Your LinkedIn Summary

Why it’s Replacing Your Résumé!

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By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  I hope you enjoyed last week’s post Back to School.  It still cracks me up that my neighborhood Big Lots has the “Back to School” supplies out already!  I think they put them out the day after school let out.  Wishful thinking for lots of parents, I’m sure!

Students using tablet computers in classThis week I am going to discuss the Summary part of your LinkedIn Profile and why it’s so important.  Somebody recently pointed out to me that my Summary was really lacking and needed to be revamped.  Looking at it, I agreed, but where to begin?

When I wrote my article on LinkedIn, I completely overlooked the Summary.  However, as experienced LinkedIn Members know, a powerhouse Summary is essential to showing the world what he or she is all about.

In the article I wrote about Networking, I mentioned a story I came across in Forbes magazine: Three Steps To Writing The Perfect LinkedIn Summary.  In this piece, the author (William Arruda) shows you how to write a Summary that will blow people away, and hopefully get you noticed by the right people. Arruda points out that a well-written LinkedIn Summary is becoming more important than your résumé.

The three steps he mentions are Setting the Scene, Gathering Your Raw Data, and Putting All Together.

Setting the Scene: This is the part where you figure out who you are trying to reach, what you want them to learn about you, and how you want them to feel.

Gathering Your Raw Data: In this section, you list all of your accomplishments, values, and areas where you really shine.  This is where you brag on yourself.  If you don’t do it, who will?

Putting It All Together: This part shows you how to grab the reader, show them what you’re all about, then tell them what they should do next (HIRE YOU!).  It also shows you how you can include pictures and video to make your Summary really pop!

IS09AK4FKThere is also an article by Maggie Graham on WorkForce50.com.  It’s called: Three Tips to Slam Dunk Keyword Optimization on LinkedIn.  What’s with all the threes?  I guess if you go up to four you lose the reader’s attention.  Don’t want to do that!

If you read my article on Age Discrimination, you will remember I mentioned that evil Résumé Database Scanner.  The one that makes it a personal mission to toss your résumé into the junk heap before any human eyes can see it?  Keyword Optimization is what that evil sucker uses to either pass you through the gateway or toss you in the junk heap.

Her article shows you how to use the right keywords in LinkedIn.  That way your profile will turn up in LinkedIn searches by a prospective employer.  The article also includes a YouTube video by the author at the bottom of the page.  Nice.

Both of these articles have invaluable information that will make your LinkedIn Summary stand head and shoulders above the competition.  I have been dragging my feet when it came to updating my Summary.  I wanted to have something a little bit more impressive than Uber and Lyft Driver to WOW people.

Sunset at coastal resort, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, CaribbeanThankfully, my procrastination has paid off.  Funny how that works sometimes!  The payoff is in the form of a job!  Alleluia and Praise the Lord!  I have been hired by Global Discovery Vacations.  My wife and I have been members of this Travel Club for 18 years and I have accepted a position with the company in Sales.  If you live in the Detroit area and are interested in maximizing your vacations, please call the Livonia Office of Global Discovery Vacations (734-462-6301) and ask for Jerry Lambert.  Or, check out their Facebook page for more information.

This leads me to the end of this article, and this blog.  I started writing this blog last October. My intention was to share the trials and tribulations of trying to find a job on the other side of 55.  I have had a lot of fun writing the articles and there has been a positive response from readers of the blog.  Now, however, I have decided to stop writing additional articles.  I have covered all of the topics I felt would be of interest to a job seeker in The Brown Parachute Club.  With my new position, I just don’t think I’ll have the time to continue writing it.

To all of you who have been following this blog, Thank You!  It has been a pleasure to share what I have learned on this journey.  I will leave this blog up and running as I intended it to be: a reference library for people our age.  For all of those who have been laid off and need to find work, along with finding a renewed purpose in life.  I hope these articles have been, and will continue to be, helpful.

While listening to some music the other day, I heard a song lyric that has become my new personal mantra.  Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow.  Or, as that great philosopher Ferris Bueller once put it, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  Sage words.  I wish you all the best and good luck in your job search.  Don’t give up!!

 

Back To School

Is it Still Worth Your While?

By Jerry Lambert

Hi!  Welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club!  If you are a regular reader of this blog I hope you enjoyed last week’s article: Have You Ever Thought About Becoming an Entrepreneur?  As usual, I always learn a lot when I write one of these articles.  If you read it, I hope it sparked some ideas.

Smiling Caucasian profession in formal robe

This week I thought I would discuss a subject just about everyone thinks of after they are laid off from their job.  Should I go back to school?  It’s a very important question, and one you should give a lot of thought to.

Since summer vacation has begun, I immediately think about all of those noisy kids going back to school in September.  My thoughts also drift to cooler temperatures and FOOTBALL!

When I was a kid, I always loved going back to school.  Seeing all my friends, new school supplies, and textbooks that have never been cracked open!  This feeling would usually go away by October, but those first few weeks were always magical for me.  Then reality would set in, and I would start counting down the days until Christmas Vacation!!

I’m lucky enough to live near the community college I attended back in the late 70s and early 80s.  Recently, I have gone back there to use the library from time to time.  I go there to write some of these articles and work on other projects as well.  Even though I’m not currently a student, I really like the feeling of being on campus.  It puts me in the correct mindset to learn new things, such as WordPress.  I learned a lot about building this website at that library!

IS09AJ7SCThis brings me back to the subject of this article.  Should you consider going back to school?  For some people the answer is definitely YES.  If you were working on your degree and got sidetracked by life, and are only a few credit hours short of your degree, you should definitely consider finishing up.  A degree is an excellent addition to your résumé, and shows prospective employers you know how to finish what you started.  Even if it took 20 years!

Many Brown Parachuters see going back to school as a great way to “Reinvent” themselves.  If you had a Minor you were working on in college, and it still interests you, now might be the time to go for it!  After all, it might reboot your career and land you a job that will help get to your retirement years.  You never know.

However, if you read my article College vs Vocational Education, I don’t have to tell you that college costs have risen at twice the rate of healthcare!  Given that information, how in the heck are you going to finish up your degree?  That is an excellent question!

is09ao1ykThere is a terrific article on the website Love To Know.  It tells you all about grant money that is available for senior citizens.  Bad news, though.  I hate to be the one to break it to you.  If you are over 55, you are a senior citizen!  Anyway, it this case, being an old fart works in your favor.  There are 11 states that waive tuition costs for seniors altogether!  Wow!

I remember when I was in school, there was one older lady who was in one of my classes.  She was ancient!  She must have been at least 35!!!  We all thought she was ready for the Old Folks Home.  Ah, to be young and stupid again.  Nowadays, there are people of all ages attending your local community college and universities.  Although the student body is still primarily young farts.

In addition to finishing up your degree, there are many people who attend class for the sheer joy of learning.  I call them Hermione Grangers.  In the article on Love To Know, they mention that some colleges will allow seniors to audit a class for free, or at a heavily discounted rate.  So, if you’ve always wanted to take that class in Advanced Basket Weaving, here’s your chance!

Artist standing by artwork in studio portrait

If heading back to campus isn’t for you, you may still be in luck.  There is a relatively new website called The Great Courses.  This website offers dirt cheap online classes that are being taught by experts in their fields.  Math, Science, History, Fine Arts, Literature, etc.  These are not courses for casual learners.  They are aimed at serious people who want to learn more about a given subject and are willing to work hard.

For those of you who are looking to brush up on your skills without going back to college, or signing up for one of The Great Courses, there is always GCF Learn Free.  I did an article on this tremendous website a while ago.  While it is not on par with “Great Courses”, it does a great job of covering the material it does offer.  Some of it in great detail.  Definitely worth checking out, if you just want to brush up on your Microsoft Excel, or anything of the other courses that are listed.

Well, that’s it.  Hopefully, if you chose to head back to school, this article has brought you up to speed on some of the options that are available to you.  Just don’t get offended if the kids don’t want to talk to you.  They don’t talk to each other either, unless it’s by texting, Facebook, or Twitter!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

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Have You Ever Thought About Becoming an Entrepreneur?

It Might Not Be Too Crazy After All!

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club!  I hope you enjoyed last week’s article about College vs Vocational Education.  Hopefully, you know a young person who could benefit from it.  This week, I wanted to tackle a topic you may (or may not) have been thinking about.  Becoming an Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner (SBO).

American coinsI know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have two dimes to rub together and you want me to think about starting a business?”  Well, yes.  I want you to think about it.  There are many successful business that have been started by folks in our age group.  Many of these people were laid off from their main source of income.  I’m not going to lie to you, it’s probably not the best set of circumstances to start a business.  However, necessity is the mother of invention.

There are two schools of thought.  Use your years of experience at your old job and strike out on your own as an Independent Contractor.  Or, take stock of your resources and try to make a business out of your biggest hobby or passion.  An article on CNBC’s website states that many laid off people chose to start a business simply because their re-employment chances are so abysmal.

I have to be honest.  I am a failed Entrepreneur.  Many of the businesses I started over the years failed.  Mainly because I didn’t have the time or money to give the business an honest shot.  I have tried everything from government auctions, to partnering with travel agencies, to building mobile websites, just to mention a few.  Some of them could have made it, if I had more time to spend on them.  I think that’s the reason many businesses started by the over 50 crowd succeed.  Especially if they have been laid off.  They have the time necessary to build their new business.

IS09AN5KKAs you probably know, the majority of new businesses in this country fail.  Motley Fool states that 4 out of 5 new businesses fail in the first year.  Not great odds, but looking at it from the other side of the equation, that means that 20% of new businesses make it through the first year.  The businesses that do succeed seem to have one element in common: PASSION.  You have to be passionate about whatever you decide to turn into a business, or it is more than likely doomed to fail.  Also, it takes the time and money that I mentioned earlier, but passion can take you a long way.

In this article I am going to give you examples of folks just like us, who started their dream business after 50, and are doing very well.  These people have truly taken lemons and made lemonade, or coffee, or bagels, or wine.  Whatever their passion may be.

One way to start a business is to turn your hobby into a business.  Say, you’re a stamp collector with some degree of knowledge in that area.  You could start a website offering up some of your more valuable stamps for sale.  If your website catches on, you could make money by putting up other collectors’ stamps for sale on your website.  That’s just off the top of my head.  If you choose to do this business, don’t forget your inspiration!  I accept tens and twenties.

What really can get you sick is when you read a story about some guy who is pulling down six figures in the corporate world.  Then he GETS BORED.  He starts up a company based on his lifelong hobby of butterfly collecting, or some such thing.  The company is a huge hit, and inside of a year he’s a millionaire.  Meanwhile, we are having a hard time making ends meet, let alone starting up a company based on our interests.  We don’t have the luxury of “Getting Bored”.

is09ak8qf.jpgHowever, it might be easier than you’d think.  In this day and age, the Internet has become a world-wide marketplace.  Just look at Amazon and Ebay.  There are people from all over the world selling products on those websites !  The only problem with that sort of business is that the competition is very stiff.  Your company might be so far down the product list only a dedicated bargain-hunter might stumble across it by accident!

I guess to me what it all comes down to is this.  Do you go big, or go home?  Unfortunately, most folks in our situation, we don’t have a load of cash sitting around, just waiting for an investment in a fledgling business.  You may need to find other sources of startup cash.  But remember, whether your business succeeds or fails, you still owe that money!  For that reason, I would stay away from Ricco the Loan Shark.

Portrait of a pit bull mix

I found an article on Arkenea.  It features a list of people who started their own businesses after the age of 50.  This includes one female bodybuilder, who started her business at 56 and is now 78!  Good Lord!  One guy started a bakery without any baking skills!  Maybe he was good at eating donuts?   Another guy started a coffee company with his wife, in Hawaii no less!  Also, many of the people in this article have started up an online business.  I have to admit, looking at some of them, I wouldn’t think they could turn on a PC, let alone have a successful online business!

The point is, if THEY made it YOU can too!  At least that’s what I keep telling myself!  I found that article very inspiring.  It shows that, regardless of your age, with the right amount of timing, money, and luck, you can still build a successful business in America.  If not, there’s always the Lottery.  That reminds me, the Powerball is up to almost $460 Million.  Got to buy a ticket today!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

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College vs Vocational Education

Does College Really Rule?

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  This week I wanted to share an article I wrote for a blogging service.  The article wasn’t picked up, so it’s their loss.  The article talks about the College versus Vocational forms of higher learning.  While the focus of this article is more for our children and grandchildren, it’s something you may want to share with them.  Especially if they are feeling like a square peg being crammed into a round hole.

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Photo Credit: MikeRowe.com

Mike Rowe, from the famous show, “Dirty Jobs” was recently on Fox News.  He was talking with Tucker Carlson about a letter he had written to President Obama.  A letter that he has now also forwarded to President Trump.

In this letter, he stated that the lack of Vocational Education in high schools has created a huge skills gap. The gap is between College-Educated students and the students who SHOULD be in Vocational / Technical Education.  There are over 5.6 Million Jobs that need to be filled, 75% of which do not require a 4 year degree.

Vocational / Technical Education is a field of study that prepares a student directly for the career he or she wants.  Think about cooking school, beautician school, truck driving school, heating and cooling school, etc.  Not to mention all of the plumbing, electrician, and carpenter apprenticeships.  You get the idea.  These training programs prepare the student for their new career immediately, and generally cost thousands of dollars less than heading to college.  Vocational Education has been removed from many high schools, resulting in this huge skills gap.

Boy dressed as repair manDo many of these jobs require a 4 year degree?  No.  Do you have to rack up over $100,000 in student loans in order to get these jobs?  No.  Are these glamorous jobs the average college kid would dream of having?  No.  However, are these jobs that need to be done in order for America to remain a vital, growing nation?  Absolutely, Yes!

Have many students have been sold a bill of goods when it comes to getting a college education?  It would certainly appear so.  It doesn’t take an Einstein to realize the soaring cost of a college education is not keeping pace with reality.  Drive by any college campus and you’ll see at least one new building under construction.  While many times, the dormitory conditions for students are outdated, cramped, and deplorable.

New Football Stadiums and Basketball Arenas that cost millions of dollars are being built to attract the nations’ top prospects.  This brings in thousands of dollars in TV revenue.  However, outside of a boost in school spirit, these facilities do very little for the average student.

is09an5qdThe amount of money pouring into our Universities borders on the insane.  An article that appeared in The Huffington Post reported that since they started keeping track in 1978, the costs for Tuition and Fees have risen 1,120%.  Ironically, the costs for Medical Expenses have risen only about half as much during the same time period, 601%!  Forget about Obamacare or Trumpcare, how about Collegecare?

What does the average student get for all those thousands of dollars spent on his or her education?  A piece of parchment? With no hope of paying off the mountain of debt piled up in pursuit of that elusive degree?

Over the years, manual labor or skilled trades’ jobs have been looked down upon by the college-elite and business professionals.  Plumbers, Electricians, Carpenters, Carpet Cleaners, Janitorial Staff, and other jobs are looked down upon by most business professionals.  “Hey, we’re doing the real work!”  That is the attitude pervasive in business today.

Industrial worker in plantAll of this belittling of good, honest work has caused many of today’s youth to shy away from these decent paying jobs.  Plumbers, Electricians, Carpenters, and Construction workers can earn a very good living!  These jobs might not be very sexy, but they need to be done, just the same.  Many of these jobs don’t have a corporate ladder to climb, but they can provide a comfortable living, for someone who is willing to do the work.

Mike Rowe’s show on The Discovery Channel is called “Dirty Jobs”.  It is an extreme example of some jobs that are on the far edge of the ick scale.  These jobs need to be filled, but employers are having a hard time hiring people to do them.

Somewhere along the line, hard work has only become acceptable only if it is taking place in an office building, a hospital, or a court house.  Rowe has a great quote about President Obama’s “Shovel Ready” jobs.  “I pointed out that President Obama’s promise of 3 million shovel ready jobs sounded great, but I worried that filling those jobs would be challenging – especially in a country where fewer and fewer people aspired to pick up a shovel.”  Rowe’s recent five minute testimony to Congress (before he was cut off) can be read by following this link.

DictionaryWhat this all comes down to is that High School Counselors and Parents need to realize that not every kid with decent grades is cut out for college.  Somewhere along the line, college has become the only “acceptable path”.  When offered “Higher Education” versus “Alternative Education”, which system do you think most parents want their precious little snowflakes enrolled in?

Clearly, not everyone is cut out for college.  Just like not everyone is cut out to be an electrician.  So let’s stop trying to cram square pegs into round holes and get back to giving each student an honest evaluation of his or her abilities.  Otherwise, we’ll continue to have ridiculously expensive Universities.  That, along with a national infrastructure that will continually need repair, because there is nobody to do the work!

As Rowe closed the segment with Carlson, he signed off with, “If you want to make America great again, you’ll need to make work cool again!”  Sounds like a t-shirt slogan to me!  I’m sure he can find a bunch of out-of-work college students to crank them out for him.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

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