Close to Retirement and Out of a Job

older executive







Today, it isn’t at all uncommon for people to move from job to job every few years. A lot has changed since the days when people used to stay working in the same position and for the same company from their first day of work until retirement, and most hiring managers are understanding of the fact that resumes will often reflect multiple job changes for applicants now. So long as those changes aren’t occurring too sporadically, it can even be seen as a strength when you have varied experience as a result of those shifts.

But the closer you get to retirement, the more advisable it may be to stay working for the same company. That’s because as much as we all hate to admit it, and as illegal as it may be, age discrimination does occur, and it can sometimes be harder to find a new position when you have a retirement on the horizon. As understanding as hiring managers are of previous job changes, they aren’t usually as keen to hire someone who they know up front will only be around for the short term.

So whenever possible, staying the course is usually a good idea as retirement nears. But when you don’t have a say in the matter, how can you boost your chances of avoiding that discrimination and landing a new job?


Rely On Your Reputation

If you are nearing retirement, that likely means you have spent decades building up a reputation in the industry and making a ton of networking contacts along the way. Now is the time to fall back on all of that hard work you have put in up to this point. Reach out to those in your network and let them know you are looking. Contact managers you have worked for in the past, those who had a favorable opinion of you and are more likely to keep you in mind for any openings they have now. And don’t be afraid to ask for references and recommendations from the people most likely to sing your praises. The one benefit you have on your side is more connections and experience then the other applicants you are competing against – so use those things to your advantage.


Look to Startups

Newer companies in your industry are likely trying to create a corporate culture and find a foothold among more established corporations. Many may be open to your experience, and even to your limited timeline left in the workforce, as they work to build their own reputation and establish themselves in the industry. You may actually find you could achieve a higher position in these corporations, and take on a strong leadership role as new policies and ways of doing the work are being created. While this can sometimes mean taking a pay cut, it could be the opportunity to provide truly valuable insight and to spend your last years before retirement feeling respected and validated in your work.


Know the Value of a Recruiter

A respected recruiter in your industry is going to have insider information on the upcoming openings that could be a good fit for you. They are also going to be in the position of being able to talk up your experience to hiring managers before you ever walk through the door. Even if you have never worked with a recruiter before, now may be the time to do so.


Consider the Alternatives

The workforce is changing, and not every job has to be a standard 9 to 5. It is possible that your experience could make you the perfect candidate for contract positions, where you serve as a consultant or freelancer to companies who aren’t in a position to hire full time employees. If you’ve ever wanted to work for yourself, this may be the time – and alternative work arrangements can provide the ability for you to do just that, often making your own schedule and setting your own rate of pay.




Pursuing a Writing Career and Finding Success

Career Objectives







As a career coach, I work with people who have dreams and aspirations that fall into nearly every category. I also work with a lot of people who fear their dreams and aspirations are not attainable – and so they fall into careers that are just jobs, focused solely on paying the bills as they allow those dreams of theirs to wilt and fall away.

This is perhaps never more true than for those who secretly (or not so secretly) harbor a dream of writing for a living.

Did your ears just perk up, as you realized I am talking directly to you? The good news is: writing for a living is not an impossible dream. Particularly in today’s climate, where self-publishing is a growing venture and blogs are becoming money making platforms. But you have to be smart about harnessing that talent of yours and turning it into a career. Here’s how:


Walk Before You Run

There are so many different schools of thought when it comes to pursuing a dream, but in terms of writing for a living – quitting your day job and diving in headfirst probably isn’t the best way to go. Yes, you can and should pursue your dreams. Absolutely! But if that dream is writing, you need to recognize that establishing yourself, building a reputation and acquiring long-standing clients (or finishing and polishing that novel) take time. You need to have a steady stream of income while you work towards that dream, otherwise you are likely going to fall flat on your face. So take the leap by committing to this dream (starting a blog and working to bring in freelance work) but not by throwing in the towel on everything else right away. Know that it can take years to get where you want to be, and be willing to spend the time necessary to get there.


Expand Your Vision

Perhaps you imagine writing for a living to entail penning novels on the deck of your very own lake house. That is certainly a dream to aspire to, but don’t limit your hopes of writing to just that. In the meantime, recognize that there are plenty of career opportunities that will allow you to flex your writing muscle, even if not in the creative capacity you yearn for. Plenty of companies and industries require technical writers, and most organizations can use a strong writer on their Human Resources team – for company memos and training programs. Sure, these may not sound like what you always dreamed of, but they can be a step in the right direction towards calling yourself a writer. Consider checking out As a comprehensive career resource for professionals, they take pride in being able to assist any demographic with their career, no matter what the field. Which means they have the resources to help you parlay your writing skills into an actual career while you work on that novel on the side.


Thicken Up Your Skin

It’s important to understand that writing is a field filled with rejection. Not everyone will like what you have to say or how you say it. In fact, you will face rejection far more often in this field than you will praise – especially in the beginning. If you let those doors in your face convince you that you aren’t meant to succeed in this career, than you won’t. So toughen up and learn to believe in yourself and your writing. You can always pursue writing courses and groups to help improve upon your craft, but don’t let the rejection get you down.


Don’t Lose Sight of What Matters

When pursuing a writing career, it is easy to get caught up in the dream. You start focusing all of your free time on the pursuit of that dream, and you forget about the other things in life you used to care about. This is normal, and that passion is something to embrace, but it isn’t a state of being to strive towards on any kind of long-term basis. Remember that the best writers tend to pull from real life, and those real life experiences and relationships are what will inspire and motivate you to be a better writer. So continue to live your life in addition to pursuing the dream; because you need the one in order to be successful at the other.



Weathering the Storm

stepping stones






The last 10 years have seen a lot of changes within the job market. 2008 marked an economic downturn that found far too many people without jobs, or afraid to leave jobs they hated for fear of being unable to find a new position.

While the economy has bounced back, there are still some industries, companies and geographical locations that are struggling, or that will in the years to come. Layoffs, pay freezes, and restructuring are far from being things of the past, and it is always possible you could be facing tough times in your current job.

Nobody wants to find themselves unemployed or awash amidst a terrible job situation. But how do you weather the storm and make it through those career struggles relatively unscathed?


Boost Morale

When a company is struggling, everyone working there feels the pain. Fears of being laid off can poison a work environment, making it difficult for everyone to perform at their best; which is, of course, especially unfortunate when a company clearly needs their employees working at 100 percent to get back to a successful place.

Employees who are able to push past that fear, and encourage others to do the same, can quickly become irreplaceable. You can be the company MVP by finding ways to boost morale around the office. Even just maintaining a positive attitude and being pleasant to be around during times of strife can make a difference. But if you are able to keep spirits high, especially when there are plenty of reasons for morale to be low, the difference you make won’t go unnoticed.


Be a Team Player

If you are hoping to avoid the next round of layoffs, one of the best things you can do is make yourself invaluable. Beat your deadlines, pay attention to detail, focus on producing quality work, and… be the team player your company needs you to be right now.

When companies are struggling, they tend to reduce down to a skeleton crew. Which means that some jobs aren’t getting done, and others are being done only superficially. It is during these times, especially, that you don’t want to be caught playing solitaire at your desk. Instead, capitalize upon any free time you may have by offering to help your co-workers and taking on extra tasks that need to be done. Genuine team players tend to hold on to their jobs longer when those layoffs come around, and their hard work and dedication is remembered when things start looking up and promotions become available again.


Hedge Your Bets

Yes, you want to remain loyal to your company and do what you can to help them stay afloat. But sometimes, you also have to be willing to recognize the writing on the wall. If things seem to be heading south, now is the time to brush up your resume and start reaching out to your networking connections.

It doesn’t mean you have to jump ship right away, but putting feelers out and remaining open to what else might be available could mean the difference between transitioning smoothly into a new role, and being left out in the cold. So don’t be afraid to keep an eye out for openings elsewhere, or to submit an application when something else worthwhile comes along. Just remember to be discreet about it when you do.

It is almost always easier to find a new job when you are currently employed – so don’t wait until you find that pink slip on your desk to start looking for new opportunities.


Knowing When and Where to Apply








Let’s be honest: job searches are stressful. Whether you are currently gainfully employed and just looking for a better opportunity, or have been out of work for months and are worried about how you will pay your bills, scouring help wanted ads and putting yourself out there for work is time consuming and anxiety inducing. Nobody really enjoys this part, but it has to be done if you are hoping to find yourself in a new role soon.

Still, there are ways to reduce some of that stress, starting with how you go about making your application decisions.

Quality vs. Quantity

One of the mistakes a lot of job seekers make is in thinking that they are better off applying for as many openings as possible. They convince themselves they are hedging their bets by throwing their hat in the ring for any and every opportunity that might potentially be something they could see themselves doing. The problem is that this approach often means losing a lot of quality in the application process. They are haphazardly sending copy and paste cover letters and failing to pay complete attention to the requirements of the job at hand.

Applying like this creates two problems. The first is that you waste your time applying and interviewing for jobs you may not actually want, and the second is that you send out subpar applications for jobs you might actually be perfect for. Instead of applying for every opportunity you come across, be discerning about where you send those applications to – focus on customizing your cover letter and resume to the jobs you are truly interested in, and on passing over the opportunities that probably wouldn’t make you happy in the long run.

Find Your “In”

Networking is forever important when it comes to working your way up the career ladder, but it is easy enough to argue that it serves its greatest purpose during a job search. Making and maintaining those connections with others in your industry can mean getting a heads up when new openings are around the corner and having an internal recommendation for position that might have a lot of competition.

Obviously, if you are currently employed, you want to be careful about who you let know that you are looking elsewhere. But good networking means knowing who your friends are and being able to find your “in” to corporations where you would really like to get your foot in the door. Even if you aren’t currently looking, you should always be trying to make those ties – because you never know when they could come in handy down the line.

Follow Instructions

Pay attention to job postings and to a company’s preferred method of applying. A lot of job seekers make the mistake of thinking that all they have to do to get an interview is turn in a really great resume and cover letter. In some cases, this is absolutely true. But if a job posting dictates filling out an application as well, you need to be sure you are doing so to completion. Don’t write “see resume” on every line or skip the application entirely, purely because you believe your resume covers all the questions asked. Follow a company’s protocol and show you have respect for their way of doing this by applying with their preferred method. This includes paying attention to deadlines and filling out those applications online when requested – many companies today like to maintain online databases of applicants for future job openings.


Is it Time to Get a Career Coach?

interviewcoachingLet’s say you have been looking for a job for a while; couch surfing at the homes of kind of supportive friends and family while you try to work towards your dream career. Or maybe you have a job, but it certainly isn’t the dream – so you’ve been wistfully looking elsewhere, without much luck or interest from employers in what you have to offer.

What are you doing wrong?

The reality is, you aren’t the only job seeker asking themselves this question. But what you might be lacking is that third party insight that could help to get you exactly where you want to be. Which is where a career coach comes in.

People are relying more and more on matchmakers and relationship coaches to help them find “the one” in terms of love – so why shouldn’t the same logic apply to finding that match in your career? If you have been searching to no avail, it might be time to enlist the help of a coach who can give you that extra boost you need.

The Attitude

Just as with dating, success in a job search has a lot to do with attitude. Your resume could speak volumes to what you have to offer, but if you lack the confidence to express that same level of expertise in your interviews – you will almost always be passed over for the job. Even when you might otherwise be a perfect fit.

The flip side of that, of course, is when applicants have a confidence that spills over into arrogance. No one wants to work with the person who thinks they are too good for any give job, either.

A career coach can help you to hone your attitude, and to exude the right level of confidence, without turning hiring managers off. They can aid in working through any job search anxiety you may have, as well as creating realistic expectations for the task at hand.

The Search

Plenty of job applicants make the mistake of applying to any and every opening they find. Particularly when a person has been out of work for a while, there is a desperation that takes over – and that has them sending the same exact cover letter and resume to each and every opening, because they are focused on quantity over quality.

A career coach will help you to better define what you are looking for, and to know where to look in order to find those opportunities. They will also help you to refine your resume and cover letter so that it is job specific, thereby increasing your chances of getting a foot in the door.

The Presentation

Which brings us to the presentation. Yes, making your resume career specific is absolutely important – but so is ensuring that your resume format best exemplifies what you have to offer. Career coaches will work with you to understand what hiring managers are looking for, and how to present yourself in a way that will be irresistible to recruiters. Then, they will guide you in your in-person presentation as well. Because it isn’t just about what you put on paper; but also about how you can back that information up in reality.

The Interview

An overwhelming majority of people suffer from anxiety surrounding public speaking and interview situations. You aren’t alone if the idea of sitting in front of a hiring manager and selling yourself makes you feel uneasy. But a good career coach will go over tools you can use to help dispel that anxiety, while also working with you on your interview skills until you feel confident in your ability to convince any hiring manager of your value.

So if you’ve been searching for a while, it might be time to consider a little extra help. While a career coach won’t ever be able to just hand you a job, they can provide the guidance you need to not only define what it is you want out of your dream career, but to also go out and get it for yourself!


How Outplacement Services Benefit Employees?

Interview CoachingWith today’s economy, not all employees in large companies can feel secure about their jobs. Even establishments that have experienced success in the past can experience problems that may eventually lead to downsizing in the company. When this happens, redundant employees may suffer from a variety of hardships. To make parting with employees easier, companies can offer outplacement services to support these employees.

Outplacement can help an employee who has just lost their job is by offering psychological support and counselling to help ease negative emotions. It’s quite common among people who have lost their jobs to feel depressed or angry; the former may spring from the anguish of losing their income and worry about the future, while the latter happens when employees feel they have been treated unfairly. Providing an outlet for these emotions not only helps the employee find hope and gain motivation to look for a new job, it also helps maintain good relations between companies and their personnel. Having a good relationship with employees can be of benefit in the future, particularly when companies can once again expand their group and re-hire old employees.

Outplacement helps employees formulate a plan for their future career; allows them to evaluate their past career, as well as determining their fields of interests, enlightens them with regards to their strengths and weaknesses and general helps employees decide on their next career goals and moves. Sometimes these evaluations open up new career ventures that the employees have never considered before.

Outplacement not only helps employees find a new career goal, it also gives them the necessary tools to achieve it. A new marketing portfolio and a winning resume to ensure interviews are gained. Interview coaching is also a major part of an outplacement program and other services tailored to each individual.

All these services ensures that the unemployment period for employees is substantially shortened and that the road to re-employment much smoother.


kylie hammond

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