If you’re a mature job seeker, you may feel challenged by the entire job search process. This is especially true if you’re aiming to return to the workforce after an absence or searching for a different career or industry. You may feel that you’ve lost touch with the key skills required in your line of work. Or you may have no clue as to what direction makes sense for you now that your field has changed. Perhaps you’re sending your resume into the black hole of online ads. You may be sick of hearing that you’re “overqualified.”
All of these difficulties can lead you to despair and anxiety. But there are ways to flip these issues into opportunities. My 40-60 year old clients are finding jobs with these techniques. You can too. Performed effectively, a job search can be shorter and more successful. The key is matching up your strengths and preferences with the growing sectors of the economy in terms of positions and industries.
Start with an accomplishments exercise. List the 5 -8 accomplishments which you: enjoyed the most, had a sense of achievement and felt you did reasonably well. You will discover and re-discover skills, environments, roles, interests and values that you may have forgotten or never recognized. This step alone, boosts your confidence and understanding of your potential contributions to an employer.
Now use these insights to identify a couple of job targets, like “digital marketing” or “financial sales” or “environmental planner”. Look them up on Indeed.com and LinkedIn.com. You want to make sure there are a good number of positions using these terms. Print out 3 ads matching your target that appeal to you. What are the skills, experience, personality, accomplishments, and education they are looking for?
If you’re older, chances are that you will have to expand your targets outside your specialty or industry. For example, a job in pharmaceutical sales may be a long search but sales of medical devices is more promising.
Explore and “try on” your new targets through online research and informational interviewing—talking to people about the field. What is the median compensation, environments, expected job growth, experience that you could transfer? Do you need to brush up your skills or re-train by taking an online course and volunteering?
Review your resume and LinkedIn profile to make sure you address the key concerns, keywords, and requirements of your favorite jobs. Next, fight the instinct to fire off a response to the “perfect” online ad. Instead, consider tailoring your resume and LinkedIn profile.
If you’re older, or even younger, devoting your time to answering ads online, is generally a waste of time. By all means, peruse the ads. Then get in touch with your contacts in the company or field. Even reach out to people you don’t know.
Again, hold off sending in your newly-minted resume. Instead, start to network. Contact four groups of people: people you know well, people you’re connected to on LinkedIn, people you haven’t spoken to in a long time, and people you don’t know by researching their profile and seeing if any of your contacts may know them. Let them know you’re looking for a new challenge and give them the position, industry and geography you want to work in. Include 2 companies that meet these criteria.
You can take charge of your job search and land a better job in a shorter time, when you follow these steps. My clients have landed good jobs in three to six months, even after stalled job searches and confused career objectives.