Monday, November 28, 2016

16 Pieces of Advice for the 50+ Job Seeker (Courtesy of Dan Weisberg)

I’ve learned that looking for a job in your 50s is very different than doing so in your 20s, 30s, and even 40s. Questions about age, relevance, and productivity, among others, loom large during interviews. Whether spoken or unspoken, and real or not, these concerns make the job search much more challenging. 

Some baby boomers have taken this challenge as an opportunity to reinvent themselves while they skillfully move to find meaningful employment. Dan Weisberg is one such person. Recently laid off from a long-term position at Cisco, Dan remains positive and full of energy as he seeks his next great job. 

The fact is that Dan’s attitude is nothing new. He’s called on it repeatedly throughout his career. He recognizes—and even embraces—the fact that layoffs and other job market vagaries are inevitable in our times. Here are 16 ways he makes himself ready to pursue new professional opportunities: 

  1. Dan is always reaching out to his network to keep them updated on his professional activities. Then, when he’s in the market for a new position, the lines of communication have been established. In Dan’s words, “It’s far better to start from somewhere rather than from scratch.”
  2. Dan seeks opportunities to help others. He’s “building a bank of favors” that he’ll undoubtedly tap into when pursuing his next professional opportunity.  
  3. Dan is reflective. He ruminates on his work and career regularly, so he avoids going on automatic pilot—and remains nimble in the face of sudden job changes. 
  4. Dan is clear about his weaknesses and strengths. He works to address the former and knows how to tout the latter. 
  5. Dan takes advantage of any and all resources available, whether that’s a workshop, introduction to a person, or any other tidbit that might help him land his next position.   
  6. Dan engages in micro networking. He focuses his efforts on connecting with a small group of people. That effort alone has reaped ongoing dividends for his job search efforts.
  7. Dan gets personal. He engages others about the entirety of their lives, not just their job. Dan starts every conversation with “how are you doing?” And he truly means it! 
  8. Dan uses LinkedIn to stay current on what others are doing. He uses this information to initiate conversations with people in his network. 
  9. Dan meets regularly with people in person. This contact is critical; he doesn’t rely on social media alone. 
  10. Dan works with accountability partners. These people also are seeking full-time jobs. They understand and support his process and often provide invaluable insight. 
  11. Dan embraces, and doesn’t apologize for, his age and experience.
  12. Dan demonstrates energy and candor when engaging prospective employers. 
  13. Dan keeps learning to fill in the gaps in his knowledge.
  14. Dan cultivates strong in-person interview skills, during which he highlights the three aforementioned commitments.
  15. Dan takes nothing personally.
  16. Dan recognizes you only need one yes to land your next job or contract. 

In short, Dan displays the kind of attitude and energy every baby boomer needs to succeed in today’s turbulent job market. I’ll continue to look to his example for nourishment as I help others in this arena—and continue to explore opportunities of my own. 

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