Work search tips for the experienced worker
It’s true that you are only as old as you feel. And in job search, act, think and look come into the scenario as well. Here are some tips to consider when conducting a work search in the experienced worker category.
- Be prepared for the long haul. Resign yourself to the fact that a search might take longer than you’d like. Prepare yourself financially and your family as is necessary along the way. Keep the channels of communication open with your loved ones. Don’t let your parents or naysayers deter you or bring you down with horrific unemployment stats or “you are getting older comments.
- Learn the job search process before you begin. Cut out wasteful time and consult a professional career consultant to move you forward quickly and supportively. Even new Canadians are working with career consultants before moving to Canada so they can hit the road running when they get off the plane. The competition for positions is getting more challenging as many work seekers have been through the process before and are prepared and ready to go the day they are pink slipped.
- Don’t compete with the 35 year old; let them compete with you. You don’t need a degree or further education at this point in your career, though personal develoment courses are highly recommended. You already have the expertise that the 35 year olds don’t, so fight your battle on your turf. Have your SAR stories ready and confidently share stories that illustrate your ‘professional wonderment.’
- Become computer literate. Dispel the myth that some senior executives are technologically challenged and can’t learn new skills just because they had an admin assistant all their lives – learn it all. Learn at least the basics of Excel, Power point over and above Word.
- Know yourself and where you want to go before you begin the journey. Determine what makes you happy, what motivates and excites you, maybe a hobby or a community cause. Volunteer or take a course in an area of interest that you are dedicated to or passionate about – spend some time doing what you love.
- Learn the “group speak of the marketplace. Be familiar with current business terminology and acronyms; spend time in the business section of the local library or on line. Be able to define your management, leadership and team work philosophies and be able to validate your experience or expertise in them as well.
- Put a spring in your step, take off the extra weight or firm it up, get rid of unsightly gray roots and body hair that grows out of control on your head. Dress your age and ensure your clothes fit properly and are fashionable. Work out/exercise and monitor your eating and drinking habits. Strive to meet new and interesting people, discover new interests and activities. Be sure to leave the “remember whens” and “I’ve always done it this way at home.
Read up to date business books and novels, experience diversified dining experiences and know something about wine selection and preference. Keep up to date with popular culture and the latest news headlines.
- Take time to deal with the pain of transition. Loss of a job can cause emotional and physical pain. Take ownership of how you are feeling and don’t interview until you are truly non emotional about your situation.
- Do a reality check on your personal communication style. Work environments can enable bad habits and eventually handicap you if you have been in one place or have not paid attention to your interpersonal and communication skills for a long time. Accept perception as reality and take criticism to heart.
- Develop a career transition plan and follow it. Select jobs to apply to where you will be doing what you do best 80 per cent of the time. Develop a thorough profile of your ideal job and then plan your campaign to find it. Hold your vision.
- Create a support group or board of directors for your search. Talk to others who are going through the same thing.
- Get out from behind your computer. Conduct Advice Calls/Information Interviews every week, attend association meetings and get on a committee. Ask a friend to take you to their monthly association meeting for a totally different landscape and perspective.
For lots of morale boosting and ideas on conducting an experienced work search read Jean Walker’s book, The Age Advantage.
Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer
Author of Networking: How to Build Relationships That Count and How To Get a Job and Keep It