Careers, Your BRAND and The Ten Keys for Every Baby Boomer

It’s 2011, and the old rules suddenly no longer apply. Baby boomers have always lived the philosophy that hard work and perseverance will get them ahead. It’s a tenet that’s almost genetically coded in the generation. Now, however, that hard wiring needs to be reprogrammed. It’s not an easy switch, but it’s a critical one.

It’s hard to ignore the necessity of reinventing your money-making strategy when entire industrial centers are struggling to reframe their identities. In Michigan, for instance, that one-time cradle of manufacturing, healthcare now employs more people than manufacturing. That new focus is tenuous at best, though. Even some nurses are being laid off, in part because people are being more selective about having elective surgeries.

While the unemployment rate hovers precipitously above 10 percent and millions of people are upside down on the home mortgages, all is not lost. With some flexibility of thinking, a commitment to deal with the new realities, and more than a few deep breaths, your career and retirement are still within reach. Here are ten keys every Baby Boomer should read, revisit and use every day to help stay employed and begin again to participate fully in your future.

  1. Your resume –  If your resume were posted on tonight’s 6 pm news, would you be proud? How do people talk about you as a team member or as an employee, especially when you’re not around? These questions are relevant for anyone at any level.
  2. Volunteer work –  There is a saturation of qualified candidates in the market today, many of whom probably have a similar work history. All things being equal, your resume stands a better chance of making the short list is you are able to position yourself as someone who goes above and beyond.  Employees at every level who love to help others will consistently be better at teamwork and collaboration, which are critical to top-performing organizations.
  3. Results – Document the results you and or your team have accomplished over the last five to seven years. Referring to your archived performance reviews, extract out any significant, measurable accomplishments.
  4. References – Have you built a collection of people that can honestly talk about your business and personal strengths? You MUST recognize the problem is not the economy. Surround yourself with a community of positive,  like-minded peers to empower you.
  5. Research new options –  Start with a mindset to investigate what is possible. It’s not too late to develop a new plan. Talk with people in jobs that might appeal to you. Harness the power of the Internet. Volunteer with an organization that piques your interest. This is your chance to get excited about new possibilities!
  6. Transfer of skills — Take an accounting of the skills that helped in your accomplishments of the years.  Most people I coach can identify a core set of four or five skills they are really good at. What are yours?
  7. Performance reviews – Go find, collect and save all current and past performance reviews. Regardless of your past record keeping, start today.
  8. “A” Player – While submitting to this ten-step analysis, have you discovered that you are “outstanding?” Become of the top ten percent of all employees in your industry. If you need help with this, that’s why I’m here!
  9. Marketability – That’s the magic word. Is your work snapshot marketable? Is your brand impressive? If not, then commit to it today.
  10. Continuous Learner – Read, study, go to workshops, take online courses, take night classes, talk to experts, go get a career coach, volunteer. People who take their family’s financial future seriously decide to become much more consistent with their personal development.

These ten key principles don’t reinvent the wheel, but they can help take the sting out of having to reinvent your career focus. Change can always feel hard at first, especially when we get a little older and feel like we’ve already paid so much in dues. Use these keys, though, and you have a good chance of enjoying the satisfaction of turning your circumstances around. Take charge of your career, and your career will take charge of your family.

John Lankford

John Lankford was recognized as the 2007-2010 Associate Business Advisor of the Year in North America and brings proven executive experience and best practices to select companies every year. He served 18 years at the Executive Education Center at Ford Motor Company and is former Senior Director of Ascension Health Learning Institute. John has developed top leaders around the world in partnership with the University of Michigan Business School, the Center for Creative Leadership, Comcast University and GE University, to name a few. His business expertise has been tapped by prominent business media such as the New York Times, CBS and Dbusiness magazine and has been a syndicated business columnist. He is the author of The Answer is Leadership and Superstar for life…Career Transitions. John’s keynote speaking has landed him on the elite team that trains and certifies the new Executive Coaches joining the worldwide coaching community. John is also former Chief Executive Officer of the Innisbrook Leadership Institute. Lankford can be reached at [email protected] or call (888) 730-1950

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