BY JENN A. NOCERA
Many 50-somethings, long-established in their professional careers, have recently lost their jobs. They have been blind-sided and completely unsure of what to do next. Many don't even have resumes and have not been on a job interview in over 20 years. They are, understandably, overcome by fear and procrastination.
Individuals over 50 face a unique set of challenges in their job searches. Employers expect them to come with a higher price tag than their younger, less-experienced counterparts. In addition, many 50-somethings are afraid of computers. They have either never been required to learn how to use computers or have not kept pace with the current technology. Email and online job banks are somewhat mysterious to these men and women. The idea of posting their nonexistent resumes online is daunting. Emailing potential employers does not come naturally to many.
On the flip side, individuals over 50 have developed a lifetime of marketable skills. They will need to cultivate a sense of excitement as they look for the tremendous opportunities that will be inherent in the current economic changes. This can be the time of their lives as they are afforded the chance to pursue careers that they secretly always wanted to try. Some job search suggestions are listed below.
Get up early — Hopefully, your younger counterparts are sleeping on the job! (Yes, this is a J-O-B! Treat it as such.)
Get showered and dressed — You will need to project an air of confidence, even over the phone.
Keep a strict schedule & prioritize — Focus on your job search during normal business hours. This is when potential employers will be available to receive phone calls. Laundry, etc. can wait!
Tailor your resume — Customize your resume and cover letter for each job opportunity. Be sure to highlight your accomplishments and what you could offer the company.
Get familiar with online job banks & setup an email account to use for professional reasons — An increasing number of employers are posting job openings online rather than in the local newspaper. Be sure to have an email account that sounds professional.
Make cold calls — Contact companies you think you might like to work for. Sometimes, the best positions are never advertised.
Network, Network, Network — All of your friends and family should know you are job-searching. Also, consider posting your resume online. Consider professional organizations that are specific to your area of expertise.
Practice your interview skills — Even mentally reviewing your responses to potential questions can increase your chances of success on the interview.
Do NOT bring up age — It is not an issue unless you make it one. Most employers will equate age with wisdom, confidence, and reliability.
Project energy & enthusiasm — This means starting an exercise regimen and losing weight, if necessary. You will look and feel younger!
Take a class or enroll in a certificate program — This shows that you are ambitious and committed to improving your job skills.
Be flexible & creative! — Do any of your hobbies have the potential to be lucrative? How might your current skills be transferred to other industries or positions?
Complete projects unrelated to your job search — This will give you a much-needed break and a sense of accomplishment as you face rejection and uncertainty on your way to achieving your goal of a great new job!
Develop a strong support network — Now, more than ever, you will need to rely on your friends and family for moral support. If necessary, consult a professional (e.g., hire a life coach to help you maintain focus and enhance your confidence).
Coach Jenn A. Nocera, MA, MFT, CLSC, CPFT is a Life & Wellness Coach, Personal Fitness Trainer, and Psychotherapist. She can work with you to develop an effective job search plan and time and stress management skills. She offers life and wellness coaching for many facets of life. Please contact Jenna at 732-842-3515 or visit www.formulaforexcellence.com for a consultation.