your area of expertise on a free site, such as Wordpress.com
or Blogspot.com. Maintaining a blog takes a lot of time and effort, but it can help you interact with others in your field. The
blog site will instruct you about how to create a basic blog.
After that it’s up to you to research and write short entries
on (preferably) a daily basis. (For more advice on starting a
blog, go to wikihow.com/Start-a-Blog.) And here’s an idea:
Once you have a blog, call notables in your field and ask to
interview them briefly for a short article you’re writing. You
may get a lot of “No, thanks,” but it’s a great way to make
contacts. Read up on the person and have five or so questions
ready before you approach them. The same people who don’t
like cold calls about job openings will often respond warmly
to questions about their pet project or specialty.
FOCUS ON YOUR TARGETS
Today’s smart job seeker makes targeted strikes. Don’t get
bogged down in massive job databases. Instead, go directly
to the websites of companies you’d like to work for and check
out the job listings, usually posted under “Careers” or “
Employment Opportunities.” Your professional association or
organization—if you never joined one, do so now—may have
a job bank with openings in your field. If you’re considering
a career switch, check out O*NET OnLine, the Department
of Labor’s list of new and growing fields (onetonline.org).
Next, prepare to meet people who work at your target companies. Learn as much as you can about their key decision
makers. Read stories; ask questions. What were their career
paths? What are their outside interests? Seek these people
out on their own turf. Does their company sponsor a charity run? Try to compete, or at least volunteer. Connect with
them over a shared interest, rather than hat-in-hand. Is this
a modified form of stalking? Hey, do what you’ve got to do.
As I wrote in Start Where You Are, I learned a lot from one
of the top stockbrokers in the business, Gary Abrahams, who
moved from San Francisco to Las Vegas in the late 1970s.
Noticing fabulous houses being built on the outskirts of
town, Abrahams put on his best blue suit and went door-to-door to meet the owners. Through the new clients he met, he
became Dean Witter’s top producer in that region.
NAIL THE INTERVIEW
When it’s time for an interview, make it easy for the employer
to pick you for the job. Look through your recommendation
letters for positive descriptions, or ask colleagues what they
think your strengths are. You can call upon these kudos
during the interview to help make the sale.
Most important: Know what you’re talking about. “Do
your research on the organization, understand what the
business does and the industry in which it operates,” says
SHRM’s Jackson. Armed with that knowledge, you can ask
questions that highlight your strengths. For example, you
might ask an interviewer to name the company’s biggest
challenge—and be prepared to discuss possible solutions.
Above all, project confidence. “Candidates we hire are people who understand their unique (CONTINUED ON PAGE 88)
AARP’s 10th annual salute
to the Best Employers
for Workers Over 50®
By Laura Daily
With the economy still struggling to dig itself out
of a recession, and unemployment creeping toward double digits, good news on the job front is
rare. That makes it especially gratifying to honor
age-friendly companies that respect the skills and
experience of 50-plus workers and are committed
to their health and well-being. Despite tough times,
this year’s winners continue to find innovative ways
to keep valued employees on the job—and connected
and productive in retirement. Our hope is that more
forward-thinking employers will follow their example.
That said, we proudly present our Top 10.
Health Care /
scripps.org / 13,223
employees (36% 50+)
Scripps is no stranger
to our Top 10, but this
marks the first year it
has placed No. 1. Why
the advance? For starters, the health care
giant spent $135 million
in 2010 to upgrade facilities and technology.
It also distributed
$8.9million in Success
Shares bonuses (about
$772 per recipient).
A new on-site Employee Care Clinic charges
$10 per visit, with no
waiting, while an exclusive discount program
helps workers score
deals on dining, shopping, movies, travel,
and local services.
Staffers who clock as
few as 16 hours a week
receive benefits like
health insurance, disability, flextime, and—
get this—six free chair
massages. And this
perk caught our eye:
Scripps guarantees a
ride home to those who
must work overtime.