Unemployed and over 50? Here are 3 things to do to get a job

Job hunting for the over 50 jobseeker

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let’s not mince words. It’s a tough job market, and more so for the over 50 jobseeker. No less than a recent survey conducted by the Associated Press—NORC Center for Public Affairs Research affirms this fact. The study revealed that close to a fourth of 50 and over are actively seeking jobs. And of these adults, more than half found the job difficult.

There’s an age bias. Many employers are skeptical about the ability of older workers to adapt to technology and new working environments. It doesn’t help that many older jobseekers were previously employed in the same department and/or in the same company for years, even decades, before they were let go. In the age of startups and technology disruptors, workplace loyalty is seen as a handicap rather than an admirable trait.

Nevertheless, there is hope for the over 50 jobseeker. The Associated Press-NORC study also revealed that many employers seek the skills and experience possessed by older jobseekers. In fact, “forty-three percent of adults age 50 years and older who have searched for a job in the last five years say they have experienced a high demand for their skills, and 31 percent have encountered a high demand for their experience.

But the question remains: How can an over 50 jobseeker accentuate the skills and experience earned over the years on the job and st.ill work around the age bias? Here are 3 things you should be doing to get you a job:

1.     Take stock

What are you good at?

Take a hard look at your current resume, look back at the jobs you’ve held over the years and carefully assess the skills you’ve picked up along the way. Also take stock of the achievements you’re proud of.

When you’re feeling “out of the loop,” this exercise not only builds your confidence but also provides a better perspective on what your skills and values are. The latter is extremely important when determining your job options. It may even widen your job options by encouraging you to consider some roles that match your skill set but you would have otherwise overlooked because its in a different role or industry altogether.

2.     Stay connected

Do you have an online profile?

Employers aren’t convinced that older workers are able to adapt to the changing work environment. If you don’t have an online presence, such as a LinkedIn profile or even Twitter, you may be giving the impression that you aren’t able to or even willing to adapt to changes.

Beyond that, social media may be just what you need to get people to notice you. Re-connect with old networks, discover new ones, and share your thoughts, ideas and experiences.

3.     Upgrade

What are you willing to learn to get a job?

Sometimes, it’s not enough to know what you are good at. Asking yourself what you’re willing to learn may be what you need to get that job.

Take an online course! Some classes are free and some are surprisingly affordable to take. Even top universities and business schools, such as Wharton, MIT and Stanford, have entered the fray and have launched online courses. Take the time to learn a new skill or two, let potential employers know that you still have what it takes to roll with the times.

 

Don’t let the age bias get in the way of your career. As somebody who has seen and been through it all, you’ve got a lot to offer. You just need to find the right organization that will value your skills and values—and, more importantly, be very compelling when convincing them that you are exactly what they need.

A Passion for Fashion

The 27th Street Campus of the Fashion Institut...

The 27th Street Campus of the Fashion Institute of Technology between Seventh and Eighth Avenues in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, seen from about 3/4s of the way towards Eighth. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry—it is a glamorous business and a serious moneymaker. Nobody will argue about the excitement that a career in fashion brings—fueled only by famous TV shows such as Project Runway and, quite ironically, movies like The Devil Wears Prada.

It takes a tremendous amount of talent and panache to get this industry going. The aforementioned pop culture references provide a good insight on the different fashion career niches. There’s design, product management, merchandising, retail, photography, visual presentation and styling, marketing and PR, and journalism.

And where else can the industry thrive better than in New York City, the center of the fashion universe? The city that never sleeps has every opportunity to offer to anyone aspiring for a career in fashion—it has the best schools, the best internships and the best jobs.

Learning the craft: going to school

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me 6 hours to chop a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Anyone who wants to bust out of the industry needs to build a good foundation: get a good education.

New York has some of the best fashion schools. Fashionista.com, in fact, lists 4 New York fashion schools as among the top 20 in the entire country:

#1 Parsons The New School for Design

This school boasts of fashion design, fashion studies and fashion marketing programs. Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Narciso Rodriguez, Alexander Wang and Anna Sui are just some of its famous alumni, many of whom, like Karan, are now members of the faculty. Other alumni have joined Vogue, Elle, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys. The school offers one-on-one career advising, and even runs a career services blog.

#2 Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

Part of the SUNY network, it has one of the most inexpensive tuition fees around and offers programs in design, business, marketing, textiles, visual arts, styling and countless other fashion-related degrees. Reema Acra, Nina Garcia, Carolina Herrera, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors are among its famous students and grads. Other grads have joined Conde Nast, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Vogue. Alumni are mighty proud of the lecture series and the Museum of FIT run by director and chief curator Valerie Steele. Another big plus? FIT offers lifetime job search assistance.

#3 Pratt

The Art & Design School of Pratt offers an undergraduate fashion degree that offers electives in fashion editorial/magazine. Famous students include Jeremy Scott, Betsey Johnson (didn’t graduate from Pratt), and Andy and Debb.

#20 LIM College

While LIM does not offer a fashion design degree, it does have fashion merchandising, marketing, management and visual merchandising programs.

You don’t need to go to a fashion-centric school, though, to get into the industry. Many colleges and universities offer degrees that also provide great educational foundations for a career in fashion, such as in journalism, PR and marketing.

New York University (NYU)

NYU’s The Gallatin School of Individualized Study has a visiting professorship in fashion and fashion business through a $2.5 million grant from the Guess Foundation. Their career services are very personalized, offering one-on-one advising.

Fordham University

Fordham has communication and media studies degrees, including a journalism program. The Gabelli School of Business offers programs in marketing and business, and runs its own career center that provides field-specific advising. Alumni have joined Elle, Kenneth Cole and Anny Taylor—one notable alumni was even a former Burberry CEO.

Honing your skills: internships

Breaking into the fashion industry requires more than getting an education. Every fashion career professional knows the importance of getting an internship first before landing a job in the industry. Internships are meant to provide relevant experience to those who want to join the field. It’s an all-important right of passage—nobody gets in without being an intern first.

Nina Garcia, Fashion Director at Elle and Marie Claire magazines, revealed that she began her career interning at Perry Ellis and Marc Jacobs. Her internships during her stay at FIT are what allowed her to narrow down her field of interest. Internships are opportunities to find out how areas in the industry work and which area you’ll fit in the most.

Interning for top fashion magazines, PR firms and design houses provides a lot of perks—it allows you to work side by side with the best, the brightest, the most creative and the most sought after in the industry. In the business where who you know determine how successful you can become, this perk means everything. This is why the most coveted internships are those that place you in the middle of the action, during Fashion Week, when everybody who is anybody in fashion converges in New York City.

Unfortunately, internships are far from being glamorous. Most internships are unpaid. Interns are also known to keep long hours and perform tasks that are routine and menial—at times, even belittling to the point that it feels more like a sorority hazing than an apprenticeship. The sad reality is that many who want to join the industry need to take on several internships before they even get a paying gig. This has been the status quo for years, but only recently has unpaid fashion internships received a lot of attention and criticism for such practices when a former Harper’s Bazaar intern sued the magazine’s parent company, the Hearst Corporation, for violating labor laws.

Despite the negative press, internships remain a pivotal step towards a career in fashion, the allegorical foot at the door. Many interns willingly suffer long hours of mind-numbing work just to get a taste of the action and to receive a recommendation letter from their supervisor, the key to getting a paying job in the industry, at the end of the internship. The fact is, in spite of its pitfalls, internships can open a lot of doors, introduce a fashion rookie to the right mentors, and provide invaluable experience that nobody can teach in school. In fashion, you learn through experience.

Carving out a niche: turning an internship into a job

Turning your current internship into a job that pays is not unheard of—some interns do get hired by the companies they interned in. However, these positions come few and far in between and many vie for these limited positions. So make every hour you spend as an intern count. Find a mentor, somebody who can show you the ropes and share with you his or her experience. Be a willing hand and offer help whenever you can—this is how you learn and get the experience.

If your internship does end and you don’t get a job offer, don’t lose hope. Keep in touch with everyone you’ve worked with. Networking is key. After all, that’s how the people in the business get ahead with their career.

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From the Ivy League to Wall Street: Where Top College Grads Are Going

English: Wall Street sign on Wall Street

Once again, as in so many years past, this spring will usher in the time for that age-old college tradition: the on-campus job fair. For the soon to be college graduate, job fairs are an opportunity to meet recruiters from corporations of nearly every type and potentially secure that coveted job prior to graduation. Although doing so has become increasingly less likely  ever since the country’s plunge into an economic crisis rivaled only by the Great Depression, good news may be on the horizon. Economists are starting to show signs of being optimistic about the post-recession job market, a fact welcomed by members of the Class of 2013. Today, companies that have survived the recession are revisiting this recruitment strategy and poising themselves to interview and hire the best and brightest straight out of America’s top talent pools—the country’s foremost universities and colleges. According to Forbes’ latest list of America’s top colleges, that group is led by Princeton followed by three other Ivy League schools—Yale (#5), Harvard (#6) and Columbia (#8). With the exception of Cornell (#51), all seven of the eight Ivy League schools were in the top 50 universities in the country.

Where will the graduates of these colleges go?

If history is any indication, many Ivy League grads will head to New York and take jobs on Wall Street. Many will march straight into Wall Street’s investment banks and financial institutions or even their close cousins, business consulting firms. Last year, the New York Times reported the results of a 2010 survey indicating that a significant percentage of graduates from Princeton, Yale, and Harvard opted for careers in finance (35.9%, 14% and 17%, respectively). Other top career choices included management, consulting, and education. The rest chose to pursue law degrees or join industry sectors (manufacturing, real estate, services, etc.) to take on sales and marketing, engineering, or IT-related jobs. Some also established startup companies.

Although Wall Street may have lost some of its allure in recent years, many still believe that finance and business consulting can provide lucrative careers for many of America’s finest and sharpest young minds. In fact, all four of Dartmouth’s 2012 valedictorians chose to begin their careers on Wall Street—three with investment banks and one with a large business consulting firm. The reasons underlying the persistence of Wall Street’s post-grad appeal are not completely clear. A controversial article published in the Washington Post brazenly suggested that the failure of the liberal arts education to provide students with any real marketable skills is largely to blame. In spite of countless hours spent in the pursuit of knowledge, students often find themselves at the end of their college careers confused as to what exactly they are qualified to do. Given that so many of Wall Street’s institutions promise to provide new hires with training and experience, it is not difficult to understand why such an offer would be compelling.

The article also raised other more obvious reasons why Wall Street remains such a big draw for Ivy Leaguers (a few of which are open for a debate and a subject of another article). For one thing, Wall Street boasts a substantial number of Ivy League alumni who aggressively recruit from their alma mater, perhaps because they feel they know what they can expect of these grads. They are smart, hardworking, and ambitious— traits that any institution would value. Conversely, new grads are always looking for mentors to help them get on the right career track—and who better to help them out than their fellow alumni?

An additional draw for these grads may simply be the lure of New York—if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. It’s the city where everything happens, and where some of the world’s most important—business tycoons, real estate moguls and media magnates—work and live. It’s ambitious, exciting, competitive, and challenging—perhaps not all too different than the environment from which many recent graduates are coming.

What does this mean for the members of the graduating Class of 2013?

The ongoing migration from the Ivy League to Wall Street confirms that college grads are already well aware of the factors that are crucial to career success. Their gravitation to institutions promising on the job training and practical experience indicates they know a good education may give you a leg up on the competition, but skills and experience are ultimately what matter most. Moreover, they recognize that often it’s not what you know, but who you know. If you are going to make it in this world, it’s not a bad idea to situate yourself where the action is and associate yourself with the right people. All things considered, for the graduating class of 2013, Wall Street will probably continue to be a pretty good bet.

Company Spotlight: Lot 18

Wine male

In October of 2010, the New York based wine distributor Lot 18 embarked upon a noble mission of providing consumers with greater access to high-quality, hard-to-find wines at reduced prices. The startup, founded by Philip James, began selling wine at a discount to a free membership base primarily through flash sales. Each product was offered for a specified limited amount of time or until all of the available bottles had been purchased, with several new products being offered each day.

Just a few months following its launch, Lot 18 had succeeded in securing 500,000 users. By late 2011, it had sold 500,000 bottles of wine and attracted $30 million from investors such as Accel Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and FirstMark Capital; the company was on track to generate multi-millions in its first year.

In spite of the startup fairy tale beginning, Lot 18 soon found itself embroiled in the difficult struggle to become profitable. By the beginning of 2013, the company had announced two rounds of layoffs within a twelve month period. The first round, announced in January 2012, was directly linked to the decision to discontinue its foray into the travel and food businesses, which had begun shortly before the company had raised the $30 million in venture capital. Then, in January of this year, the company laid off 25 more employees, bringing its headcount to nearly half of what it had been the previous year. This second round of layoffs was also accompanied by the announcement that the company would undergo significant restructuring of its business model. Whereas the site’s original focus was on the promotion of flash sales, it was now looking to reposition itself as a subscription company. Founder James was to take the lead in the subscription aspect of the business, and former CMO Jay Sung was named as the company’s new CEO.

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Company Spotlight: Amazon

English: Amazon warehouse in Glenrothes, Fife;...

With its undeniable popularity, there’s a strong chance that you’ve heard of little company called  Amazon.com (unless you live under a rock & this rock has no internet connectivity for some reason). In fact, it would be no exaggeration to say that Amazon  has become a household name synonymous with online shopping. Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994, with initial start-up capital coming from his parents, Amazon originally  started out as an online bookstore. Modest ambition? Hardly. Bezos envisioned a diverse world of e-commerce the likes of which no one had seen; 19 years later his dream has come to fruition as Amazon.com has grown  drastically in both size & breadth. In fact, it has grown so much that it has become the world’s  largest online retailer. While they still sell books, Amazon now sells a huge  variety of products — games, electronics, clothing, music,  toys, groceries, and just about everything in-between.

Physical goods are not the end of it, however — Amazon boasts a significant presence in digital goods & next-ggn cloud services: its own online music & app store,  video streaming, S3 online storage, EC2 cloud computing & much more. Amazon also offers a huge selection of ebooks for quick & easy  downloading. It even produces its own consumer electronics, including the  increasingly popular Kindle Fire.

Not a buyer? If you’re more interested in selling products, Amazon will let you set up your own storefront at minimal cost. If you’re not a professional seller  (for example, if you sell only 40 items per month or less), Amazon takes a very reasonable $0.99 per sale. Professional sellers, on the other hand, can expect a hefty $39.99 per month fee. Amazon even has content creation covered, allowing people a platform to distribute their own publishing material. If you’re an aspiring author and can’t afford to produce  your own books, Amazon could provide you with a great avenue to start  making money by selling your material in e-book format.

Amazon’s versatility in product & distribution means that they hire only the best & brightest talent, in a variety of different job  positions. With its ever-growing popularity and large  range of services, it’s safe to say that Amazon will remain a household name & powerhouse employer for the foreseeable future.

Hottest Companies in NYC for Creative Women

Fashion by Rachel Ariel Photography

With Fashion Week kicking-off this week, all eyes are on NYC. For creative women looking for exciting careers that showcase their flair & style, the city that never sleeps unquestionably has a lot to offer.

If you’re a woman living in (or thinking of moving to!) New York, here are 4 of the hottest companies to work for today.

Gilt Group

Often referred to as the “Amazon of Luxury”, this NYC online fashion and lifestyle retailer has changed the way that people shop. Relying on a membership-only flash sale business model, its massive userbase make a mad dash to their computers everyday at noon to browse time-sensitive deals on stylish luxury products, which include popular fashion brands as Prada, Botkier and Derek Lam. Their mission statement is clear:

“Create the most exciting, curated shopping experience that helps our members express their style in life.”

Gilt Group has some uniquely named roles (buyers are called “curators”), whose qualifications include “a passion for fine food, wines, arts, culture and city life.” This unique fashion retailer creates an exceptionally inspiring working environment for the right candidate. (http://www.gilt.com/company/careers/jobs)

Moda Operandi

Moda Operandi brings the once-exclusive couture trunkshow to the masses. This premier fashion website redefines shopping in style, offering clients “looks straight from the unedited runway collections of the world’s top designers–months before they are available anywhere else.”

Founded by exceptionally talented & accomplished Áslaug Magnúsdóttir  (Icelandic superstar whos pedigree includes HBS, McKinsey, and a law degree). The company’s organization chart reads like a fashion magazine: where will you fit in? Roles include Trunk Show Producer, Editorial Assistant and Photographer, among others.  (http://modaoperandi.com/careers)

AHAlife

AHAlife describes itself as the discovery shopping destination for curated lifestyle products that span design, technology, fashion, media, food, beauty and travel. Each product is carefully selected by company curators, established names and experts in each of its selling categories. Its website features a carefully editorialized “stories” page, which sets it apart from your usual, run-of-the-mill e-commerce site.

Innovative, fashion forward and full of style, AHAlife currently has open positions in engineering, design and buying. (http://www.ahalife.com/jobs/)

Conde Nast

Conde Nast is a world-renowned publisher with magazines that span a wide scope of topics—including food, travel, fashion and style—and a wide range of brands—including GQ, Vogue, Conde Nast Traveller, Style.com and Vanity Fair.

It’s one of the oldest, too. But if you think that its traditional or boring, think again. People who work for Conde will tell you that its work environment is dynamic, inspiring and fast-paced; all made possible by the tremendous level of talent. And did we mention that about one-third of its employees are women?

Conde Nast is currently looking to fill positions in advertising, editorial and corporate. (http://www.condenast.com/careers/career-opportunities)

New look at Reverse Mentoring

Time to re-think the unilateral view of mentorship? Your direct reports are often more proficent than you are (in certain areas); leaders take note!

Reverse mentoring is just a fancy name for a relationship where a seasoned employee learns from a younger employee. You may already be doing it today.

Source: ROI of Reverse Mentoring

 

Google Interview Questions

Google Refrigerator

How many cows are there in Canada? How many tears are shed between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the southwestern United States? If you think these are just any old brain teasers, guess again. These are actual questions asked of Google applicants in the early stages of interviewing. They are likely on the “ban” list, but you’ll be sure to find equally diabolical ones during your interview.

Insanely difficult? Probably, but the best approach is to remember that they’re only partially judging you on your answer; how you answer these questions & your thought process behind it is infinitely more important.

If the probability of observing a car in 30 minutes on a highway is 0.95, what is the probability of observing a car in 10 minutes (assuming constant default probability)?

Source: Answers To 15 MORE Google Interview Questions That Made Geniuses Feel Dumb

Company Spotlight: Etsy

Image representing Robert Kalin as depicted in...

People have compared DIY haven Etsy to everything from “a crafty cross between Amazon and eBay”
to, more humorously, “your grandma’s basement.” Either way, the website strives to put the “personal”
back into e-commerce and effectively close the gap between producer and consumer — making it
possible for struggling students and stay-at-home moms alike to run successful online storefronts from
the comfort of, well, anywhere.

Wares include everything from handmade and vintage clothing to jewelry, artwork, and bath and
beauty products. There’s often special emphasis on environmentally-friendly creations that use recycled
materials, and quirky, one-of-a-kind items that offer distinct counterpoint to predictable, mass-
produced commercial goods. It costs less than a quarter ($0.20) to list an item, and Etsy takes 3.5% of
your final sale.

Ex-CEO Robert Kalin named the site Etsy because he “wanted a nonsense word [to] build the brand
from scratch. I was watching Fellini’s 8 ½ and writing down what I was hearing. In Italian, you
say ‘etsi’ a lot. It means ‘oh, yes.’ And in Latin, it means ‘and if.’” First launched in 2005 and primarily
promoted via word-of-mouth, Etsy has since become home to over 875,000 sellers who have brought in
over $525 million in sales.

Kalin saw Etsy “as a cultural movement that could revive the power and voice of the individual
against the depersonalized landscape of big-box retail” (Wired). In other words, there’s a very strong
emphasis on community and helping one another, sort of like a giant, friendly online craft fair. Or
as it’s explained on their official blog, “when you buy a gift from a seller on Etsy, you’re directly
supporting people in local communities all over the world while giving something uniquely special and
meaningful to someone you care about.”

Currently positions are open in communications, operations, and software engineering… and if you’re
still not convinced that this is the place for you, better check out the cozy corporate offices in Brooklyn.

Facebook + Hiring

Facebook isn’t just about sharing pictures and statuses with friends anymore… it’s becoming an integral part of the hiring process. Strong social connections are still the very best way to land your dream job. Facebook’s new Jobs app just launched with 1.7 million listings that can be sorted based on industry, location, and skills.

…this could represent “a tipping point” for the social recruiting industry, because it helps people “realize that Facebook isn’t just about pictures and friends, it’s about social connections you can use to find your next job or hire someone.”

Source: Facebook And Partners Launch Social Jobs App With 1.7M Listings

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