Welcome to the Gen Plus Blog

It's a backstage pass to info on jobs and life at 50+. Gen Plus, headed by Janet Wendy Spiegel, is dedicated to baby boomers and the plus generation of age 50 and older. Read up and speak out on issues affecting your future: jobs, income, life and respect.

About Me

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Northridge, California, United States
Successful businesswoman, consultant, entrepreneur. I operate two businesses -- social media consulting, AND premium pet care services in the West San Fernando Valley. Love what I do, love life.

Gen Plus has relocated to www.GenPlusUSA.com

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Goodbye 2005 and Hello 2006

To all you from all of us at Gen Plus, thank you for your support in 2005. Here is wishing you and your families and friends a wonderful holiday season and all the best for 2006!

Wendy and the Team at Gen Plus

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dear Wendy...

Q: I have an elderly friend who is trying to raise two granddaughters. He has recently lost his job and doesn't seem to be hirable anywhere. He does not have a computer. Is there any way you may be able to help him?


A: Dear K.S.,

I started Gen Plus specifically because of the type of tough situation your friend finds himself in. Many current job searches require the use of a computer because many applications are now expected to come in online. Your friend will have a bit of a challenge, but he can access computers for free at most local libraries and he may have to do so if he cannot use a friend's.

The Gen Plus system is an internet service as with many current services and job banks today. If he cannot use a computer at a local library, perhaps a friend, such as yourself can post his resume on the site and look for potential positions to apply for. There are many, many job banks that allow jobseekers to post resumes. There are very few that cater specifically to the 50 plus demographic, however, he should post his resume in as many places as he can possibly find, including Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com. He’ll have to do some legwork and call the HR department at any company he is interested in pursuing and ask to fill out a manual (rather than online generated) job application.

In the body copy, headline or objective of the resume builder, note “phone calls only please” or put your email address instead. That way recruiters will have a way to contact him other than via email.

In the short term and to secure some immediate funds, I’d recommend that your friend register with every temporary agency in the area (such as Kelly Services who have assignments across the US) so he can get quick temporary assignments. Also, retail outlets (like Home Depot and WalMart) can be very senior friendly in terms of immediate hiring.

Wendy, founder Gen Plus

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Coming soon to a PBS station near you!

Boomers and beyond are gaining steam with every passing day. Now, Mark and Nancy Mills bring their new series to PBS. Boomers: Redefining Life After 50, is a 13-part series of half-hour magazine style programs that examines the issues, challenges and opportunities facing Boomers as they contemplate their 50s, 60s and beyond. For a preview, visit their site

And for more on Mark and Nancy's personal insights into life after 50, drop by their blog at http://boomerstv.com/blog/ (also listed in our sidebar.)

Make certain to program your TIVO to capture this series. They are ahead of the trend and the preview shows a range and depth of definitions of 50 plus that is sure to be intriguing.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Turning 60

An absolutely wonderful article by Jerry Adler, Newsweek, on the first of the Boomers turning 60, published November 14th. Somehow I missed it! But follow the link and enjoy in it's entirety. An introspective retrospective that hits all our issues right on the head. Very well done.

You'll also note that Matt Thornhill (The Boomer Project) is quoted. Matt specializes in marketing for Boomers over 50, (see a link to his site on our sidebar) and I find his take on the 50 plus demographic is accurate and relevant.

Just a side note that is helpful in reading Mr. Adler's article: The Boomer population (between 41 and 60 years of age) is 78 million strong. There can be a lot of confusion over the breakdown of the market segments in the 50 plus group. But it certainly creates a lot of discussion! The over 50 population is broken into three general segments -- Boomers also liberally (though not entirely accurately) referred to as pre-retirees, who are usually between 50 and 62 (so it is like Boomer plus 2 years); active retirees, approximately between 62 and 75; and true seniors, the older old, 75 and above. And marketers work to define strategies to attract each of these segments specifically.

Where Gen Plus is a bit different is that we are not specifically targeted to just one segment...although Boomers (pre-retirees...what a dreadful term!) make up the bulk of our membership. We directly affect both the "pre-retiree" and "active retirees" because regardless of where your age "pegs" you, you work, want to work, want to produce, need to produce. I suspect that you will feel an instant connection with Mr. Adler's article -- he hits it just right.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Book release

Some great news for Cass Brown, author the Cancergiggles blog and the book by the same name. Tomorrow is the official publication and release date of his replublished book, Cancergiggles, in paperback.

A warm congratulations to Cass. He's a great writer, a great guy, and has a killer sense of humor.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Resolutions 11 & 12 Are Good New Year's Resolutions!

As posted yesterday, the WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE ON AGING 2005 took place in Washington, DC on December 13, 2005

The delegates were asked to select 50 resolutions from a list of 73. The original list was developed in the weeks and months leading up to the WHCoA. That list can be viewed at http://www.whcoa.gov/about/resolutions/Resolutions.pdf

What is important about the resolutions is that they help form the strategy for lawmakers in developing policy going forward regarding and affecting Boomers and Seniors.

The site above lists all the resolutions and the issues behind the resolutions. The two that are vitally important for Boomers over 50 and young Seniors are Resolutions 11 and 12. These two resolutions deal solely with the issues of age discrimination and training for older workers. As you'll note, many of these topics and issues have been the subject of many of this blog's postings and is the focus of the Gen Plus work site. I've reprinted the issues in their entirety below.

Resolution 11

TITLE: Retention of Older Workers

An aging population in combination with a falling fertility rate diminishes the size of the national workforce. The impending retirement of the Baby Boom generation can have compounding effects, which destabilize the overall strength of the economy. Employers will lose many experienced workers, and likely face skill gaps in their workforce. Meanwhile, pressures on the Social Security and Medicare programs will increase while tax funds for the programs will decrease.

Currently, federal laws are barriers to keeping older workers in the workforce because they discourage employers from using flexible employment arrangements that encourage older workers to stay employed.

Furthermore, workplace discrimination involving Americans of older age and persons with physical, sensory, and neurological impairments related to chronic illness and disability is increasing according to published scientific research studies. Strategies to prevent age discrimination from affecting opportunities for older workers are needed. While the Americans with Disabilities Act outlaws discrimination in employment on the basis of disability, the labor force participation rate continues around 32% for people with disabilities and 81% for those without disabilities.

Remove Barriers to the Retention and Hiring of Older Workers, Including Age Discrimination.

Resolution 12

TITLE: Incentives for Older Workers

Available evidence suggests older workers receive less employment training than younger workers. While there have been successful programs targeted at older workers, more can be done to help workers remain in the workforce, particularly low-wage workers. Studies show that older workers with more updated computer skills may be less likely to retire and more likely to stay in the workforce. In addition, there are a number of economic, legal and institutional barriers to providing incentives to older workers to stay in the workforce. Some of these barriers could be overcome by including more flexible employment arrangements
like phased retirement. To expand the reach of programs like phased retirement, traditional thinking about older workers needs to change and laws that regulate retirement and employee benefits should be reexamined.

Older workers are valuable additions to the workforce. In the role of mentor to younger workers, and as invaluable sources of knowledge, older workers contribute significantly to a successful workplace. Employers need to be made aware of the value of older workers through education campaigns. They should also be educated about the impact of a declining pool of labor that can lead to prospective skill shortages.

Promote Incentives for Older Workers to Continue Working and Improve Employment Training and Retraining Programs to Better Serve Older Workers.


(excerpt from the report on the White House Conference on Aging 2005)
Washington, DC, December 13, 2005


Early tallies are in following Monday's voting by more than 2,000 delegates attending the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.
Delegates were asked to select 50 resolutions from a list of 73. The original list was developed in the weeks and months leading up to the WHCoA. That list can be viewed at
The selection of the top 50 resolutions is seen as vitally important in that the chosen issues will form the core basis for federal lawmakers and other government officials as they craft future policies affecting the nation's seniors.
While an official count is not yet available, preliminary results show the following to be the top 50 choices of WHCoA delegates who voted during Monday's balloting:
Res. 1: Provide Financial and Other Economic Incentives and Policy Changes to
Encourage and Facilitate Increased Retirement Savings.
Res. 4: Establish Principles to Strengthen Social Security.
Res. 5: Foster Innovations in Financing Long-Term Care Services to Increase Options Available to Consumers.
Res. 7: Strengthen Law Enforcement Efforts at the Federal, State, and Local Level to Investigate and Prosecute Cases of Elder Financial Crime.
Res. 9: Modernize the Supplemental Security Income Program.
Res. 10: Strengthen the Social Security Disability Insurance Program.
Res. 11: Remove Barriers to the Retention and Hiring of Older Workers, Including Age Discrimination.
Res. 12: Promote Incentives for Older Workers to Continue Working and Improve Employment Training and Retraining Programs to Better Serve Older Workers.
Res. 14: Expand Opportunities for Developing Innovative Housing Designs for Seniors' Needs.
Res. 15: Encourage Redesign of Senior Centers for Broad Appeal and Community Participation.
Res. 17: Reauthorize The Older Americans Act Within The First Six Months Following the 2005 White House Conference On Aging.
Res. 18: Encourage Community Designs to Promote Livable Communities that Enable Aging in Place.
Res. 19: Create a National Strategy for Promoting Elder Justice Through the Prevention and Prosecution of Elder Abuse.
Res. 21: Support Older Drivers to Retain Mobility and Independence through Strategies to Continue Safe Driving.
Res. 22: Ensure That Older Americans Have Transportation Options to Retain Their Mobility and Independence.
Res. 23: Enhance the Availability of Housing for Older Americans.
Res. 24: Enhance the Affordability of Housing for Older Americans.
Res. 25: Encourage the Development of a Coordinated Federal, State, and Local Emergency Response Plan For Seniors in the Event of Public Health Emergencies or Disasters.
Res. 26: Support Older Adult Caregivers Raising Their Relatives' Children.
Res. 28: Promote Economic Development Policies that Respond to the Unique Needs of Rural Seniors.
Res. 29: Promote Enrollment of Seniors into the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.
Res. 30: Develop a Coordinated, Comprehensive Long-Term Care Strategy by Supporting Public and Private Sector Initiatives that Address Financing, Choice, Quality, Service Delivery, and the Paid and Unpaid Workforce.
Res. 31: Apply Evidence Based Research to the Delivery of Health and Social Services Where Appropriate.
Res. 32: Evaluate Payment and Coordination Policies in the Geriatric Healthcare Continuum to Ensure Continuity of Care.
Res. 33: Promote the Importance of Nutrition in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Management.
Res. 34: Improve The Health And Quality Of Life Of Older Americans Through Disease Management And Chronic Care Coordination.
Res. 36: Improve Recognition, Assessment, and Treatment of Mental Illness and Depression Among Older Americans.
Res. 37: Prevent Disease and Promote Healthier Lifestyles Through Educating Providers and Consumers on Consumer Healthcare.
Res. 39: Improve Health Decision Making Through Promotion of Health Education, Health Literacy and Cultural Competency.
Res. 40: Attain Adequate Numbers of Healthcare Personnel in All Professions Who are Skilled, Culturally Competent and Specialized in Geriatrics.
Res. 41: Support Geriatric Education And Training For All Healthcare Professionals, Paraprofessionals, Health Profession Students and Direct Care Workers.
Res. 42: Promote Innovative Models of Non-Institutional Long-Term Care.
Res. 43: Ensure Appropriate Care for Seniors with Disabilities.
Res. 44: Reduce Healthcare Disparities Among Minorities by Developing Strategies to Prevent Disease, Promote Health and Deliver Appropriate Care and Wellness.
Res. 46: Promote Innovative Evidence-Based and Practice-Based Medical and Aging Research.
Res. 47: Encourage Appropriate Sharing Of Healthcare Information Across Multiple Management Systems.
Res. 48: Ensure Appropriate Recognition and Care For Veterans Across All Healthcare Settings.
Res. 50: Strengthen and Improve the Medicaid Program for Seniors.
Res. 51: Strengthen and Improve the Medicare Program.
Res. 52: Educate Americans on End of Life Issues.
Res. 53: Improve Access to Care for Older Adults Living in Rural Areas.
Res. 55: Improve Patient Advocacy to Assist Patients in and Across All Care Settings.
Res. 56: Develop a National Strategy for Promoting New and Meaningful Volunteer Activities and Civic Engagements for Current and Future Seniors.
Res. 59: Reauthorize the National and Community Service Act to Expand Opportunities for Volunteer and Civic Engagement Activities.
Res. 61: Promote the Integration of Health and Aging Services to Improve Access and Quality of Care for Older Americans.
Res. 62: Develop Incentives to Encourage the Expansion of Appropriate Use of Health Information Technology.
Res. 67: Develop a National Strategy for Supporting Informal Caregivers of Seniors to Enable Adequate Quality and Supply of Services.
Res. 69: Implement a Strategy and Plan for Accountability to Sustain the Momentum, Public Visibility and Oversight of the Implementation of 2005 WHCoA Resolutions.
Res. 71: Improve State- and Local-Based Integrated Delivery Systems to Meet 21st Century Needs of Seniors.
Res. 72: Review Alignment of Government Programs That Deliver Services to Older Americans.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Boomer Plus, Aging Boomer, 50 Plusser, Young Senior

In the marketing and media worlds, there is a clear distinction between aging Boomers and Seniors. Boomers, born between 1946 and 1965 and now, at the end of 2005, range in age from about 41 to 59 years old. Boomers are a nice, chunky, easily defined group that is gaining momentum every day.

Our Gen Plus audience and members, are between 50 and 65, and so don't fit neatly into the classifications that are generally understood in the marketplace. Some of you are older than 65, but the majority are, in fact, Boomers. Those of you older than 59, from 60 - 65, are technically not Boomers. You are all 50 plussers but span two distinct, generally accepted, market segments -- Boomers and Seniors.

And therein lies the rub. The greatest challenge right now, in America, is in defining this niche. President Bush is convening a Conference on Aging as we speak, to help address some of the issues that Boomers are about to face. Yet at the same time, this small niche -- of 60 - 65 year old seniors are still marketable, interested in working, and largely ignored. I know how it feels -- being in the gray zone of 50 - 65. I'm a mid-range Boomer and my own mother, a Senior, is still working at just shy of 70. While the bulk of Gen Plus members are Boomers, our young Seniors will not and cannot be ignored. Being smaller in numbers doesn't equate to offering less to the world. Boomers over 50 and young Seniors are horses of a different color...but to my mind, they are both stallions ready to burst back onto the job scene if given the chance.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Hey 20-something. Hello 30-something.

Xmas is coming. Chanukah is coming. Kwanza is coming. The holidays are upon us and you are wondering if Dad can bear to get one more tie this year, right? Can Mom handle one more pair of fuzzy slippers, right?

Well, at Gen Plus, we'd like you to do something just a bit different this year.

Find that 50-plus someone in your life, who has:

  • written a book and never seen it properly distributed;
  • created a kitchen doo-hickey, manufactured 2ooo of them and has 1954 left in stock;
  • developed a line of clothing and has limited distribution;
  • makes handmade jewellery;
  • paints inspiring watercolors and would love to sell some of them;
  • has 35 solar-powered whatchamacallits sitting in the garage;
  • knits a mean fluffy scarf

And then point them to us. We are promoting, fostering, pushing, product created and invented by 50-plussers. We'd be proud to support their efforts. So get in touch. We're happy to talk about how to get their products featured on our site.

Cool present, don't you think?

Happy Holidays.

Getting Ready for 2006

Employers have new budgets for 2006, more positions open and friendly to 50 plussers, mature adults and savvy seniors. Gen Plus has a backlog of jobs that will be hitting Job Search over the next few weeks.

So keep visiting often and keep up your search.

Just because the year is winding down, doesn't mean that you should!

Quick tip: read the business sections for new announcement postings and that will give you a quick idea of which company has just lost a heavy hitter.

Interested in jobs at a specific company? Let us know and we'll work to get them on board!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

What's in the Works for 2006?

Keep your eyes posted on our Shop section. We've got some nifty new products coming out for 2006, all created by 50-plussers!

Also on the Gen Plus product end, a video/DVD that will knock your socks off. To get announcements and monthly newsletter, go to Gen Plus and sign up for your free general membership. We'll keep you informed. Promise.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

2 Plus to 50 Plus

It's a beautiful Saturday morning in LA. Nippy, fall weather with the promise of sunny lunchtime warmth. Falling leaves in the valley, crunching under my feet remind me of fall on the East Coast....sort of.

I'm watching my 2 year old niece this gorgeous morning, while her mother tests for her green belt. Her mother is 45. She plans on getting her black belt before she is 47. I suspect she'll be exhibiting at 50. Her other child, 7 years old, has his orange belt. It's kind of a mom-son bonding thing. Today she gets her black uniform...which puts her in the league of "serious" Karate students around the world. Personally, I'm impressed, that at 45 she decided to take up the discipline. I'm a bit older, approaching 50 plus, and seem to be afraid of getting hurt. But that's another story.

So, I'm here with this scrumptious 2-year old, still running all over the place with her baby fat holding on, making her precocious and adorable all at the same time. I am also realizing that, according to Ray Kurzweil (see Corinne Copnick's review of his book, Singularity), she is the first generation that has the possibility of living to 1,000 years. No, not a typo. 1,000 years. In my lifetime, I may have the benefit of a diabetes vaccine, certainly replacement joints that will fuse with my bones and become my new joints (hips, knees), and see the possibility of living to 125 years. But this little one, this 2-year old promise, may see 1,000 years. To me, mind-boggling. But as artificial intelligence evolves, so too, according to Kurzwiel, will integration with our biology. Remember the 6 Million Dollar Man? Apparently, no longer so far off.

And with the knowledge that I currently have, and the direction that I choose to take, I wonder, truly wonder, what could I accomplish in 1000 years if I had that long to unleash my dreams and energy? 50 Plus would become 700 Plus! Or 950-Plus. And I'd have 699 years to plan for my 300 year retirement.

I would, in fact, get to travel to every country in the world, and sign up for my chance to travel to Mars. I could write my book, direct my movie, write a 4000 page epic memoir. But that's OK...because those who purchased it, could read it over 10 years! I'd finally get to figure out how to solve a Rubik's cube. And I wouldn't mind, quite so much, waiting 30 minutes to speak to a Sprint customer service representative. Who would be 479 years old and, frankly, lacking in life experience.

Don't you love it? The promise of 2 years old.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Aging Workforce: AESC Members Respond

Reprinted from the AESC website

The Aging Workforce is a hot topic and one in which AESC member firms and their clients are actively engaged.

The Electronic Recruiting Exchange recently published an article titled "The New Generation of Older Workers". Please
click here to read the full article. Here there is reference to an article published in BusinessWeek titled "Old. Smart. Productive". Please click here to see this article.

In response to these articles, the AESC asked its members to discuss the issues surrounding the aging workforce and the implications that it has on executive search and future hiring. Here’s what they had to say:

I agree with the article. People do want to work longer. Those who have
retired are increasingly candidates for searches. I remind myself to track
down the best, wherever they are or whatever they are doing (overseas or
retired). The search firm does have to "make it happen." In a recent
case the candidate didn’t "have to" work; he was bored and missed the
camaraderie, and my client had a hard time with that concept, they wanted someone who needed the pay check. I was told recently that on Wall Street you are dead if you are over 55. So I believe that while I see "retired" people being
brought back in for top leadership roles that are hard to fill, it is only happening when there are less competent younger people around. The demand for temporary workers, at a senior level, will increase. The question for the buyer of the service is how to vet these candidates.

Linda Bialecki, Bialecki Inc.

I see Bridgestar's role in the future as seeking the right skills at the right
time to do the job to further the mission of a nonprofit. One tangible thing
that we're already seeing is that senior people sometimes want to build their
second career differently than their corporate/for-profit career. For example,
they may not want a 50 hour per week job - but perhaps the nonprofit needs very
high level CFO skills only 50% of the time and couldn't afford someone like that
on a 100% salary anyway. I hope that we'll play a role in helping organizations
figure out how to successfully integrate these people so that TOGETHER they
reach the organization's goals and potential.
Kathleen Yazbak-Chartier, Bridgestar, An Initiative of The Bridgespan Group

Brainpower is in short supply, which makes identifying, attracting, and
retaining it a core recruitment challenge. We've found no correlation between
brainpower and age. In our work, we look at values, brainpower, and ability to
lead and execute as the core criteria for selection. If you're fortunate to find
that combination in a candidate, who cares about what age they come packaged
J. Kevin Day, Day & Associates

Given that unemployment is low, it is fair to assume that there will be a
continuing demand for the skills of experienced and well educated boomers so
that they can work into what used to be considered retirement years.
There are two complicating factors which might make this less easy than it appears. These are:

Hidden age discrimination, especially from the high tech industry, where many of the industry leaders are very young. In some cases this may be as simple as not relating well to those of a different generation in their personal style and general outside interests. The trend to import bright younger employees into this field from Asia coupled with off-shoring of much IT work to locations where there is a large and growing supply of well educated and low cost technical skills, will diminish the demand for experienced baby boomers and reduce their pay potential through price competition.

On the other hand there are a number of opportunity areas:
Smaller firms who cannot afford to employ full time well-experienced technology managers, but need broader experience and judgment than might be available from raw recruits can be one opportunity area, especially for part time or consultancy work.

Interim management opportunities are often well served by such experienced people. They may be overqualified for the job, but often their broad experience and flexibility can be a great asset here. There are young professional interim managers too, but there is room for more including those who have kept their skills up to date, from the boomer generation, as this is a growing sector.

For those of an entrepreneurial bent, there are opportunities to establish their own businesses, to use their wide experience in consultancy or software development. If the latter is the choice, niche areas, less prone to off-shoring, need to be the focus.

Lastly, for those with high level experience as CEOs, or CTOs, there may be opportunities on Boards of mid-sized corporations or even larger firms, depending on their individual profiles. Many boards have age limits, but sustaining these is becoming increasingly difficult as the gray lobby is ever more powerful and discrimination suits more threatening.

The great news is that more and more firms are recognizing the power in this experienced talent pool. We are often asked to include more boomer candidates, as they have wide experience, and often work very effectively with less absences and distractions. The essential things for boomers wanting to work on are: to be
flexible, never stop learning and to maintain high energy and openness to new
ideas and ways of working.

Chris Clarke, Boyden Global Executive Search

Source: AESC Marketing

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

50 Plus, Schmifty Plus. 100 is the new 70. 70 is the new 50.

Here is a question to Ask Wendy?

"I'm 57 and have been "laid off" from my sales job. It will be hard for me to get a new job in sales in my field, so I'm looking at other areas. But I'm wondering if retraining is even worthwhile? I already have skills and a track record in sales. So, isn't it a waste?"

Frank, NJ

Dear Frank,

There is nothing more bruising to the ego than being let go, regardless of how it is positioned. I can empathize with the challenge of finding a sales job at 57, especially if you are competing against much younger talent. Ray Kurzweil, author of "The Singularity is Near", a fascinating look at our aging society and thoughts and perceptions on where we are going in relation to age and technology.

Here are some "age" facts that Kruzweil shares on life expectancy:

In the Cromagnum era, average life expectancy was 18
In Ancient Egypt: 25
In Medieval Europe (1400): 30
In Europe and US in the 1800's: 37
In 1900 in the US: 48
And in 2002 in the US: 78

So, in my opinion, for many reasons (job search only being one of the reasons) it can certainly pays to take training. And if Kurzwiel's projections are right, we'll be living into our hundreds in this generation. So, what else are you going to do for the next young 20 - 30 years and presumably more?

And just to add more to the perspective, Monster.com founder, Jeff Taylor, is starting up Eons Inc. of Charlestown. And he is targeting the 50- to 100-year-old market.

So, as I see it, 50 is the new 30. 100 is the new 70. Go ahead. Retrain. You'll have the time to use your newly acquired skills.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Ask Wendy!

At Gen Plus we have a new feature, "Ask Wendy" where 50 plussers and HR professionals can ask us questions and we'll give you targeted answers based on our experience.

Here is a question from LS, in Los Angeles, CA.

"I don't want to retire, but would like to find part-time work. I am very well qualified in my field but am finding that most employers in my field want full-time people. What would you suggest? Thanks."

Dear LS,

You are experiencing the challenge facing many 50 plussers in this decade. While I don't know your specifics, I assume you are either being forced into retirement, or are no longer able to work full time. In either case, 50 plussers are experiencing ageism before any other consideration. While you may be highly qualified in your field, it is possible that your field is not ready to accomodate the reality of our aging population. You have a few options:

  1. If you have an interested employer, you need to provide them with a proposal showing them the cost-effectiveness of bringing you on part time. As with any business it is always about the WIFM (What's In It For Me?)
  2. You may try to sell your services as an independant contractor (consultant, self-employed.) You will not be eligible for any employee benefits, but you may be able to command an hourly wage.
  3. You may have to look at entering a different field. Fields that are hurting for want of skilled workers are: medical assistance and allied health professions, teaching (serious shortages and 50 plussers are considered highly reliable in this field), pharmacy, retail sales (think WalMart, Home Depot, but realize that managers are in hot demand as well), and banking. Even though you may not have the specific skill, you can translate your resume to address the skills these fields are looking for. You may need to follow a short certification, and you will likely be looking at a cut in pay, but this is a great area to get a renewed foot in the door.
  4. Get yourself visible. You MUST use all venues at your disposal to be seen. Use all online niched (www.genplususa.com) and non-niched (e.g. www.monster.com, www.careerbuilder.com) job search programs, make as many contacts as you can, send resumes to companies you are targeting and make your job search a full time job. If you have the opportunity to post your resume, do so. Often, HR professionals, facing a tough posting, will mine online resumes to try to identify suitable candidates. Don't lose that opportunity.
Best of success,


Friday, November 25, 2005


Blogger extraordinaire and Gen Plus guest writer, Cass Brown, of Cancergiggles repute pens some new thoughts on life. For those of you who have not yet met Cass, visit him at his compelling blog, Cancergiggles. Living with a challenging cancer, Cass' methodology is to laugh his way through life. And so far he is beating the odds and has surpassed his due date by quite a bit...which has the medical community somewhat delighted and flummoxed at the same time. And best of all...he's 50 plus. To purchase his book (limited edition and he's working on the next one, so get it while still available) visit our Shop page at Gen Plus. We're thrilled to offer what we believe will soon be a bestseller internationally.

You don't have an excuse for having that "it's all over" attitude just because you are 50. I could have had an excuse, because for me it looked like it really was all over (being dead is the only good excuse, and I was almost there) but for some reason it just seemed to be a waste.

Having taken a 3 year sabbatical from the world, due to some niggles with tumours, surgery and a legal dispute with the Grim Reaper, 9 days before I hit the magic five-oh I started to do something different. It had become increasingly clear that my talents as statesman, diplomat, media tycoon and brain surgeon were being ignored, so I decided that I needed to do something for the hell of it. I started to write.

As a career move, deciding to become a writer is just about as dumb as putting your name down for the next moon landing because I am told that statistically, you have a greater chance of being murdered than getting a book published. It would therefore, be very stupid indeed to waste your time following this sort of dream and you should buckle down and accept that you are of little or no value to society so should spend your time doing jigsaw puzzles until they put you in a retirement home. Unfortunately, this sort of incisive wisdom was not available to me so like an idiot, I went on TV last week to discuss the fact that my first book will be available in the shops here in the UK in a couple of weeks.

I would hate anyone to think that I am advocating that they should take up writing for a living; because the odds really are pretty poor and quite frankly I can really do without the competition. The point however, is that despite what you may tell yourself, the main barrier to achieving what you want, stares out at you from the mirror every morning.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Gobble, Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving, American Gen Plussers!

Lots hitting the news about the state of affairs for 50 plus -- this will be an interesting blog week. We'll start it off tomorrow with another great article from Cass Brown (Cancergiggles).

Eat lots of turkey. Get lots of sleep. Dream good dreams.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Gen Plus Product Search -- Wanted: 50 Plus Creativity!

The Gen Plus Product Search is on in force for our Shop feature. We are searching for products (books, jewellery, solar-powered cars, ceiling fans, reading glasses, art, dvds...you get the idea) that are produced by 50 plussers so that we can give them some power through e-commerce.

We've been picked up by Voodoo, in the UK. Voodoo is an e-commerce development company and have highlighted Gen Plus in their "e-business articles" section.

Pay it forward. Let the 50 plussers you know in on this distribution program dedicated to turning 50 plus consumers into producers!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Wall Street Journal highlights 50 Plus job challenges

An excellent article in Wall Street Journal online magazine, www.CareerJournal.com. Follow the link to read Perri Capell's insights on the 50 plus marketplace. Take a look at her seven strategies for securing employment and you'll note that her observations are right on track for the 50 plus worker.

For additional support in your job search, make sure your resume is posted on our site, check job postings at least once a week, and refresh your brand (make sure to read past postings on personal brand, resume building and job search on the blog!)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Hold the Presses

I was delighted to see The Mature Market pick up our recent press release. The more 50 plussers we can reach the better! The piece is in the sidebar or you can click the link to read more.

On another note, those of you who frequent www.Thirdage.com will notice a pretty extreme shift in their target audience. They have tried to broaden their market demographic by going to the 45 plus market. The pictures are generally leaning to the 40-somethings as well as their affiliate partners. Third Age was bought out awhile ago and I wonder where they are going with this. Our company, Gen Plus focuses on 50 plus and even from 50 - 65 and from 65 and beyond there are 2 very distinct and different sets of needs. We focus on 50 - 65, because that is where my passion lies and that is the area where I recognize the heaviest need for advocacy for the health and wellbeing of the Boomer generation.

Going to 45 is a big leap and brings another set of distinct needs and fears. I'm going to keep watching to see how they roll this out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

BBC meets Cancergiggles

Cass Brown (www.Cancergiggles.blog-city.com), writer and comic, laughing his way through cancer, has caught the attention of the press. Cass' book, Cancergiggles (Mountains are Easy) has hit the airwaves! For a quick view of the BBC's take on Cass' philosophy, you've got 24 hours to review the link before it expires! You need Real Player to view. Fast forward to 18:52 to see the piece. Cancergiggles has had almost 300,000 visitors. So congrats to the media on appreciating what so many of us already know and adore...the humor of Cass Brown.

To purchase this inspiring, deeply honest, and very funny book, visit Gen Plus or Cancergiggles.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hang in there, baby boomers!

Gen Plus guest writer, the award-winning Corinne Copnick, brings a fascinating book to the attention of 50 plussers. Forget about 50 being the new 40. This book turns 50 into the new 20-something! Read on.

Talk about mergers! Ray Kurzweil is an internationally famous inventor who believes that three great revolutions in science –Genetics, Nanotechnology, and Robotics – are in the process of converging. In his latest book, The Singularity is Near (a must-read for those over 50!), he explains how we humans, in the next stage of our evolution, have already begun to transcend our biological selves. During the course of the next few decades -- in which advances will accelerate exponentially at a staggering rate -- the intelligent machines we are now accustomed to use outside us will become the superintelligent machines enhancing us from the inside (we already accept brain imaging, pacemakers, artificial hips, and even artificial hearts as present reality). In other words, human intelligence and machine intelligence will merge to become the Singularity (a word scientists use to express the infinite).

At 59, Ray is so sure that the 21st century will witness at least 200 centuries worth of change, that he is engaged in a heavy personal program of nutrition, exercise, and aggressive supplementation (he takes 250 supplements of vitamins and minerals a day plus weekly nutritional injections into his blood stream, thus bypassing the gastrointestinal tract) so that he will be around to see it happen. He figures that it will be about 20 years (2049) until the new technology begins to kick in. The child is already born, Ray tells us, who can live to be 1000 years if he or she wants to.
The Genetic Revolution
Most people over 50 recall the human potential movement of the 1960s and 1970s with some fondness. Well, we haven’t seen anything yet! According to inventor Ray Kurzweil, because of our current investigation of the human genome – the Genetic Revolution -- we are already in the early stages of a 21st century happening in expanding human potential. As we begin to understand more and more about “the information processes underlying life,” we also gain the capacity to “reprogram our biology.” We’ll come close to completely eliminating disease, and we will radically extend life. We can already have the capability to clone our own skin cells to replace different organs in our bodies.

The Nanotechnology Revolution
At the same time, Ray says, we’re in the midst of a revolution in Nanotechnology. What the heck is nanotechnology? Well, for one thing, nanotechnology is molecular. It can take us beyond our biological limits on an atom by atom basis. We’ll be able not only to redesign and rebuild our bodies but also the world around us. So, as I understand it, we biological specimens will become human beings with far superior molecular capabilties. Forget your Mercedes or Lexus or even owning a house in Southern California as a status symbol. The next question to ask your prospective son-in-law or daughter-in-law will be: “Do you have molecular intelligence yet?”
The Robotic Revolution
And next time you play a computer game, please pay attention to the robots. In Ray’s Singular world, the Robotic Revolution will be the most powerful of all. These new age robots will derive their intelligence from humans but will far surpass us. And somehow, all of this – biology, nanotechnology and robotics -- will blend together at around the same time, most computers (power can be used for good or evil) will be kind to people even though we won’t be as smart, and the human race will be better than ever. You gotta have heart!

As a footnote, you don’t have to be a physicist or a mathematician to read The Singularity is Near. If it seems dense at the beginning, please be patient, because Ray Kurzweil is a terrific writer and teacher. He provides lots of examples that help you see the light (by the way, he thinks scientists will change the speed of light in the future), and inserts chatty conversations that further illuminate his thinking. The Singularity is Near is not science fiction; rather, it presents the scientifically-based predictions of a distinguished visionary who has been proven right before. I’ve already instructed my kids that, if, like Ray, I manage to live long enough, I want to be artificially enhanced.

Corinne Copnick, C.M., M.A. is the President of Timesolvers Writing & Editing Services (www.timesolvers.com).

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Award-winning writer, Corinne Copnick* is a regular guest writer for Gen Plus. Enjoy this abridged version of her story from "How to Live Alone Until You Like It...and then you're ready for somebody else."

I’m sorry I didn’t save all the rejection letters. They would have made interesting wall paper with a repetitive motif. Most of them went something like this:

Thank you very much for your recent application. Although we were impressed with your résumé, we have received a large number of applications from highly qualified candidates like yourself. We were able to short list only some of them. The position has been filled by a candidate whose experience most closely matched our needs. We will keep your résumé on file should another suitable position become available.

After you receive five hundred or more letters that tell you how outstanding your qualities are, but that there is someone whose qualifications are more closely suited to the position advertised, you begin to think you may not get a post commensurate with your abilities. You contact all kinds of people and organizations who tell you your qualities are so outstanding you should be a “big-C” consultant. You apply for jobs that do not demand the abilities you possess.

When you apply for a job as a saleslady at a fine jewelry store and hand them your professional résumé, they think you’re crazy. When you apply for a job as a secretary or receptionist, they raise their eyebrows at your graduate degrees and tell you you’re overqualified. You find yourself being interviewed by people half your age or by someone who knows you could do his/her job and naturally won’t hire you as his/her junior.
I went to the first of the several reputable community vocational services that I had contacted.

“We don’t have managerial posts,” the rather drab lady in charge said. “If you need money desperately, I can place you as a waitress or in a warehouse.”

“I’m not that desperate yet,” I replied.

Then I thought of actress Bette Davis who once placed an ad announcing that she, a former Academy Award Winner, needed a job. She got one! In a horror film, true, but she swallowed her pride to survive. My accomplishments were no match for Bette Davis, but they were considerable in their own way. I, too, would have to swallow my pride to succeed. I would not let my accomplishments be a stumbling block.

But when I applied for a job that was just that, a job (okay, not a warehouse yet), the prospective employer shook his head, “You’ll never stay.”

“I need the money,” I replied. “My financial planner says I’m not ready to retire yet.”

Not his problem.

When I visited my octogenarian Aunt Sarah, she also shook her head sagely when I complained that I couldn’t even get a job as a dishwasher.

“They’re all machines now dear, anyway,” she said consolingly.

I finally got a job answering 33 old-style telephone lines for a Luddite company whose customers were fed up with voice mail. They liked having a mature human being answer the phone. So when I next visited my Aunt Sarah, she asked, “How’s the new job going?”

“It only pays ten dollars an hour,” I said. “But I’m also working for myself on evenings and weekends.”

“For yourself?”

“I’m self-employed,” I said proudly. “My own business. I’m an employment consultant.”

“An employment consultant?” she gasped.

“Yes, Aunt Sarah. I’m teaching people how to apply for five hundred jobs and still smile.”

“Oh,” said Aunt Sarah, relieved. “You must be very good at it. You have lots of experience.”

(*Excerpted from HOW TO LIVE ALONE UNTIL YOU LIKE IT…AND THEN YOU ARE READY FOR SOMEBODY ELSE by Corinne Copnick, © Toronto, 1994. All rights reserved.)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Media Attention in all the Right Places!

Guest writer, Cass Brown (http://www.cancergiggles.blog-city.com) has once again commanded the attention of the UK media. The Comet recognizes what we all do. Cass has a great talent. The ability to make you laugh. Follow the link to read the full story.

Oh...and Cass WAS smiling for the photo shoot. He really does laugh. A lot. Really. They just chose the one shot where he wasn't. With over 275,000 visitors to his blog, you can bet that his book is a must-read. It is an even more compelling read than the blog. A great "heart" writer, that Cancergiggles guy! To purchase his book, head over to our Shop! and get an original print run before they are gone.

Something is Rotten in the State of California

Well, the writing is on the wall. Today I had one of those moments...where you can't quite believe what you just witnessed. Still shaking my head over it.

I had to pick up a few items at Target, that bastion of mass-market retail therapy. It was over the lunch hour, so I was a bit hungry and decided to pick up a hot dog. The Vienna Dog Combo was advertised at $2. I didn't really need the Combo...whatever that was, so I asked for just the Dog. The very lovely 20-ish year old cashier rang up $1.99. So, just double-checking, I asked her what the difference was...for 1 cent. She proceeded to show me a small cup and told me with the hot dog, I'd get the small cup for water. And for the Combo at $2, I'd get a medium cup for a soft drink.

So I said, "Oh! So they're the same price."

And she said, "Ummm. No. I'd have to check."

And I said, "Well, the hotdog is $1.99 and the Combo is $2, so there is a 1 cent difference."

And she said, "Ummm. No, I'd have to check the tax."

OK. So she had to void the hotdog for $1.99 and ring up the Combo for $2. The bill was $2.17. I gave her a $5 bill and she gave me back $2.58. I was short a quarter.

So I said, "Excuse me, but I'm short a quarter."
She looked at me, very puzzled, and asked to see the bill. Well I couldn't stand it and I had to pull a Sweetheart.

"Sweetheart," I said, "It's just arithmetic. See? The bill was $2.17. Here are 3 pennies. 2.18, 2.19, 2.20, and a nickel, that's 2.25 and a quarter, that's 2.50 and another quarter, that's 2.75. See? I need one more quarter."

And she said, "I'm sorry, but I need to see the bill."

So she looked at the bill that told her to give me $2.83 back and still, not quite sure if 25 cents was the difference between $2.58 and $2.83. But she gave me the quarter.

I sat, shaking my head while eating my dog. Then headed off to look for a desklamp for my daughter. I asked a handsome young man working the floor, also about 20 years old, if he knew where desk lamps might be. He said, "Umm. Well, umm, let me see if I know how to say this...there are lights...ummm...for reading a book (he meant a booklight) on this floor, but lights are on the wall downstairs...through furniture...you know...against the wall."

I headed downstairs to find my "light against the wall" thinking all the while that rocket scientists and wall street financiers, and executives, lawyers, professionals, and writers are all virtually unemployable by 55 ("Dead" in industry parlance) and we have children who are supposed to be adults who can't even "Read, Rite or do their Rithmetic."

Maybe someone will do something. Like fix education and use our unemployed 50 plussers to Learn 'Em something.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

These Boots are made for Walking

We've talked about working around the internet, resume-building and developing a personal brand. Now what do you do with that information? Unlike the late 1990's when it was a jobseeker's market, as a 50 plusser in 2005, you are at a distinct disadvantage. So your unpaid job is to create an advantage for yourself. Why am I calling jobseeking an unpaid job? Because like any job where you are paid, you will only find work by investing all your resources into the job search.

You have your resume, your sample cover letter, your targeted industries and now, your understanding of what your personal brand is...i.e., what all your attributes say to your potential employer. Now you have to find the way to get your message across.

1. Post, post and post. Find every resume posting site you can find and get your resume online. Of course, post on Gen Plus as we are niched to 50 plus. But there are at least a dozen more online job search firms that allow you to post your resume as well as apply to jobs. Do NOT pay a headhunter to find you a job.

We do NOT charge a fee to find you a job. However, there are many shady operators who will ask you for a percentage of the salary they secure for you, or a high, straight fee. That is not the way headhunters are supposed to work. A legitimate headhunter will have a contract to source for a position and they are paid by the employer. Before you give the go ahead to ANY headhunter to forward your resume, you must find out if they have the contract for the position. Otherwise, it means that they have just found the position on a job site (just like you would) and they are planning to "present" you to the company for a finder's fee. If the company declines their offer, you will not be able to contact that company personally, as the headhunter will now have dibs on you. The employer will have to avoid you in order to walk away from the finder's fee.

A legitimate headhunter who is interested in you, on the other hand, is gold to you. As long as they are contracted to represent the position, you are in good hands. If you "pass" their phone interview, you might make it to an in person interview. Keep in mind, you are only useful to a headhunter if they think you will fill a specific position. A headhunter will generally not keep you in mind for future postings. However, if you are in a niched industry, you may be contacted again by the headhunter who is similarly niched, such as engineering, actuary, education, healthcare, etc.

2. Be polite and respectful to anyone you speak to who represents a potential job. The junior HR assistant will report to the HR Director on your phone conversation, so you must wow everyone you speak with at every stage of the process. You do NOT know in conversation who the hiring manager is. Assume they all are.

3. Maintain consistent (not irritating) contact with any company you are interested in. As a 50 plusser, you'll find a better chance of getting in with a smaller company (under $50 million) for several reasons.

  • They can't always afford to spend money on recruiting, so if you come to them, you have a foot in the door.
  • Any company prefers to hire someone who is very interested in their business over someone who is not familiar with the company.
  • They will not be able to afford top dogs. If you are looking for a lateral or down-sized job this is a great way to go. If you are looking for an executive position you are more likely to be considered at a smaller company than at a bigger one that will attract the big earners.
  • You can actually speak to a human being. Rather than trying to reach one of many and more often than not getting voice mail, at a smaller company, HR Directors are usually closer to the ground and therefore more receptive to conversations and with introductory meetings.
  • Most people get jobs through contacts over job postings. That doesn't mean not to post for jobs and that doesn't mean to stop applying to postings. You MUST do that to get your profile out there. But you also need to network. The more you network, the more you'll find your 6 degrees of separation.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


There is an incredible hotel in Miami's South Beach...the Delano Hotel. After paying $22 to valet the car, you enter a curtain-framed entrance and after that, jaw-drop after jaw-drop all the way through the hotel to the pool bar. Think Alice in Wonderland meets Andy Warhol meets Italian/English countryside in South Beach.

Huge 40-foot curtained panels of white sheer curtains floating over cherrywood floors, strategically placed one-of-a-kind chairs (metal, rickshaw, throne, italian wrought iron) and columns from 3 feet to 8 feet diameters plus creating optical illusions on your stroll through the lobby.

The entrance to the pool, with grass separated brick steps, chairs clustered on the grass with mirrors, candelabras, giant chess set, hammock and then onto the pool where 20 and 30-somethings lounge on poolside beds, sipping margueritas and martinis under the stars. White clad staff at the ready to deliver top-notch service and gentle ocean breezes tossing everyone's hair gently.

So, why am I writing about Delano hotel? Well, this little visit is experienced in two ways. As a twenty-something, thirty-something...easily lounging on the beds (many, many beds....many) or as a 40, 50 or 60-something sitting on the lawn chairs and at the tables and chairs strategically placed for those with limited flexibility.

I sat on a lawn chair, listening to disco music and thinking back, perhaps a little too fondly, on my younger party days, well...

At any age at all, the experience of a great hotel can be as invigorating to creativity as visiting a museum. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Cancergiggles takes to the airwaves!

Blogger extraordinaire and Gen Plus guest writer, Cass Brown, of Cancergiggles repute passed along some very exciting news.

In addition to being featured in local UK news media, Cass has caught the attention of the BBC. He is being interviewed on a tri-channel BBC feed as well as looking at a TV feature.

For those of you who have not yet met Cass, visit him at his compelling blog, Cancergiggles. Living with a challenging cancer, Cass' methodology is to laugh his way through life. And so far he is beating the odds and has surpassed his due date by quite a bit...which has the medical community somewhat delighted and flummoxed at the same time. And best of all...he's 50 plus.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Defining a personal brand

In the last post, we discussed getting noticed. Part of getting noticed means having qualities that will appeal to Recruiters. What do Recruiters look for in your resume/profile/cover letter? Consistency, Career Path (growth), Progression of Responsibilities. As well, they look for the big P -- personality. While it is very difficult to get a sense of an applicants true personality until you meet them over the phone and subsequently in person, any Recruiter worth his or her salt, will quickly get a sense of who you are marketing yourself as and will also sense right away what rings true or false. If you've completed your online interview at Gen Plus, then you'll note how the questions help to define your personality very quickly.

Before we move on, in case you are wondering about my personal experience with recruiting, I'll give you a bit of background about my qualifications. I've worked in senior management positions for about fifteen years. Over the past decade, I've managed large teams of about fifty staff, including a dozen middle managers and a dozen or more junior level staff. Within those teams I've had to fill, over the years, over a hundred open positions across the US. As hiring manager for those positions, I've worked closely with HR staff, studied thousands of resumes and cover letters, and interviewed hundreds upon hundreds of candidates --both over the phone and in person. I've learned how to design job descriptions to give me the best possible candidates, what I avoid, and when I choose to interview a candidate. I know what rings true, what is false and how to pick up on red flags. And I rarely make a bad hire.

With that in mind, let's take a look at P -- Personality. Which we will define as Personal Brand.

So, what is brand? When you think of a brand, you generally think of an icon (the logo), or the name of the company and the feeling you associate with that icon or name. See what comes to mind when you look at the following:

You will automatically have a thought come to your mind when you see an icon that you associate with a strong brand.

My associations?

  • Coke: it's the real thing. I want to teach the world to sing.
  • Nike: Just do it. I want to do it.
  • Mercedes: Luxury. I desire luxury.

You will have similar associations. Those associations mean that the icon, the brand, evokes an emotional response in you.

There are two definitions of brand:

1) The essence of the brand, including its emotional and cultural associations as well as its physical features.

2) The graphic system of identification as applied to a single product or service or a family of products/services.

Your resume functions as #2. In jobsearch, your "logo" is your crafted resume, which we spoke about yesterday. But #1 is how you choose to define yourself, market yourself, associate yourself with your career path and employment history.

To create your brand, you must investigate yourself, as you would if you were a marketer trying to design a creative brief for a new product or service. A brief is a short written document that establishes the direction of a program or campaign. In this case, the product is you and the campaign is your job search. Your homework is to answer the following questions:

  1. Background: What’s your big picture? Who are you, where do you come from, what makes you unique?
  2. Audience: Who are you talking to (recruiter, hiring manager, contact, referral), and what is the one main thing you want to get across?
  3. What is your objective? Who is your target market. Who do you appeal to? What kind of job do you want? Who do you want to work for/what kind of company? If you look at what you bring to the table, you'll know who you will appeal to .
  4. What is your personality? Hip? Savvy? Established? Professional through and through? Conservative? Flashy?
  5. What is your style? Modern? Traditional? Quick on your feet? Slow to make considered decisions?
  6. What is a known quantity about you? What is measurable?
  7. What is your emotional quality? How will an interviewer "feel" about you? What is your "culture"?
  8. What do you want to say? What is the one important thing you want to get across as your overall objective?

Answer these questions and then we'll talk about getting your unique message across.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Working Around the Internet

In our post on Resume Building, entitled "Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself", we talked about the power available to you in the words and form you use for your resume and cover letter. We identified 2 major challenges in job search:

  • Reason 1: You are competing against everyone looking for work in your skill and experience set. The 20, 30, 40, 50, (and yes) 60-somethings.
  • Reason 2: You are one of possibly several hundred applying for each position. Plus you are being vetted generally by an HR recruiter. Job descriptions have parameters laid out to help a recruiter decide who to take a deeper look at and who to pass on.
We've already talked about how to pump up your resume, but how do you get yourself to really stand out to recruiters? Put yourself in their shoes for a few seconds.

Meet Danielle. An HR recruiter. Her job is to look for people to fill positions. That is what she does all day, every day. She may have to also manage the background checks. So, first, she'll meet with the hiring manager...let's say in this case, the VP of Sales, Frank. Frank and Danielle discuss what particular qualifications Frank is looking for in the position. They agree on the job description, which will include a particular skill set tied to employment history and level of accountability plus a possible education and/or credit requirement.

Now Danielle does 2 Things.
  1. Posts the position internally.
  2. Posts the position on various recruitment websites or media outlets, such as newspapers.

Why did I put Thing 1 as Thing 1?

Because when it comes to filling a position...ANY position...a referral from an existing employee leads more often to being able to fill the position than from doing an extensive job search. Now, you may not know ANYONE at any company that you might want to work for, but here is the task ahead of you.

You need to manage your own 3 Things:

  1. Target specific companies. Are there several companies that you'd give your eye-teeth to work for? (Well, maybe at 50 plus you aren't as willing to give up a tooth...but let's just say you'd really, really want to work there.) You need to find those companies and do some research. Who is the HR Director? Who runs the department you want to work for? Are you able to get a site tour? There is nothing wrong with trying to set up an informal meeting with a Recruiter. There is nothing wrong with hand delivering a resume. There is nothing wrong with sending in a resume in the hopes of a position opening up. So put on your walking shoes and driving gloves and physically, actually, start looking.
  2. Find your 6 degrees of separation. If we know that Thing 1 for a Recruiter is tops on their list, and we KNOW that many jobs fill based on personal referral, then it is incumbent upon YOU to find that connection. Now that you know which companies you want to work for, find people who know people who know people at those companies. Call them up, speak with them and ask them who to deliver your resume to. More often than not, they'll tell you to email your resume to them and they will forward it along. There are many cases, countless cases, where someone gets hired through personal referral and the Recruiter discovers that their resume was completely overlooked when it was submitted in response to an ad.
  3. Know your product...YOU. Who the heck are you? When you get that interview, how will you clinch the deal? Why WOULD someone want to hire you? What is so special about you that a company would be crazy not to bring you on board? What do YOU bring to the table that this company needs? What are you strengths and what are your weaknesses? What is your personal brand?

We'll talk more about personal brand in the next post.

Monday, October 31, 2005


Cass Brown is a regular contributor to the Gen Plus Blog. Take a minute and you'll draw several grins and possibly a few hearty chuckles.Cass' blog in the UK, the very popular, VERY funny, and very personal Cancergiggles, has drawn over a quarter of a million visitors over the past two years. In his words, "Cancergiggles is an idiot's guide to accepting, living with, laughing at and dying from cancer. The very, very last bit I can't be absolutely sure of, but then who the hell can? I could have written some beautifully crafted, grammatically correct essays but I hope you will understand, that when I say "I don't have a lot of time" I mean it far more literally than you do. I just wanted scribble a few thoughts to maybe light a spark in people - and then it became a book about Cancer, Life, Death, Illness and Politics". His book is available through http://www.genplususa.com/shop.aspx, www.lulu.com, or for a signed copy, directly through his site.

His job at 50 plus is,in fact, living with cancer, and though he's not sufficiently salaried for his skill set, has the insight of a Fortune 100 CEO or, for that matter, the Surgeon General.

I can't actually put a date on when I became what I am, but I'm pretty sure that it was around the time I was nearly dead about four years ago. There were no blinding lights or world shattering revelations - in fact I was so far out of my nut on morphine, that I think that this me crept in whilst I wasn't looking. Cancer is damn tricky.

The comic bit of me, to the serious annoyance of many, has always been pretty much to the fore because put simply, I have always preferred laughing to crying and have found that I operate far more efficiently when my ribs hurt. Since I nearly went to the big Comedy Club in the sky however, I have become far more analytical about the positive benefits of my somewhat ridiculous view of life. For a start I am still breathing, long after the medics had expected me to ART (Assume Room Temperature) and I put this down to exercising my lungs by laughing. Jogging or working out sure as hell aren't responsible for me still being here, nor is my lifelong chairmanship of the Temperance League. Having always treated my body as a temple (the drunken orgy, Walpurgis Night, ritual sacrifice, completely in ruins sort of temple), I could well have expected that by now I would have been having a seriously long snooze in a box. Instead I laughed myself silly all the way through the crap (just noticed I mistyped that as carp and that really wouldn't make a lot of sense even to me) and discomfort and giggled at what an amazing mess I am. My insides feel like they were put together by an extremely splintered committee and my outside looks like it was stitched together by a drunken Glaswegian welder. Stercus Accidit. (Ed. note: a little bit of Latin for you.)

What really made all this gel as a conscious way of life, was the unexpected response I got when I started to write about it in a blog. I instinctively knew that it was the best way for me and my family, but was honestly astonished that so many people already were or became adherents to the "don't take it too seriously" theory. I have been positively encouraged by the medics even though they have been on the receiving end of many a wicked comment, the sick and lame joined in the fun and what surprises me more than anything is that droves of normal, healthy folk seem to think it's a bloody good way to live. The last thing I ever expected to become is a preacher, because my only real qualification is that I've got a hat. I wonder what the odds are of succeeding as an evangelical TV comic?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Nothing to Fear, But Fear Itself

The greatest single thing about the US is that if you add determination to imagination, anything that you really reach for is achievable. Imagination is easy. You can go to a museum, read a good book, go for a walk, people-watch at a cafe, look at a child's play...any of these activities can stimulate the imagination. So, let's take searching for work after 50 years old. (And keep in mind that at 50, much of the work force is already delegating you to the category of "senior".)

You are currently in a position that you see coming to an end. Either by your choice, or your employers choice. Or you run a small business and not doing as well as you'd like and so need to find employment so you can support your living. So you know that you need a new job. You search Monster, Careerbuilder and any site you can find promoting 50 plus hoping for hope. You submit your resume to tens upon tens, if not hundreds of employers, but you can't get a bite. And the reason you won't get a bite is two-fold.

Reason 1: You are competing against everyone looking for work in your skill and experience set. The 20, 30, 40, 50, (and yes) 60-somethings.

Reason 2: You are one of possibly several hundred applying for each position. Plus you are being vetted generally by an HR recruiter. Job descriptions have parameters laid out to help a recruiter decide who to take a deeper look at and who to pass on.

Today we'll talk a bit more in-depth about Reason 1. First, you need to find a way to get to the top of the recruiter/employer's list. The only thing that your resume shows is exactly what you put on it. If you have a mind-bogglingly fantastic resume, you'll stand out. If your resume is tweaked to reflect the actual job you are applying to, then it is more likely that you'll stand out more. That is why job search sites generally give you the opportunity to add in several versions of your resume or to upload your resume. Take a look at some of the sites. Gen Plus, Monster, Careerbuilder are three good sites to start with as they allow you customization with your resume. Monster and Careerbuilder are targeted more generally to the 20 - 40-something demographic. Gen Plus (our site) is niched to 50 plus. The internet has changed the way job search is done so you need to work within this medium to attract recruiters.

So, in order to get noticed in addition to applying for jobs, is to post your resume. Many recruiters mine these job sites looking for applicants that THEY can approach. If you get contacted by a recruiter who has searched for you, you have a much better chance of having a full phone interview and possibly an in person interview. Why? Because if they are mining the sites, it means they are not satisfied with who they found from their job posting.

How do you get mined? You need a fantasic resume. Plain and simple. At Gen Plus, you can do the online interview, which also adds to creating a quick first impression. Bottom line, take the time to find the right words to drive your resume to the head of the line. Take a look at some of our past blog articles on job search to get an idea of how to fashion a winning resume.

Need a job at 50 plus? Here is how we do it.

Making your Job Search Sexy?

Where were you at 25 years old?

Action Word of the Day

A great resume will also help you in your applications to available jobs. However, you need to add another component. A top notch cover letter. Something that, in the first paragraph, compells the recruiter to keep on reading. You MUST convey how your experience fits their need in your first paragraph. Do NOT attach your cover letter without also pasting it into the body copy of your email. You need to convince the recruiter, in that first glance, to look further, to your resume.

You must ALSO both attach your resume as a file to the email, but also cut and paste it into the body copy, following your cover letter. Think like a recruiter. Do you want to have to click, download and print? Nope. You want a quick read that entices the recruiter to put you into their print queue and their YES folder.

(Next column we'll look at working AROUND the internet -- so get some walking shoes.)