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Job Search Tips for the 50+ Crowd

Job Interview

I recently viewed a webinar called, “5 Simple Tips to Beat Age Discrimina​tion in Your Job Search” which was publicized in a LinkedIn group called, Jobs, Career Coaches and HR ” Interns Over 40.  With the exception of the heavy-duty sales pitch at its conclusion, the speaker, Carl Chapman offered some powerful job search tips for the older job seeker.

As most job seekers ought to know by now, a resume should be viewed as a marketing piece.  Job skills, tasks, and responsibilities should be expressed in terms of accomplishments.  In that we mean, dollars and cents.  Simply saying that you “were responsible for” preparing monthly financials or the annual budget is no longer deemed effective.

Imagine being a hiring manager.  You want to know why he/she should hire you.  If you said that as the finance manager you saved the company $1,000,000 or as a sales manager you increased sales 20%, wouldn’t those statements be more impactful than stating “you were responsible for…”

At a job interview, appear enthusiastic and energetic – have a “spring” to you step, said Chapman.  If you exercise on a regular basis, it’s bound to show.  if the interviewer asks what you did over the weekend, please don’t sound like a couch potato.  Avoid saying you were knitting, crocheting, or watching sports.  You don’t want to appear sedentary.  In other words, you should project a youthful image.

When interviewed, be sure to convey what you can do for the company.  Discuss what you bring to the table. Chapman suggested sharing what you plan on accomplishing over 30,60 or 90 days if hired.  It’s an interesting strategy that could be a bit too bold, I’m afraid.  However, a toned down version could prove to be effective.

Give the interviewer the impression you’re open to change. If you know you will be working for someone younger, let them know you’re coachable and are open to constructive criticism.  If necessary, work with a career coach or engage in role playing exercises with someone younger than you are.

Ask questions about the company and the industry.  Seek out the interviewer’s opinion.  A little bit of flattery might not hurt.

To counter the assumption that older workers are not tech-savvy, be sure to maintain an active presence online.   So, join groups and submit postings in groups or post updates in LinkedIn.  Lastly, take the time to keep current.

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A Toast to Starbucks!

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Here is a testimony that sheer grit and determination can help you land the job you want.  Recently,  I was working with a job seeker who was over 50 with a multi-year gap in employment.  She had taken time off to serve as the primary caregiver for a an elderly parent followed by a paid stint as  a caregiver position through a home care agency.

At the time we met, she decided now was the time to conduct a job search in earnest.  With a fresh eye, I helped her tweak her resume to emphasize her strengths and weed out what was no longer relevant. We were talking about companies that might be interested in her skills and abilities when one day, she said, “How about Starbucks? I replied, Gee, it sounds like fun and so did she!

So, Ann (different name for privacy) applied for a position at Starbucks and lo and behold in no time, she had an interview lined up. Admittedly, I was a bit dubious about where this process was going to go. “This was not really happening – an older woman getting an interview at Starbucks? She’s got to be kidding!” She asked me for some advice about what to wear and what to say at that momentous occasion. I made my suggestions fearing that her fate could be in my hands if my opinion was apt to be all wrong. But, within a week, she landed the job!

Thank you Starbucks! You turned one person’s life around! They have a bargain as well – a hard worker and a conscientious one!

Just Say “No” to Job Boards: Say “Yes” to Social Networking

look at me

A few weeks ago, while I was hanging out at an airport en route to Nicaragua for a cycling vacation, I happened to notice an interesting article about the importance of of networking when looking for a job (Unfortunately, I don’t recall the source).

Did you know that applying for jobs on Monster, CareerBuilder and the like could actually hurt your chances of landing a job?  Apparently, some corporate recruiters regard those job seekers who rely on online applicants as losers.  Yes, losers.

So, what does that mean? You have to rely on Linkedin, Twitter, etc. even more.  Go ahead and connect with people at companies where you would like to work.  Find out if you can have a few minutes of their time to find out key information and share what you have to offer.

Be sure to join groups to broaden your network to increase your odds of having Linkedin connections within your reach (2nd level).

Lastly, be visible online. Read the article How to Say ‘Look at Me!’ to an Online Recruiter which appeared in The New York Times by Phyllis Korkki.  Recruiters and employers are looking for candidates who are technologically “with-it.”

Dare to Try Something New or Different

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It’s a new year and it’s the time to apply the word (new) to whatever you are doing – whether you are looking for a job or running a small business.  If the old routines are getting you nowhere, get out and do something bold and daring! 

For job seekers, start making some bold moves, if you’re not doing it all ready. It’s time to take a different approach. Knock on doors, go to networking events, make some phone calls.  Why not find out what worked for others. Meet with recruiters, employment agencies, job coaches.  Ask them to review your resume.  Find out what they think about your job search strategy.  Check out a book for job hunters from the library.  Then, go ahead and apply a new strategy.

The clock is ticking.  No procrastinating allowed.

Networking Tips for the Job Seeker

In my library workshop, “Search the Hidden Job Market”, I talk about becoming the information sleuth.  Think of yourself as a detective or consider putting your dog to work at sniffing out the jobs. There are all sorts of channels to work  and the more pathes you take, should increase your odds of landing a job.  If nothing else, you’ll be busy.

  1. Of course, go ahead and work through the job boards.
  2. Meet with recruiters and headhunters for you might just be an ideal match.
  3. Tell all your friends and relatives.
  4. Tell the strangers you meet while waiting at the dentist or doctor’s office, at the grocery, at the gym, etc.
  5. Follow the jobs in Linkedin especially the ones listed in your groups.
  6. Read the newspaper and especially the business section.  Be sure to think about what the headlines may mean with regard to potential hiring. Are there new companies moving in?  Is anyone moving to larger quarters these days? Or, have any companies been awarded a large government contract perhaps?
  7. Identify vendors or suppliers who might know where there are job openings at companies with whom they do business.  For example, if you were an accountant, you might contact CPA firms to find out if any of their clients have job openings or perhaps you could contact the sales reps for accounting software.  If you are an HR specialist, you might contact employee benefits companies or HR specific software providers.
  8. Don’t forget trade or professional associations.  Join them and get involved.  It could be money and time well-spent.
  9. Try writing a blog.  An article I read in the The Wall Street Journal a few years ago, featured someone who got noticed and got a job because of the reputation she established with her blog.

Above all, be visible!

Increase Your Odds of Landing a Job

As a business librarian, I’m inclined to tell people to do research whether they are conducting a job search or contemplating the start of a new business. Plus, I tend to scour the universe for information before I finally decide I have enough data. People who have worked with me would certainly agree about my thorough approach.

So, when I read  Aldo Svaldi’s article today in The Denver Post entitled, As Colorado Jobs Start to Come Back, Searchers’ Skills Need Work,”  I noted that the various experts cited in this article each advocated doing research as part of a job search.

Andrew Hudson,who runs a popular job board in Denver commented that responding to postings on job boards should not consume more than 20% of a job seeker’s time.  Instead, spending time networking and making contacts is likely to be a more effective way of landing a new job.

That may sound easy but how does one find contacts?  As a librarian, I would recommend using ReferenceUSA, a popular online business directory available at many public libraries, to identify potential employers.  With ReferenceUSA, the user can quickly identify companies by industry, location, size, organization type, and more.  Download lists with contact names and their job titles.  Then, the hard part begins.  Either pick up the phone and start calling, network through others, or try making contact through LinkedIn.

Later on in the article, Sam Sargent, president of Human Resources Asset Management Systems Ltd in Monument, Colorado, remarked with regard to interviewing that “Job hunters need to do their research and show an interest that goes beyond pay, vacation time and the employer’s stability.”   I said, “YES” to that as well. So , go ahead and try something  your competition might not think about doing.

Do some research  about the company and  the industry so that you can ask focused questions when interviewed.  Such a strategy should demonstrate your genuine interest and enthusiasm about working for that company. Aim to set yourself apart from the competition making it totally obvious that you should be hired rather than the other guy or gal.

Looking for a Job: Brush Up On Your Work Skills

When you are out of a job and looking for work, it never hurts to brush up on your work skills.  What a better time to improve your skill at using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Access, etc.  When you’re working a 40-hour job (plus overtime in some cases), it can be difficult to fit additional training or classes into a busy schedule.  It should be easier to find the time now. Can’t afford to pay for it?  No problem. Many public libraries and state or county workforce centers offer classes for free.  They probably have computers loaded with the most recent versions for you  to practice on after class.   No tests and no grades.  Meet friendly people and you may even learn about a job lead. 

If you have you been out of the workforce for some time, perhaps you could use a refresher for some specific skills in your profession.  Chances are you could bone up with a book.  But, maybe there is a class you could take (that when completed) you could also add to your resume). There may even be government funds to pay for a class. In any case, workforce centers maintain lists of recommended educational institutions and they will help you beef up your skill sets.

To find a local workforce center, conduct a keyword search in any search engine by typing, “workforce center” and the county and/or state you live in.  You should be able to locate a workforce center near you.

A little bit more education can go along way to way to landing a good job and better pay.

Have You Had a Look at Careeronestop?

Are you new at the challenge of looking for a job?  Or, are you interested in finding a new career?  Don’t know where to start?  Careeronestop is a web site well worth having a look at. Here is a very comprehensive  site that deals with just about everything related to careers, occupations, and the job search., run by the U.S. Department of Labor.  It’s your tax dollars at work and it’s money well-spent.

For anyone interested in careers, it provides information in great detail about a host of occupations.  Of course, you will find job descriptions, education requirements, detailed skills and abilities, and even specific jobs tasks and activities.  You will also find statistics about occupation trends by state and in the nation as a whole.

You wil also find statistics about occupations that are the fastest growing, with the most openings, the largest employments, and data about wages. Afterall, the U.S. Departments collects such data and compiles statistics anyway. Afterall, why not share it with the people who need it the most.

That’s not all.  Are you new at a job search and don’t know where to start? CareeroneStop offers tips on developing a plan. In order to conduct an effective job search, you need a strategy.  Your search needs structure and you need to figure out how to make the best use of your time.

Need some help writing a resume? CareerOneStop can help. It has tips, sample resumes, guides, and more.  If you need the right buzz words to add some pizazz, just have a look at the information they provide about occupations, mentioned above.

If you don’t know where to look for jobs, it has links to a myriad of job boards from the general to the specific. You will find private job boards as well as government-sponsored ones. 

I don’t think I can’t say enought about the merits of CareerOneStop.  Just give it a try!

Be a Sleuth for Job Leads

A job search is likely to involve a number of different approaches.  Although online applications and responding to postings on Monster, Indeed, and other job boards are fine, the rest of your time should be spent elsewhere.   Active networking is extremely important from telling everyone you know that you are looking for a job, to using online networking as in LinkedIn.

As a librarian, I like to encourage people to do research to identify growth industries and most importantly companies that are likely to be in a hiring mode. One way of finding information about companies is to read business publications. The business sections of local and national newspapers are great places to start.

However, my favorite publications for business or company-specific information are business newspapers. These days, such newspapers have both print and online versions. In Denver, Colorado, we are fortunate to have both the Denver Business Journal and ColoradoBiz Magazine.  Both of these publications  focus solely on business, industry and economic development. 

In fact, as a I was about to write this post, I found an article on ColoradoBiz Magazine, 50 Colorado Businesses to Watch.  Here are companies worth exploring for they have been cited for their exponential growth especially with regard to jobs. 

So, once you find companies that appear to have some potential in terms of jobs, read all you can about them starting from their website. Then, you can search for additional information by using article databases in your library such as Ebsco Business Source Premier, Lexis-Nexus, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.  Of course, do try searching the web with your favorite search engine.

Hopefully, you will have a number of companies worth contacting. Find contacts in ReferenceUSA (accessible at many public libraries) or try LinkedIn.   

That’s what the sleuth for job leads is all about.

Haven’t Looked for a Job in a Long Time? Things to do!

If you haven’t been active in the job market in a long time, you may need to get reacquainted.  Resume conventions and styles change.  Is a summary of qualifications “in”?  Or, how many years of experience should be revealed?  Or, should a resume be limited to one page?

How do you get those answers?  Talk to recruiters, career coaches or counselors, or of course, have a look at a recently published book for job seekers.  Career support groups and workforce centers are excellent options as well. 

Don’t forget Linkedin.  If you do not have a profile on Linkedin, be sure to create one.  HR managers may use it as an indicator of how savvy you are with technology or how “with-it you are.  No one is going to want to consider a candidate who appears  like a dinosaur.

Another reason to join Linkedin is to also join some groups.  You will find professional groups (finance, project management, marketing, etc) plus there are groups for job seekers.  All the groups maintain their own discussion boards and they are great forums to exchange information. 

In addition to open discussions, you will also find job postings on group pages that you may not see anywhere else.

Get onboard!