Job Search Tips for the “Seasoned Professional”

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untitled (6)According to the September Jobs Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 94 million Americans are now missing from America’s Workforce, and while the percentage of employed Americans is said to be at 62.6 percent, those disappeared workers are now over 37 percent.

According to the BLS, there were 635,000 discouraged workers in September, virtually unchanged from 2014. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.

Among those “discouraged workers” are “Seasoned Professionals”, who are having a difficult time finding their way back into America’s Workforce.

The following Job Search Tips  for Older Americans, or, “Seasoned Professionals” are I like to call them (since I am one) were suggested by Phillip Moeller in an article posted on money.usnews.com.

The tips themselves are his. The analysis (and any smart aleck remarks that may pop up) are mine.

1. Get credit for what you know. 

As a seasoned professional, you have amassed a ton of knowledge and experience throughout your professional life. However, potential  employers have no way of ascertaining what you know. Enrolling in a certification program or seeking college credit for your work experience can develop the third-party credentials that would lead to a job.

It ain’t braggin’, if it’s documented.

2. You are a brand.

As a Seasoned Professional, you are a valuable commodity. You need to get out there and sell yourself! Now, you don’t have to hire a Cessna Pilot to fly your resume on a banner behind his plane. There is a much cheaper way to get yourself out there:

Use the Social Media. It’s FREE!

In fact, don’t tell anyone…but, I’m marketing my skills right now. Shhh!

3. Career navigators.

As you are no doubt finding out, today’s job market is a maze of twists and turns.

Sometimes, it helps to have a trusted advisor who has worked with you and who knows your skills and abilities, guide you toward the positions which you need to be going after.

Nothing is more demoralizing than looking back and thinking “Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda”.

4. Offer your services.

While unpaid internships won’t pay the bills, if you can afford it, they can be a great way to get your foot in the door of an industry or employer you like. It’s a way to gain needed experience, an addition to your résumé, and knowledge of how to improve your skills.

And, who knows? They may hire you after you show them what you can do.

5. Reverse job fairs.

This works just the opposite of regular job fairs that you may have attended. Job Seekers are in booths and are prescreened by employers, who then come up to speak to them. Employers control the situation and decide how to best use their time.. This helps the Job Seeker’s confidence because they know that the Employer coming to their booth is already interested in speaking with them.

6. Computer and technology training.

Let’s face it: Employers often assume that older Job Seekers are not computer-literate or comfortable with the New Technology. If you can show them that you actually know your way around a keyboard, this may help overcome any “Old Age Bias” that the potential Employer may be carrying into the interview.

It will help if you know that Skype is not a kind of bird.

7. Flextime and part-time jobs.

If you are technologically-savvy, and can afford it, you may want to work part-time or have flexible schedules, since working from home, or “telecommuting” may be an option for all or part of these types of jobs.

Just don’t Skype with your boss in your jammies.

8. Age bias.

It is a reality, as many out-of-work Seasoned Professionals have found out.

It can be overcome by, as I mentioned earlier, upgrading your “Skill Set”. It can also be overcome by answering the potential Employer’s concerns during the Interview, in a way which assures them that you can handle the duties of the job.

9. Workplace readiness.

There are programs available out there that will literally prepare you for the job that you are seeking. Some are available through technical and community colleges. Some are sponsored by the companies, themselves. There may even be financial aid available for the training that you are seeking.

Yes, we are older.

However, we still have skills and abilities, acquired through years of professional experience, which can be of immeasurable worth to a prospective Employer.

We must first, convince ourselves, and then, convince the prospective Employer, of that indisputable fact.

The great American Inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, said,

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

It is up to us to identify that door, open it wide, and step through it.

Never give up. Never surrender.

-Allen

Management Style: Dealing With Unethical Behavior in the Workplace

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thUTVM5S72To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.– Douglas Adams

In this Brave New Business World, in which International Business Deals are accomplished with the flick of a button on a keyboard, do the majority of employees in the workplace believe that the words of Douglas Adams still hold true?

And, if they don’t, how do we, as Vice-Presidents, Directors, and Managers, fix that?

Back in January of this year, Kessler International released the results of a nationwide survey, outlining the current state of manners, etiquette, and ethics in the workplace.

They surveyed upper and mid-level management at 40 professional services firms.

Those polled held the belief, by an 84 percent margin, that their employees were inconsiderate and rude in the workplace. Additionally, the same respondents cited by 65 percent that they felt a majority of their staff lacked a moral compass.

Kessler asked individuals to anonymously comment on their employees’ use of personal electronic devices, dress, manners, ethics and level of respect for other employees.

This resulted in some of the respondents expressing their disgust of certain individuals on their staff, as well as their ineffectiveness and unwillingness to say something and correct the situation.

Among their excuses for not being able to correct the problem of unethical behavior by their employees were their company’s policy of “political correctness,” their own inability to have confrontation, and constraints instituted by their human resources department.

Among the items that most of the respondents cited, were:

1- untimely and inappropriate use of cellphones

2- wearing inappropriate clothing to work

3- complete lack of courtesy

4- use of street talk and signs in professional meetings

5- the inability of younger staff to write a letter/email

6- the lack of personal responsibility

7- failure to say please and thank you

8- lying to phone caller

9- hanging up on phone calls when they are confronted and were uncomfortable

10- cheating on time billed to clients and stealing time by arriving late and leaving early

11- cutting corners on work product rather than staying after hours to correct the mistakes they made

12- visiting sex and dating websites on company time

13- sexting on company phones

14- the inability to interact professionally with clients during a business function

15- the lack of manners

16- the lack of integrity

United States President Harry S. Truman had a famous plaque on his desk which read,

The Buck Stops Here

As an experienced leader of men and women, in the military, the workplace, and, as President of the United States of America, Truman knew that as a manager of employees, you are held responsible not only for heir behavior, but, what you do about it.

In her book “7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership (Leading in Context, 2013),” author Linda Fisher Thornton offers the following advice on how leaders can integrate the practice of ethical conduct into their organizations.

1. Face the complexity involved in making ethical choices: Openly discuss the ethical gray areas and acknowledge the complexity of work life. Involve others in more of the ethical decisions. Be a leader who talks about the difficult ethical choices, and help others learn to take responsibility for making ethical decisions carefully.

2. Don’t separate ethics from day-to-day business: Leaders must make it clear to their employees that ethics is “the way we operate” and not a training program or reference manual. Every activity, whether it is a training program, a client meeting or an important top management strategy session, should include conversations about ethics.

3. Don’t allow negative interpersonal behaviors to erode trust: Make respect a load-bearing beam in your culture. Be an ethical leader who expects it and practices it. Cultivate a respectful environment in which people can speak up about ethics and share the responsibility for living it. Build trust, demand open communication and share the ownership of organizational values.

4. Don’t think about ethics as just following laws and regulations: Leaders need to take action and show consumers and other stakeholders that they are actively engaged with ethical issues that matter. Recognize how ethics influences consumers’ reasons to buy from you, and demonstrate a commitment to go beyond mere compliance with laws and regulations. They must prove that they are committed to ethical issues, including human rights, social justice and sustainability.

5. Don’t exempt anyone from meeting ethical expectations: Allow no excuses. Make sure that no one is exempted from meeting the ethical standards that are adopted. Maintain the status of ethics as a total, absolute, “must do” in the organization. Hold everyone, particularly  senior leaders and high profile managers, accountable. No exceptions.

6. Celebrate positive ethical moments: Be a proactive ethical leader, championing high ethical conduct and emphasizing prevention. Managers should talk about what positive ethics looks like in practice as often as they talk about what to avoid. Take time to celebrate positive ethical choices.

7. Talk about ethics as an ongoing learning journey, not a once-a-year training program: Integrate ethics into every action of the organization — everything people do, touch or influence. Talk about ethics as an ongoing learning journey, not something you have or don’t have. Recognize that the world changes constantly, and that ethical conduct requires that everyone remain vigilant.

As leaders, it is our job to protect our companies’ revenue streams, as well as to keep and cultivate the trust which our clients place with us.

We cannot perform our duties effectively, if we have to constantly be on the look out for unethical behavior in our “home away from home”, our workplace environment.

Hopefully, these tips, which I have presented today, will help us, as leaders, foster an atmosphere of trust and shared expectations, smoothing out the journey down the road to success.

Never give up. Never surrender.

-Allen

Allen Fitzhugh is Director of Sales at Candlewood Suites-Memphis. He can be reached at dos@cwsmemphis.com.

Memorial Day 2014: Honoring Our Brightest and Best

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memorialdayToday is a day of solemn remembrance, during which we honor our fallen heroes.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication “To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead” (Source: Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860′s tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50′s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye’s Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”

On a night in 1966, a 7 year old was laying on his family’s den couch in Memphis, TN, watching his favorite TV Series “Batman” with a fever of 105, brought about by a severe bronchial infection. Tending to that sick child were 3 veterans of World War II: his Daddy, a Master Sergeant with the Army Engineers, his Uncle “R” (Robert), US Air Force, and his Uncle Perriman, a full-blooded Indian from Albuquerque, who was an Army Corpsman.

Those three veterans, now all gone, took turns putting cold washcloths under the child’s arms and on his forehead, until his fever finally broke, sometime during the night.

That child was me.

I was privileged to be raised by members of the Greatest Generation. The legacy that they gave to me of love of God, Family, and Country is a heritage that I hold very dear.

It is today that we pause to remember their sacrifices at home and abroad.  Not only theirs, but the sacrifices made by our Brightest and Best, and their families, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

May God bless them all and may He hold them in the hollow of His hand.

Never Give Up. Never Surrender.

-Allen