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Helga Hayse

Helga Hayse educates people on the role that money plays in family relationships. Her latest book Money, Love & Legacy: Conversations That Matter Between Generations is about the urgency for adult children and their parents to open the intergenerational dialogue they need to have about financial, legal, emotional, medical and end-of-life issues before it’s too late. She recounts her personal experience with transforming the pain of her own unfinished business into regenerative legacy between herself and her parents.

Her previous book “Don’t Worry about a Thing, Dear” - Why Women Need Financial Intimacy helps women understand why education about marital finances is vital for their protection if marriage ends.

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Best Boomer Towns Columns

Job Hunting Tips Part Four in a Series


If you are over 40 this is a great time to get out of your "comfort zone." At this stage in life you are probably getting a bit too settled in some areas of your life, a little too rigid about your beliefs and less open to new experiences. Well, being out of work is a perfect opportunity to examine your beliefs and attitudes and try on some new experiences. It might even help you avoid a mid-life crisis.

Try exposing yourself to things you ordinarily would not do. Take pottery classes. Go on an adventure vacation. Attend a gay rights meeting (if you're straight). Volunteer to save the wetlands. Take your spouse to a sexy resort. Go to a service at a different religious denomination. Do anything that you wouldn't ordinarily do (that is legal, of course). You will be amazed at how it changes your outlook on life. And it may even open up opportunities you never knew existed. Creative brainstorming sessions often utilize forced exposure to different points of view to stimulate new thinking.
Doing this will be harder for "left brainers" than "right brainers" and for conservatives and the religious right than for liberals and less hard-line religious people. But they are the very people who could benefit the most from taking off the blinders, opening up to something new and learning to be more fearless.

If you don't know them already, learn the major tech food groups: Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, Photoshop, Project Manager and Windows (or the Mac equivalents). The more you know the more you grow---and the more you are capable of doing work required in the Web 2.0 era. Include your technological proficiency on your resume to drive home that you are staying current with technology.

Your resume's job is to get an interview, where you have a real chance of getting a job. Your resume alone will not get you a job.

The calling card for all job-hunters is the resume. This too has evolved in recent years and requires attention and management. Like I said before, it's a whole new world in job-hunting.

Resumes can use many different formats successfully. What's important is the content and how it's presented. The bottom-line is that your resume must show clearly what you can do for the company to solve its challenges.
An effective resume emphasizes accomplishments and results, not how many years experience or how many impressive titles you've held. After a certain number of years even your education becomes secondary to the results you've created. "What can you do for me today" is the mantra of business in the 21st century. Keep this in mind as you position the key elements of your resume.
Avoid the functional approach advocated so often today. This format often takes on such an unnatural style it could easily be mistaken for fiction (and often is---one in six resumes contain false information). Lead by highlighting your latest and greatest achievements, going back no more than 10 to 15 years and listing only those that are pertinent to the job you are pursuing.
You shouldn't fear listing dates but you also shouldn't feel compelled to include your entire career history going back to the Viet Nam war. Dates for education aren't necessary either. Including them may bring up distracting questions such as why it took you six years to get your degree, why you got your MBA a decade later and, of course, how old you really are.

Don't expound upon your vast experience. These days it can be interpreted as being, well, "old." Yes, I know, you worked long and hard to gain that experience, and it was once considered a strong attribute for a job seeker. That was then and this is now. In these more enlightened times you are likely to be seen as "over qualified." At what point in American business history being too capable became a liability isn't clear (perhaps during the Bush administration), but you can't do anything about the craziness that exists in the world today. You can only adapt to it.

Capabilities count more than experience. Your experience should only support your capabilities. Employers read your resume from a strictly "what's in it for me" viewpoint. Of course, if you are a doctor or pilot or any profession that still values experience, this approach does not apply.

For most of us, experience more than 10 - 15 years old is irrelevant. As important as this experience was to your career success, unless there's a compelling reason remove it from your resume. At the same time, as an over 40 job seeker, you need to deftly "allude" to your experience and position it in a positive way. Unless you were in prison or stayed at home until your parents kicked you out at 35, the people interviewing you know you have experience. They also see you have two legs and assume you can walk too but you don't need to go on about hiking and running and dancing. Get the point?

Make sure your resume is formatted to ping all the keywords that resume review software is set up to catch. You can learn more about this on job sites such as, and
Create both an online version of your resume and a hard copy version. When sending your resume online be sure to include it as both an attachment and pasted into the body of your email. Email a pasted copy to yourself first as a test to make sure it hasn't been inadvertently "reformatted" by your email provider. By sending two email versions and a hard copy you'll be sure to get the attention of the hiring reviewer. The hard copy will be so unusual these days that it's sure to get attention. Plus, they look nicer than email copies.

Sending out resumes blindly to hundreds of potential employers is a fools' game, no matter what the job sites say. The shotgun approach will waste a lot of time and effort. The targeted "rifle" approach yields much better results. Go after jobs you want, can do well, and have researched thoroughly. Then tailor your approach to each one for best results.

Too many people hide behind online job hunting. Fewer than 5% of all jobs are secured entirely through online efforts. You need to put yourself out there personally. Get on the phone. Go to networking events. Network. Meet people face to face.

Keep it short and sweet. Don't make it a recap of your resume though. Also, don't use the word "I" too often, especially to begin your sentences. Make your opening as strong as possible---it's the headline in your personal job ad. Don't say "It was a pleasure meeting you and blah, blah, blah." Instead say, "Your firm's need for a widget designer is an excellent match with my five-years of creating award-winning widgets that helped increase business for my clients by 200% or more in their first year."

Don't make your cover letter too long. No one these days seems to have an attention span longer than that of a fruit fly's sex life, so you need to cut to the chase. Three paragraphs or two and a couple bullet points max. Try to be specific and avoid being vague.

Don't forget to direct your letter at the company you are interviewing at---even if you have a standard "form" letter prepared. End your cover letter with a call to action, something like "I will follow up with you in a few days to answer any questions you may have. In the meantime you can reach me at (your phone number). Oh, and be sure to sign it. You won't believe how many letters go out unsigned (which is not a good sign to potential employers).

After you've sent your resume to a company for consideration of a job opening, if they don't call back within two weeks leave a phone message and/or email once a week for the next five weeks---until you get a call back or a restraining order (just kidding). Never be discourteous and always sound upbeat and positive, even if you are suicidally depressed about your job hunting.


Here is your list of interview tips.

1.Rehearse your interview. Ask a friend to role play the interviewer by asking questions, including some tough ones (like how much you think the company should pay you). Write out answers to these questions. Get one of the books available on job interviewing and study it. Winning Job Interviews or Job Interviews for Dummies are good interviewing guides.

2.Before the interview, ask the person you are meeting to tell you about the interviews. Who will you be meeting with? Are you meeting individually or as a group? What should you bring?

3.Prepare questions to ask the interviewer about the job. What is expected? Who will you report to or who will report to you? What are the challenges the company is facing. How can you contribute in the future? Focus the interview on how you can meet their needs, not on how wonderful your career has been at other companies.

4.Research the company and know their needs. Check out their website. Google the company to get a historical perspective. Research their competitors. Older workers aren't as savvy about doing this as most young job seekers are. In the interview, you'll be more impressive if you can talk knowledgeably about the company, its products and its competitors.

5.Show up on time. Make sure beforehand you have the date, time and especially the place correct. If you can't get this right do you think they'll seriously consider hiring you? You may even want to reconnoiter the business beforehand to feel more comfortable with the setting (outside, not inside).

6.Your first 10 seconds are crucial. According to research, first impressions really do count. More candidates were made job offers when they smiled, shook hands confidently and looked the interviewer in the eyes than those who did not. Candidates who trembled uncontrollably while sweat dripped down their face received no offers.

7.Find a common ground, if possible, with the interviewer. Perhaps you both went to Harvard or live in the same neighborhood or enjoy free jumping off cliffs. Don't obsess over attempting to find something though.

8.Present yourself as the solution to their needs---the ideal combination of what you are and what the employer is looking for in their new hire. Presumably this will also be true. Link your skills and capabilities to specific job functions.

9.If you can talk about how some recent project, preferably utilizing some high tech knowledge, led to a product breakthrough or huge increases in sales or the discovery of the Holy Grail, you will demonstrate your relevancy. Then steer the discussion to what this success could mean to your potential employer. Always be forward-looking in your job speak.

10.Never speak disparagingly of past employers or bosses, even if you worked for Vlad the Impaler at the Soylent Green factory.

11.Don't fidget or slouch or show up drunk and disorderly. Be confident---again, think Barack Obama or Johnny Carson. Avoid the Mickey O'Rourke style. Show some energy. Animate your face and use your hands to drive home a point. Look the interviewer in the eye (an unblinking stare however is not cool).

12.Avoid discussing money. To get an idea of what you might be offered you can go to to find out what the job likely pays in the market you would be working in. Remember, if they want you badly enough they will pay the going rate or more. You've first got to make them want you and that usually takes some time. If you are forced to shout out your salary expectations, go high. As they say, you can always go down.

13.Dress like you already have the job. Or your potential boss's job. If you're a surgeon though, don't wear your scrubs to the interview. Dress like the wealthy person you are.

14.Mind your hygiene. Bad breath or body odor can be a deal killer. And pop for a manicure (guys too). Oh, and trim any nose hairs that are trying to escape.

15.Always be polite and thank the interviewer afterwards, even if you feel as if you just spent the day being water-boarded at Guantanamo.

16.Ask the interviewer for a business card.


If you really want to get noticed, send a written thank you note as a follow-up to the interview. While it skirts the possibility of making you seem old-fashioned, it's so little done anymore than you may just stand out from the thousands of other candidates. In the thank you note, say that you are "very interested" in the position, and if all goes well, you would like to join the firm. A good salesperson will tell you that half the sale is just asking for it. The same goes for jobs. Very few people come right out and say they want the job.

If you don't get a response within a few days, call and politely say you are following up on the interview and ask if they would like you to answer any further questions. Ask directly if you are still being considered for the job. It shows you're not a namby pamby.



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