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8 Soft Skills Your Important For Any Career

Having the right skills for a job is what sets you apart from the rest of the competition. However, the desired skills do not always come down to on-the-job knowledge, like being proficient with the latest tech or being a good salesperson. The ideal employee also possesses those essential soft skills – skills that allow you to operate on a more personal level beyond the technical side. These are skills that are pretty much universal in the workforce. No matter the industry or position you hold, having these skills is essential for being a valuable member of the team. If you’re looking to get hired or reach that next level, be sure to know what will separate you from the competition.

Adaptability

We’ve talked about this quality and how it relates to boomers many times before. There is a common misconception that professionals past a certain age are unwilling or unable to adapt to new scenarios at work. Naturally this is something that can hold you back as the working world is in constant motion. What is used one week can be outdated the next. Being able to roll with changes and stay on your toes inspires confidence from your employer that you are able to be thrown into any situation and still be effective.

Communication

If there is one universal quality that needs to be improved across just about every work environment, it’s communication. Good communication helps the entire office operate more efficiently. It can be small things like ensuring feedback is given in a clear and helpful way. It can also be much bigger, like being able to communicate the company’s desired message in an effective way. A professional who demonstrates an ability to communicate well is seen as a valuable member of any team.

Conflict Resolution

While most of us likely see ourselves as capable and personable professionals, conflicts will no doubt arise within the workplace. Different personalities, styles of work and stressful situations make conflict inevitable. Therefore, an ideal employee is not expected to have no conflicts but rather be able to deal with the conflicts themselves. When a conflict does come up, these professionals are able to address it in a effective manner that does not affect productivity, satisfies all parties involved and requires no further mediation.

Creativity

When some people hear the word ‘creative’ they think artistic and convince themselves that creativity is not needed for their line of work. But while it might not be used in a day-to-day sense, or be overly apparent, every job can benefit from a creative mind and creative approaches to the work. It is a skill that can mean many different things, but the essential selling point is that it means you can think outside the box. When conventional ideas and methods aren’t working, the solution is usually found with those who are able to open their mind to new ways of doing things and try a fresh approach.

Critical Observation

Often on the job, employees will be called upon to give a critical examination of the work at hand. It takes a skilled eye to be critical of someone’s work and also the skill to be able to communicate the critical take in a way that is respectful and helpful. Even more difficult and important, is being able to take the same critical observation of your own work and be honest with yourself. Such employees not only better their own work but the work of those around them as well.

Problem Solving

When confronted with an issue, how one deals with it often speaks volumes to their professionalism. Some become flustered and anxious when confronted with difficult issues. However, those ideal employees are able to confront the problem and find ways to solve it. A manager does not want to be bothered to come to an employee’s rescues every time the unexpected happens. Professionals who are not derailed by these problems and are effective enough to find workable solutions need little managing and show the potential for leadership roles.

Project Management

If there’s one thing managers hate doing, it’s micromanaging. Yes, their job requires a certain part of supervision, but when it comes to the smaller projects, they hope employees can handle them on their own. Of course, someone inevitably needs to take the lead and those employees who can oversee a small group of co-workers and see a project completed successfully certainly stick out above the rest. It takes a knowledge of the various departments, a keen attention to detail, and leadership ability for effective project management. Certainly another skill that suggests management potential.

Teamwork

Every successful and efficient workplace excels because all the various moving parts are able to work in harmony. The best ways to achieve this is with employees who have superior teamwork skills. Excelling at this skill doesn’t mean agreeing with everything your co-worker says or staying out of the way. Rather good teamwork comes from someone who can keep an open mind, have their own ideas, be respectful and collaborate effectively. Not all professionals can handle all those requirements. However, every workplace is one big team and being able to work effectively as a member of that team is essential.

If you’re looking to get back in the professional work, sign up for FREE with BoomersPlus. We help match experienced professionals with job opportunities that fit your skills. To learn more, visit our website at https://www.boomersplus.com/ or email us at info@boomersplus.com. 

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It’s Time To Embrace The Multigenerational Workplace

When discussing millennials and boomers in the same sentence, the context is usually the perceived combative relationship between the two generations. Just this past month, there were several articles pointing to a survey in which millennials blamed boomers for pretty much all their troubles. It’s true that there does exist some friction between these age groups generally speaking, but on a personal basis, these relationships can be far more positive than is ever discussed.

Take the work environment – an area where boomers and millennials seem to butt heads the most. Boomers claim millennials are unmotivated and disloyal employees. Millennials see boomers are selfishly taking up jobs of younger professionals by refusing to leave the workforce. Of course, these are just greatly exaggerated generalizations with very little truth to them. Not only that, but many businesses are finding that millennials and boomers sharing a workplace actually creates a more thriving business.

So what benefits come from a multigenerational workplace?

Skills.

With most any employer, the first thing they’re looking for in their workforce is a wide skill set. The most effective way for a business to address just about any problem that might present itself is to build a team with a variety of the necessary skills. That means an employer should look in a variety of places to fill out an effective team.

Certain people will say one generation is more skilled in areas where other generations might have less knowledge. Again, these are generalizations that certainly should not be attributed to an entire group, but it’s also trying to give a negative spin on something that is just a given fact. Of course, there will be a difference in the skill sets of boomers versus those of millennials – how could there not be? Difference experiences, different careers, growing up in different worlds will all contribute to how they have developed professional skills over the years. But that’s not a bad thing. Having professionals from different generations working together means a wider range of valuable skills are at play. Newer skills meet proven skills and strengthen the workforce together. Businesses can take advantage of having a collection of skills that compliment each other rather than slowing each other down.

Mentoring.

Experience matters. It is a statement that BoomersPlus has built our job-placement service around and one that many businesses are learning for themselves. While some employers might have feared the uncertainty of older professionals, many have had a reversal in their thinking and recognized the value these experienced professionals can provide to a business. That experience not only helps to keep the business running but helps it grow through the sharing of experience.

Despite their reputations as selfish, boomers have shown to be terrific mentors to younger generations. In the workplace, that mentorship is essential as they pass on the necessary skills and advice that helps those less-experienced professionals reach that next level. And the beauty of a multigenerational workplace is that mentorship can be a two-way street. Younger professionals can help boomers stay current with tools and tech that make the job easier. The workplace becomes an area where knowledge that can help the business thrive is shared openly and everyone is elevated with the help of those around them.

Perspective.

Yes, of course, there are differences among millennials and boomers — that’s obvious. But why does that always have to be a bad thing? What business thrives when everyone is thinking the same way? That might sound like the ideal way for a workplace to run, but we all know that innovation springs forth when different outlooks come together. Simply because these generations might have different perspectives doesn’t mean it has to be combative. These are generations who live together, are family members and are still able to share their own opinions respectfully. It’s ridiculous to think that can’t be the case in a professional setting. These different perspectives help to inform and strengthen the problem solving, idea generating and brainstorming processes within the workplace. New ideas emerge when someone looks at the situation in a different way. Businesses who embrace those differences rather than try to avoid it are the ones who succeed.

Regardless of what they might say about millennials and boomers being sworn enemies, there’s no reason to buy into the negativity. Working together shows that these generations can not only tolerate each other but may in fact bring out the best in each other.

If you’re looking to get back in the professional work, sign up for FREE with BoomersPlus. We help match experienced professionals with job opportunities that fit your skills. To learn more, visit our website at https://www.boomersplus.com/ or email us at info@boomersplus.com.

 

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5 Tips For Finding Meaningful Part-Time Work

Part-time work later in your career offers a lot of opportunities to achieve a more fulfilling work-life balance. However, the very thought of part-time work still fills some boomer professionals with dread. Part-time work is often seen as a stepping-stone position and not a place you would find meaningful work. While many boomer professionals would like the opportunity to reduce their work hours without retiring, they still want to feel engaged in their work. But part-time work and meaningful work are not mutually exclusive concepts. You are able to find the opportunities that afford you more time outside work while still challenging you and leaving you fulfilled in your job. Here’s how to find these opportunities.

Consider your interests.

It’s hard to define what exactly meaningful work is. There are many ways it can be interpreted, but certainly, one can find real meaning in work that they have a vested interest in. So many boomers started careers as a way to make a living, without much concern for whether or not they were actually passionate about the work. Some took pride in the fact that they had a talent for the job while some grew to find passion in their work. But finding a career you’re passionate about has become a priority among the younger generations and boomers are starting to follow the same path. When you are looking to make the switch to a more flexible work schedule, seek out those opportunities that speak to you personally. It will help you remain engaged with work even at a reduced schedule while adding to your more fulfilling work-life balance.

Expand on your old job.

Perhaps you are one of those lucky professionals who has genuine passion for the career they have built, so why not continue that passion through this career transition? While it does not always work out, when you’re looking to transition to part-time work, being able to do it in your current position is the easiest method. Many boomers resist retirement not only because they wish to remain engaged in work, but also because they don’t want to walk away from a career that, for many of them, they have been in for decades. Remaining working in the same position with the benefits of a reduced work schedule would be ideal for many.

Embrace your network.

We have always tried to emphasis the importance a professional and personal network plays in searching for new career opportunities. This is again another situation in which your valued contacts can help you find meaningful employment that meet your current priorities. Ask around about any such opportunities, talk to your colleagues about what you want to accomplish with this transition. These are people that know you and can therefore give insight into opportunities that would provide meaningful work for you. Maybe some have attempted a similar transition themselves. Keep those connections strong because you never know when one of them will have the answer you’re looking for.

Volunteer to explore options.

Sometimes the right opportunities aren’t available, other times they aren’t clear. Having to seek out new opportunities late in your career can be daunting and the challenge might put off some professionals. There is a thought that if meaningful work hasn’t been discovered yet, how likely are you to find it in the second act of your career? Well, if you how to look for it, it can be very likely. Volunteering is a great way to explore your passions, get a sense for new work and hone your specific skills, all while providing help to organization that very much need it. Find volunteer opportunities in areas that appeal to you and explore whether you can see yourself in that type of work.

Make your own opportunities.

When the opportunity doesn’t present itself, then you make it yourself. That is the sort of strong-willed thinking that many boomers preach to younger generations. But when it comes time to practice what they preach, are they up to taking their own advice? Make no mistake, you securing the exact part-time job you want – one that fulfills your schedule needs as well as provide you with meaningful purpose – is not a guarantee. So when you can’t find the opportunities out there, what is your next move? If you are dedicated to finding meaningful work in this capacity, take the initiative. Freelance, contract, even recreating your current position to make it work for both you and your organization are all options you have at your disposal. It will take hard work to see through, but when has that ever stopped you?

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4 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Switching To Part-Time

Last week, we looked at how part-time opportunities have become a draw for many boomer professionals. As they struggle between wanting to embrace the other aspects of their lives without disengaging from work entirely. But as we highlighted, that transition is not one to be made on a whim. There is considerable pre-planning needed to ensure this transition helps you achieve all your goals. As with any such situation, a good way to help prepare yourself is to ask yourself a few essential questions. So if you think part-time work is your next career step, ask yourself this:

Why do you want to make the switch?

This is an easy first question. Making this transition might seem like a no-brainer and something that makes perfect sense for what you want to accomplish, but that doesn’t mean you have to dive into this very important decision without some serious consideration. Unpack your reasons for making the switch. Looking for a better work-life balance is a great first understanding but there needs to be more than that. How will that balance work? How many hours of work are you looking for? Is this the only way you can achieve what you’re looking for? This is a decision that certainly deserves a lot of thought and consideration before making any decisions. It can be difficult to have the self-reflection necessary but if you’re honest with yourself it will help to ensure you’re on the right track with this transition.

What is your plan?

Once you have a better understanding of why you are pursuing this path and what you want to achieve with it, it’s time to look at how you will achieve it. The best way to start with this is by asking yourself, if you were to start the ball rolling tomorrow on this, what would your first step be? That is not meant to rush you along, quite the opposite. This is going to be a gradual process but thinking about how to approach it will help you plan out the process. Will you be remaining at your current job and reducing hours? When will you speak to your employer? How will you present the transition to them? Will you look elsewhere for work? Where will find a job if your current employer doesn’t work out? It is this kind of forethought that prepares you for the challenges of this transition.

What do you need to make it happen?

Another reason you plan for such big decisions in life is so you can judge how prepared you are. Despite where you are in your career and how much you think you’re ready for the change, there are a number of factors that need to come into place for it to work successfully. Of course, there is the financial aspect of the decision. Switching to part-time means less money. You need to be sure that your lifestyle can be supported on a reduced salary. You must also consider how the part-time position will come about. As stated above, being able to stay on with your old job is not a guarantee. You need present to your employer your plan for making this transition, not assume they will accommodate to your desires. How will this transition work not only for you but for the organization? Every aspect you need to make this transition a success should be considered beforehand.

What will it look like?

Combining all of those questions, consider your endgame. Not just why you want to get there or how you’ll get there, but what will it look like to achieve that. How will this benefit you in the end? How will this change your life? What will you do with your extra time? Much like with retirement, people can be surprised with how drastic these changes be. Preparing yourself for such an event means looking forward and taking into account where it will bring you. This is a very significant decision to make, one that could mean big changes for your life. But you don’t want to jeopardize the possible benefits of a decision like this by not looking closely at the situation. Ask yourself the tough questions, find the honest answers and you’ll be that much closer to achieving what you’re after.

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What To Do When You Don’t Get The Job

For the average person who is on the hunt for a job, rejection is just part of the game. It’s something you’re going to face and that’s just the reality of the situation. But some circumstances make moving past that rejection harder than others. For instance, in my life of job searching, it is discouraging when you apply for a job and hear absolutely nothing back. Worse than that, however, is the jobs I came close to getting but fell just short. The near-misses, those dream jobs that pass you by , those are the ones that are hard to shake off. Unfortunately, it’s something that you’ll just have to deal with, regardless of how difficult that might be. It might feel like a massive setback, but it’s all part of the process and you need to keep moving forward. Here are some ways to recover from these rejections.

Get some feedback.

Whenever you are turned down for a job it’s important that you get as much feedback as you can. This is especially true with those jobs that you felt like you were perfect for and yet were still passed over. It can sometimes be hard to identify our own failings so getting some perspective is always a good idea. It’s important to keep in mind that the feedback should not be taken too personally. You might disagree with the opinion of an interviewer, but they aren’t your enemy out to get you. Try to see it from their perspective and understand how they got that opinion. Even if they insist you were qualified for the job and were simply edged out by another candidate, find out what those deciding factors were and how you can improve in those areas. All this is meant to inform how you are presenting yourself to potential employers so that you don’t miss out on that next opportunity.

Clear your head.

Once you’ve gotten your feedback, analyzed (but not over-analyzed) the situation, it’s time to put it behind you. That’s not to say that that particular door is closed forever. In fact, it’s a good idea to get contact information from those you speak to so you can stay connected for any upcoming opportunities. But this particular opportunity is behind you so that is where it should stay. No more thinking through the ‘what ifs’ and kicking yourself for not doing something differently. You need to start fresh on the next opportunity and to do that you must refocus your attention. Find a way to clear your head of that experience. For me, going for a walk helps a lot to get my mind in the right space to start again. You can’t change what’s already happened, so learn from it and then move on.

Stay positive.

Whenever faced with a setback like this, these words can be a bit frustrating. If only it was as easy as that to stay positive after such a negative experience. But while it might not be easy, it is nonetheless sound advice. Staying positive allows you to continue on with your work and make sure that next opportunity works out the way you want. The question is, how do you stay positive after a setback like this? First, it helps to get some perspective. Realize that even though this is personally devastating to you, it’s something that many people face. And while it is a setback, it is not a roadblock. You can get beyond this and still achieve what you want. It might not be easy to stay positive all the time, but remember, it’s much easier to surrender to negativity and give up. That’s where the easy path gets you.

Stick to the game plan.

When you lose out on that job, consider this; nothing has changed. How is this any different than if you hadn’t found that job in the first place? You are just continuing on with you job hunt a little wiser. Before you went in for the interview you goal was to get a job – the goal now remains the same. Get right back into your routine of your job hunt. Talk to your network about anymore opportunities out there. Volunteer in related areas to keep your skills sharp and make new connections. Stay active, eat healthy and sleep well. Life goes on and so should you.

If you’re looking to get back in the professional work, sign up for FREE with BoomersPlus. We help match experienced professionals with job opportunties that fit your skills. To learn more, visit our website at https://www.boomersplus.com/ or email us at info@boomersplus.com.

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BoomersPlus FAQ- Learn More About Us

At BoomersPlus, we are always striving to help as many professionals as can in finding their ideal job. Part of how we achieve that is by keeping our boomers community well-informed with our business and how it works. If you’ve been considering signing up with BoomersPlus, or are just hearing of us for the first time, no doubt you have some questions about how we can make your job search easier and more effective. To help with that we have taken a look at some  of the most common questions people ask about BoomersPlus. Learn more about what we can do for you and sign up with us today.

What services does BoomersPlus provide?

BoomersPlus matches experienced professionals looking for opportunity, adventure and community with positions that reflect their lifestyle. We help experienced professionals find volunteer, mentor, advisory and paid work opportunities. We are not head-hunters or a ‘placement firm’. Employers pay us to connect to experienced professionals because we provide a faster and more accurate alternative for job seekers than job boards. You sign up for free with BoomersPlus and then we match you to the job that fits your specific skills and experience.

How does it work?

Signing up with BoomersPlus is easy. When you create a profile, you can fill out your work history and desired work in the future, as well as several other details that help us narrow down our searches. The more information you provide, the more frequently and accurately our technology driven matchmaking service will recommend the best opportunities for you based on your profile. Once we find a match, it is your decision if you want to pursue the position we’ve matched you with or if you’d rather keep looking.

How much does it cost?

BoomersPlus services are free for all job seekers. They have been free since inception and will continue to remain free for as long as we operate. We are paid by employers to find quality job candidates quickly. There is no cost for sign-up, no hidden fees down the road, and no payment for getting matched with a job. It’s 100% free!

What types of jobs are available?

BoomersPlus provides services to a number of different businesses in many different industries, such as telecommunications, travel, engineering, marketing, technology and financial services. These employers are usually looking for executive-level professionals for shorter to medium term work placements. However, there are also opportunities for part-time, volunteer and mentor positions depending on your preferences.

What areas does BoomersPlus serve?

Experienced professionals are in demand across provinces and internationally. We have matched experienced professionals with opportunities overseas, and have empowered experienced professionals to join completely new industries and jobs.

 

As always, if you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to email us at info@boomersplus.com.

 

 

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How To Become More Independent With Your Work

One of the main attributes of boomers in the professional world is that they are independent workers. Sometimes this can be meant as a negative, suggesting they are not team players, but it is also often awarded to them as a compliment. And indeed, being able to work independently is a valuable skill in at work, allowing you to take on tasks on your own without hesitation. However, as we all know, something that is attributed to the boomer generation in no way means it applies to everyone of that generation. Some people struggle with independent work, preferring guidance and others to bounce ideas off of, but it is a skill that is very much needed in the professional world. So if you’re looking to improve your own independent skills, here are a few tips for how to achieve your goal.

Research.

If independent work is not one of your stronger skills then you’ll likely need to put in a little more work. It doesn’t mean you can’t improve, but it will require digging a little deeper on your part. One of the reasons why people fear independent work is a lack of confidence. They don’t have the faith in their own opinions and approaches to assuredly put forth the work on their own. That is why they prefer having other to bounce their idea off and confirm their own ideas. If this sounds like you, it just means you need to build your confidence and one way to do that is through research. Look into the material you’re responsible for, gain as much knowledge as your can and get answers to the questions in your head. Also, stay current with news and trends that might affect the work. Having a more solid understanding of what you are working on will help to make you feel more confident in the decisions you make regarding the work.

Control the small things.

No matter how confident you are in your skills to get the work done, obviously it is less daunting when you have others to share the load with. Sometimes the pressure of going at it on your own can be overwhelming and causes people to avoid independent work. They have a difficult time grasping being in control of all the responsibilities. At these times, you need to find ways to reaffirm your control over your work, and it’s best to start with the little things. For instance, keep your work area tidy and organized. It might seem like a small, insignificant part of the big picture, but having control over that one little aspect of your work can help you to plant your feet more firmly. Then you can move on to bigger and bigger responsibilities, slowly regaining your control over the situation and decreasing all the stress involved so you can just focus on the work.

Take on more.

If you struggle with working independently, it’s likely that the last thing your want to do is voluntarily take on that type of work. However, as we all know, the way in which we improve is by practicing and gaining more experience. you might not get approached for this kind of work often, but it’s important to seek it out if your think you should be taking it on. Get started on projects early by doing some of the preliminary work. That way you can have a head start and still be able to bring in other to give feedback without taking up valuable time. Also, reassess your position and its responsibilities. Is there more

Don’t be afraid to take your time.

When you’re working on your own, sometimes you can feel like the clock is racing against you. Again, there is a certain amount of pressure turning in work that is solely your responsibility and you want to match what is expected of you. This can cause some to second guess their method of doing things and begin looking for faster and easier methods. However, we all know that faster work certainly does not always mean better quality work. Don’t feel rushed to skip over important parts of the work. Take your time to get things right and produce the best quality work you can. Deadlines still matter but so does doing the job the right way.

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How To Identify Your Meaningful Work

On last week’s episode of ENCORE, our guest Kelly Weeks discussed the generational differences in the workplace and the role “meaningful work” played in that scenario. While younger generations have entered the workforce with notions of finding such work, it is not a foreign concept to boomer professionals either. As these experienced workers near the later stages of their careers, they begin to reflect on what they’ve accomplished and, in some cases, they seek to find work that has more meaning to them. But what does that mean?

The term “meaningful work” is one of those phrases that we all accept with some level of understanding but is in actuality very hard to define. It can be a very vague thing to look for ‘meaning’ in your work as just about any job can attach something to it that would satisfy the general definition. Of course, when we speak of meaningful work, we are really talking about that is meaningful to you. It doesn’t need to be saving the world, or helping those less fortunate. While those are all noble reasons to join a career, it’s not selfish to choose a different path. So what does meaning work mean to you? It’s not as easy a question as it might seem. Like many decisions that inform your path, this requires a good deal of self-reflection.

Ask yourself the right questions.

Part of the necessary self-reflection involved here is asking yourself the important questions regarding whatever decision you may or may not make. So what are the questions you need to ask yourself before you can find meaningful work?

What do I like about my current job? Start with where you are now in your career. If you’re interested in seeking out more meaningful work then it’s safe to assume you’re not completely satisfied with your current work. However, it’s also quite likely that there are aspects of it that you love. Identify those areas that make you happy and that will give you a good foundation for knowing what you want out of work.

What would I do if money was not a factor? Regardless of whether or not we are happy at work, our salary tends to play a fairly significant role in our career path. Finances are important for living a full and happy life, but what if they weren’t? What if you won the lottery tomorrow and didn’t need to worry about money ever again? What would you do for a living? Yes, it’s a hypothetical question that will never become reality for many of us, but it helps us get to the center of what we hold as important in terms of work.

What if I couldn’t fail? Something that keeps many of us back from pursuing our true passions as a career is a fear of failure. It’s something that can be hard to kick, no matter how old and experienced we are. It seems safer to not try something than to try something and fail. Put yourself in a position where failure doesn’t matter. What would you do if you weren’t scared of not succeeding?

It’s a mixture of skill and passion.

The above questions work to identifying where your passions lie in terms of your career. Passion is certainly an important part of finding meaningful work. As with any career, passion for your work leads to more productivity, happiness and overall better quality of life. Therefore, it is your passion for your work that, in turn, makes that work meaningful. However, there is still a question of what is realistic. That is why meaningful work is a combination of passion and skill. You need to be competent, talented and experienced with the work in order to make it a career. Otherwise it is just a hobby.

Look for a positive environment.

Finally, there are other aspects of working beyond the actual work you do. There is the office environment, the work structure and the people you work with. The nature of your work might be very appealing but these factors can be very influential in whether or not it is meaningful work. This goes back to the question of what you like about your current work. Positivity at work is very important, especially in the later stages of your career. If you go into work everyday and it misses that positivity, it becomes a drain and could push you to ending your career earlier than you would have wanted.

Meaningful work is not something that is easily recognizable, however, so of us are content enough to find even some fraction of that in our work. The fact remains that at a certain point in our careers, priorities change and suddenly there is a need for something that has been missing up until now. If you seek out your meaningful work, be true to yourself and the journey will no doubt be worth the trouble.

If you’re looking to get back in the professional work, sign up for FREE with BoomersPlus. We help match experienced professionals with job opportunties that fit your skills. To learn more, visit our website at https://www.boomersplus.com/ or email us at info@boomersplus.com.

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8 Things To Do Before A Job Interview

Job interviews are a vital part in the path to employment. Resumes and job applications only get you so far, but the interview is a chance for you to show your potential employer what you can bring to the position and why you’re the best person for the job. However, they can also be pretty stressful situations. Selling yourself, however qualified you might be, is a difficult task, made harder by the added pressure of the interview environment. You want to take best advantage of the process, make sure you are as prepared as you can be and don’t forget anything important. Here’s a quick checklist of the most important things you need to do before your next job interview.

Research the company.

Thorough research is key to being prepared for your interview. Knowing as much you can about the company you’re hoping to work for gives you an added advantage when you’re in that room. It gives you a better sense of what values and qualities they would look for in members of their team. Read as much as you can about the company, go through their social media pages, if possible, talk to some who works there. All this research means you can go into the interview better prepared to impress.

Find out who is interviewing you.

Along with this research into the company, you should also know who you’ll be meeting in that interview room. Hopefully you’ve had some sort of communication with the interviewer prior to meeting them, however that is not always the case. Don’t be afraid to ask a few questions about how the interview will take place. How many people will be in the room? What are their names and titles within the company? The last thing you want when you walk into the interview room is a surprise.

Prepare your own questions.

Usually at the end of every job interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions of your own. For some reason, some interviewees don’t take advantage of this moment. They think asking too many questions makes them seem unsure about the job, or if they have no questions that it makes them seem confident. Employers are expecting you to have questions, and in fact, want you to have questions. It shows your interest in the job, and you desire to be as prepared as possible for the job. Prepare a few questions that you can ask at the appropriate time in the interview.

Make copies. 

No matter what job you are interviewing for, you should be bringing a few essential materials with you. You probably have already sent along your resume to the job, and maybe even some examples of past work you have done. But never assume they will have these materials on hand, that’s your responsibility. Be sure to bring along any pertinent materials and make copies of the as well. You may want to leave some of these materials behind, and if not, it’s always good to have a back-up.

Reread the job description.

The job description is the most important tool for having a successful job interview. Employers are not trying to trick you when they write these job descriptions. It’s a clear and concise breakdown of what they are looking for in the position. Study the job description thoroughly and shape your interview strategy around it. Consider your past experience as it relates to qualities they mention in the description. How can you connect your past work with what this company is looking for? Go over every part of the description to ensure you can show why you’re exactly the person they are looking for.

Figure out where you are going.

I’ll tell you a story. I had a job interview years ago and I had done much of the planning and preparation we’ve alluded to here. I was feeling ready and confident and I knew where the interview was. At least I thought I did. Turns out I had the building completely wrong and had to make a scramble just to show up late for the interview. Needless to say, not the best first impression. Don’t make the same mistake. Map out your route to the interview and be sure you know exactly where you are going. If possible, make the trip the day before. And of course, it’s always a good idea to arrive early.

Get some sleep.

You may feel that you need to get as much prep done for the interview as possible and therefore sleep becomes a secondary concern. That is a big mistake to make. You can do all your prep work ahead of time and still allow yourself to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is important to keeping you alert, sharp and ready for the day.

Eat.

Likewise, eating may not seem like the most important thing at the time but it’s essential to being well-prepared for the interview. Your nerves might have you thinking you aren’t hungry, but force yourself to have a healthy breakfast so you can have the energy and strength to make the best possible impression. You don’t want your belly rumbling in the middle of the interview.

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7 Questions To Ask Before Making A Career Change

Changing careers is no small feat. You’ve worked for years towards building a solid career, gaining experience and expertise along the way. It can be very daunting to walk away from all that and start something totally new. However, among boomer professionals, this has become a common practice. At a certain stage of their professional life, these boomers decide a secure job is not the only thing they want and seek out something more fulfilling. But with such a big decision, it should never be made lightly so if you have thought about making a career change, ask yourself these questions first.

Why am I unhappy now?

The desire for a career change usually comes at a point where you realise you are unhappy at work. Certainly, remaining in a job that makes you unhappy can be a miserable experience and you can’t be blamed for wanting to get out of such a situation. But before taking drastic steps, first explore that unhappiness. When did it start? Is it a recent feeling? You also have to determine what is causing this feeling of unhappiness. Sometimes we can relate an unhappiness we’ll feeling in our personal life to how we are feeling in our professional life. It’s important to really explore these feelings, as difficult as it may be, so that you aren’t letting other aspects of your life interfere with your career in ways you’ll regret later on.

Is it something that can be fixed?

Once you determine what the issue is with your current job, it’s time to consider what steps can be taken. No doubt the issue is serious, but quitting your job is not the only solution to the problem. Before taking any steps in that direction you should then actively try to remedy the situation. Examine the problem and see if it there is a way it could be addressed that would leave you more content in remaining in the position. Discuss it with colleagues and managers, giving others a chance to address the issue as well. It is entirely possible that the problem in question has no solution, but before making final decisions, you want to be sure you did everything you could to make things work before moving on.

What will a change bring me?

Unfortunately, if there is a problem with your current work situation, a career change is not a sure-fire way to deal with it. This takes a deep understanding of the problem at hand and a good deal of self-awareness. Will you simply be bringing the same problems to your new job? What is this new job offering you that you weren’t getting at your old job? Just because a problem has been identified doesn’t mean that the solution is obvious. Again, this is a major decision to make and your expectations for what it will bring you need to be realistic.

Is this the right time?

Leaving one job to start over at a new job is a move full of risks. Do you know you’ll be able to secure a position quickly? How long can you afford to be on the job search? These are important questions to consider because the financial shock of leaving a steady job can cause a lot of problems if poorly planned. Consider the timing of this decision and whether it’s the best time for you to be without work. This doesn’t mean you have to sideline plans entirely, but maybe wait for a more opportune moment.

Am I ready for this new career?

Of course, when you decide you want to make a change, the job you plan to go into on the other end is not always up to you. Who is to say that there will even be available positions in this new ideal career? Then there is the question of how prepared you are for this new line of work. You’ve spent years in one field, but can those skills and that experience translate into the career you want? What further training or education do I need to prepare me for this new career? What is new in the industry that can help me hit the ground running in my new job?

Who can I speak to about my new career?

As with any new endeavor you are about to enter, knowing as much as you can about it beforehand helps prepare you better for the potential challenges. That is why, before starting any new job (or, in fact, making the career change) you should speak to someone with experience in that field. This is the best way to learn about the challenges, expectations and general work associated with the position when you don’t have any experience of your own. Take the opportunity to determine whether the move sounds like it is best for you.

Am I being realistic?

Such a change requires a lot of self-reflection in determining if it is the right move for you. You also have to ask yourself if this reaction is rational and realistic, or if you are overreacting to a bad situation. This is not meant to bring into question your own feelings toward your work, or to suggest they aren’t valid, but with such a big decision at stake, is this the wise choice? Is this going to help you in the end? Are you ready for a change? Or is this something that you’ll end up regretting in time?