Category Archives: Networking, Career Management

10 Great Jobs For Older Workers

Older worker unemployment has increased dramatically during The Great Recession. The unemployment rate for workers age 55 and older increased from 3.1 percent in December 2007 to a high of 7.6 percent in February 2010, before dropping to 6 percent in December 2011.

While older employees are less likely to be laid off than their younger counterparts, it generally takes older job seekers longer to find new employment. The median duration of unemployment for older workers was 35 weeks in 2011, compared with 26 weeks for younger employees. And 55 percent of unemployed older workers spent more than 27 weeks actively seeking a new job in 2011, up from less than a quarter in 2007.

Why unemployed older workers are having difficulty finding new jobs?

A recent Government Accountability Office report examines the barriers to employment for people who were laid off at age 55 or later.

High salary expectations. Some employers may be reluctant to hire people who earned a high salary at a previous position, according to employment experts, workforce professionals, and focus group participants interviewed by GAO. “Employers may expect that an older worker who accepts a job paying significantly less than the worker had previously earned might continue to search for a higher-paying job and might leave the job if a better offer became available,” according to the report. GAO suggests that older workers “learn how to present their skills and experiences to potential employers in a way that does not draw attention to their age, extensive years of experience, and past high-level positions.”

Younger bosses.

Hiring managers may believe that older employees would be unhappy working for a younger or less experienced supervisor. Workers who previously held a management position could have difficultly adapting to a lower-level job. Older job seekers should develop interview responses that can diffuse employer concerns about hiring older workers. Consider pointing out why you would be a good fit at the company, that you are willing to work for less pay than you received in the past, and that you are comfortable reporting to a younger manager and working collaboratively with people of all ages.

Out of date skills.

Employers are increasingly requiring job seekers to submit applications and resumes online. Older workers who lack computer and other technology skills have a disadvantage in finding work. “Employers are in a position to select from a bounty of highly skilled, well-educated, and most cost-effective applicants,” says Joseph Carbone, president and CEO of The WorkPlace, a workforce development firm in Bridgeport, Conn. “Without ongoing efforts to keep skills current during protracted periods of unemployment, the less marketable a person becomes.”

What to do if you can’t find a job?

If you can’t find a job, consider volunteer work or taking continuing education classes so that you won’t have gaps in your resume and will learn new skills. “Many older unemployed workers simply need help navigating today’s web-based job search landscape,” says Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project. “For other older workers displaced after many years with a single employer or within a single industry, the key to improving employment prospects may be as straightforward as a course in the latest version of Microsoft Office, or as intensive as getting credentialed in a new occupation.”

10 Hot Jobs For Older Workers

University Jobs

Universities offer plenty of good teaching and administrative options for older workers. Plus, it can be a good way to feel young again. Cornell in particular ranked number 1 on the AARP’s list of best places to work over 50, thanks to its job placement programs that specifically target seniors and a workplace culture that is very comfortable for older employees.  Cornell currently employs close to 4,000 people over 50 years old. Other universities that ranked high on AARP’s list were George Mason, M.I.T., Virginia Commonwealth and Oklahoma City University. Salaries vary widely by position and university.

Public School Teacher

If you prefer to work with younger kids, or to go where people are really needed, why not try teaching at a public school? There is a large demand for more public school teachers in this country and according to CNN Money, there are now “alternative certification programs aimed at older workers.” These programs “can pay for and speed up the process of becoming a teacher. “Not only would you be doing something incredibly useful, but the majority of public school teachers make $50,000 or more.

One of the best options for people looking to retire is to consider doing consulting work part-time. According one study, the number of consultants is expected to increase by more than 20% from now through 2016. This is a great way to continue working in your current profession. Best of all, consultants usually work remotely, so you can at least retire your commute. Salaries vary based on the field for which you’d consult. Sales consultants average about $50,000 while information technologies consultants, for example, earn anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000.

Financial Planner

With the economy still reeling, Americans are in need of qualified financial advisers now more than ever (especially the guy in this picture). Financial advisors help them make crucial investment decisions, and it’s one profession where having some gray hairs may work to your advantage, helping you look more experienced and trustworthy. According to CNN Money, nearly half of all financial advisers are self-employed, meaning you won’t have to take any guff in the workplace for being a little older. If you do choose to work for a larger company, the AARP recommends H&R Block, Robert Half F&A and Accounting Principals. With enough experience, financial advisers can earn more than $100,000.

If you’re not looking to make a lot of money, and just want to do something useful, why not try volunteering? There are plenty of programs tailored specifically for senior citizens. The Senior Corps, a national service program, is always looking for retirees to work as foster grandparents. In this position, your goal would be to serve as a mentor. Volunteers work up to 40 hours a week and some earn a tax-free, hourly stipend.

Religious Leader

It may sound like a strange choice but as CNN Money notes, it’s definitely a job that will give you meaning later in life when you need it. And it pays decently, too. The average religious leader earns more than $40,000 a year.

Health Care Technician

Also known as nurse’s aids or personal support workers, healthcare technicians rank as one of the best jobs for retirees, according to the AARP. These technicians can work in patient care, do research in labs, or help with radiology work, to name a few options. It’s meaningful work that pays well and doesn’t require too much prior experience in field. All you need is one to four years of training beyond high school in a particular health care specialty. Technicians can earn as much as $50,000, depending on their specialty.

Retail Sales

If you’re able to convince customers to buy an item, it doesn’t matter what your age is. Whether you’re looking to work in cosmetics or electronics, there could be an option available to you to work as a retail salesperson. This is an especially good option right now, during the holidays, if you’re looking to make some extra cash. These positions typically pay anywhere from $15 to $30 an hour.


People may be criticizing banks these days, but they are a good place to work for older Americans. There are opportunities for older people to work in customer service or as tellers and managers. The AARP recommends working at several banks in particular including Wachovia and Bank of America. Managers make at least $50,000 and tellers usually make $10-$15 an hour.

Government Jobs

If you don’t know where else to work, why not try getting a government job. MSN reports that three government sectors in particular frequently hire candidates over 50: the IRS, Peace Corp and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Assistance. Not only are these jobs pretty stable, but they provide excellent health benefits. If you’re interested, check out job listings on this site. Salaries vary based on position.

The Bottom Line

The typical American couple now needs nearly half a million dollars in savings to last through their retirement. As if that burden weren’t enough, The Great Recession has forced many seniors to delay leaving the workforce. Others who were already retired have returned to work at least part-time to make ends meet.
As the economy improves, it seems likely that Americans will work more years as they continue live longer. With that in mind, the Smart Job Searcher has extended their working lives by taking on financially necessary employment that can be some of the rewarding of their professional lives.



Can you really find a job on Facebook?

Can you really find a job on Facebook?

While LinkedIn represents a pure play on next generation online recruiting, Facebook is instead seeding numerous markets. Facebook has massive user activity and social data, but is still relegated to personal use and content sharing. Everyone knows that Facebook will look to disrupt major online marketplaces (recruiting, auctions, eCommerce, search) etc… but for right now, it seems much more focused on acquiring users and building traffic.

Facebook itself has not focused on recruiting, which leaves a lucrative white space open to technology startups. Recruiting technology companies are fighting to gain market share and traction before either: A. Facebook develops its own recruiting technology or B. Facebook entirely concedes professional networking to LinkedIn.

Technology companies approach recruiting with Facebook in very different ways. Each of these five types of technology have been receiving heavy interest and investment lately:

  • Social distribution: Recruiting technology that focuses on delivering the job through a normal channel, such as a career jobsite or job board, but then enables social distribution through Facebook and other services. These companies use the social graph of the employees at the company recruiting. For example, a job is posted through the company website and then “pushed” out through the company Facebook page and individual employee accounts for magnified and focused distribution.
  • Metadata Layering: Facebook has tons of personal data, but for professional data, it’s about as useful as eharmony. Entire companies are springing up based on the Facebook social graph, which focus on overlaying additional professional data (or metadata) on top of Facebook. These services trust that Facebook will be the de facto standard for user authentication on the web – all that is needed to recruit with Facebook is to add a professional contextual layer.
  • Recruitment Ad Distribution: Facebook is an incredibly efficient advertising platform. Services such as Facebook sponsored stories “socialize” advertisements through the endorsement of friends. These personal ads coming from a user’s own friends seem like an ideal platform for job referrals and recruitment marketing. Some recruiting technology companies have focused on Facebook advertising – delivering efficient ways to measure recruitment metrics, spend, and channel performance.
  • Facebook Page Optimization: Most large companies have begun using their Facebook page as a primary vehicle for branding and company communication. Delivering employment branding and actual jobs through the Facebook page is an obvious strategy – but one that requires expertise that most HR departments don’t have internally. Some recruiting technology companies have focused on the delivery of optimized Facebook pages for recruitment: improving employment brand, measuring engagement, building fans, and efficiently serving geo-specific jobs.
  • Talent Communities: Facebook provides an ideal way to build highly focused and engaged groups of people. However, it’s a bit harder to engage a large group in a systematized way with recruitment campaigns. Additionally, Facebook provides administrators of pages and groups with little user data. Some companies are focused on methods and technology to build large pools of focused talent to meet the recruitment needs of clients.

The potential market for recruitment on the word’s most popular website is obviously staggering. Investment dollars are flocking to support technology startups that promise efficiency of recruiting with Facebook. The incredible success of LinkedIn’s IPO will no doubt increase venture capital interest in social recruitment technology.

The Bottom Line

Unless Facebook itself becomes a job board, the opportunity for startups to leverage its massive social graph for recruiting is clear. Of course, it is not a zero sum game – more than one technological method for recruiting with Facebook may gain traction. Additionally, if any one particular startup emerges as the clear winner, they may include all of these types of services in their products.   Smart Job Searchers should center their social media job finding activities to LinkedIn until a Facebook solution comes online.

Using Your Smart Phone To Find A Job?

Smart Phone Recruiting

Change is ever-present in today’s world of recruitment. First, it was the paperless office, then it was Internet jobs boards, and, just as we got used to that, along came social recruitment. And, while many of us are still catching our breath with social media recruitment, along comes the next big transformational event in recruiting: Mobile Recruitment. And, just in case any of you think that Mobile Recruiting it isn’t officially ‘here’, you should be aware that in  September last year in San Francisco, there occurred the first annual mobile recruiting conference of its kind, sponsored and attended by all the major players, including the big two of Monster and Careerbuilder. Big players are thinking that mobile is, well… big.


5 Smart Phone Recruiting Apps

Last week tech expert Dean Wright showcased 5 Smart Phone Recruiting  Apps in his LinkedIn blog. Take a look at what is coming to a Smart Phone near you.

1.) HireVue

This iPhone app allows recruiters to design interview questionnaires on the phone and then send them to candidates. Candidates can then view the questions and then video their answers to the questions at their own convenience and send them back to the employer. The employer can share the video interviews with other managers too. This is great tool which brings interviewing into the modern age of mobile phones and mobile people.

2.) Jobscience

This is a powerful iPhone app from which gives you applicant tracking capabilities on your mobile phone. Recruiters can invite candidates to submit their resumes digitally and the resumes will be instantly parsed and/or can be searched through to enable you to quickly identify suitable candidates. Resumes can be shared by email, SMS, etc… This is a great tool to take around a job fair or networking event.

3.) BullHorn

Like Jobscience, BullHorn is a mobile phone based applicant tracking system. Bullhorn offers their software on multiple platforms, e.g. iPhone, Android, Windows, and Blackberry. It has solid CRM features that differentiate it from more consumer oriented products.

4.) Tungle

This is a meeting scheduling tool that allows recruiters to quickly and easily schedule interviews with candidates. Its simple; recruiter sends invite, candidates reply and it automatically updates both party’s calendars. The system automatically syncs with all the main Mobile OS calendars.

5.) Google Power Search

This is an app which will make it easier for recruiters to search the web for candidates. The apps present a simple graphical interface which you can use to search the web for candidates, meaning that you do not have to use complicated boolean search strings to perform that task anymore.

The Bottom Line

Surprisingly, even though mobile recruiting is officially ‘here’ and that nearly 70% of jobseekers would like to use their phone for career related purposes, only 3% of employers have a mobile job app. With demand for mobile recruiting being so high and supply being so low the adoption of these technologies is coming ….Fast!!!!  The Smart Job Searcher must stay one step ahead of this revolution in recruiting.  I would recommend  you subscribe to sites like Mashable and by means keep reading my blog The Smart Job Search for updates.

Are You A Facebook Idiot?

No one wants to be an idiot, especially when it comes to Facebook where there’s the chance for thousands of people, including recruiters and potential employers, to see it.

I have been on Facebook since 2007 and have made my share of mistakes that have made me look like an idiot.  The social media and email marketing experts at Constant Contact recently compiled a list of mistakes that can make you look like an idiot on Facebook.  And so, as a public service, the Smart Job Blog presents the Top 5 Things That Can Make You Look An Idiot on Facebook.

Are you doing any of these things?

5. Not monitoring your Facebook Page.  When someone visits your page, are they going to find it full of links from Facebook spammers inviting your fans to college night at the local bar of to click to win a free iPad?

4. Liking your own post. Really?  That’s almost a cry for help. Maybe that’s why no one else is liking it.

3. Posting one thing right after another. Your fns may love you, but long post after post after post in the newsfeed can be a bit much.  Be sure to space out your updatesso there’s a better chance people will engage with them rather than pass them by.

2. Spelling errors. As small as they might be, spelling errors can really hurt your Page’s credibility.  A typo is okay, but lots of typos are not.  Watch for some common misspellings such as there/their/they’re; your/you’re/yore.

1. Not filling out necessary information: location, description, picture, etc. Facebook gives you the opportunity to add detailed information about yourself.  Be sure to fill it out fully so recruiters, hiring managers and that long lost friend that has the perfect lead for a job can find you.  Concerned about privacy?  You should be.  You can set the right balance by simply keeping the information you share on Facebook strictly professional.

Your Turn:  What Facebook idiot moves have you seen?

By no means is our list of idiot moves on Facebook complete.  I look forward to sharing with our readers the idiot Facebook moves you have witnessed.  I will post your responses in next week’s blog.

Bottom Line:  You don’t have to be an idiot on Facebook.  Smart Job Searchers are aware of the importance of a good Facebook image.  So be aware of those things that may make you look like an idiot on Facebook. Are you guilty of doing any of the top 5?  Well, as a Smart Job Searcher, now that you know it may be a good time to stop.

3 Keys for Job Search Success on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has reached Critical Mass

Membership in LinkedIn has a reached a point of critical mass where it’s unwise for any serious job seeker or professional not to be on LinkedIn. Here is why, LinkedIn members can search and connect with profiles from employees of virtually every Fortune 500 firm along with scores of employees and owners of small and midsize business not to mention over 130,000 recruiters.  Collectively this profiles represent over 130 different industries,

Search LinkedIn

Take a few minutes to search LinkedIn and I’m sure you’ll find lots of contacts from your current and prior employers, clients, vendors, and schools. All those contacts have the potential to help you grow your career or find a new job.

3 Steps to Find A Job On LinkedIn

1.    Create a 100% Optimized Profile. The profile is the gateway to a successful LinkedIn job search.  A recent Career Track recruiter survey reveals that    recruiters have a 10 times better chance of finding you if your profile is complete and optimized.  In my February 2011 Smart Job Search post 10 Tips for Optimizing LinkedIn I layout, tips for creating a 100% optimized profile.
2.    Build A Purpose Driven Network. Connecting with other LinkedIn members and building your network requires a direction, a plan, and a purpose.  In my You Tube video A LinkedIn Tip Your Contacts  outlines  a strategy for building a purpose driven network

 3.    Search Jobs.  LinkedIn has become a hub for job posting with companies both large and small posting all types of jobs on the site.  While a premium job search function is available for about $30, the free job search function is very robust and can meet the needs of most job seekers.

The Bottom Line for the Smart Job Searcher

What do Microsoft, Ebay, Netflix, and Target have in common?  These companies along with many others have used LinkedIn to recruit candidates. They are using LinkedIn to find passive and active job candidates.  So for the Smart Job Seeker LinkedIn must be a part of your strategy


Marben Bland is an accomplished speaker, writer, and thought leader focused on 4  interconnected areas:

  1. Social Media Branding:  Increasing sales & awareness by creating lasting impressions
  2. Recruiting:  Finding world class talent for leading business and non profits
  3. Job Coaching:  Providing solid solutions for finding a job
  4. Project Management: Bringing order to complex problems

Have you Googled yourself lately?

Recently I was invited to participate in a Career Day to help prepare students as they entered the workforce. There were recruiters from companies conducting mock interviews, doing résumé reviews, and a wonderful organization, Save a Suit, outfitting students with new professional attire. My role was to check their online identities, and coach them on how to create high visibility and build positive reputations.

Thankfully, and maybe a little surprisingly, nothing that could potentially stall new careers was revealed when Googling the students — no “digital dirt” or “digital deal-breakers.” What I found primarily fell into these categories:

  • Facebook pages where privacy was set to “public” instead of “friends.” Even if there is nothing to hide, it’s a good practice to limit those who can see your wall and pictures.
  • No online references at all. When a recruiter has two good résumés in hand, the candidate who has positive online information has a better chance: mentions or photos that are evidence of community service/volunteer work; contributions to online professional discussions demonstrate your communication skills and knowledge level; official roles in local/business groups indicate leadership ability, etc.
  • Positive results — either accidental or deliberate. One student who proudly showed me all his highly visible mentions and properly keyword-ed profiles caused me to remark that he would be easily found when company recruiters searched for candidates in his specialty. “Recruiters? I’m going to be one of those talking heads on CNN,” he corrected me.

Heed these same guidelines as you engage the online community, either for a job or to grow your business or to connect with friends.   Comment on blogs – (You can start with this post!!)  participate in the discussions on LinkedIn. Becoming known for what you know; will increase your profile so your name comes up in that Google search by the headhunter, hiring manager or that long lost boyfriend!!!

“All business is now personal,” said David Armano, executive vice president of global innovation and integration at Edelman Digital, at the World Business Forum. He calls this ability for people to socially connect via technology the “third revolution,” and it’s a professional imperative to this well. So  Have you Googled yourself lately?

Marben Bland is an accomplished speaker, writer, and thought leader focused on three interconnected areas:

  1. Social Media Branding  increasing sales & awareness by creating lasting impressions
  2. Recruiting  finding world class talent for leading business and non profits
  3. Job Coaching  providing solid solutions for finding a job

Email him at marben@marbenbland.conm

5 Winning Strategies for Getting More Business with Your Business Cards

I spent much of last week speaking at a conference, or in hotels, or in airports flying, or with family and friends as we celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday.  In other words I met a lot of people.  And during that time I gave out about 100 business cards. Why business cards even at holiday events?   Because even in this time of social media dominance the low tech business card still rule they bring me customers and success every day.  And now with the evolution of the smart phone enabled Quick Response or QR codes the business card is  now  the gateway to connect instantly with all of my digital media.  That’s they are ALWAYS within reach.

While giving out about 100 business cards I only received 20.  Why?   Because most people either don’t have them (shame on you) or if they do — have terrible ones.  However, as you continue your job search, or launch your business or spread the word about your product or services      Here are 5 winning strategies for getting more business with business cards.

1. The American Express Business Card: Don’t leave home without them!  

Woody Allen said that 90% of life is showing up.  So don’t make the biggest mistake that most business card holders do— that is to show up without them.    Your business card is your brochure, your image, your information all in a handy, dandy palm sized piece of paper just right for your   prospective client’s hands.   And know because you forgot to bring them you blew a potential sale, an opportunity to make a great contact, or to get a key job lead.  In addition, you now feel uncomfortable because you might or might not get theirs, which is gold in any business or position.  Bottom line is: don’t leave home without your business cards.  Always carry them with you . . . Everywhere. Keep them in your car, your desk, your briefcase, your workout bag …you never know when you will meet that person who will turn your business around.

2. Vidal Sassoon Business Card:  If the Business Card does not look good you don’t look good.   

When I hand out my card, I usually get the exclamation, “What a great card!” or “Who did this for you, it’s incredible!” Does this happen to you?  It should because like the old Vidal Sasson hair care products ads indicated the look of your business cards is a reflection of you.  So if you are not getting complements you need to have your cards made by professionals.   If you aren’t creative, you need to hire a creative person ASAP to design a logo and card for you. Finding a creative person to design your card is much easier and cheaper that you may think simply Google business card printers and designers in your area.   Or just drop me a line at and I can recommend some outfits that can design and print a ‘knock-it-out-of-the-park’ card.

3.   The Joe Friday Business Card: Just the Facts

The most important item is your image — the look of your card. What image are you trying to present to your clients? I am a speaker, writer, social media brander and job coach — so no flowers or crazy colors on my card (see mine below).  Joe Friday the no nonsense cop played by Jack Webb in the TV show Dragnet would say “just the facts” to encourage witness to give just the basic critical information need to solve the case — not too much or too little.  I think the same is true in the business card world.  So that is why my business cards while pleasing to the eye are always in the Joe Friday mode: Just the facts here are the 8 facts that every business card must have to be effective.
1. Name of company (logo)
2. Your Name (first & last, no middle name or initial)
3. Title (Optional: I don’t include my title on my card)
4. Phone Number (include all your numbers cell and direct line. Don’t forget the purpose of a business card is for person to contact you)
5. Email
6. Physical Address (Optional: I don’t include my physical address as I want to drive traffic to my webite)
7. Web Site

8. QR Code (Optional)

4. The Business Card Golden Rule: It’s good to give and it’s good to receive  

So many people use business cards as an afterthought. I immediately ask for them within the first few minutes of meeting someone (or I offer my card). Why? It immediately gives me an opportunity to give them a compliment, it allows me to learn more about them, and it reinforces their name in my head so I can remember it. I usually receive the card and hold it with both hands and make a point of pausing for a few seconds and taking the time to really read the card. It can tell you a lot about that person and give you speaking trajectories to ask more questions — “I see you have an office in Hong Kong, do you travel there often?” “I see that your company is a subsidiary of Pixar, what is it like to work with them?” Most people just take the card and shove it into their pocket. Did you know it’s an insult in some countries to shove the card in your pocket and not take the time to read it?

5. The Business Card After Party:  The 24 hour Reach out and Touch Policy    

The biggest mistake must people make is to have no strategy for keeping in touch after receiving the business card.  After getting the card I implement my 24 hour reach out and touch policy. Where I try to reach out to that person with 24 hours of receiving their business card.  These are the ways I reach out and touch:

  1. Phone Call: Follow up call recapping  the meeting including follow up actions
  2. Email: Follow up email recapping  the meeting including follow up actions
  3. Contact Database: Immediately get that person’s information in your contact system

Now let’s get to winning with our business cards, my business cards front and  back are listed below.  Look forward to connecting with you and doing business with you.

Marben Bland is an accomplished speaker, writer, thought leader and pioneer focused on three interconnected areas:  1. Social media strategies for small and midsize  businesses, 2. Talent acquisition optimization tactics for large companies and 3. Career management solutions for job seekers. Marben has worked with a wide  range of companies and industries from start-up organizations to Fortune 500  companies including Advanced Micro Devices, PPG Industries, Fiskars Brands, Eaton Corporation, S.C. Johnson, and Sara Lee. He is also spent a decade as an officer in the U.S. Army, serving in Operation Desert Strom.  He is the author of two  books, The Smart Job Search and The Opportunity of the Unfair Advantage. Today, Marben heads TheMarben Bland Group, an innovative consulting practice housing a collection of specialists dedicated to producing smart social media strategies, clever Talent acquisition optimization tactics and innovative Career management solutions for job seekers.