Archive for December, 2012

One last thing before the new year..

December 26, 2012

I’m suggesting to many of my clients that they send a letter – NOW – to their member of Congress.  This fiscal cliff threat is so scary, and voicing an opinion is something we can all do.  Here’s my draft, which you are free to borrow:

To:  Rep. Steny Hoyer

1705 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Hoyer,

I am writing to voice my concern about the fiscal cliff legislation that seems to be going nowhere right now.

As a career counselor and a blogger, I am in contact with many unemployed people, people who are diligently looking for work right now.

The fact that they may lose their unemployment benefits as of next week is frightening to all of us.  Think of it:  the car payment, the utility bills, the rent or mortgage, and any other financial obligations accrued by even frugal people will be at risk.

Does this make sense?  No, it does not.  Please use whatever influence you have to lift your voice in protest of this irresponsible action.

You can contribute to a happy new year or a disaster.  Please do the right thing.


Anne Headley

5th congressional district, Maryland

Acknowledging Type

December 17, 2012

We interrupt this series on gift-giving to mention a recent article in the Washington Post called Does it pay to know your type?  Those of us who happen to think that – yes – it does pay to know your type were delighted to read that the MBTI is now 50 years old and still being used.

I loved reading and being reminded of the history of the MBTI, its vast success in the business world, and the ongoing criticism that it has really not been rigorously tested in the same ways other psychometric instruments have been.  Do check out the link if only to see what personality types are connected to which celebrity.

Who knew that I’m a Ben Franklin married to Mother Theresa?  And a mother of Andrew Carnegie and Oscar Wilde?

Check it out.  You’ll be glad you did.

Best gifts for the over-50 jobhunter

December 11, 2012

Unlike their younger colleagues in Job Search Land, the over-50s probably have that classic look down pat.  Watches, pens, blazers, tasteful earrings… check

This is the age group which can benefit from an electronic gift.  What can you do to help your unemployed older friend be a viable candidate?  A few thoughts….

  • a gps for the car.  For the directionally challenged, there’s no more excuse.  You’ll stand a better chance of being  on time for your interview,
  • an e-reader and a companion gift card.  As prices come down, e-readers become more accessible.  And even a modest gift card can get one started.  A trade journal, a tech or finance magazine subscription, or a noted newspaper would be great to have at hand.  It’s a way to kill time in the waiting room before the interview (and impress the receptionist). Oh yes, if the question comes up about what you are currently reading, you’ll smile and have it at hand as you answer.
  • a tablet.  Pricier than the e-reader, it has all the above attributes and so much more.  I’ve discovered that people want to talk about various models, so if you are carrying one with you on an interview, be prepared to discuss it!
  • a smartphone.  This one is tricky unless it is for a family member, because of course there are implications for service contracts. You’ll need to do some detective work here.
  • coaching! Find someone willing to put in an hour or more bringing our jobhunter up to speed on these new toys.  It’s doing no favors to give such a gift and expect the meager manual to cover the basis.

Notice a theme here?  Remember, employers have said in surveys that they hesitate to hire seniors because they may not be tech-savvie.  Any of the above-mentioned gifts can go a long way in overcoming that bias.

People over 50 really need to present themselves as open to new ways of doing things, including communicating.  Think about it.

Best gifts for job hunters in 2012

December 3, 2012

You can find many Top Ten lists – just do a search on best gifts, and there they are.  Remarkably similar in content, too.

I’m going to break with my own tradition and not be ruled by the list of 10.

This year, it seems more important to recognize that those looking for work have needs that seem to cluster according to age.

Today, I’m addressing the needs of the twenty-somethings.  What would be a great gift?

Don’t bother with technology.  They have it.  Or they know what they want more than the rest of us would ever know.

What I think they need is the classic stuff.  Here’s my attempt, based on observations of clients in their 20s:

  • a watch that doesn’t have a cartoon character.  I think something plain would be surprisingly impressive.
  • a hair appointment at a more upscale place than usual.  A place that knows how to sell conventional without calling it that.
  • a briefcase.  Be sensitive to the recipient’s taste in fabrics.  (If the person is a vegan, skip leather and go for burlap.)
  • lunch in a quiet setting.  Think club, tea room, or hotel dining room.   Consider having a friend in the young person’s career field join you. This could be memorable! And remember to model a networking conversation.

I recognize that most things on this list cost a bit.  A lower-cost version would be a lunch at home or a family heirloom watch.

Any young people reading this – feel free to add to the list.

Next:  Gifts for the over-50s.