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On this page we will provide some tips that can improve your employment searches and give you ideas you can use to get more hits when you post your resume on the internet.

Age Counts in Hiring, the Older Jobless Find


CHICAGO, Nov. 10 - Robert Linn expects that each day could be his lucky day, though it was winter the last time he had a job, and the wind is blowing cold again.

An accountant, Mr. Linn was laid off nine months ago as a controller at Aon Risk Services. He still has a monthly $2,600 mortgage and tax payment on his four-bedroom house in Winnetka, a suburb north of here, and the expense of raising a family. He and his wife, Fleury, who works part time, have a daughter who is a freshman in high school and are looking ahead to college costs.

Mr. Linn's savings and state unemployment benefits, he said, are enough to tide them over until he lands a new job, although continued news of layoffs and a saturated market of highly qualified, and younger, workers offers little solace.

At 58, Mr. Linn - like many other Americans 50 or older who have lost their career jobs in a new, less-predictable economy - worries that he may never have another job as good as the one he had, which paid more than $100,000 a year. Like Mr. Linn, some of the older unemployed say their hard luck in job hunting has less to do with their qualifications and ability than with their age.

Age is "very definitely a factor," Mr. Linn said.

"There are very few ads that say 10-plus years of experience or 15-plus years of experience," he added. "In other words, if you have more experience than that it's a presumption that you're overqualified or they don't want people that are older."

His résumé does not hide his age, and he said, "I respond to those ads and get no responses."

Economists do not know whether the downturn affects those in their 50's and 60's more than younger workers. A study by the International Longevity Center-USA, a research group in Manhattan, showed that times were changing for older workers. In the recession of the early 80's, the study said, men ages 45 to 59 were less likely to lose their jobs than those 25 to 39. By the recession of the early 90's, seniority did not provide as much security, and older men were just as likely to be laid off as younger men.

If and when some older workers land jobs, some experts say, they tend to find lower-paying, more temporary, low-skill or impermanent service or consulting jobs instead of those that they have dreamed of, those they have spent their lives building reputations and careers.

The problem is not age alone, said Hilarie Lieb, a Northwestern University professor of labor economics.

"The economy is not as strong as it was in the past, and demographically, there are a lot more people hitting this age," Professor Lieb said about workers over 50. "People expect to earn more when they have more experience. So they tend to be higher-salaried workers, which can be a deterrent for employers."

Mayer Freed, a professor of labor and employment law at the Northwestern Law School, said that "it's not such an unusual pattern for people to lose their jobs" in a sputtering economy and at a point in their careers where it can be hard to find re-employment at comparable levels.

"There is probably some preference given by employers to younger workers, and in principle, that's illegal," Professor Freed said. "Federal law is quite clear that it is illegal to base decisions like that on age. But it is not easy to enforce that law."

Some employers may prefer younger people, he said, expecting them to stay longer after investing time and money training them.

"It may also be a result of stereotyped thinking, that people are on a downward slope once they reach a certain age," Professor Freed said.

A result is that older prospects are often left out in the cold. George Putnam, an economist with the Illinois Employment Security Department, said laid-off workers 55 or older were in general 10 percent less likely than 35-year-olds to find work.

That may be bad news in light of the figures that show the Chicago unemployment rate through September at 6.3 percent, up from 5.4 percent in 2001. Statewide, the rate was 6.3 percent, up from 5.6, and nationally it was 5.6, up from 5 percent.

Workers across the spectrum have been affected. Bogdan Polowniak, a union bricklayer for 20 years, made $30.15 an hour until he was recently laid off. Mr. Polowniak, 47, wearing an American flag bandanna on his head at an unemployment office here, said he was wondering whether his best days were behind him. He is married with three children.

"There's work going on, but not enough for everybody," Mr. Polowniak said. "I think they're always looking for younger people. They're stronger, faster. The older you get, you slow down a little bit."

His friend Stan Puckowski, 51, who went to the office with him and is also a bricklayer, considers himself lucky not to have a family to worry about. But, Mr. Puckowski said, being jobless means that he has no money to send to relatives in Poland.

If not for his veteran's benefits, Charles Curtis, 51, an unemployed construction worker, said he would "be in trouble." Mr. Curtis said that his unemployment benefits had run out long ago and that he was living off food stamps.

"I'm out here trying every day to work," he said. "It's just discouraging."

What is an older worker to do?

Like Mr. Linn, Tom Walsh, 60, has turned to Operation ABLE, which stands for Ability Based on Long Experience. The agency here helps unemployed workers, with emphasis for those over 50, in finding jobs and training. Mr. Walsh, a computer programmer, lost his job a year ago in layoffs at Sears, where he had worked for 15 years.

"I've had people tell me I'll probably never work in that field again," he said. "I'm a little more optimistic."

Mr. Walsh lives in suburban Park Ridge in a $300,000 house. He and his wife, a personnel manager, have two children. He figures that he is far better off than some people who have lost their jobs, because "in my case it's not a case of how we're going to put groceries on the table."

Meanwhile, Mr. Walsh continues to hunt, as well as hope.

The good and bad news, said Durant Hunter, president of Whitehead Mann, a recruiter based in New York City, is that people over 50 are hired every day, though he said that was the exception rather than the rule.

"As an executive recruiter," Mr. Hunter said, "I have rarely had someone say, `Can you find me someone over 50 for this job?' It is almost always, `Find me someone 35 to 45.' "

Mr. Hunter added that most people did not have such notable success.

Mr. Linn, an accountant at an insurance company for 19 years, until 1999, has had two jobs since then, including the one at Aon. He said he had not given up hope. Dipping into savings "probably means I'll just have to work longer," Mr. Linn said.

He said he believed that "the economy is getting better," though he heard from a friend that an advertisement for a controller's position in a newspaper drew 800 responses.

He intends to keep looking, he said, figuring that someone somewhere is looking for "a participative and collaborative manager that gets things done and meets deadlines in a timely and accurate manner."

Try not to open too many programs while working on your computer. The more things that are open, the slower your system will run.

Maintenance Issues

Keep your laptop out of extreme hot and cold temperatures, which could affect the performance of the PC.


How to Handle Illegal Interview Questions

Interviews are already stressful enough. Between promoting your skills, showing enthusiasm and laughing at the interviewer's bad jokes, you have plenty to concentrate on.

But when you suspect you've been asked an illegal interview question, stress levels can shoot even higher.

Fortunately, if you know in advance what kind of illegal questions are most apt to sneak into an interview, you can diffuse the situation immediately and move on to more important tasks -- like landing that job.

Three Ways to Answer Illegal Interview Questions

Most interviewers are not out to discriminate against job applicants. Many of the illegal questions that interviewers ask are unintentional -- in fact, if you tactfully point out the question is illegal, the interviewer will likely realize his or her gaffe and immediately retract the question.

The challenge for you is to figure out what to say while you're sitting in that chair, faced with an illegal question. You have three basic options:

  1. Just answer the question. If you don't mind providing the information and you don't want to make waves, you can respond to the question and move on to the next one. Keep in mind, however, that you should only answer the question if you truly are comfortable providing the information -- it could come back to haunt you.

  2. Refuse to answer the question. Inform the interviewer that the question doesn't seem to be legal or relevant to the specific requirements of the job. Be forewarned, though, that such a direct response should really be saved for questions that are offensive or deeply troubling.

  3. Don't answer the question, but answer the intent behind the question. This is usually the best option, since it allows you to provide a tactful answer without sacrificing your rights. To answer the intent behind the question, try to figure out what the interviewer REALLY wants to know. For example, if the interviewer asks if you are a U.S. citizen (which is an illegal question), a smart answer would be, "If you mean to ask if I am legally authorized to work for you, the answer is yes." In cases like these, it's best to rephrase the question into a legal one and then answer it. This displays flexibility and composure -- strong job skills.

An Age-Old Question

Recent reports say that workers are planning to hold jobs well into their senior years. Many even plan to hold off retirement until their 70s or 80s in order to continue bringing in paychecks.

Unfortunately, this has resulted in an increase in complaints from older workers of age discrimination in the workplace, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The good news is that interviewers are not allowed to ask you your age during an interview. With some rare exceptions, the only age- related question they can ask is if you're over the age of 18.

One thing to keep in mind: The EEOC's Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 only protects workers who are 40 years old and older from age discrimination and in workplaces with 20 or more employees. However, some local governments have laws that also enforce age discrimination rules for younger applicants and smaller workplaces.

Married ... With Children?

Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, according to the Department of Labor. And as their numbers grow, so do the potential pitfalls they may face during an interview, especially when asked about marriage, children and pregnancy.

While illegal interview questions surrounding relationships, marriage and children are generally more problematic for female job candidates, protection from discrimination applies equally to male candidates.

Basically, you should be suspicious if you are asked any questions about your marital status, your family status, your future plans for children or your child care accommodations.

So what can employers ask? Questions that deal directly with the job requirements (e.g., "Are you willing to relocate?").

Yes, many proud parents enjoy telling stories about their children, and there may be a temptation to trade toddler stories with a friendly interviewer who has a family picture on his or her desk. But to avoid potential problems, err on the side of silence.

A Race for a Job

A recruiter friend of mine told me a story of how she accidentally asked someone an illegal interview question.

"Oh, you have such an interesting name! What does it mean?" she asked a candidate with a beautiful name that was obviously of non-English origin.

Fortunately, my colleague caught herself and told the candidate that she didn't have to answer the question. But it does show how subtly the issues of race, ethnicity and religion might sneak into an interview.

For instance, according to, interviewers are not allowed to ask if you are a U.S. citizen or ask where you were born. However, they can ask if you are legally authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis.

So if you are asked about your race, color, religion or national origin, be aware -- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on such factors.

Somebody Call the EEOC!

Discrimination is an ugly word, but you can't deny that it does occasionally happen. If you are certain that an interviewer asked you an illegal interview question with the intent of using your answer as a basis for a hiring decision, it's time to talk to the pros.

The EEOC is the government agency in charge of handling complaints of workplace discrimination.

While laws can vary from state to state, the EEOC recommends that you file a charge of discrimination if you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of any of the categories below:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Age
  • Disability

To file a charge, contact your local EEOC office. To find your local branch, go to the EEOC "Filing a Charge" Web page here:

Keep in mind that there are time limits by which you must file a complaint. For more information on these limits, contact your local EEOC branch.

Alternatively, find a lawyer and have them help you with your complaints.

While illegal questions do add an extra level of stress to an interview, remember that as long as you are aware of what's fair game and what isn't, you'll be one step ahead.


Welcome To The techies Hiring Alert!

   The purpose of this Hiring Alert! is to share critically important information that will significantly increase the success of your job search efforts. As you probably know, a large part of the challenge has to do with our unfavorable economic climate. What you might not know is how this changed economic climate has dramatically impacted the hiring practices that employers are now following.

   In this Hiring Alert! we will highlight these new hiring practices and the resulting problems you now face, and tell you how to get around them in a powerful way ... powerful enough to put your resume in the top 10% of the stack on each job that you apply for, and effective enough to help you get a new job 5x to 10x faster.

How Today's New Hiring Practices Are Hurting You ...

   Most employers have now been mandated by their Executives to use screening processes and tools at three stages of the hiring process. In fact, nearly 60% of employers are now using these processes and tools to weed out applicants very quickly at each of the 3 hiring stages.

   As you will learn in this Hiring Alert!, you are likely being knocked out of consideration within 24 hours of submitting your resume, along with 90% of your peers.

   In a typical hiring situation, you are 1 applicant in a stack of 100. At this point, your chances of getting the job are 1 in 100. However, by simply surviving the first cut, you can dramatically increase your chances to 1 in 5 or 1 in 7, as most employers will select the top 5-7 applicants for an interview. By surviving the next cut, you will further increase your odds to 1 in 3. As you will see, the key to being 1 in 3 instead of 1 in 100 lies in your ability to get your resume noticed.

   This Hiring Alert! will show you the problem at each hiring stage, and explain how to position yourself in the top 10% of the stack" and separate yourself from 90% to 95% of your competition the instant you submit your resume.

What You Will Learn In This Hiring Alert! ...

   This Hiring Alert! will take you less than 10 minutes to read and will teach you the following:

  1. Solution #1: What the 3 Hiring Hurdles are, how they affect you, and what you can do about them.
  2. Solution #2: How the power of a "endorsement" will help you to separate yourself from your peers when applying to jobs both inside and outside of the network.
  3. Solution #3: How to overcome the toughest interviewing problems, and rise to the top.
So let's start with the 3 Hiring Hurdles and Solution #1

Solution #1:
How To Get Over The 3 Hiring Hurdles And
Get Your Resume In The Top 10% Of The Stack Every Time

   As you will see in the Graph below, you face 3 major hurdles every time you submit your resume.

   Like any business challenge, it is only after you truly understand a problem that the right solution can be found. To understand how employer practices are hurting your chances of employment, you need to know a critically important fact.

     Within 24 hours of posting a new job, the average employer receives
     hundreds of resumes in their inbox. And within 24 hours, they eliminate
     90% of all resumes submitted.

   The method they use to quickly screen resumes out is very similar to the way you run online searches. When you run a search, you often receive hundreds of returned sites; some are relevant and useful, many are not. Youve learned to rely on the power of the search tool to position the best and most used sites at the top of the list for you. You generally dont look beyond the top 5-7 sites unless you are unable to find the information you are looking for.

   Well, you can't blame employers for doing the same thing after receiving 300 to 500 resumes in 24 hours. They quickly scan the stack, set aside or book-mark the top 5-7 candidates for review, and then eliminate the remaining 90%.

   The answer to the problem lies in what happens at Hurdle #3 as seen on the Graph. It is only at this stage that an employer spends the money to have a candidate assessed to see if they will show superior job performance. However, if they knew of a candidate's premier status when they initially received the hundreds of resumes, AND, it was marked and branded as one of the top 10% of all the resumes in their inbox... then it would be like being one of the first 5-7 matches that came up on a search engine. (See more about this solution after the Graph that shows all three Hurdles.)

Click Graph Below To Enlarge
Click to View Larger Image
How To Get "Branded" As A Top 10% Candidate,
And Knock Out 90% Of Your Competition.

   Until 30 days ago, it wasn't possible to get a Certified Ranking because only employers had access to this tool. One of the nations top assessment firms has 250 of the Fortune 500 companies using their screening and selection tools, as well as thousands of other corporations who rely on this resource to choose the best candidates for their positions.

   In other words, this particular assessment has tremendous credibility with thousands of U.S. Companies. (As a point of interest, these companies pay hundreds of dollars to assess each candidate in order to find out if they will show superior on the job performance). For Members only, we have created a unique partnership with this firm so that you can take this test and share the results with hiring companies. No other job board has the right to administer this assessment.

   At the end of this Hiring Alert!, we will tell you how you can take this assessment under our new Preferred Status Program and use it as a strategic tool to get in the top 10% of the stack every time you submit your resume and improve your chances of being hired 5x to 10x faster.

Solution #2 May Be More Valuable Than The First!

   What else can you do to dramatically expand your hiring possibilities after you achieve a Certified Status Ranking?

   Getting the job you want, with the best salary, the best benefits, and the best cultural fit is largely a numbers game. However, you can take immediate steps today to dramatically increase your odds. Consider the effects of the following: The average job seeker applies for 2 jobs per week. If you were to increase that number to 10 per week, and further leverage the simultaneous placement your resume receives at the top of the resume stack for each, you could effectively increase your odds of getting the job you want by a factor of 5x to 10x.

   Now what would happen, if at the same time, a trusted authority endorsed you to the companies you were applying to?

   Doing so could get you the right job weeks or months faster. Consider the economic impact of such leverage. If you previously made $60,000/yr., then it is costing you $5,000 for each month that you are out of work. Employing these proven strategies can literally mean thousands of dollars of income in your pocket by simply getting a job sooner than you otherwise would have.

   Is there a Program that you can step into, that will give you this kind of leverage? The answer is yes; as a result of the Techies Preferred Status Program, you now have that leverage.

   The effect that this Program has on your employment objectives can be seen in the Graph below.

Click Graph Below To Enlarge
Click to View Larger Image
How To Get An "Endorsed Recommendation"
To Jobs Inside and Outside The Network.

   For those who elect to become a Techies Preferred Status Member, we will give you a personal "endorsement" to our clients when you submit your resume via Your resume and the email an employer receives will indicate your Certified Status Ranking proving that you are in the top of your peer group in terms of your on-the-job capabilities, personal characteristics and overall work ethic. Combined with your resume and cover letter, your Certified Status Ranking will put your resume on the top of the stack.

   So, why is a personal endorsement so powerful, and how does it give you an advantage with employers?

   The reason that it is so powerful is the same reason why a personal referral or endorsement from a friend, colleague, or respected professional puts you at the top of the applicant stack. These people know you, and personally stand behind your superior qualities as a top professional. For employers, this takes the risk out of considering you a top candidate for the job because the recommendation came from someone that they know and trust.

Solution #3 May Be More Important Than The First Two...
Here's Why:

Question: When I am at the final interview stage, I know I am typically 1 out of 3 or 4 remaining candidates ... What advice can you give me that will knock out my competitors and give me the job?

Answer: If you have made it to the interview stage, youre already ahead of your competition if you have a Preferred Status Ranking ... chances are that none of the others will have this advantage.

However, everything will depend on how you answer your interview questions.
Here is how you can win the game: As part of your this Program, you will receive a Report that generically discusses your strengths and weaknesses, plus offers valuable career tips that you can use when being interviewed.

Question: How can I use the information in my Report to win over an employer during an interview?

Answer: One of the most important questions that an employer will ask is What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? While many candidates can articulate their strengths, most are unable to properly address their weaknesses without damaging their chances of being offered the job. The weakness issue is really a question about your personal knowledge and awareness of what you need to do in order to continue your growth and career expansion so that you can be a good career candidate for their company.

Your Report will discuss general areas of suggested development and make general recommendations as to how you can proactively convert them into employable strengths. Employers are impressed to find candidates who are career conscious and who have a structured development plan to improve themselves and their worth to the organization. Based on the suggestions in your Report, you will be better able to discuss this information in an easy and effective way that will favorably impress even the toughest employer.

If I Become a Preferred Status Program Member
What Do I need to Know About the Program.

   First, the cost to participate in the Program and take the Assessment is $74.99. This fee covers the provider's testing and administrative costs and is 40% off the regular price.

   Consider the economic impact of the following: If you were previously making $60,000/yr, then it is costing you $240 each day that you are out of work. By making a $74.99 investment in your career and future today, you will more than recover the cost of this program by simply getting a job one day sooner than you otherwise would have.

   Second, you will receive the following 4 powerful advantages by participating in the Techies Preferred Status Program

  • Draw more attention and deserved recognition to your resume
  • Distinguish yourself from hundreds of other job applicants
  • Receive greater leverage for an interview
  • Highlight your strengths and learn to clearly articulate development plans

   Third, the Assessment will take 30-45 minutes to complete. If you are unable to complete the Assessment in one sitting, you will be able to return to the point at which you stopped in the future. Instructions on doing this will be included in the email you receive upon completing your purchase.

   Fourth, within 3-5 days of completing the Assessment, you will receive an email from containing your Status Ranking. In this email, you will also be given instructions on how to activate your Ranking and make it visible to all employers within the Network. Only those Members earning a ranking in the top 50% will be given this option. If for any reason you prefer to not have your Ranking shared with hiring companies, you may simply choose to keep it private by not activating it.

   And finally, in all cases, you will receive a Preferred Status Assessment Report. This Report can be shared with prospective employers both inside and outside the Employer Network to convey your superior strengths, and as was previously discussed, it will contain valuable information that you can use to enhance the results of any interview and come out on top. It will also give you ideas on areas that you should be focusing on to enhance your career and chances for being promoted to higher paying positions.

   For the first time, this online Assessment Solution that conveys your exceptional job performance abilities is available to you as a strategic job search tool.

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