10 Key Tips for Older Job Hunters



Lee Gamelin

FOR ANYONE WHO’s LOST THEIR JOB, it’s easy to blame the economy (or whatever else), all the while waiting for someone to rescue you. What’s not easy to accept—in spite of your decades of work experience—is that no one will be coming to your rescue. And that you may have to do things you may not like doing in order to be successful in this brave new world of job seeking.

In fact, the modern-day job search is three times more challenging than it was in the 1970s, when many of us landed our first jobs. It’s no longer simply a question of learning how to write an effective résumé, “dressing for success” and answering traditional interview questions. Successful job-hunting today requires nothing less than adopting a new paradigm:  Forget the model of your father working at the same company for 25 years; the average person over 35 is changing jobs every three years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is engaged in four to seven career changes over a life time of work.

In addition to writing stand-out résumés, and conducting effective informational and job interviews, modern job-hunting requires learning how to use new technologies such as networking websites, new online job search resources, email usage and etiquette, designing cover letters and résumés in several formats, and learning how to navigate through a myriad of behavioral questions so often asked in today’s interviews .

But first things first:  Choose your job. You cannot get hired for “any job”—you can only get hired for a specific job. When you know exactly what job you seek, opportunities will appear. Success in job hunting begins with clarity? Armed with a clear job objective and mission, successful job seekers don’t fall into tasks that require little effort, such as spending the majority of their time simply cruising Internet job board—after getting up at 10. Those are the people who are on extended unemployment. And by the way, the average job search has more than doubled in length since 2008.

So what is it you need to do to be successful in your job search?  Start with these 10 essentials:

1. Approach your job search as a well-planned, asset-building, personal marketing campaign—not a blend of casual work and mini-vacation.

2.  Have a crystal clear idea what you want to do and what value you can bring to an organization.

3. Research specific companies, industries and occupations that need your skills.

4. Tell these target companies WHY they need your skills and contact them directly.

5.  Seek out and contact those people who have the authority to hire or supervise a person with your skills.

6. Network with people who love their jobs can help you gain a foothold in their company or the ones you’re most interested in.

7. Write compelling, credibility statements as cover letters.

8. Write accomplishment-based objective tailored résumés.

9.  Follow up religiously, at least once a month for six months or longer, if the organizations you’re interested in are still hiring.

10. Spend 25 to 44 hours a week in your job search.

Even when you’ve been able to secure your next job, don’t stop your newly enhanced job-searching ways.  Keep networking, because in today’s fast-changing global economy, you never know when you’re going to need your next job search. Always be prepared, so if and when you need to look for another job, you won’t face such a time barrier in ramping up your search.  Indeed, modern-day workers—young or older—need to envision a continuum of change and skills development throughout their working life.

Lee Gamelin is Managing Member at Delaware-based FindJobsQuickly, LLC, principle consultant at Gainful Employment Consultants, and a licensed facilitator at GetHiredNow®. Since 1985, he  has been providing  widely recognized job search development programs, which have currently been approved by four state departments of education in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  with one program being validated by a national institutional accrediting agency in recognition of outstanding results. Contact: leegamelin@gmail.com.

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