personal brand message, review your profile to see the top three to five skills that others have endorsed you for. If others perceive you as already having specific strengths, be sure to leverage those ideas in your cover letters, 30-second commercials and when interviewing.

6. Import Your Resume Word for Word – Advanced applicant tracking systems are now allowing you to apply for jobs with your LinkedIn profile. When applying on company websites, you do not have to take the time to upload your text-based resume. Ensuring that your resume and LinkedIn profile are the same also helps to relay a consistent brand message from the perspective of the recruiter.

7. LinkedIn’s Alumni Tool – The new feature is incredibly helpful in seeking out 1st, 2nd and 3rd level connections in a specific geography, company, industry, function or from a particular educational institution. Instead of taking hours to send emails and making phone calls to find someone, you can find connections in your target companies in less than 30 seconds.

8. Create a Connection Acceptance Follow-Up Template – As you meet and connect with more people, it is important to connect with them on LinkedIn as quickly as possible. When your connections accept your LinkedIn invitation, immediately send a response back that includes what you are following up on, mention a shared connection (person or interest) and close with a suggestion for developing a further connection.

Creating a robust LinkedIn profile and then remaining active daily is very important. Without this focus, there is likelihood that you’ll become conversationally irrelevant. You want to be remarkable (worthy of making a remark about) in the eyes of your stakeholders. The above eight (8) tips will help you do just that.

Remember…find a career that you would die for…and then live for it!

This post originally appeared here:

How You Can Unlock the Secrets of the Hidden Jobs Market

The unemployment figures are daunting and the competition fierce. You can send out 100 resumes a week and still have trouble finding a job. So, where is the hidden jobs market and how can you tap into it?

Depending on your location and industry sector, anything from 60-90% of hirings are never advertised. That’s right 90%! That’s because in these hard times, firms are increasingly reluctant to pay recruiter fees. It’s also because firms are getting savvy about how they can use their own networks, both personal and online to find the perfect candidate for the role.

From the applicants perspective, since an advertised role attracts an average around 200 applications, this means that your resume will get an average of 5 seconds attention upon receipt – and yes that’s a fact proven by research.

So signing up for jobs boards, scouring firms’ advertised vacancies online and posting your resume speculatively is a really bad strategy. It might make you feel better because you are so busy, but it’s a recipe for a long and probably disappointing job search.

But there is an alternative and it means that you can be in the 90% rather than the 10%. It also means that instead of fighting against 200 others, you may very well be one of just a handful of candidates considered. Couple this with the other tactics that I have posted here and suddenly your chances of success are more like 50% instead of 0.5% - that’s right 100 times greater!

So how do you leverage your network to penetrate the hidden jobs market? Well you can start right here with this video from an NYU conference where several experts describe their experiences and provide some great tips. It’s just 10 minutes long . How many good openings could you find on the job boards in that time?

What to do if you hit a brick wall in your job search

By Mildred L. Culp

You have your job down pat. You know your industry. You job hunt intelligently, but you’ve hit a brick wall. What have you not learned to do? For inspiration, read some tips from people throughout the country.


Don’t minimize the most important first step – research. Learn about company cultures. Mark Frietch recommends you develop of list of cultures in your work history you liked or didn’t. He’s president of TAC Services LLC in Charlotte, N.C., where he consults on integrating social media and social networking for job seekers. “Look for particular buzzwords on web sites,” he says, “such as community involvement or community relations.”

Michelle Proehl, president of Slate Advisers Inc, a career transition service in Sunnyvale, Calif., tells you to identify the values of an organization to determine if it parallels yours. “What type of work environment brings out the best in you?” she asks. “When have you felt most successful in the past? How will the role that you’re applying for enable the same? Some companies value long hours, collaboration and face time,” she observes. “What kind of people do you want to work with – technology innovators or people with more work-life balance?”
Frietch also mentions that, when using LinkedIn, if you target the title of a person likely to hire you and “do a keyword search in your areas of focus, you’ll be targeting people who will help you get the job. They talk to each other.”

Once inside, look at your potential boss. “Leadership styles and work environment are created by that leader,” Proehl mentions. “Is the person more hands-on or self-directed?” She concedes that you need to think about co-workers, too.


Career strategist Darrell Gurney, author of “Never Apply for a Job Again,” has updated his job-hunting method, which is particularly useful if you don’t need a job this minute (Career Press, $14.95). He directs people to “focus on relationships today/this week (rather than your) desperate need for a job.” The latter repels. The former attracts.

Identify and maximize your passion, “such as something cutting edge in your current field or hot and fascinating in another field,” he advises. Not sure how to do it? He makes it simple: Scan the classifieds for inspiring words and phrases (a.k.a., your “sweet spot”).

Then, “find reasons to meet people other than your need for a job,” Gurney writes. These aren’t information interviews, which scream, “I’m looking for a job.” For example, one job seeker created a blog showcasing local CMOs after he interviewed them. Eventually, “people turned the tables on him and offer him a job,” Gurney reports.

“It’s always about knowing and being known by people in the know,” he explains. “Go for information and relationships. If you find reasons to get in front of and known by thought and industry leaders, the job will take care of itself.”

Here’s a gem: “People bend the rules for people they know,” he writes.


When you don’t land a job, it’s easy to torment yourself with failure. Rather than obsessing over how you did in interviews, consider a tactic from Tracy Brisson, founder and CEO of The Opportunities Project Inc. in Savannah, Ga. She calls it the “replay” technique.

Immediately after an interview, write down everything you can remember. Then, bring together one or two peers, especially one who’s hired. “Replay the interview questions and your answers,” she says. “Ask if they hear anything they might rephrase or consider a turn-off.” Discovering you didn’t say anything catastrophic will free you to move forward.