A breath of fresh air: Momentum- generating tips for older job hunters in today’s job marketplace

So you were not given the job position even though you are very qualified for it. To make things worse, you found out through the grape vine that the position was offered to a much younger worker who had only a little experience in the area. “What a shame” you said to yourself. But that does not solve the problem because you are still without a job even though you are doing all the best you can and applying to as many opportunities as possible. You feel like you have been on the unemployment treadmill for a while and you just need a breath of fresh air.

Yes, fresh air that will give you renewed energy to tackle this goal. Be rest assured. It may well be that you have in fact been engaged in many job search activities  that have the potential of landing you a job. However, you may not have been tapping into the power of the potential in the appropriate way.

Here are some momentum-generating strategies that can help you land your next job faster.

  1. Tap into the wisdom of your years without allowing it to become a blind spot that hinders out-of-the-box thinking.

When you consider the fact that you have accumulated many successes in different areas of your life over the years, you should appreciate the fact that you are more resourceful than you think. Wisdom is the ability to tap into this knowledge and use it as a spring-board to gather momentum in this current task at hand- your job search. Take time to not only look at the  overview of the main issue at hand- a new job- but also the many interrelated issues that affect that major issue. If you think critically about the issues that are interrelated to your job search (research, resumes, networking, interviews), you will find that you probably have had experience in them, albeit in  different settings. Many lessons you have gathered from other areas of your life – parenting, volunteering, leadership of people in your circles of influence – could be transferred into the area of a project such as searching for a new job. Lessons you have learnt when parenting a teenager and/or leading the fundraising campaign for your local library could be extrapolated into how you approach a young adult hiring manager of your prospective job.  In essence do not take your job search as an isolated issue.

However the wisdom of your years may become a blind spot if you are not ready to unlearn some ways of doing things and adopt new and more effective methods. You need to be open, flexible and willing to take on new adventures.

  •  Take time for an introspection, but learn to carry the right lessons forward. You may have approached your job search with vigour and directed your energy to many diverse areas without taking time to have a strategic plan in place up-front. Even the most energetic person gets tired if they direct their energy haphazardly without appropriate focus.  Such a plan will include statement of your job search goals, analysis of your strength and weaknesses, your skills, and the type of jobs you desire to put all these towards.  Set out your goals and targets for these goals as well as how to accomplish them. If necessary, get professional help in drawing out this plan.

You may find that some past mistakes or weaknesses may show up during your reflective look at your past career/personal life. Do not dwell on these; instead use them to draw out points to address any objections you may find on your job search journey. It may be a good exercise in coming up with counter-offers to any rejection you might get. However if the identified item is a tangible weakness such as lack of computer skills that is  highly necessary for what you desire to do, then take appropriate action – sign up for a relevant computer course.

  • Tap into your strengths but avoid using presentation approaches that make them look like ‘weaknesses’.

It may be that as an older job seeker you are seeking employment in a field where your experience may be minimal. However, it may also be that you have greater achievements and accomplishments in other fields. One often overlooked area is your volunteer work. Compile these together in a functional way on your resume. If necessary, get professional help with your resume writing.

On the other hand, you may have lots of experience in the particular industry or area of expertise you are job-searching in. Tap into these without presenting them in a way that will intimidate the hiring manager. Get rid of your long list of unrelated previous employment.  List only the most recent employments.  If your older employment history is very relevant to the particular job, then use a functional resume that highlights such achievements.

  •  Embrace technology, contemporary career design approaches and social media for landing a new job but do not get caught up in the wheel

The workplace of today requires people who have multiple skills, are technology-savvy and often can work in an interdisciplinary environment. There has been a shift away from the one-dimensional-focus employee and adoption of this knowledge into your job search approach will position you for better success. In addition, getting educated in the appropriate skills will not only make you employment-ready but also adaptable to the new workplace environment.

Getting creative in your job design may include seeing beyond what is advertised and offering to share your expertise in an area that will benefit a company for a specified time.

Incorporating the use social media in your job search will put you in touch with today’s breed of recruiters. However, do not get caught up in the wheels of hastily-adopted social media which tends to be counterproductive. When using social media in your job search, do take time to learn what is appropriate and what is not.


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