Where the Jobs Are for Older Workers – WSJ.com

By ANDREA COOMBES

Growing numbers of older adults are finding a nice surprise in the workplace: a “Welcome” sign.

The number of workers age 55 and up grew by 3.5 million from September 2009 to September 2012. That represents the lion’s share of the gain of 4.2 million for all workers 16 and older, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Two factors help explain the trend.

First: demographics. In the three years ended in July, 86% of population growth among people ages 25 to 69 came in the 55 to 69 age range, says Richard Johnson, director of the program on retirement policy at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research group. That increase comes mostly from the baby boomers, who began turning 55 in 2001.

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The Wall Street Journal

“There are many more Americans turning 55 in recent years than turning 25,” Mr. Johnson says.

Second: changing attitudes. More employers are recognizing that older adults bring skills and experiences to the table that can help the bottom line.

It’s not all good news. While older workers’ unemployment rate is lower, when they lose a job they’re unemployed longer—a median of 35 weeks versus 26 weeks for younger folks.

“The problem of age bias hasn’t been solved yet, but attitudes do seem to be improving,” says Sara Rix, senior strategic policy adviser with the Public Policy Institute at AARP, the Washington advocacy group.

Here are several industries where experts say the outlook is bright for older workers:

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Getty Images

Education

School reform at the K-12 level, in particular, may provide opportunities for older workers, says Jackie Greaner, North America practice leader for talent management at consulting firm Towers Watson TW -1.04% .

“Expectations of teachers are much higher,” she says, “but in a way that provides opportunities for other talent to enter the school system—[individuals with] other types of skills and knowledge.”

Financial Services

“Banks and insurance companies have been forward-thinking about…the aging workforce and what that means for their organizations,” says Jacquelyn B. James, director of research at Boston College’s Sloan Center on Aging and Work.

“They’ve been trying to offer more possibilities to older workers to work more flexibly, to reduce their hours when they decide that’s what they want to do,” she says.

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One example: Principal Financial PFG +0.92% offers a “Happy Returns” program to enable retirees to return to work without interrupting their benefits.

Health Care

Health-care companies are grappling with a shortage of workers and are reaching out to employees age 55-plus.

“There’s a huge need for people who can take care of all the different facets of health-care delivery, from the greeter at the door of the hospital to the person who processes accounts payable, and of course doctors, nurses and health technicians,” says Erin Peterson, senior vice president in the talent acquisitions solutions group at consulting firm Aon AON +0.29% Hewitt.

Among new health-care jobs identified in a 2010 report by Encore.org, a nonprofit advocacy group: patient advocates, community health workers and home-modification specialists.

Professional Services and Knowledge Workers

In the world of consulting, “it can be a plus to have experience,” says Ms. Greaner of Towers Watson. “There’s not really a stigma about being older.”

The same is true for other knowledge-worker jobs. For example, “the nuclear-power industry is an industry that is very hard to get people that are fully developed in terms of skill sets and capabilities,” Ms. Greaner says. For employers, “it’s very difficult to get that expertise.”

Aon Hewitt’s Ms. Peterson says talented recruiters can be hard to find. “I find people who have a lot of life experience and professional experience make the best recruiters.”

Ms. Coombes is a writer in San Francisco. She can be reached at next.

A version of this article appeared October 22, 2012, on page R4 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: For Older Workers, Here Is Where the Jobs Will Be.

How to Use Your Time Wisely by Prioritizing Your Goals | Entrepreneur.com

How to Use Your Time Wisely by Prioritizing Your Goals

BY  | October 19, 2012|
How to Use Your Time Wisely by Prioritizing Your Goals

image credit: Shutterstock

In his bookExtreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours, author Robert Pozen reveals his secrets and strategies for productivity and high performance, focusing on results produced rather than simply hours worked. In this edited excerpt, Pozen lays out six steps to analyze whether your efforts are supporting your most critical business goals and objectives.

Many executives race from meeting to meeting or crisis to crisis without giving much thought to the rationale for their hectic schedules. They spend too little time on activities that support their highest goals and often report a serious mismatch between priorities and time allocations.

Think carefully about why you are engaging in any activity and what you expect to get out of it. Establish your highest-ranking goals and determine whether your schedule is consistent with this ranking. This process has six steps:

1. Write everything down. Include the routine tasks that you have to do daily or weekly and longer-term projects assigned to you.But you can only tread water if you spend all your time responding to crises and tasks assigned by others. To get ahead, you also must think about what you want to do.

These may be long-term goals, such as advancing your career, or short-term goals, like developing a new skill. Add these aspirations for your work to your list. Be as broad as possible; capture all your tasks and goals.

Related: When ‘Just Do It’ Just Doesn’t Do It: Maximizing Interruptions As They Happen

2. Organize by time horizon. Divide your list into three time categories:

  • Career aims: Long-term goals over at least five years.
  • Objectives: Professional goals over the next three months to two years.
  • Targets: Action steps that should guide your work on a weekly or daily basis–or example, finishing one part of a larger project.

Make sure that each objective has one or two associated targets. If any lacks a target, think hard about the next actionable step you can take to advance that objective, and then add it to your list of targets.

3. Rank your objectives. Think about what you want to do, what you’re good at, and what the world needs from you. These are distinctly different — and there may be some conflict among them.Determining what you want to do is critical to your ranking decisions. For instance, if you have a burning desire to invent your company’s newest product, you should rank that objective higher.

Then, ask yourself, “What am I better at doing than others? Which objectives play to my strengths?” Rank an objective higher if you have a comparative advantage in accomplishing it because of your personality or skills.

Lastly, ask what the world needs from you. You can’t be fully productive by looking only at the supply side. You must also consider the demand side — what the world, your organization, or your boss needs most from you.

Write down two or three top objectives for your organization and think about the metric used to evaluate performance. Ask yourself what one change you could make to help achieve success: more time visiting clients? Recruiting a talented professional to replace a retiring employee?

4. Rank your targets. Your targets, or action steps, will typically fall into one of two categories: enabling targets, which help you accomplish your objectives, and assigned targets, which are given to you. First decide which targets belong in which category and then try to rank them.

For example, finishing my book was a very high objective for me, so writing the first draft of a chapter tended to be my highest-ranked enabling target. An enabling target also can further an objective in more subtle ways. Suppose that you’ve been told that you’ll be assigned a major project (i.e., an objective) that will require your full attention. So, you want to get many of your small tasks out of the way. Completing these lower-priority enabling targets supports your new objective by clearing away distractions.

Related: 4 Ways to Discover Your Strengths

List and rank your enabling targets based on the objective’s importance and how effectively the enabling target furthers it. Assigned targets are daily and weekly chores that often seem unrelated to your bigger picture. They are very different than those that support your objectives. Although assigned targets are immediate and concrete, that doesn’t mean they are important enough to consume your schedule. Consider them low priority and spend as little time on them as possible.

5. Estimate how you spend your time. Once you’ve ranked your objectives and targets, determine how effectively your schedule matches your high-priority goals. Take out your calendar and answer these six questions:

  • How many hours do you spend at work vs. other activities?
  • What are the three main work activities on which you spend the most time?
  • How many hours each week do you spend on meetings, forms or reports, and responding to emails?
  • Will your weekly schedule be similar a year from now?
  • What will be your three main activities during the next year, and will they change?
  • How will you measure success and failure over the next year?
  • Compare your allocations of time with your ranked list of objectives and targets. What percentage of your time do you spend on activities that help you meet your highest objectives and targets? How much time do you spend on lower-ranking items?

6. Address the mismatch. You’ll likely find that you are spending no more than half your time on your highest priorities. Some professionals haven’t carefully thought about their objectives and targets, and so often neglect an important goal — until it becomes a crisis, demanding their full time and effort.

Related: 5 Tech Time Wasters and How to Avoid Them

Read more stories about: ProductivityProductivity toolsTime managementBusiness Efficiency Center

When you just don’t fit in at the office – Money – TODAY.com

What to do when you just don’t fit in at work

Three and a half years ago Forbes merged its dot-com and magazine editorial staffs, and we magazine editors got a dose of culture shock. We were used to coming and going as we pleased. We had few meetings. Especially in the mid- and upper-level ranks, we didn’t socialize together much. Having moved here midway through my career, from a nightly television show where I was by necessity joined at the hip with my colleagues, I loved the independence and freedom of the place.

Now I suddenly had a major adjustment to make. The dot-commers were a much more chummy bunch. Group e-mails whizzed around constantly. Announcements of birthday parties arrived, it seemed, daily. That meant we had to leave our desks at mid-afternoon, crowd into a windowless conference room and sing to some colleague while nibbling on cupcakes and sipping cheap champagne. Call me a curmudgeon, but I detested those forced moments of gaiety and collegiality.

Forbes.com slideshow: When you just don’t fit in at the office

Which leads me to the topic of this column: What do you do when you realize you don’t naturally fit in with your office culture?

My situation was pretty mild. I didn’t want my new colleagues to think I disliked them, so I forced myself to show up at a share of the cupcake fêtes and made a point to offer the birthday boy or girl best wishes, especially if he or she was on my team. I got used to the faster pace of the dot-com schedule, and I attended a lot more meetings. Also, the office culture around here has shifted since then. We’re back to fewer meetings, no birthday parties and more independence.

But for some people the wrong office culture can prove truly onerous or even cost them the job.

Anita Attridge, a career coachicon1.png in New York, had a client who worked as a vice president for a large pharmaceutical company based in Europe. The woman had to travel overseas once a month for three or four exhausting days at a stretch. Tired and jetlagged, she at first routinely turned down dinner and drinks invitations from her European colleagues, preferring to head back to her hotel and crash. Then she got some bad news: She wasn’t perceived as a strong leader and wasn’t doing her part as a member of the team. “She was startled,” Attridge says. “She had no idea she wasn’t doing well.” It turned out she was expected not only to give her all in the office but also to demonstrate her commitment to her company by socializing with her superiors and colleagues after hours.

“It wasn’t in her comfort zone to do that,” Attridge says. But Attridge advised her to come to terms with the need to socialize: “I said to her that going out to dinners was as much a part of the job as going to meetings. It’s a job requirement that isn’t listed.” Attridge also pointed out that a lot of informal but essential information changes hands at office social functions.

Attridge learnedicon1.png about the importance of office culture firsthand at one of her own first jobs 25 years ago. She was working on the sales staff at Xerox in Rochester, N.Y. She labored hard all day, and she eschewed any form of office socializing – until her manager sat her down and asked if she wanted to have a career at the company. “He said, ‘If you don’t start changing what you’re doing, you’re never going to move ahead.’ He was very explicit.” Attridge started going to lunches and attending going-away parties.

Attridge and other career professionals agree that job seekers should realize that office culture can be as important as workloadicon1.png and duties. “It’s very important to look at the culture before you start the job,” says Sarah Stamboulie, a career coach who had to confront two very different cultures at a crossroads in her own career. She’d gotten two job offers, one from Morgan Stanley and the other at a Japanese insurance company where the atmosphere was formal and buttoned down. If she took the insurance job, she says, “I realized that sooner or later I’d say the wrong thing.” She went with Morgan Stanley.

Sometimes an office’s culture can be so dysfunctional you can find it impossible to do your job. Pam Lassiter, a consultant in Boston and author of “The New Job Security: The 5 Best Strategies for Taking Control of Your Career,” had a client who worked in business development at a three-year-old energy technologyicon1.png company. The company’s chief executive, terrified that competitors would steal his ideas, fostered an office culture corroded by fear, distrust and secrecy. Lassiter’s client, who was outgoing and enthusiastic, felt so stymied that he quit after a year to start his own energy financing venture. Says Lassiter, “If the CEO isn’t going to change anytime soon and your values or ways of working are different, then you should be developing an exit plan.”

Culture can also make a difference where you least expect it, Lassiter points out. One of her clients started a mobile phone marketing business from home. She got herself plenty of business and a robust income but also grew lonely. Says Lassiter, “She didn’t realize how much she enjoyed the camaraderie of teams, the comfort of the water cooler and the pleasure of informal chitchat with the same people.” The client set up arrangements with clients that had her spending extended periods in office settings where she realized she was much happier.

More from Forbes.com

© 2012 Forbes.com

3 Questions to Help You Answer “How Effective Are You at Work?”

3 Questions to Help You Answer “How Effective Are You at Work?”

Effective

Once a quarter or so, I find it valuable to step back and ask: How am I doing?

Otherwise, you can end up consumed by work for years at a time and not be really happy, or not be really getting anywhere. So it’s helpful to take some time to step back and check in with yourself.

Here are three (3) questions for success:

Question 1: Am I delivering on or ahead of expectations?

Judge yourself. Don’t wait for a performance review. I spent 23 years reporting to managers — and I did my own performance review 17 of those years.

Once you confirm that you are indeed delivering great results, then check:

  • Are you clear about the business value your work provides?
  • Could you be working in a way to add even more value?

One of the reasons people get stuck is that they think delivering on their job description is enough to get ahead. It’s not. That lets you keep the job you have now.

To get ahead you need to do more than what’s in your job description.

You need to figure out what else to do and then you need to do it. Don’t wait for your manager or someone else to tell you that you need to do this.

Don’t be held hostage by your job description.

If your job description is defined in a small and narrow way, then it’s up to you to figure out how to add more value. Also, you need to figure out how to get your job done without using up all your time and energy. You need to make room to do the extra stuff. (Lots of techniques for how to do all of this in my book RISE).

Question 2: What am I known-for at work?

Another big reason some people get stuck (while others get ahead), is that they forget to think about how they are showing up at work. Once you are convinced that you are contributing work that the business values, you need to ask yourself, “Can anyone see it?”

The most successful people find ways to create visibility for their work and for themselves and their teams.

I have been having this conversation lately with people from new college grads, to executives trying to step into CEO positions, and pretty much everyone in between.

  • You have a personal brand whether you know or it not.
  • Find out what people think of you — or find out if you are invisible.
  • Then, plot a course to manage what you are known for on purpose.

The challenge is that the work itself will take up all of your time and energy if you let it. And managing your reputation does not seem like your day job. So it’s helpful to think about building your credibility as part of your day job. And it’s true because high credibility makes your more effective in your work.

People with high credibility and strong personal brands get more done.

They are trusted. They are faced with fewer challenges and fewer stupid questions about, ”Why did you choose that? Why does this cost so much? Did you evaluate that other thing? How do you know this will work?”

People with high credibility get to go faster. They don’t need to spend so much time defending their honor (and their budget). They are permitted to just GO, without justifying every expense and every decision.

You can’t build credibility if you are invisible.

It’s the difference between getting the work done, and showing yourself as leading the effort, communicating effectively, and connecting with your peers in a meaningful way. What more can you be doing to show up as personally leading strategy and making a difference. What do you want to be known for?

Some people call this political and think it’s a waste of time, so they opt out. They expect their reputation to thrive and grow on their results alone. Some people even feel that it’s much more important to NOT call attention to themselves. That is fine, but if you choose the invisible path, don’t be discouraged or upset if you get passed over.

Showing up is not about bragging, it’s about leading – you can be humble, and still show up as having a strong personal brand — and the stronger you show up, the better you’ll be at your job.

Question 3: Is what I’m doing setting me up for where I want to go?

First, ask yourself if you know where you want to go. What do you want all this work to amount to? What kind of role? What level? Geography? Business area?

Once you decide what it is you want, you need to consider the following:

  • Is the work I am doing getting me the experience I need to get to the job I ultimately want? It’s up to you to make sure you are getting the experiences which will get you access to the kind of roles you want in the future. This is what career development is really about — deciding what you want to do next, then getting experience in that job before you are in it. You also need to pay attention to how you are perceived relative to the role you want.
  • Am I someone who is known for being a good fit for kind of job that I want? If not, you’ve got some work to do. This gets back to the question of how you are showing up. In addition to getting the right experience, you need to make sure that you are getting known as someone who is a good fit for the kind of job you want.

Find experiences beyond your current job, and then make connections with people in the places you want to be later. Make sure they can see you doing the new work.

Succeed on purpose

Most people who succeed do not do so by accident. They don’t just work hard and rely on their results to be admired, and expect to be “discovered” and ushered into the next big thing. They get there by managing how they invest their time and managing what they are known for.

This was originally published on Patty Azzarello’s Business Leadership Blog. Her latest book is Rise: How to be Really Successful at Work and LIKE Your Life.

Patty Azzarello is the founder and CEO of Azzarello Group patty.

Want to Be More Strategic? Here Are Obstacles That HR Must Overcome

Want to Be More Strategic? Here Are Obstacles That HR Must Overcome

I don’t know about your organization, but regardless of whether it reports to the CEO or not, HR is generally considered an overhead department.

It processes paperwork, manages benefits, attempts to train the un-trainable, places ads, pre-screens employees, administers programs, and generally serves as a dumping-ground for programs and projects unworthy of line management. As Rodney Dangerfield might say, “It don’t get no respect.”

And, you can probably guess why: earning management respect means delivering a valuable (read “dollars”) service. If HR wants to play a strategic role in managing human capital, there are a series of obstacles it must overcome.

Obstacle #1 — Victim Mentality

When I start workshops, I ask for reasons why employees succeed or fail in the organization. HR people cite reasons like no training, no help, and lack of management direction. However, when I ask the same question of line managers, they cite poor planning skills, learning deficiencies, bad decisions, and so forth.

Do you see the difference? Where line managers see unskilled employees, HR sees only victims. HR’s victimization opinion serves as a HUGE mental roadblock to progress.

As long as HR cannot, or will not, recognize the importance of their front-end role in screening employee and manager skills, they can never be strategic.

Obstacle #2: Not Quantifying Poor Performance

When the list of reasons is exhausted, I ask how much bad employees cost. Few people in either group know the answer, so the numbers usually range all over the ball park.

Consider this: we already know about 20 percent of the people do about 80 percent of the work. Other studies have shown low employee performance costs between 10-50 pecent of annual payroll.

But these are generic numbers and you need specific ones. Why not get with a friendly line manager and work out the hard-dollar costs of the bottom performers?

If HR wants to claim human expertise, it must be able to put hard numbers on performance.

Obstacle #3: Clinging to Old Ways

Finally, I ask what the company is doing to screen-out these low performing candidates. Usually the room goes very quiet as eyes dart left and right.

Yep. They don’t know what to do. But they suspect if they draw attention to an employee problem, someone in the C-suite will probably expect them to fix it …then what?

Forget about job-outcomes. You already have considerable experience making hiring and promotion decisions based on candidate accomplishment stories. Do I have to ask how that is working for you?

Still got your 20/80 performance mix, right? Hiring and promotion competencies must person-related, not job-related. Controlling human performance requires defining and clarifying specific human skills, and not what the job is supposed to produce at the end of the day.

For example, suppose a manager needs someone who can conduct weekly employee meetings to ensure compliance with safety rules. HR needs skills to identify the specific human skills required, and find someone who has them. In other words “job safety objective” = learning (safety rules) + planning (activities) + interpersonal skill (delivering workshops). Now, you have something to measure.

Focusing on employee skills is a critical concept, it tells you what to measure; otherwise, you won’t be able to control employee quality.

Note: it’s not necessary to do this for every job. Professionals can usually classify virtually all jobs into one of 12-15 “families” (e.g., a group of jobs that require similar KSA’s — knowledge, skills, ability — to perform). Families help simplify the job immensely. Now it’s time to discuss measurement tools.

Obstacle #4: Every Tool Looks Like an Interview

Unstructured interviews are known for having virtually zero predictive validity. As you might imagine, different KSA’s lend themselves to different measurement tools.

Choices include structured behavioral interviews, realistic job simulations, “smart” application blanks, work samples, web-tests, pencil and paper tests, case studies, analysis exercises, in-baskets, job previews, planning exercises, smart application blanks, technical knowledge and skills tests, and so forth. They all do something different.

There is one notable exception: hiring tools do not include workshop surveys! Workshop surveys are intended to measure differences between people — not predict job performance.

After you have done studies showing scores predict job performance (e.g., using construct, content, or criterion validation) you are ready to proceed. Then you can administer pre-screen tests as follows: more tests for complex positions and fewer tests for simple positions; cheap tests early in the process, expensive or time consuming tests later; and, requiring candidates to clear one set of test hurdles before taking the next.

Throughout the process, scores are validated based on job construct, content, or criteria; adverse impact is monitored at every stage; action is taken to minimize adverse impact without compromising quality; and, single test scores are never be used to eliminate a candidate.

Obstacle #5: Resistance to Change

Your staff does not think they need any help or training? Either get them to recognize their role in early-skills measurement, or get new staff.

In my experience, career HR staff are often the most resistant to change. They think they have learned all there is about selection, adamantly cling to old technology, and resist new ideas.

You don’t have the budget? That will probably not be problem once you calculate the costs of doing nothing. Line managers are quick to fund programs that help them produce more.

You want to do the work yourself? There are only a few thousand people in the U.S. who are qualified to implement this kind of project — and they probably don’t work in your HR department.

Are you (or your legal staff) wary of tests? You might want to know anything used to screen applicants is a test, even interview questions. And don’t forget, bad tests and interviews are what led to the 80/20 employee problem in the first place.

That’s too much work? Well, you could always explain to management why they should continue paying expenses associated with poor employee performance. Try implementing the project one small bite at a time.

What’s the cost? Usually less than one employee’s semi-annual salary, and recaptured within 3-4 months.

Can I use web-based tests? Maybe later. Assuming you know how to identify the good ones, web-based tests usually are band-aid fixes, like building one plank at a time. Taking control over your employee workforce requires both a blueprint and strategic plan.

You can’t get management’s attention? You might want to try the financial analysis thingy, starting with a cooperative line manager.

How quickly can it be done? Like I said earlier, organizations have a lot of people-inertia. Depending on your turnover and growth, you will probably see changes with the first few hires; however, it will take a few years for you to stabilize the workforce. Take comfort in knowing the amount of work to maintain a professional system usually declines with time while the quality of your employees improve.

What if I reorganize? Once you have control over people skills and job requirements, you can intelligently move people into jobs which they are able to perform.

What about performance appraisals? You can use data from your job families to build employee-specific PA forms (instead of generic ones).

How will it affect the succession planning pool? You will have a deeper and more qualified pool than you have now.

What about diversity? Do you want diversity of people or diversity of skills? A professional process will ensure highly skilled people come from all demographic backgrounds.

Will I interview fewer people? That depends on how your system is constructed. Look at it this way, instead of hiring candidates and waiting to see if they perform, you will control employee quality by screening out weak employees before they get on the payroll.

Is every employee a guaranteed success? No, hiring will always be an odds game, only you will have significantly fewer failures.

Will managers resist? Sometimes when someone they like is rejected, but mostly they will appreciate having less of their time wasted interviewing weak candidates.

Finally, how will this help me earn a seat at the management roundtable?

Easy — management will recognize your critical role in managing employees to reduce costs and bring performance under their control. Now that’s worth something!

R. Wendell Williams, Ph.D., is Managing Director of rww.

The Four Opportunities HR Must Seize Today to Succeed Tomorrow

The Four Opportunities HR Must Seize Today to Succeed Tomorrow

A lot of time is spent fretting over the role of human resources, both what it does today and what HR will be tomorrow.

I’ve always thought the role of HR was pretty simple — find great talent, hire great talent, nurture and grow great talent — but too many people (even a lot in HR themselves) don’t necessarily see HR as the go-to place when it comes to an organization’s talent.

That’s why this new study from The Conference Board and McKinsey & Company, titled the State of Human Capital 2012, is so important, because it lays out four (4) specific opportunities that human capital (HR) executives must seize if they are to effectively manage the global talent pool in an unpredictable business environment. They include:

  1. Look ahead: anticipate and plan for the human capital of tomorrow – “From the increased presence of the highly connected Millennial generation to the proliferation of the virtual office, tomorrow’s workplace will look very different from today’s.”
  2. Secure a steady, reliable pipeline for today’s skilled workers, and tomorrow’s leaders – “The war for talent continues, spurred by relatively high growth in emerging markets and the mismatch between worker skills and jobs in most regions of the world.”
  3. Develop strategies to re-energize your employees about what they do, and about what the organization stands for – “An engaged workforce can drive financial performance. Studies have shown that employees who are truly engaged are more likely to stay and contribute to the organization.”
  4. Ensure that the HR/HC function becomes more agile than the organization as a whole – “Organizational agility is an essential response to the volatility of today’s business environment. An MIT study shows that agile organizations grow revenue 37 percent faster and generate 30 percent higher profits than non-agile organizations.”

Why HR has struggled

“In today’s global marketplace, particularly in such a hostile and unpredictable business environment, it is imperative that human capital executives and departments place themselves at the heart of strategy development conversations,” said Rebecca L. Ray, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Human Capital at The Conference Board, in a press release about the report. “Human Capital functions need to break out of their comfort zones, take risks and become a true business partner.”

Although I found the four opportunities that HR must seize interesting, the most intriguing part of the study to me were the listing of reasons why HR has had such limited progress in achieving the tangible results that it needs to deliver. See if you find any of these reasons oddly familiar:

  • A lack of capability. From the report: “Human capital professionals are still unable to confidently and assertively solve business issues with line leaders and define the subsequent HC (human capital) implications.”
  • A support function mindset. From the report: “Human capital staff continues to have a support-function mindset, a low tolerance for risk, and a limited sense of strategic ‘authorship.’ These attributes often result in relatively low status among executive peers, no budget for innovation, and a ‘zero defects’ mentality that means they rarely takes chances.
  • An inability to relate the ROI or business impact of their function. From the report: “The difficulty many human capital professionals experience in talking the business language of ROI prevents them from gaining buy-in for innovation, no matter how much it is needed.”

“A real struggle to make a strategic difference”

“Right now, human capital departments are struggling to deal with a global talent shortage, adapt to a changing workforce, and develop new, flexible working models to meet the needs of tomorrow’s workers,” said Bryan Hancock, a Partner in McKinsey & Company’s Atlanta office, in the press release about the study.

He added: “Human capital departments and executives are also facing a real struggle to make a strategic difference in their organizations. Only by partnering with other parts of the organization will they be able to address critical business issues with long-term, systemic impact on human capital.”

Members of The Conference Board can download a copy of the report here, and if nothing else, it is a sobering reminder of what you probably already know: HR needs to be a more business-oriented partner that is willing to take prudent risks and tackle the human capital needs that are going to be the key to driving our organizations ahead tomorrow.

But if you manage to get your hands on a copy of this report, be forewarned; it is a pointed and unvarnished detailing of the why HR doesn’t function right in most organizations, and what needs to be done to fix that and get things on the right track.

Don’t dig into it unless you want to be confronted by these uncomfortable truths — and, if you are finally ready to do something about them.

John Hollon is Vice President for Editorial of john, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/johnhollon

Unemployment Quick Tip: Don’t Say ‘In Transition’ | CAREEREALISM

Unemployment Quick Tip: Don’t Say ‘In Transition’

10 Must-Use Job Search Steps for Any Human · Download »

Unemployment Tip TransitionI recently wrote an article on why you shouldn’t list yourself as “in transition” on your LinkedIn profile.

(You can read it by clicking here.)

In short, this phrase is used so much right now it’s code for “long-term unemployed” to recruiters. Studies show the long-term unemployed are being discriminated against right now. So, there’s no need to help the hiring managers screen you out.

Here’s what to do instead:

  1. Pick three or four skill sets you want to leverage in your next job and list them in the headline of your LinkedIn profile. (i.e. Project Management | Business Analysis | Client Relations | Marketing)
  2. In the “Summary” section of the profile, give a quantifiable accomplishment to prove you have experience in each of the key areas you listed in your headline.
  3. Be sure your past work history also exemplifies those skills.

Hiring managers will be focused on what you’ve accomplished instead of what your job status is.

Besides, your experience cannot be taken away from you just because you’re dealing with unemployment. Don’t let them eliminate you because you aren’t in a job at the moment. Show them why you’d be the ideal person to snatch up before someone else does!

Your Next Step – FREE Webinar

Are you one of the millions of Americans who has surpassed the nine-month national average for job search? Then it’s time to throw out the old and bring in the new.

It’s time to get back to work!

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Fact: Nobody is ever taught in school how to job search.

As a result, the average American is ill-prepared to conduct a productive job search when the time comes. And, if you were laid-off or fired from your last job, you are starting from a place where you lack confidence in your ability to sell employers on your value.

 

 

LinkedIn Blog » How to Showcase Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn: 8 Tips

How to Showcase Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn: 8 Tips

Like professional athletes, we now live in a time of career free agency, where we must regularly prove our unique value in a competitive and frequently changing marketplace. This means that it’s no longer enough to have a good reputation in one’s current position. We need to think about how we’re perceived in the broader marketplace by potential future employers.

Even if you intend to stay in your current job forever, clarifying your unique value is something you need to attend to. Clients, conference planners, awards committees and other professionals may be checking you out — primarily online — and you want to make sure that they find the best representation of you.

We’re talking about personal branding, a key element of success in the Internet Age.

A term first coined by Tom Peters in 1997, personal branding includes your professional reputation, online image and personal characteristics such as your work style, community engagement and worldview. It incorporates the particular skills, talents and areas of expertise you’ve cultivated. When I host workshops on personal branding, I ask participants the following questions to help determine the elements of their personal brands:

  • How would your colleagues describe your strengths?
  • On what issues are you the go-to person in your organization?
  • What do you know more about (web design, compensation plans, marketing to baby boomers) than most people?

Once you’ve defined your personal brand, it’s time to showcase it to recruiters, bosses, customers and others who may be assessing you. Here’s how LinkedIn can help:

  1. Be authentic. The best personal brands are genuine and honest both in person and online. It can be tricky to showcase your personality on the web (you might love puns, but those don’t go over well on a professional profile), but it’s possible with a bit of effort. For instance, if your personal brand includes a balance between your detailed accounting skills and your friendly personality, your LinkedIn profile can include both your technical credentials and the fact that you belong to several networking groups. You can also ask former and current colleagues to write LinkedIn recommendations highlighting this combination.
  1. Create a distinctive LinkedIn profile headline. Your headline is your brand’s tag line. It’s the first — and possibly only — description of you that many people will see, so make it count. Go back to the words and phrases your friends and colleagues used to describe your uniqueness: “IT support manager and trusted Mac expert” or “Experienced admin assistant who never misses a deadline.”
  1. Be consistent. Make sure your LinkedIn profile, resume and all other elements of your personal brand are consistent. While you can go into more extensive detail on LinkedIn and perhaps be a bit more personal on Facebook or Twitter, all of your job titles, dates of employment and specific accomplishments need to match up everywhere they appear. Consistency is important so as not to confuse people or send mixed messages about who you are and what you want in your career.
  1. Increase your visibility. If you have a great personal brand but no one knows about it, then you won’t benefit much. Increase your exposure to people in your network by including your LinkedIn profile URL on your business cards, your resume, other social media sites and anyplace else people are interacting with you online or offline. You can also build exposure by consistently updating your LinkedIn status. Tell people what projects you’re working on, what conferences you’re attending and what books and articles you’re reading. Remember that your brand is not just who you are; it’s what you do.
  1. Build your strategic brand association. We generally think highly of people who keep good company, so building your LinkedIn network simultaneously builds your personal brand. Connect on LinkedIn with trusted friends, former colleagues and classmates, industry leaders, vendors and other professionals. And don’t be shy about asking your contacts for introductions to people in their networks. Strong brands are always growing.
  1. Regularly add to your knowledge. Another way to showcase yourself and your brand is to have an expert level of knowledge about your industry. Be well read on topics you care about (For example, LinkedIn Today can help), answer relevant questions in LinkedIn’s Answers section and follow important companies in your field. For instance, if your personal brand includes your interest and knowledge in special education, follow and share news about developments in this field so people think of you as a valuable resource if they need information on that topic.
  1. Share your expertise in LinkedIn Groups. The Groups you join on LinkedIn contribute to your personal brand by indicating where your interests and skills lie. For example, if you want your brand to include a strong knowledge of manufacturing in China, then people will expect your profile to feature groups related to Chinese manufacturing. Inside these groups, you can also showcase your brand though your activity. Every comment you post and question you answer is an opportunity to market yourself and your skills and to build your brand.
  1. Give generously. Finally, helping others is a crucial — and enjoyable — way to build your personal brand. Give advice, volunteer your skills, share client leads, write recommendations, agree to informational interviews and congratulate people on their successes. When people know they can rely on you, they remember you and recommend you to others.

How have you used LinkedIn to build and showcase your personal brand? Please share in the comments or tweet us @linkedin.

50 Personal Branding Tips | Reinventing Yourself – How To Reinvent & Brand Yourself

Reinventing Yourself – How To Reinvent & Brand Yourself

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50 Personal Branding Tips

Posted on July 30, 2012 by Jan Marino

  1. Remember, YOU are the product
  2. Determine what makes you unique and marketable
  3. Establish your personal brand by determining your measurable accomplishments
  4. Ask five colleagues to give you three descriptors of you and use them in your value statement
  5. Create a vision statement for yourself
  6. Decide what contribution you make to your organization
  7. Take back your career by being accountable for it
  8. Be prepared to reinvent yourself every five years.
  9. Stay current on your industry trends
  10. Cultivate a dynamic network-include professionals outside of your area of expertise
  11. Volunteer your time and give back.
  12. Exercise at least 15 minutes a day
  13. Remember to breathe when you’re stressed
  14. Help someone who’s in a job search….you’ll probably be in one soon…it’s the way of the work world these days.
  15. Build an accountability team for yourself.
  16. Set daily goals and celebrate reaching them
  17. Uncover your current career fitness level.
  18. Learn to network like a pro.
  19. Read a funny book to stimulate your sense of humor.
  20. Hide your tattoos – really, I mean it!
  21. Create your value statement-“I am very good at_____. What that means to my clients is_______.
  22. Invest in a professional headshot-it’s worth the investment because you want to be perceived as professional
  23. Listen more than you talk
  24. Learn to listen for needs
  25. Become a guest blogger and increase your visibility on line
  26. Write a weekly blog on industry trends
  27. Become a resource center for clients
  28. Don’t burn bridges – it leaves scorch marks
  29. Look for the best in everyone
  30. Keep your Linkedin profile updated
  31. Join Linkedin groups and start discussion. You will increase views of your profile.
  32. Create a website for yourself and highlight your accomplishments
  33. Update your resume yearly focusing on your measurable accomplishments
  34. Decide how you want to be perceived in the marketplace i.e. professional, organized, expert
  35. Remember, your Linkedin profile is not your resume….keep is short and interesting to read.
  36. Create a PowerPoint presentation for yourself – post it on Linkedin and Facebook
  37. Eliminate all party pictures from your Facebook – especially the bathtub shots!
  38. Learn to read body language
  39. Practice what you preach-your career depends on it
  40. Be a mentor
  41. Praise your team when they excel
  42. Call a contact you haven’t talked to several months and ask how their business is
  43. Attend one “in person” networking event a quarter
  44. Join an industry association and become involved in a project to increase your visibility
  45. Take a different route to work tomorrow – change is good
  46. Stay away from office gossip….it’s messy
  47. Always dress professionally and appropriately
  48. Accept defeat gracefully
  49. Save “hissy fits” for the drive home
  50. Show up every day

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3 Tips for Using LinkedIn’s New ‘Endorsements’ | Entrepreneur.com

3 Tips for Using LinkedIn’s New ‘Endorsements’

In case you missed it, LinkedIn has a new feature called “Endorsements.” It allows users to endorse skills or expertise of any members in their network — including skills they haven’t listed. This allows potential networking partners to quickly identify your strengths.

So, how should you take advantage of this new feature? Before you send a mass email asking your entire network for endorsements, remember that networking — first and foremost — is about connecting people with value. Whether it’s through your expertise, or someone’s skill, your goal should always be to bring value to your network.

Consider these three tips for using endorsements on LinkedIn:

1. Endorse others first and endorse fairly.
Begin by endorsing your network first, before asking for endorsements from others. By doing this, you’ll equip others to see where their strengths lie. But this also means you have to be brutally honest.

Don’t just click on all the skills someone has listed. Really think about it and only highlight those areas of expertise you’d be willing to put your reputation on the line for. As a bonus, the people you endorse will be notified about your actions though LinkedIn, which means they may return the favor.

Related: 7 Ways LinkedIn Can Drive More Traffic to Your Website

2. Keep it easy for your ‘inner circle.’
Everyone has a professional inner circle of about 10 to 20 people we can call at any time to ask for a small favor or advice. These are the people we should be approaching first, but it should be personal and easy.

Send your inner circle a personal e-mail, or give them a call and ask if they’ve heard about the new endorsements feature on LinkedIn. Then let them know that you’ve already endorsed them (step No. 1) and you’d appreciate it if they could pick one or two skills of yours to endorse. Not everything — just one or two. That’s how you can keep it personal and easy.

3. No mass e-mails.
The last thing you want to do is send an e-mail blast to everyone on your list. A mass email asking for a favor is likely to feel like spam and be ignored.

If you’re going to send an e-mail to multiple recipients, try segmenting your network into different lists according to how you met them or what industry they’re in. You can then write a personal e-mail to a specific group, telling them that their in your (fill in the blank) group of people and feel they best understand your expertise in (fill in the blank) and would appreciate an endorsement — if they feel you deserve it. This kind of approach demonstrates you’ve taken the time to consider them specifically.

Related: 5 Underutilized LinkedIn Marketing Tools

Have you started using LinkedIn’s Endorsements yet? Let us know what you think so far in the comments below.

Read more stories about: Social media, Networking, Linkedin, Social media marketing, Tools

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