The Insider

The Insider's Guide To Job Search

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Job Search For Mature Candidates Part 1   (Part 2)
by Kevin T. Buckley, CPC

Job Search For Mature Candidates - A New Reality

Finding the right job is a challenge at any stage of your career. For people over 50 both the challenges and the advantages are unique.

Two particular advantages that as mature candidates you have is the wealth of experience that you can draw upon, and the confidence built on years of achievement in your chosen field.

The skills required to be successful in your career are also necessary in conducting a successful job search.

There is no glossing over the fact that the loss of a long term job is a dramatic event. It takes time to adjust to the new reality. Routines are disrupted, the familiar day-to-day is no longer there. There is a period of adjustment to arrive at the calm acceptance of this new reality.

We have found that people who choose to view a job search campaign as a positive challenge, rather than seeing themselves as victims of corporate decision-making, tend to land on their feet sooner rather than later. The attitude that you take towards launching your job search is critically important.

We have seen, repeatedly, scenarios where one door closes for a person, and in due course another one opens. It may sound cliché but it is true. It is tempting and understandable to see yourself as a victim when job loss occurs. Psychologists speak of the various stages of anger, denial and finally acceptance that people encounter when experiencing traumatic life events. As a mature candidate, you know that in life things happen for a reason. Sometimes those reasons are not readily apparent. Sometimes it is only with the benefit of hindsight that we see a certain unfolding of events which ultimately turn out to be in our favor.

Choosing to accept the need to see this chapter in your life as a new beginning helps you to galvanize your energies and your enthusiasm in taking on this new challenge.

A paradigm shift is a fancy way of saying a new way of looking at things. For some, a paradigm shift is necessary in order to leave behind that sense of being a victim. As mature candidates you have invested a lifetime in creating your character, strengths, skills and other abilities. You know what you can do and you know what you can offer a potential employer. You just need to find the right opportunity.

True, you may not have had to look for a job for a while, and maybe for many years. There are new skills and techniques and resources that you must become familiar with. In the 21st century there are more resources to draw from. Some things however never change. The ability to organize yourself, have a defined goal, the self-discipline and perseverance and developed communications skills to make the human connection are just as necessary now as they ever were.

So, where do you begin?

Accept that a job search is a job in itself -  very real self-employment

Create a new routine for yourself at home, when using the computer, when conducting research and in reaching out to potential employers. Be self -organized, record the information received, follow up on job leads, make contacts... it starts to sound like a sales job doesn't it? It is a sales job and you are the product.

Know yourself -- what are the benefits and advantages of hiring you?
A good salesman knows his product., he has studied the features and benefits and knows how to explain these to any interested audience. He can create and build the buyer's interest in his product. He knows that he has to choose his words carefully and that they must serve to create interest in what he has to sell.

Review your achievements and successes
Review the last five to 10 years of your career to begin with. What can you point to with a potential employer that you have achieved in the areas of revenue generation, improvements in efficiency, cost savings or other benefits for your past employer? Then list these achievements one after the other in single sentences. These serve as the highlights to draw attention to in your resume and in your personal presentation in an interview.

Re-think your resume and its purpose.
Your resume is meant to sell your services not merely to detail your job duties. You need to create buyer interest in the reader. You cannot do this by simply sticking a list of job responsibilities on paper and hoping that a job description will sell the concept of hiring you. You need to tell people clearly what you have done for the companies that you have worked with.

Use the Internet and its resources efficiently.
The information you need to connect you to new opportunities and new contacts and potential employers is all available to you on the Internet. Through strategic sourcing, using search engines effectively and thinking logically about who is in a position to make a hiring decision, you can generate a flow of useful activity that eventually will lead you to the opportunity that you want.

Some of the areas that you want to explore:

-- Job boards directly related to the industry that you work in
-- Recruitment firms that focus in your industry or field
-- Blogs, forums and other sites directly related to your field
-- Industry associations and organizations in your industry
-- Sites identifying the top employers in your geographical area
-- Association membership directory lists found online
-- Local job fairs, trade shows and exhibitions and other events
--Job clubs and organizations for mutual support and sharing of information
-- National, regional and community newspaper websites for job ads
-- Major job-search boards where you can create automatic job-alerts
-- Creating your profile on relevant business networking sites

As you see, there is a lot of ground to cover. Your learned ability to organize information will come in handy in marshaling these resources. The first steps in a successful job search are identifying what you need, where you need to go for information and creating a plan to focus your efforts on a daily basis.

In Part 2 we identify specific websites, resources and techniques to create a step-by-step plan for self-marketing.

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