Ask The Experts | Accelerate Your Career Transition
By Lawrence M. Light, Author and Coach @eJobCoach.com
Second in a series .( Read Series 1 here.)
Lawrence M. Light, a job coach with over fifteen year’s experience who has helped many different types of individuals through their career transitions, answers your questions. Some questions were submitted during the recent Webinar conducted by InternsOverForty; others are common questions that job seekers ask regularly. We welcome your questions and will try to answer in our characteristic frank, blunt style. The hope is that these responses will help you find a new job quickly.
I am 60, with about 20 years of very solid experience and increasing responsibility. Can I just forget about finding a job due to age? How to convince prospective employers that I still have plenty of gas in the tank besides a lot to offer an organization?
— Jan M.
If you let fear and despair take over, yes, you can forget about finding a job at your age. Your car has broken down and needs to be fixed. If, on the other hand, you learn how to be upbeat, and present yourself as the experienced person who can solve the problem behind any company’s job posting, and you appear energetic and a good fit with the others working in that company, and your salary is in line with what they want to pay, you will have enough gas in your tank to go for a decent ride. Attitude and lack of defensiveness is one trait that can help here. Learning new technologies also helps. Presentation here as a problem solver, because of that immense experience, as well as somebody who doesn’t need a lot of re-training, makes it even better.
Need help with structuring my day when you’re not only dealing with career transition, but taking care of an elderly mom and teenage son. I can’t possibly be alone with these challenges
— Eva S.
Of course you can’t be alone. Building a support structure around you is critical. Get a buddy, or a coach, or some social group that offers assistance like a church or synagogue, and work out a schedule that gives appropriate times for job hunting / mother / son. Have regular sessions with your buddy or coach, to stay on track, to keep to schedule, to rant from time to time, and, in-between (yeah, I know it’s a lot), you need regular exercise to keep up the body and the spirit. Just remember, before you throw in the towel, your first responsibility is to yourself — if you get sick, or falter, you can’t be a mother to your son or do your mother justice. A big job, yes, but I’ll bet in the long run, once you develop those intellectual and spiritual, as well as physical, muscles, you’ll be up to it.
How can I improve my chances to get selected for an interview?
— Janice L.
First, and foremost, have a “killer” Resume. Without that, the whole foundation of your job search is severely weakened. Write strong, personalized Cover Letters that show how you fit their job requirements. Learn how to, and rehearse, participating in the
different types of interviews (e.g., one-on-one vs. gang-up-on-the- interviewee interviews). Show how you’re better than the other applicants, not as good as them. Do those things and you’ll immeasurably improve your chances to get selected. (If you haven’t done so already, read my article about “What’s Wrong With Your Resume” on this site.)
“Recruitment is temporarily on hold, we will be sure to consider your application once we move forward with interviewing.” I received this response for a position I applied to, what would be my next step?”
— Linda S.
Write them a cordial e-mail (or letter) and thank them for the chance to apply. Stress that you’re very interested in the position and want to
stay in touch so that, when it re-opens, you can be reconsidered. Call to follow up on this communication and ask when they expect it may open up again, and also ask if you need to re-apply or if you were one of the chosen candidates? Call back regularly and follow up closely if you liked the job. If you liked the company and the industry, network to someone inside and find out more about them and what may have happened and if it will open again or under a whole different job title (if they’re reorganizing or lost funding, it could be called something else). Above all, don’t get hung up on that one job. Keep looking and remember your next job is just around the corner.
I am interested in applying for overseas jobs. What would be the best approach to applying for these jobs?
— Ramon R.
This is the direct opposite of the question answered below. Pick out the (a) country or countries that you want to work in, (b) the type of field you want to get into, and (c) then the type of companies in that field. Then (d) find out what work permits are required so you can go after them, either by the company’s sponsorship or by your efforts. With that set, build a standard Broadcast Letter for those companies. It’s important to have your ducks lined up beforehand, so everything goes smoothly if they’re interested in what you have to offer. Long distance job campaigns, like long distance relationships, require special attention. By now, I presume you’ve whipped your resume into shape and understand what needs to go into a cover letter if a job is posted and your interviewing skills have been carefully honed.
I want to work in the U.S. How can you help me?
— Many people have sent in requests asking about this
I’m no expert about this subject, but for all of the people who have asked, if you haven’t seen it, I’m going to quote directly from the U.S. Immigration and Citizen Services website.
Many people get Green Cards (become permanent residents) through family members. You may be eligible to get a Green Card as:
- an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, this includes spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older
- a family member of a U.S. citizen fitting into a preference category, this includes unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21, married children of any age, and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older
- a family member of a green card holder, this includes spouses and unmarried children of the sponsoring green card holder
- a member of a special category, this can include battered spouse or child (VAWA), a K nonimmigrant, a person born to a foreign diplomat in the United States, a V nonimmigrant or a widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen
The main ways to immigrate based on a job offer or employment are listed below.
Green Card Through a Job Offer
You may be eligible to become a permanent resident based on an offer of permanent employment in the United States. Most categories require an employer to get a labor certification and then file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, for you.
Green Card Through Investment
Green cards may be available to investors/entrepreneurs who are making an investment in an enterprise that creates new U.S. jobs.
Green Card Through Self Petition
Some immigrant categories allow you to file for yourself (“self-petition”). This option is available for either “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” or certain individuals granted a National Interest Waiver.
Green Card Through Special Categories of Jobs
There are a number of specialized jobs that may allow you to get a green card based on a past or current job. All of these require a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, and are described in Section 101(a)(27) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (see the “INA” link to the right)
These are the official statements of the The U.S. Immigration and Citizen Services.
See the previous answer, right above this one, for the practical side of obtaining such employment.
Getting temp positions for grunt work, how to put lipstick on these pig ear assignments?
— Charles S.
I know it’s frustrating but don’t, please, let this agricultural attitude shine through in any contact you have with a possible employer. On your resume, you might have a special section titled “Temporary Jobs Held While Pursuing Future Permanent Employment”, or words to that effect. Build each one of these “grunt work” temp positions into a unique achievement. Show how you really helped them even though it wasn’t permanent. Everyone out there, employer and employee, knows it can take time to find, and get, a new job in this economy, so there’s no stigma there. And, remember, even though it may be grunt work and smell like manure, your job is to present it as something you did that made it smell quite a bit nicer.
How do you get a job when you have schooling but no actual experience on the job?
— Gail T.
One way that smart students do this is to find an internship, low-paying though it may be, to get an inside look at a given company and pile up some intense work experience. You can also seek out “starter” jobs, again low pay, depending on the field, and do the type of grunt work called out by the gentleman above to gain a foothold. Discover what it is that makes you special as an employee, and what it is you can offer that companies will want, and emphasize it all the while you’re looking for that step up to the real jobs that you aspire to. Look closely at what you’ve already done in part time jobs, in school, in life, and network to see where it fits.