Over 50 + Not Done Yet!

When I turned 50, I didn’t think about “slowing down”. Retirement was some far-flung destination. I didn’t give populist chatter a second thought + chose to make career moves on my terms.

After all, 50 is the new career midpoint.

Unless you have a fabulous inheritance or superannuation fund, the reality is that your working life is likely to exceed that of previous generations. And as government + company policies can’t influence community perceptions + behaviours fast enough, I want women to feel empowered to generate their own career pathways – well into their sixties.

This starts with an understanding of our signature strengths, articulating how we add value in an organisation + knowing why employers love having us around. It involves upbeat attitudes, defying the deluge of negativity, being prepared to make compromises + work differently. And finding ongoing career opportunities also means focusing on the sectors, industries, organisations or individuals that make us welcome + allow us to shine.

As a career consultant, mentor + coach, I’m on a mission to help women galvanise their wealth of experience + expertise, communicate their worth with confidence + continue to make meaningful contributions in a job market in a constant state of flux. This is why I’m creating ‘Careerhearts’, an online program for women 50+ who want to make career moves on their terms, until they decide to glide to retirement.

If you’d like to receive updates on my progress, please subscribe to my list + download my PDF “10 Good Habits for Career Longevity” here.

We may be over 50, but we’re not done yet!

You can read my earlier post Career Savvy After 50 here.

MADE in France | Careerhearts

During the last week of April 2017, I joined a small group of women in Normandy, France to focus on the creation of our online courses.

Mine is called Careerhearts. It’s for women 50+ who want to make career moves on their terms – until they decide they’re ready to glide to retirement.

Subscribe for updates on my progress + when the course becomes available here.

 

10 Things to Consider Before You Take the Leap from Corporate to Solo

These days many professionals yearn for a lifestyle that offers greater flexibility on how they manage their work, energy + time. And as companies restructure, change shape + outsource their functions, a new economy of small business operators has filled the voids.

In their recent report Independent work: Choice, necessity, and the gig economy, McKinsey claimed that up to 162 million people in Europe + the United States – or 20 to 30 percent of the working-age population, engage in some form of independent work.

Solopreneurship is now a word + is only a resignation or redundancy away. Although the idea of more autonomy + freedom is romantic, it’s not for everyone.

So what should you consider before you take that leap from a corporate role into self-employment?

  1. Review your marketable skills.

    You may be a highly valued employee + earn a healthy income, but does this translate into self-employment? Undertake an audit of your skills + expertise. Which of your strengths are readily transferable + in demand elsewhere? What sets your experience apart from others in the field? What industries, organisations or individuals might be a source of ad-hoc, short-term or project work tomorrow?

  2. Seek out relevant training + development now.

    If you’re planning to leave your job, is there any further training + development available within your current organisation that will help with your transition? Accreditation in specialist instruments + methodologies can be expensive when you’re starting out on your own. Take advantage of opportunities that bolster your credentials + expand your offerings to potential clients.

  3. Test the support of those around you.

    While a healthy dose of confidence + self-belief are pre-requisites for going solo, it’s important to get other people on board. How does your partner or family feel about the change? Are there expectations to manage or compromises to be made? Talk to coaches, mentors, sponsors + other networking contacts. What kind of feedback + support do they give you? All of this input will be useful as you consider your options + clarify if you’re cut out for it after all.

  4. Re-position yourself, if needed.

    Changing the perceptions of your reputation + what you offer, can take time. If you’d like to focus on something new + different, you might need a portfolio of case studies to share with your new client base. If you can’t do this after hours, explore the possibility of developing expertise via secondments or projects with your employer. It’s easier to make headway before you leave.

  5. Be prepared to do something you don’t enjoy.

    If you’re used to working for a large organisation, you may find the mundane tasks of self-employment daunting, time-consuming or just not ‘your area of genius’. Of course anything can be outsourced. But if you’re starting up on a tight budget, these costs add up. Research free + affordable user-friendly software + apps that help you to manage the admin + operational sides of the business.

  6.  Create a business plan.

    Solopreneurship is quite different from corporate life. When you work for yourself, you’re no longer protected by a well-established organisation or strong company brand. A business plan is a roadmap + a reality check about the costs of going solo. What services or products will you offer? Have these been market tested? Do you need to create systems + processes? What fees, rates + prices do you expect to charge? Will these cover your overheads + pay you a salary? If you need assistance, look for free or inexpensive small business courses, mentoring programs + grants in your community.

  7. Start a business savings account.

    As there are many incidental costs involved with establishing a business, savvy professionals often set aside six months salary before plunging into self-employment. To make the transition easier, build a financial buffer +/or find casual work to help with the inevitable ebb + flow of  your new income stream.

  8. Identify business partners.

    If you’re starting from scratch, it can take time to identify clients, win work + develop a track record for repeat business + referrals. The reality is that as a solo operator, you may not be considered to have the capacity to deliver the services you currently manage in corporate life. Seek collaborations with like-minded individuals + identify associate relationships with larger service providers + consulting firms. The variety, depth + volume of assignments will develop your reputation + expertise as you build your own client base.

  9. Create your intellectual property.

    Developing your own products +  IP will avoid copyright issues + help to differentiate you in the market. Review the resources you’ve already created which can be re-purposed + branded for a new client base eg models, templates, techniques, presentations, research papers etc.  All of these will become part of your tool-kit + can be incorporated into your marketing and communication activities.

  10. Establish your brand + thought leadership.

    If you’ve already thought about a business name, check to see if it can be registered in your state/country + if the website domain is available. Once you have a business name, you’re ready to share it with the world! It only takes 1-page to kick-start your on-line business presence – the rest of the website can be built later. Start sharing your ideas + professional expertise on a couple of social platforms eg LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

    Now you’re well on the way to taking the leap from corporate to solo!

Redundancy SOS is now LIVE!

Restructuring, down-sizing and redundancy have become business as usual. It can be planned or random, unexplained and brutal. And although it no longer has the stigma it once had, redundancy can trigger a range of emotions, leaving many professionals feeling disheartened, and bewildered about the next steps.

There are organisations which manage redundancies with grace, and ensure all departing employees are equipped to navigate the next chapter of their careers. And despite a range of career transition and outplacement options available to them, many companies still handle redundancies poorly or not at all, which can leave former employees vulnerable in a competitive job market.

And no matter how well prepared you think you are for a redundancy situation, it can overwhelm the best of people.

This is why I developed ‘Redundancy SOS: Kick-start Your Job Search in 5 Days’, which is now LIVE!

You can read more about Redundancy SOS here.

Redundancy SOS is an online course which is designed for professionals whose employers may not have included career assistance in their redundancy package, and want/need to get back into the job market with confidence.

I’ve distilled the best of my insights as a career transition coach into an accessible, mini bootcamp to help professionals (this includes team leaders, managers + executives) prepare for a return to the job market.

Redundancy SOS is hosted on a dedicated membership website, and I’m really pleased with the final result, which you can check out in the video here.

 

But this course isn’t perfect for everybody.

You can read more about Redundancy SOS + purchase the course here or click the button below.

 

 

 

 

What’s does your career look like in 2017?

A new year always fills me with optimism about the boundless possibilities and serendipitous moments ahead. Personally, I can’t wait until the never-ending festive hoopla (which is very protracted, given it’s summer down-under) is over, and everybody gets back to work!

But for others, a new year can fill them with dread.

Just before New Year’s Eve, my friend mentioned that she hates this time of year. Why? She already knew what had happened that year, but didn’t know what lay ahead in 2017. A lack of certainty or fear of the unknown, made her uncomfortable.

While I view a new year as an exciting clearway, the lack of planned pit-stops may stress others.

In a new economy where jobs for life are all but extinct, and redundancies are common, we all live with varying degrees of uncertainty. Some of us deal with it better than others.

My mission is to help professionals make career moves on their terms. And when they hit some unscheduled turbulence, I can point them in the right direction.

If you’d like to give your career a nudge, or know a professional who’s planning a job change, here’s a few ideas to jump-start some proactive career management in 2017.

REDUNDANCY SOS E-COURSE

My new e-course ‘Redundancy SOS: Kick-start Your Job Search in 5 Days’ launches soon. For more information see https://careerstylenotes.com/redundancysos.

30 DAY CAREER STYLE CHALLENGE

If you’re planning to a job change or just want to give your career a little TLC, this challenge will help you get job market ready. For more information see https://careerstylenotes.com/careerstylechallenge.

CAREER STUDIO

To join my closed Facebook group ‘Career Studio’ – where I share posts + articles related to career development + career change, please join my VIP list here .

 

Finding My Tribe

If you’ve read my posts during The Freedom Plan Blog Challenge, you already know that I want to give career transition and change a makeover. I plan to challenge the traditional career management model, and deliver my coaching services online.

My dream clients inhabit organisations. They are HR and people managers who support their employees through career transition and change. They’re also professionals who want to make career moves on their terms.

I’ve sat through endless video tutorials, downloaded a gazillion guides, and spent thousands of dollars on e-courses. While there are plenty of people I’ve learned from, admire and follow, sometimes I feel like a wallflower at a party. I haven’t found my tribe yet.

But there is someone who’s setting a cracking pace, and chalking up impressive achievements in my arena.

Kathy Caprino has blogs on Forbes.com, Huffington Post and LinkedIn. She’s interviewed many business luminaries, written a book , has a podcast, and built a strong online community. Kathy also runs an e-course called the Amazing Career Project.

While I don’t wish to mimic her business model, I think Kathy will get me. She provides a shining light as I pursue my online career coaching practice.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 6 

My Imperfect Day

My day will take on a new meaning and shape soon. The past two years have involved bold decisions and gutsy lifestyle changes. But after the death of my mother and sale of the family home this year, I’m at another crossroad.

I’ve just returned from an indulgent winter escape. I soaked up the heat on my skin, dressed in over-sized pineapple-print shorts and just let the day evolve. I had no real decisions to make – other than a swim in the sea or the pool outside my bedroom window.  While meal-times didn’t bother me, the languid strolls in search of a coffee fix were always an early morning priority.

But I’m home now. There’s a wide open stretch of road ahead of me. The vision board that’s been curated in my head, is coming to life.

Although each day takes on a life of its own, one routine is never compromised. The early morning walk with my spoodle, Chica. And we have options for each season and weather forecast. That walk happens rain, hail or shine. Chica seems to know when it’s time for me to stop and smell the roses, and I’m always left inspired and energised for the day.

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I love breakfast with blueberries and green tea. It’s another non-negotiable. After checking into my online world, I spend the morning planning, creating e-courses and developing my membership site. This is my best thinking time – and when I’m most productive. By noon I’m ready to leave the house and engage with the world, and this is always over coffee and sometimes, after an Xtend Barre class.

Afternoons are spent with private career coaching clients, meeting colleagues or e-course collaborators. There’s always flex built in for the well-timed interruption or something spontaneous! By 5pm I’m ready to wind down and settle into the evening. If it’s a lovely summer’s night, there’ll be another walk with Chica, some quiet reflection and discussion with my partner over dinner, followed by a good dose of British TV.

My day will be imperfect, just the way I like it.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 3

 

Why I’m a Career Coach

Career Management has an image problem. It’s often led by organisations rather than individuals; an after-thought, just-in-time or overlooked altogether.

I’m fired up about challenging the status quo, and want to give style to career transition and change.

My mission is to help professionals make career moves on their terms. It’s easy for savvy professionals to lose touch with the realities of a turbulent marketplace. Consumed with their day job, it becomes a low priority, until circumstances change – sometimes abruptly.

As ‘jobs for life’ are almost extinct and redundancies have become a routine business process, I want professionals to insure their careers so they have the freedom to choose their next career opportunity. Job loss and career transition is far easier to manage when someone is career fit.

There are a couple of other things which inspire me as a career coach:

The new career mid-point

In their recent book The 100 Year Life, Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott discuss how new technologies are enabling us to work and live longer. The traditional view of retirement has changed, the nature of work will continue to evolve, and career navigation will be on a jungle gym – not rungs on a ladder.

Fifty is the new career mid-point. People who invest in their careers will have a competitive advantage. If an individual’s skills and expertise have currency, they are more likely to have ongoing employment, which directly impacts their options and quality of life.

Women + Economic Independence

I’m passionate about women investing in themselves and their careers, irrespective of marital or motherhood status. If a woman has economic independence, she has freedom and choice. When women have sustainable careers – families, organisations and communities thrive.

Everyone deserves career fulfilment. That’s Why I’m a Career Coach.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2

My Own Career Style Challenge

Since breaking up with a conventional job and going solo 11 years ago, I have created a lifestyle which gives me the latitude and wriggle room that I love. It was a bold move, and I’m grateful for all the people who’ve given me the work to fuel my career aspirations, and earn my own living through feast and famine.

I have leveraged and built upon my expertise, and helped thousands of professionals to negotiate the stepping stones of their careers. I launched a website so potential clients could learn about me, how I worked and the services I offered. That website has been tweaked, plucked and re-styled more times than I’ve had soy lattes. About five years ago, I added a blog – which allowed me to capture and share my thoughts, and let readers learn a little more about me and how I work with others.

I tippy-toed my way into the social media jungle, soaked up ideas and was inspired. I almost drowned in the oceans of articles on building an online business. I have headaches from evangelical gurus shouting about the importance of building a tribe. I’ve invested in plenty of e-courses. I’m done with thinking. I need more doing and feedback.

However I know that if I’m going to take my career coaching to a wider audience, I need to crack the code in a way that’s faithful to how I like to work with people, and how I want to engage with them in an online world.

There are still a couple of things that I need to tackle as I build my community of online clients.

Find my inner athlete

Although I don’t have a competitive spirit, I do have an internal picture of where I want to take my business. It’s a kind of ‘big, hairy audacious goal’ –  and a little woolly around the fringes. Ideas and possibilities excite and distract me. I need to take some of my own medicine and create a few loose goals with time-frames, and monitor my progress. But just thinking about the granularity of this process exhausts me. Some bright colours and images might make this discipline a whole lot sweeter!

Connect with a wider audience

Despite having loads of advice, tips, templates and software at my disposal, sometimes I feel like I’m hitting my head against a virtual wall. Although active in the online world, I have limited reach. One of my biggest surprises has been the potency of Facebook groups, which enable members to share and learn in a supportive environment. These groups also provide a testing ground as I develop e-courses that are welcome by the clients I’d like to attract, and help with their careers.

And while my own Career Style Challenge is an ongoing work in progress, I haven’t looked back.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 1

 

Tips to Get Interview-Ready

You’ve got the interview. Now prepare for just about every situation with these interview tips from leading industry experts, on how to prepare for an interview, what to wear to an interview, what to expect during an interview, the most difficult interview questions, the strangest questions you may get asked, questions you should and shouldn’t ask during an interview, how to handle the ‘weakness’ question and what to do after the interview.

How to prepare for an interview

10 quirky tips to beat interview nerves  Robin Kermode

10 ways to calm your interview anxiety  Katharine Brook

How to answer the top interview questions  Undercover Recruiter

How to stand out in your interview Amy Gallo

5 tips to ace your next job interview Samuel Edwards

5 sure-fire ways to lose your interview within the first 30 seconds Karalyn Brown

Stand out in your interview Amy Gallo

How to nail the dreaded phone interview Kate Finley

How to show trustworthiness in a job interview Heidi Grant Halvorsen

10 signs that the interview went well Stephanie Vozza


What to wear to an interview

What to wear to a job interview Liz Ryan

Dress to impress: what to wear to a job interview Chris Smith

How to dress for your job interview  Undercover Recruiter

What to wear for a job interview Jess Keys

I've got the interview, now what do I wear Michelle Lopez

Suiting Up for Success: Job Interview Attire for Women Diane Gottsman

Suiting Up for Success: Job Interview Attire For Men Diane Gottsman

What to wear to a job interview Michelle Lau

The perfect outfit for every type of interview Lauren Le Vine

What to wear at an interview Corinne Mills


What to expect during an interview

8 questions interviewers use to figure out who you are The Muse

How to answer the 31 most common interview questions The Muse

How to answer the 'Tell me about a time when...' interview questions  The Muse

88 great behavioural interview questions to help you prepare for your next interview Karalyn Brown

4 super-common interview question and 4 super-memorable ways to answer them The Muse

13 things not to before & during a job interview Rhett Power

Smarter alternative to the usual stupid interview questions Liz Ryan

4 things you must absolutely convey by the end of an interview The Muse

6 job interview slips ups Undercover Recruiter


The most difficult interview questions

The secret formula to answering 'What's you dream job?' in an interview The Muse

3 Better ways to answer 'Why should we hire you?' The Muse

8 stealth questions that will reveal your true character Zoe Henry

The 20 hardest questions to be asked in an interview Undercover Recruiter

10 toughest interview questions answered Forbes

Google's HR Boss: Focus on these interview questions Jessica Stillman

9 interview questions you should always ask millennials David van Rooy

Former Goldman Sachs employee shares favorite interview question Jacquelyn Smith


The strangest questions you might get asked

How to answer the weird interview questions Undercover Recruiter

10 weird interview questions that you need to be prepared for April Fong

13 weird job interview questions the best companies in America are asking Rachel Gillett

The worst 25 crazy interview questions (and why they're a waste of time) Adam Vaccaro


How to handle the weakness question

How to handle the dreaded "What is your weakness" question Caroline Ceniza-Levine

4 new ways to answer the weakness question Melissa Ilarena

The worst interview question (and how to answer it) Priscilla Claman

How to answer the weakness question Undercover Recruiter

How to answer the dreaded "What's your biggest weakness" question in a job interview Jacquelyn Smith

Stop answering "What's your greatest weakness" with badly-spun positives Alan Henry


Questions to never ask during the interview

10 questions you should never ask in a job interview Forbes

16 questions you should never ask at the end of a job interview Jacquelyn Smith

10 interview questions you should never ask (and 5 you always should) The Muse

4 questions that will cost you the interview (and what to ask instead) The Muse

6 things that successful applicants avoid saying during job interviews Alex Malley


Questions you should ask during the interview

10 job interview questions you should ask Joe Konop

52 interview questions you should be asking The Muse

10 questions to ask in job interviews Guardian Careers

8 questions every candidate should be asking during job interviews Jerome Ternynck

15 smart questions to ask at the end of every job interview Jacquelyn Smith

9 killer questions candidates ought to ask the interviewer Undercover Recruiter

The 8 most impressive questions you can ask in a job interview Jacquelyn Smith

The top questions to ask in an interview Undercover Recruiter

The top 10 questions to ask in job interviews Guardian Careers


What to do after the interview

5 things you should do instead of over-analyzing your interview and driving yourself crazy The Muse

5 horrible interview moments you need to stop over-analyzing The Muse

Following up after the interview Undercover Recruiter

10 things to do after the job interview Nancy Collamer

5 things you must do after an interview Sarah K White

The right way to say thanks after an interview Lydia Dishman

The interview thank you email vs letter vs note Donna Svei


How to handle panel interviews

The firing squad - how to survive a panel interview The Muse

7 tips for a successful panel interview Lisa Quast

Master the panel interview John O’Connor

How to prepare for a panel interview Undercover Recruiter

How to conduct panel interview and why're they're better than 1 on 1 Lou Adler


Extra tips for executives

How to ace an executive level job interview Kevin Daley & Dale Klamforth

10 job interview tips from a CEO headhunter Russell S Reynolds Jr & Carole E Curtis

Prepare to ace and brand your c-level executive job interview Meg Guiseppi

Top executive recruiters agree there are only three true job interview questions George Bradt