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February 4, 2013

Hot Tips for Mature Workers. Looking for a New Job or Career?


Julie Fotos
Julie Fotos is a leading career and leadership coach based in the New York City area. With more than 20 years working in advertising, Julie is an expert in the areas of leadership development, managing transitions, personal branding, performance improvement and team development. For the past few years, she has volunteered with SAGEWorks to help mature LGBT workers 40+ reach their maximum potential and remain productive, vital and contributing members of the nation’s work force.


As a lesbian in her 50s, Julie wanted to support and contribute to her community. After meeting SAGEWorks manager Michele D’Amato through fellow coach and friend, Graham Coppin, she found the perfect fit. In this blog post, Julie describes the biggest issues faced today by mature workers and how anyone looking for a job or career change can succeed in their search.

(Julie will lead a workshop entitled “New Year, New Ways to Present Yourself in Job Interviews,” on February 13 from 6-7:30 pm. Mature LGBT workers 40+ may e-mail Zoraida Ramos or call (212) 741-2247, ext. 224 to sign up or for more information.)

The Biggest Issues Mature Workers Face in the Workforce

Two things come to mind when talking about challenges facing mature workers:

  1. Staying Relevant. In order to be competitive, you need to stay relevant in both your technological skills as well as current events/trends in your area of interest.  When people tell me, “I don’t know excel/power point…” or “I’m not up on how LinkedIn works…”  I say LEARN IT!  You have overcome much bigger obstacles in your lifetime than learning how to make a spreadsheet. Social media is real and it’s powerful, so get curious and explore some new territory. There is an abundance of resources to draw from–especially here at SAGEWorks. Also, learn what professional groups you can join, what conferences/webinars you can attend that will keep you up on current events (as well as networking).  If you can marry your wisdom with relevance, you’ll be much more competitive in your career pursuits.
  2. Being Comfortable “Selling” Yourself.  At SAGEWorks, I hear a lot of folks say, “I am not good at selling myself, I’m not a bragger, it feels disingenuous...” To which I say, this is not about bragging, this is about telling your own story in an authentic way. You are not selling snake oil. You are providing key data so an employer can make an informed decision.  Why should I hire you? What makes you the ideal candidate? People that can answer those questions without hesitation, without shrinking in their chair, are going to come across as a more attractive candidate because they are able to stand in their own power–not surrender it.

3 Hot Tips: Advice for Anyone Looking for a Job or Career Change Later in Life

This question has many legs to it, as much depends on the individual… so I will offer 3 hot tips that I’ve shared with my SAGEWorks clients:

  1. First, get clear on what makes this opportunity/career change meaningful to you. Why is it important to you? How does that make you feel?  Visualize yourself in this new role, write down what that picture looks like, what are you doing, what is the environment, what are some of the things you would be saying, etc. By focusing on the “what” you get in touch with your true self. The “what” gives us our jet fuel to ignite our search. The “how” needs to come after we get clear on the “what.” If we focus only on the “how,” we tend to get stuck in our heads and lose the enthusiasm that is so critical to a job search.
  2. Second, I’d ask what old beliefs or old stories do you have about your job search that may not serve you well today? Make a list of them. Forget about that horrific interview you had 6 years ago or the belief that you shouldn’t have to follow up with someone three times in order to get a reply.  This is an important part of the process because as we age, we let so much of our past inform our future. You need to be willing to let go of the old stories that disempower you (and invite in your inner critic), so you are free to focus on what does empower you.
  3. Third, ask for help. I can’t stress this enough. Start creating your network of resources and tell them you will be asking for their support as you go through your process. It is a myth, to believe “we can go it alone.”  Maybe back in 1800s–but not in 2013. We make up this story that we look weak if we ask for help. And actually it is the opposite–all successful leaders know to ask for help in areas they are less familiar with so they can focus on their strengths. And as human beings, we all feel good when we can help others. It dials up our own self-worth–so let others feel good about themselves as they help you advance your job search.

Biggest Lessons Learned Volunteering with SAGEWorks

  1. There is strength and power in the SAGEWorks community. Prior to joining SAGEWorks, many people felt alone in their struggles, with no resources available to help them in their career efforts. Then they become a part of this community and their perspective shifts entirely–they have now created a connection, no longer insular and more hopeful about their pursuits.
  2. SAGEWorks members are committed and courageous. I have coached some remarkable people at SAGEWorks. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure how committed they would be to their coaching program since it is pro bono. But I was thrilled to see the level of commitment and willingness to get out of their comfort zone to create better results for themselves.  Their courage inspires me.

Don’t Forget. Julie will lead a workshop entitled “New Year, New Ways to Present Yourself in Job Interviews,” on February 13 from 6-7:30 pm. Mature LGBT workers 40+ may e-mail Zoraida Ramos or call (212) 741-2247, ext. 224 to sign up or for more information.

To learn more about Julie Fotos and her career coaching services, please visit http://juliecoaches.com

To learn more about SAGEWorks, click here to see an informative video or visit us online.


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What terrific insight and advice! As a mature worker in my 50's, this is information I can really use.

I agree that it's got to be clear - what personal meaning shines through for the work. This is what triggers all of the passion, which always translates to a supercharged and motivated person who gets it done. Who wouldn't pick up on that? This is something that I work on with my coach, the author here, Julie Fotos, and make sure I continue to find ways to tap into that energy. Every time I can get there, to that passion, things unfold and start to present themselves. And learning how to recognize what gets in the way of that voice is hard, yet rewarding work. A worthwhile workshop, I am sure!

As a lesbian in my 50's who is in the process of making a career transition, I can personally attest to how powerful and true these words of wisdom have been for me. I couldn't agree more that the "how" comes much later in the process (and to a large extent is out of my control, thank God!) but putting my focus on the "what" has made all the difference. And then get ready for the old beliefs/stories to come flooding in because change , and the courage needed to embrace it, is scary stuff. But so very
worth it. With the help of a great guide (Julie Fotos is an awesome coach!), all the great people I've met along the way, and the new skills I've learned (not nearly as scary as I thought, by the way!), I feel so much more clear and confident -- and eager to embrace what's next. Wish I could be at this workshop too!

Honesty, courage and strength are fundamental to any worthwhile endeavour.
Honesty about, and with, yourself.
Courage to put yourself out there, wrinkles and all.
Strength to take on new challenges and learn new skills.
We all know what's required. We all know it should be quite simple. That's what makes it so difficult.
As life and work change, doubt creeps in. That's why it's so important to have a plan, build your foundation one brick at a time, and surround yourself with supportive people.
We all go through it, at one time or another. We are all more than capable of coming the other side, stronger and better.
Thanks, Julie, for a great article.

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