Make the Best of Every Zoom Meeting

Bob Larson, CPC

July-September Career Report Issue # 242

If you don’t like attending Zoom meetings, you’re not alone. Most workers feel there are simply too many on-line meetings to attend on a daily and weekly basis, and that many of them are entirely unnecessary. But virtual meetings don’t have to be that way here are two secrets to making virtually any meeting both interesting and productive.

The first is to use the meeting to practice being “present moment-oriented.” In other words, try to absorb yourself in the meeting and don’t allow your mind to wander.  Make a deliberate attempt to be focused allowing you to get as much value out of the experience as possible.  Do not minimize the screen continue to look into the camera and keep those emails and text messages in off mode.

You can spend your time daydreaming or wishing you were somewhere else, but that doesn’t help you in your job or in your career. These virtual meetings provide an opportunity to show your superiors and coworkers that you are really a good listener. This will help you be highly responsive to whatever is being discussed. That way, if there is something you can contribute, you can make a strong impression with your answer.

Employing the “present moment” technique you will find meetings to be far more interesting. Additional insights will come to mind and your contributions will grow.  Listening intently will also increase your sense of respect from others. They may not be consciously aware of it, but it seems that when those present in a meeting sense that you are truly paying attention, they want to listen to you as well.

The second secret is to tell yourself that you are going to learn something from each meeting. Listen intently to what is said and try to hear something you don’t already know. Rather than comparing what you’re hearing to what you already believe, search for new wisdom, a new insight, or a new way to do something.

Instead of saying “Yeah, Yeah, I already know this stuff,” try to clear your mind and allow yourself to have a beginner’s mind.

You will find the results quite impressive and significant. Your learning curve will dramatically increase, and meetings will become fun again. Why not spend this time in a productive, healthy way, practicing valuable emotional skills instead of wishing you could turn off your camera and mute your boss.

Try practicing staying fully present and by doing you’ll make your work life more interesting and effective.  And ZOOM FATIGUE will become less of a reality and you might actually enjoy the experience.

NEW FROM BLK

With Unemployment rates at historical highs and most industries in uncharted waters; we at Berman Larson Kane are doing our best to adjust our staffing services to our clients needs. 

We wish we had some answers but are remaining flexible and ready to pivot at a moments notice.

For the present we are healthy and thankful.  Our migration to virtual desktops several years ago has allowed us to adapt seamlessly to  remote work from home model.

We wish all good health and are always available to listen to your concerns and see if we can assist as the new normal emerges.  Stay well and healthy.

Making Yourself Indispensable

Bob Larson, CPC

April – June 2020 – Career Report –  Issue 241

Making Yourself Indispensable During and After the Shut-Down

Your company, like most others, will go through many transitions during this pandemic shut-down.  If you have managed to survive or have been furloughed until the isolation is lifted; your company viewed you as a well-regarded employee who possesses skills and knowledge that make you an important member of its team. But now you want to do more than just hold on. You want to become an indispensable employee. In the following Q&A article from The New York Times during the 2008-09 recession, careers columnist Eilene Zimmerman offers a variety of ideas to help you to succeed.

Q. How can you make yourself more valuable to your company and improve your chances of a future promotion?

You can enhance your odds of a promotion by suggesting ways to solve problems, taking the initiative on projects, sharpening your skills and showing a willingness to help others. Find ways that the company can earn more money and spend less, said Larry Myler, chief executive of the consulting firm More or Less Inc., in Provo, Utah. When you see ways to cut costs or streamline processes, develop a plan and write a proposal, Myler said.

Presenting that to your manager “shows you’re taking initiative, which makes you more valuable,” he told the newspaper. “You will be seen as a person who is mindful of the company’s bottom line and who has the ability to do something about it. That’s huge.”

Q. How do you carve out a niche for yourself in the company–one that sets you apart as an expert in a specific area and how do you manage to do that while handling your usual job responsibilities?

To create that niche, focus on what you already know, rather than picking a new area and then trying to learn all about it, said Vaughan Evans, a career strategist in London. “Let’s say you are very proficient with numbers, quantitative work and using the Excel program,” Evans said. “Why not become a master at Excel so that within the origination, you are the go-to person for that program?”

Building on your strengths – and letting your weaknesses go – will enable you to carve out a niche. Keep in mind, though, that your area of expertise needs to be important to the organization, Evans added.

Q. Should you ask your manager whether the company would be willing to pay for additional training?

Some career experts say that during challenging economic times, employees should be cautious about asking their companies to cover costs for training, conferences or additional education. Myler suggested that if you do ask, be frugal about it. “Asking your company to cover the cost of attendance at a pricey conference probably won’t go over well,” he said. “Instead, ask if they will pay for the conference notes—usually a nominal cost—and do self-study instead.”

Ingrid Stabb, co-author of “The Career With You,” suggested checking with human resources to see whether tuition reimbursement is among your benefits. That money can be used to pay for a variety of courses that further your expertise in a particular area, she said. If the company won’t pay, you might want to consider footing the bill yourself for evening or weekend classes or for online courses.

Q. What’s the best way to make management aware of steps you are taking to enhance your skills and expertise, without sounding obnoxious about it?

Show your strengths in a way that benefits your boss and everyone in your department. Stabb said: “If your strength is organizing data, for example, and you know there is all this data your boss has but hasn’t organized, create a spreadsheet table that makes it easier for the department to access the information, and then offer to lead a brown-bag lunch presentation to explain how to read it.

Being helpful toward and protective of others is another way to showcase your knowledge – in a nonthreatening way. This applies to both colleagues and managers. For example, when you have information that can be useful to others, share it, said Sandra Naiman, owner of the executive coaching firm SNM Partners in Denver and author of “High Achievers Secret Codebook: The Unwritten Rules for Success at Work.” This could include articles in trade journals, information on the company’s intranet and relevant online sources.

When others go out of their way to help you in a similar manner, always give them credit by sending an e-mail message to their boss to describe the help, she told the newspaper.

“The bottom line is you want to be known and relied upon by many people in the organization as possible,” Naiman said. “The more people who depend upon you for their success, the more valuable you become.”

NEWS from BLK

Like the rest of the world we at BLK are scrambling to establish a new normal as the business world is on hold and have continued our virtual model.  Our talent discovery team is devoting its time to a few medical clients that are adjusting to the changing demands put onto the healthcare system.  Other members of our team are putting energies into building talent ques so we are prepared for staffing demands once the non-essential business ban is lifted.

April 1st was BLK’s  40th Anniversary of assisting  job seekers and employers with their hiring challenges.  That’s right “April Fools Day”  I so wish this was a dream that we are experiencing.  As president of Berman Larson Kane for the past 40 years I have no doubt that a new and better normal will emerge as we all return to good health.  Having weathered numerous unanticipated economic storms, recessions, world events and work restructurings I have no doubt that ”this too shall pass”.

Stay healthy. Keep your social distance and virus FREE.

March 2020 Career Report Issue 240

HOW TO HIRE THE RIGHT EMPLOYEES

Bob Larson, CPC

March 2020 – Career Report –  Issue 240

HOW TO HIRE THE RIGHT EMPLOYEES

Successfully recruiting new employees to your team can be a grueling process. It can take months to find someone who’s the perfect fit for both the position and company culture – and sometimes, when the going’s really rough, it can be tempting to settle on someone who’s good…but not great.

But according to an article published by the blog Hubspot.com, bad hiring decisions are not only frustrating for you and your team, they can also jeopardize the longevity of other valuable employees, slow down productivity, and cost your company money.

So what should hiring managers look for in candidates to ensure they aren’t setting themselves up for failure?

According to the article, when looking for prospective employees, focus on those who you feel possess the following six qualities:

  • Values Match the Company’s Message – Knowing what values the individual is looking for in a company helps better understand whether or not they will fit the organization office culture.
  • A Desire to Learn – Hiring managers want individuals on their team who want to continue learning. During the interview process, look for candidates who show excitement towards growth.
  • Long-term Potential – With turnover being extremely costly, look for new hires that show a long-term interest in the company and aspire to work their way up the corporate ladder.
  • Enthusiasm For the Position –For a new hire, you want someone who is assertive in performing necessary responsibilities, portrays excitement for daily tasks and is inspired to contribute to the company.
  • Good Communications Skills – It is necessary to have employees who can respectfully communicate and articulate the company’s message clearly to business professionals and clients so that the organization’s reputation remains positive.
  • Trustworthiness and Responsibility — An employer needs to be able to put full trust in their employee’s ability to perform and complete tasks accurately in order to maintain a positive and productive office culture. Look for employees who are good with taking direction and take responsibility for their work.

By staying focused on these six qualities, you’ll be weeding out those who can have a negative impact on your business and enhance your chances of hiring someone who can contribute to your organization’s growth and success.

NEWS FROM BLK

Coronavirus, Primary Elections, Global Warming and Stock Market Gyrations?  How does one predict the effects on the job market?  We have no idea.  Good news is February’s job creation numbers are predicted to be in the high one hundred thousands.  So short term we are ok ….long term is a wild card.

As for this moment we are witnessing shortages in several niches with big data candidates leading the shortage.  Based on the recent past we are assuming healthcare’s climb will continue on a rapid upward path with some retraction in many of the service jobs including retail and hospitality.

As president of Berman Larson Kane we thank all for their business and look forward to celebrating our 40th anniversary on April 1st.  It has been a long and wild ride for 4 decades and the future appears to continue to generate extreme ups and downs.

February 2020 Career Report Issue 239

February 2020 Career Report Issue 239

FOLLOWING UP AFTER AN INTERVIEW

Comparisons between job hunting and dating are common, and never are they truer than when it comes to the follow-up after the initial interview or first date, according to an article from CareerBuilder.com.

 After either meeting, if you’re interested you want to let the other person know, but you don’t want to appear desperate. You also don’t want to feel foolish if the employer or the date had no intention of contacting you again. On the other hand, what if the employer or the date is waiting for you to make the first call? If you don’t follow-up promptly, it might indicate a lack of interest and you might miss out on a great job or a great romance.

 In the case of the interview, the article noted, you end up asking yourself many questions and imagining hypothetical situations. “If I follow up now, do I seem desperate? If I wait too long, will they think I’m lazy? What if I’m the front-runner but I bug them and they cross my name off the list? What if I’m tied with someone else and my initiative gives me the edge?” There are so many questions and no definite answers to any of them.

As with dating, job hunts don’t have rules set in stone and careful navigation is always key. At best, you need to do what feels right and see what happens; ultimately you have to use your judgment and hope for the best.

 Here, from the CareerBuilder.com article, are three possible methods for following up with an employer after an interview and ways to know if you’ve crossed the line from eager to annoying:

1. The thank-you note is necessary after an interview, and no job seeker can afford to forgo it. Thank-you notes tell hiring managers that you respect their time. They have packed schedules and can afford to spend time interviewing only a select group of applicants, so your note acknowledges how grateful you are to get some face time.

Appropriate: An e-mailed note on the same day of the interview shows that you are courteous and don’t dawdle. For most employers, e-mail is the acceptable form of thanks because e-mail is a part of everyday business life and arrives quickly. A handwritten letter can be sent as a supplement to the e-mail if you want to stress your gratitude or you know the interviewer is old-fashioned.

Overkill: If you’re going to follow up with a letter after your follow-up letter, think again. You already said thank you, so what else do you need to say? Both you and the hiring manager know that another letter is your way of asking, “Did I get the job?” So don’t clog the hiring manager’s inbox with more notes unless you want to be thought of as a pest.

2. The phone call is daunting and may not be the correct move in every job situation. In fact, many job postings specifically state, “No phone calls.” Unless you’re feeling brave, you might want to skip it.

Appropriate: Unless you were specifically instructed not to call the hiring manager or another contact, you can make the call after an appropriate amount of time has passed. In this case, if you were given a deadline for when a decision would be made, let it pass and wait a few extra days and then make the call.

Overkill: The phone call is one of the easiest ways to sabotage your image. Call once, when appropriate, and don’t call again unless you’ve been told to. Phone calls are a nuisance in a way that letters and e-mails aren’t. You can decline to open a message or just read it and ignore it. A phone call is harder to ignore if it requires the hiring manager to screen his or her calls once you become a repeat offender. If the company wants you, it probably won’t forget to call you.

3. The pop-in visit causes you anxiety when your in-laws do it. Your place is a mess and suddenly you’re forced to entertain people who you might not like very much anyway. Don’t do that to an employer if you want to be considered for a job.

Appropriate: Stopping by to visit the company is rarely acceptable. Unless you have an explicit indication that you’re welcome to show up uninvited, which would actually imply that you are invited, showing up in person is inappropriate. This follow-up is one case where once is almost certainly too much.

Overkill: When you show up and the hiring manager or receptionist gives you a look that says, “Why are you here?” you’ll know you’ve crossed a line. Employers are busy — they have schedules, meetings, clients and tasks. By showing up unannounced, you not only disrupt their routine but also imply that you are more important than their obligations and deserve their immediate attention.

Of course, the article noted, you’re bound to meet someone who broke one of these rules and impressed the hiring manager by his or her audacity. Just be aware, though, that by doing so you’re risking your professional reputation and could be removing yourself from the running for a job where you were a top candidate.

NEW FROM BLK:

2020 is off to a quick hiring start.  We at BLK have seen an influx of new orders that mostly represent additions to staff.  Hiring is strong across most segments with competition for top talent becoming increasingly highly competitive.

Job-seekers continue to gain advantages as hiring managers look to fill increasing skill niches to assure work is being done in a timely fashion. 

This year being the 40th year of business for Berman Larson Kane we thank all for your continuous support and look forward to servicing both job-seekers and hiring authorities.  It is truly a privilege and honor to serve.

2019 Career Reports

December 2019 – Issue 237

  • Tis’ the Season for Job Searching
  • News from BLK

October 2019 – Issue 236

  • Temp to Perm Strategies
  • News from BLK

September 2019 – Issue 235

  • Recharge Your Batteries and Love Your Job
  • News from BLK

August 2019 – Issue 234

  • In Interviews Ask  Questions
  • News from BLK

July 2019- Issue 233

  • Tips for Telephone Interviews
  • News from BLK

June 2019 – Issue 232

  • It’s Important to Take a Vacation
  • News from BLK

May 2019 – Issue 231

  • Learn the Culture of a New Employer
  • News from BLK

April 2019 – Issue 230

  • Staying Fit in the Job Search
  • News from BLK

March 2019 – Issue 229

  • At Work it Pays to Be Likable
  • News from BLK

February 2019 – Issue 228

  • Be Alert for a Bad Boss-to-Be
  • News from BLK

January 2019 – Issue 227

  • 2019 Guiding Principles
  • News from BLK

Maintain a Positive Online Identity

Bob Larson, CPC

You may never know for sure why you weren’t hired for a position, but be aware that background checks, including Internet searches, can make or break a job application. According to an article in The New York Times, in this data-rich world in which so much information is now available online, the person with the fewest red flags is the person who may have the best chance of getting the job.

Research has been done on how hiring managers use the Internet to vet applicants. You should assume that they are at least looking you up on search engines, even if you have a great résumé and your references have raved about you. So it’s wise to review the results of a quick search of your name. And although it is very hard to remove anything questionable about yourself from a search engine, you can at least push it lower by adding positive entries, said Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, a career management business in New York.

Safani told the newspaper that she aims to help clients create a positive professional identity on the Internet through Google profiles, LinkedIn and others, for example, as these tend to be among the first to appear in search results. Adding such entries can also help people who have little or no presence online, as that can be viewed with suspicion these days, she said.

Job seekers should also give their Facebook page a close look. “How private is your Facebook page, really?” said Lewis Maltby, founder of the National Workplace Rights Institute, an advocacy group. Despite private settings, he said, it’s not inconceivable that a potential employer could become a friend of one of your friends and thereby gain access to your page.

If you are showing or saying anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see, “take it down,” Maltby told the newspaper. The same goes for friends’ posts that mention or “tag” you.

Maltby said he started his group “to extend protection for civil liberties to the world of employment because it doesn’t exist there.” But, he said, he also once ran a human resources department, and “you can’t blame H.R. people for looking at social network sites because hiring the wrong person is a very expensive mistake.”

His concern is that some hiring managers may be disqualifying candidates “for ridiculous reasons that have nothing to do with the job – for example, pictures of them drinking beer. Chances are that employers wouldn’t tell you that a Facebook picture of you with a lampshade on your head was the reason you weren’t hired. But even if they did, they can generally refuse to hire you for any reason that isn’t specifically excluded by federal or state law, Maltby said. Such reasons include race, religion, disability or age.

And other online dangers may be lurking, the article pointed out. You may continually be dropped from contention for jobs because of something about you on the Internet databases, said Michael Fertik, founder and chief executive of Reputation Defender in Redwood, Calif.

Without question, more data than ever is available on individuals. Hiring managers, if they were so inclined, might be able to learn about your political leanings, buying habits, hobbies and interests. But would they bother to do so? And would they hold that against you even if it had no bearing on the job?

Mike Aitken, director of government affairs at the Society for Human Resource Management, a professional association, is skeptical that many hiring managers have the time or inclination to investigate applicants on the Internet in any serious way—except, perhaps, when filling very high-level positions. Employers could even open themselves up to litigation by doing so, because candidates might contend that they were rejected for a job for a reason like religion that was revealed on a social network, he said. He also noted that such searches are costly.

Most employers contract background checks to other companies, he said, and these usually focus on things like whether a résumé is accurate, Aitken told the newspaper. For certain positions, employers may also perform criminal and credit checks, he added.

Employers must obtain permission to check your credit, though, but turning then down doesn’t bode well for your application, Maltby said. And if the employer rejects you for the job, offering some credible reason, he said, who’s to say it wasn’t actually because of the credit report? That’s a strong argument for checking your credit report for mistakes, and developing a good explanation if your credit score is genuinely poor (as it may well be if you’ve been out of work for a while.

Clearly, it can’t hurt to do a little research on yourself before sending applications because what you learn may surprise you. As Sanfani said, “Taking control of the situation is always a better strategy than sitting back and seeing what they find.”

NEW FROM BLK

We at Berman Larson Kane are very excited to start 2020 since it will make our 40th year in business.  We are very appreciative of the many clients and job-seekers that have put their trust in our ability to “Offer the Best Employment Options” over the past 4 decades.

As the New Year begins we are very excited by the low unemployment numbers and the solid  job creation numbers as the market remains strong, transitioning, changing and growing.  This will be an exciting year and hopefully a wonderful decade.  Looking forward to celebrating our anniversary in April. 

If you have any employment challenges either job-seeking or hiring our pleasure to listen to you challenge and see if we can be of assistance.  Thanks again for all your support.

Career Report December 2019 Issue 237

Career Report, December  2018 Issue 237

TIS’ THE SEASON FOR JOB SEARCHING

Many job seekers are tempted to slow down their search for a new position (or pause it altogether) during the winter holiday season. But according to an article published by Monster.com, career experts say that taking a break from your holiday job search is a mistake — because hiring doesn’t stop.

At the end of the year, some companies rush to fill job openings that might otherwise be removed from next year’s budget, the article pointed out. Still, other organizations will be looking ahead. “Jobs that might have been on hold until budgets are in place will become available in January,” said career expert Kimberly Bishop.

Roy Cohen, an executive coach agreed. “There’s a belief that recruiting shuts down during the holidays,” he said. “That’s a myth — so when other people take off from their job-searching during the holidays, you’re at an advantage should an opportunity surface. It’s all about numbers and odds.”

In fact, the holidays provide some distinct advantages and special opportunities for proactive job seekers. Here according to the Monster.com article are some ways to make the most of your holiday-seasonal job search:

  • Be Flexible — Judi Perkins of FindthePerfectJob.com recalled: “When I was a recruiter, the holidays were one of my busiest times, and I was often on the phone either side of Christmas day.” This means that you should be prepared to interview at unusual times, to allow for a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s busy holiday schedule.
  •  Do Volunteer Work — All sorts of philanthropic organizations ramp up activities during the holidays – and volunteering can be a great way to network, gain skills and fill the gap that unemployment might otherwise leave on your resume. “You’ll meet other volunteers — great people who, by nature, will want to help,” Cohen added. “You’ll feel good, too.”
  • Look into Temporary Positions — Many companies have end-of-year crunches — at the same time that many workers want to take time off — so they look to staffing agencies to fill gaps. A temporary position can be a great way to get your foot in the door at a new company.
  • Use Holiday Social Events to Network —You don’t want to make every conversation about your job search — but letting people know how they can help you is crucial. “Have your pitch — who you are, what you want and why — ready and perfect,” Cohen advised. And try to keep things positive. When you tell people you’re looking for work, also tell them how you’ve been productive with your time off.
  • Reach Out to Your Contacts — The holidays are a great reason to reach out to friends and acquaintances as well as to reconnect with people. “Send out a holiday greeting, but add a little extra in your message,” Cohen suggested. “Email or snail mail the card to everyone in your job search universe. It should be upbeat — that you continue and are committed to searching for a great job and know that it is only a matter of time and timing.” Be sure to express your gratitude to those you reach out to and if you don’t know which holidays a contact celebrates, “Happy New Year” is a safe sentiment.
  • Help People in Your Network — Remember that the holidays are a time for giving, so find ways to help the people in your network. They’ll be likelier to help you in the future.
  • Recommit to Your Job Search — Lastly, start the year off right: Make an appointment with yourself to determine your goals for the coming year. Then schedule some time to update your resume, practice your interview skills and polish up on your personal brand.

NEWS FROM BLK

We would like to thank all our clients for their business and wish all a joyous holiday season.  With the new year on the horizon, we at Berman Larson Kane are looking forward to a continually expanding economy with solid job creation.  Our predictions are a continuing increasing competition for top talent as baby boomers retire from the workforce creating a gap for experienced workers.  Some niches will continue to expand while others constrict as the businesses restructure for the rapidly changing world demands.  The one sure thing is that will unplanned changes will emerge and the job market continues to evolve to changing technologies and consumer demands.

Wishing all a healthy and happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year

Turning a Temp Job Into a Permanent Position

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report

October 2019 – Issue 236

Turning a Temp Job Into a Permanent Position

For workers interested in making a temporary job permanent, here are some tips from author Karen Burns from an article published by U.S. News & World Report:

Treat the temp job like a long job interview. Do your best work. Always be punctual, cheerful, enthusiastic, and conscientious. This is your chance to prove you’re a star.

Temp where you want to work. Not only will you be an obvious choice when the company thinks of hiring permanently, you’ll also hone the skills you’ll need in that full-time position.

Adopt the company’s culture. You want to show that you already work there (for real). If you look and act like a temp, employers are going to think of you as a temp.

Be a team player. Offer to work overtime if needed. Be willing to do tasks outside your job description. Make friends with the permanent workers.

Dress the part. Even though you’re a temp, you don’t need to look like one. If you dress as though you take yourself seriously, others will take you seriously.

Keep your résumé on hand. Make sure it’s up to date at all times, in both paper and electronic formats. You never know when someone may ask to see it.

Make sure your employer knows about your skills. A temp job can be quite specialized. Look for ways to let your employer and your co-workers know that you can do so much more.

Learn as much as you can about the company. Temps often aren’t given in-depth instruction. Make an effort to learn about the company’s products, services and market.

Meet people. A temp job is great networking venue. Make yourself visible. Get out and about and meet department heads, HR employees, and anyone else with influence.

Be a self-starter. Pay attention, take notes, and anticipate needs. Bosses appreciate and value people who can work without supervision.

Let them know you’re interested in permanent work. A company may assume you’re happy as a temp. From time to time talk with supervisors about your goals and let your staffing agency know you’re interested in a full-time position. The agency has a good relationship with the company or you wouldn’t be there; the agency can be a strong advocate for you.

Make yourself indispensable. This is the key. The way to turn a temp assignment into a permanent job is to exceed expectations. Make yourself an employee the company can’t live without. If you’re such a stellar worker that employers start to “need” you, you’ll be on your way to a permanent paycheck

NEWS FROM BLK

The 4th quarter is here and hiring not only remains strong but appears to be picking up steam.  We at Berman Larson Kane have new orders from clients that we have not heard from in many years.  This resurgent’s is being caused by companies need to get deeper into the talent pool to hire exceptional candidates.

As always it is our pleasure to assist these clients and continue to use our extensive ATS to isolate talent that is not listed in the public domains.

As for the remainder of the year, we are predicting continuous hiring strength from a wide assortment of industries and are very optimistic about the New Year.

We thank all for continuing to place their faith in Berman Larson Kane’s ability to staff challenging opportunities and look so forward to celebrating our 40 years of service in 2020.

 

Recharge Your Batteries and Love Your Job

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report

September 2019 – Issue 235

RECHARGE YOUR BATTERIES AND LOVE YOUR JOB

Burnout is one of the biggest problems in the workplace, especially for older workers, and is a major reason many people retire earlier than they projected, according to an article in AARP The Magazine. But for people in their mid-to-late 50s and into their 60s, these are generally peak earning years, so staying on the job allows for continued retirement-account contributions and a delay in filing for Social Security benefits to qualify for a higher payout.

That said, with more people wanting—or needing—to work well past their 50s, generating new enthusiasm on the job is critical, the article pointed out.

“We are rewriting the map of life,” said Marc Freedman, the CEO of Encore.org, a nonprofit organization that’s building a movement to tap the skills and experience of those in midlife and beyond. “In the past, if you were 56 or 57, it might be only a year or two before you were ready to slip into early retirement. Now you’re thinking about another 10- or 15-year working career. That changes the entire equation.”

Here from the article, adapted from the AARP book, Love Your Job: The New Rules of Career Happiness, are eight tips to help older workers reengage.

Seek Out New Duties — If you’re constantly doing the same set of tasks each day, the monotony alone can drag you down. Step things up. Scrutinize your current position to pinpoint a new responsibility you can add that will refresh your focus, and maybe even scare you a bit. Ask to be assigned a signature project you’ve always wanted to launch, or volunteer for a new role. At this stage, it’s easy to coast, but this is the time to try something different.

Get up to Speed — It’s easy to become complacent about staying current with the trends in your field. Set up a Google Alert to notify you when your employer is in the news or when a competitor is making waves or beginning a new venture. Follow industry thought-leader blogs, join relevant groups on Linked In, and participate in the discussion.

Connect with your coworkers — Subtle changes in your behavior each day can have a huge impact. For example, practice listening to coworkers and celebrate their successes. It’ll make you feel good and build esprit de corps. Reach out to new colleagues, or those you don’t know well, to grab lunch and learn about what they do and their backgrounds. Stop by someone’s office to talk about something unrelated to work. Instead of emailing a reply, have a face-to-face chat.

 Fine-tune your relationship with a difficult boss — Lots of people quit their bosses, not their jobs. No matter how impossible your supervisor is, keep your side of the street clean. If your unhappiness with him or her affects your productivity, this will come back to bite you, not your boss. Most supervisors do want you to succeed; this reflects on their performance, too. You might just need to gently show your boss, by demonstrating that you’re engaged in your job, how you can help each other.

Find joy around the edges — Many companies provide the opportunity to do volunteer work right within the organization. Find a volunteer gig that can help build relationships with coworkers (even your boss) and forge bonds across departments that you might never have had otherwise. Get involved with a mentoring program. Participate in employee activities. Join or organize a company team sport. Or create a walking, biking or running group.

 Clean up your office — When people feel sapped of energy, often they’re not clearing out as they go. Their in-box is overflowing, their desk is a disaster, and their file drawers are bursting. De-cluttering is liberating and empowering. You’re saying, “This is valuable; this is not.” It’s a physical way to be involved in making decisions about your life and what you want to do with it.

 Be happy in your work — A recent Gallup poll found that the more that employees use their strengths at work and are engaged in their jobs, the happier and more enthusiastic they are. You’ll discover that your enthusiasm will not only trickle down to the quality of your work but that people will want to have what you have. You’ll be the one they seek to have on their team. To quote Maya Angelou, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

 Upgrade your skills — This is especially true with new technology. Learn what computer programs your employer values, and take a class or a refresher course at your community college, or participate in a workplace workshop or training program. That hands-on approach can open doors to a promotion or lateral move. But more than that, it can ramp up your enthusiasm for your job and push it in new directions. Boredom is often at the root of unhappiness at work. If you persistently add worth to what you bring to the job, chances are your boss will notice and reward you for it, and that can do wonders for your attitude.

NEWS FROM BERMAN LARSON KANE

The summer is behind us and business and hiring should continue at a brisk pace for the immediate future.  As for 2020, although the US economy is strong,  projections and the likely hood of a recession linger in business leaders projections and world stock markets.  So 2020 hiring and unemployment is any one’s guess.   As for our local predictions, the aging of the workforce will keep unemployment low in the NJ/NY market place and the competition for top talent will not cool down.

We at Berman Larson Kane thank all for their continuous support and continue to honor the 40-year tradition of assisting hiring authorities and job-seeks with the best employment options.  Enjoy the cooler weather and hopefully not a cool down economy.

 

In Interviews Ask Questions

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report
August, 2019 — Issue 234

 

In Interviews, Ask Enough Questions

When interviewing, many job candidates don’t realize that the questions they ask are just as important as how they present themselves and the answers they give. According to an article published by CareerBuilder.com, failing to ask questions shows a lack of genuine interest in the job and asking foolish questions indicates that the candidate didn’t do enough research prior to the interview. Making either mistake can cost a candidate a job offer.

In the article, Heather Krasna, author of “Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service,” advises job seekers to prepare a list of questions before the interview, much like they’d create a list of talking points that address the value they offer the employer.

“Every interview is different” she told careers writer Selena Dehne who authored the article. “Some interviewers will only give you the chance to ask two or three questions. Others will ask again and again if you have any questions, so prepare more questions than you think you will need in case this happens.”

Developing a list of questions to ask can indeed be a challenge for many job seekers, the article noted. For guidance in the topic, Krasna offered the following suggested questions and explained why such questions can give candidates a much-needed edge:

What are you seeking in the ideal candidate for this position?

This question allows you to counter by adding any particular skills or qualities you have left out of the interview, but which the employer thinks is important.

Can you give me some examples of the types of projects I may be working on?

If the job description was a bit vague on the types of assignments you would be doing or if you are otherwise unclear on this point, this question is essential to ask.

What do you like best about working for this organization?

This question not only gives great insight into the culture of the organization, it also makes the person answering the question feel good. In addition, if the person answering can’t come up with something good to say, this is a red flag about the place you might be working.

How did this position become available?

This question is a bit pushy, but it is quite important if you do not know how the position opened. Is the organization expanding? Or did the last person leave, and can you subtly find out why?

What would you like to see happen six-to-12 months after you hire a new person for this position?

This question is akin to “How will I be evaluated?” or “How do you measure success in this role?” It can also clue you in on whether the expectations for the job are realistic.

What resources are available for this position?

This question addresses the technology, staff or budget resources you will have and gives many insights into whether the organization is being realistic about what you can accomplish given the resources available.

How would you describe your management style?

When you are being interviewed by a hiring manager to whom you would report, that is a great question for gathering insight into whether you might get along.

What is the next step in the process? May I have your business card?

The final question can help relieve your anxiety after the interview because you at least have some clue about how long it will be before the employer gets back to you. Ask for business cards from each person interviewing you so you can send thank-you notes.

Krasna added in the CareerBuilder.com article that there are also questions candidates should steer clear of asking during the interview, such as inquiries about salary, scandals and office politics, and personal qualities about the interviewer.

 

NEWS from BLK

As summer unwinds and we prepare for the fall season we at Berman Larson Kane have witnessed a steady job market with competition for top talent being extremely competitive.  Unemployment remains at record lows and employment numbers although lower for 2019 still are positive and strong.

So if you are a hiring authority or a job seeker we look forward to assisting you to meet these challenges.  We thank all the privilege of helping staffing needs and career goals for the past 39 years.  It is truly an honor.  Enjoy the final month of summer as we prepare for the anticipated after Labor Day acceleration of the job market.